“The way to wealth is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality: that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality nothing will do, and with them everything.”
– Benjamin Franklin
In our contemporary society the word frugal carries a negative connotation. Frugality is usually associated with staying in on weekends, buying only the cheapest necessities, and living a threadbare life.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I’m incredibly frugal, yet I still manage to eat healthy, go out every weekend, buy nice things, have hobbies, and vacation once a year. Aside from not wasting my money on frivolous expenses, I’m able to maximize the value of my money by doing the following:
I hate going out to eat. I don’t like sit down restaurants, fast food, or cafes. At most I’ll go out once a month for sushi, otherwise I eat at home or pack my own meals. Because I cook my own food, I end up saving a small fortune. For frame of reference: a combo meal at McDonald’s costs around $5 -$7 while a home cooked egg and tomato omelet costs about $2. By not indulging in processed garbage I save roughly $1,820 a year.
Admittedly I spend a lot on books. I’ve been cutting down on my expenses by visiting the library more frequently, but I still buy tons of literature. Despite all the money I’ve spent on books, I still consider myself to be saving money by reading. Instead of watching television or mindlessly surfing the web, I’m learning new and applicable information. The $8 I spend on a book is an investment, not a waste.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, drinking is a great way to drain your productivity and wallet. When I go out on a Friday or Saturday night, my total expenses are usually around $5. Although I spend next to nothing, I guarantee that I still have as much fun as the dudes who drop a couple hundred dollars for the evening.
Having a goal
Being bored is expensive. When I’m pursuing a goal I tend to spend very little money. For example: learning how to program cost me nothing. I got all my books for free, and I used the tutorials at Codecademy for additional practice. Likewise, several of my other hobbies are free as well. The more goals I embark on, the less time I have to make reckless purchases out of tedium.
Bettering yourself is actually quite inexpensive. Eating right, learning, partying, and achieving my goals all cost me less per month than I used to spend when I was a couch potato.
If you have any additional advice on frugality, feel free to share it in the comments section.