Why Would A Person Choose To Live A Frugal Life?

For some reason, there is a myth out there that living a frugal life means you are living a boring life. Some even believe that if you are frugal then you are a bad parent, a bad person, and a bad friend. If you don’t believe that, I recommend you read the comments on the next frugal…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 1, 2018

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For some reason, there is a myth out there that living a frugal life means you are living a boring life. Some even believe that if you are frugal then you are a bad parent, a bad person, and a bad friend.

If you don’t believe that, I recommend you read the comments on the next frugal living-related article on a major website such as Forbes, YahooFinance, or something similar. One thing that will be in common with most of the comments is the negativeness from many of the commenters.

I’ve even overheard conversations myself where people think I’m missing out on life because they assume that all frugal people just sit at home all day and do nothing with their lives.

That is FAR from the truth. I know many who are taking part in frugal living and I think they are some of the best 🙂

Sadly, many aren’t interested in frugal living because they believe the myth above.

There are many reasons to live a frugal life, though. Continue reading below to see the reasons for why many choose to take part in frugal living.


1. You want to be comfortable in your financial situation.

Seeking financial freedom is something that many are aiming for by living frugally. Being frugal may give you a better chance at reaching this since you are most likely honest with yourself about how much money you earn, how much you spend, and how much you need in order to survive.

Knowing that you are in control of your financial situation is a great benefit of living a frugal life!

Not being comfortable may even lead to debt, which I discuss in the next reason…


2. You want to avoid debt.

No one actually wants debt, right? By choosing to live the frugal life, you may be able to avoid debt much more than the average person.

By avoiding debt, you will have less stress due to the fact that you won’t be worried about the next bill you have to pay and the amount of interest that is building up.

You will also be more likely to retire earlier, buy the things that you actually do want to buy, and more.

Related article: How To Live On One Income


3. You want a simpler life.

Bigger isn’t always better. More isn’t always better either.

By living a frugal life, you are most likely making do with what you have, buying and using quality items that will last, and so on.

By having less stuff and less clutter in your life, you will live a more simple life that you can truly enjoy. Material items do not always equal happiness. Sometimes they just add stress, debt, and more. Think about it – the more stuff you have, the more likely that something will break, something will get lost or tossed to the side, and so on.


4. You know that you can still have fun while being frugal.

Anyone who thinks you can’t have fun while being frugal is crazy. You don’t need to spend a ton of money or be rich in order to enjoy life.

Yes, you can still go on vacations, buy your dream home, have a family, spend time with friends and family, and more. Being frugal doesn’t mean that you are giving up fun things in life.

Side note: I recommend looking into Digit if you want to trick yourself into saving more money. Digit is a FREE service that looks at your spending and transfers money to a savings account for you. Digit makes everything easy so that you can start saving money with very little effort. Read Digit Review – A New Way To Save Money.


5. You want to appreciate everything and anything around you.

When we were spending more due to lifestyle inflation, we realized we weren’t really appreciating the things we were spending our money on.

We were buying things, not enjoying them, and just being a little lazy because we weren’t in the right mindset. I didn’t like feeling this way because I felt wasteful and even guilty of the way I was behaving.

Life is great and you don’t need to be rich in order to enjoy it. By living a frugal life, you are more likely to appreciate what you have.

Would you rather enjoy each meal you eat, each item you buy, and more? Life is a great thing and appreciating the little things can be a great feeling.

Are you interested in frugal living? Why or why not? Why do you believe some are so negative about frugality?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Until some years ago I didn’t know what budget was, since I had/choose to have a simply life I discover who were my true friends, they find good stay at home watching dvd instead fancy restaurant, new low cost or absolutely free fun… but I agree with all your post, having a frugal life doesn’t means have a boring life

  2. I absolutely love this post. I’ve been known for being cheap for years. However, I always correct people say that I’m not cheap. I’m thrifty. However, that still doesn’t stop people form thinking my life is drab and boring. I’m all about having fun on a budget. I always say that if making such big scarifies are going to afford me a life of no debt and comfort, that I’m all for it.

  3. Erica {Erica@EricaDHouse.com}

    I used to be frugal to a fault. Then, I married a spender. We’ve balanced each other out and are finally on the same page with a budget. We are aggressively paying off our cars/student loan, and saving 10-15% for retirement. Once our loans are paid off I’m going to relax a bit. While I do love being frugal and saving money, I’m also starting to realize that life is too short not to enjoy it sometimes! So, we will budget for things like yearly vacations (within driving distance), and other special memories we can make with our kids while they young.

    1. We sound very similar. Wes is a spender and while that may sound bad, he has taught me how to enjoy money 🙂

  4. I am trying to be as frugal as possible as I know that this is one way to achieve financial freedom and my goals in the soonest time possible. Frugal living is fantastic as long as I feel comfortable with this set-up. I honestly do not mind what others think of how I live my life.

  5. Mark@BareBudgetGuy

    It definitely helps you more appreciate what you have, but I still think being too frugal can actually make us more miserable, but that’s just me.

    1. Well, I’m not talking about being cheap in this article – I think there’s a clear difference 🙂

  6. The simplicity of having less, buying less, wanting less all really appeal to me. Of course, financial security and stability are really important too. But I think there’s a deliberateness that comes with frugality that is lacking in our consumerist culture.

    1. The simplicity of having less appeals to me as well.

  7. I think there’s a stereotype that frugal living means you’re living without. In a way you are, but it’s supposed to be worth it because you gain so much in simplicity and contentment. I do have a minimalist attitude in general, but that’s just my personality. That’s the extent of it. I really have no desire to be completely frugal!

    1. Yeah, I wish there wasn’t that stereotype!

  8. Ali @ Anything You Want

    I do try to live a frugal life because I think that practicing frugality is a good way to evaluate what is important to you and spend money only on those things. I think a lot of the negativity surrounding frugality comes form misconceptions about what frugality means – that it inherently signals deprivation and a miserly life. Frugality is really only about economizing and spending in alignment with your values, which in my opinion isn’t miserly, its just smart.

  9. Living frugal is a way of showing humility. As many people believe they need alot to live on nowadays or have something to showoff to people, “having just enough is good enough.”

  10. The people questioning your frugality clearly missed your travel pictures.

  11. My lack of employment over the last year has really helped me focus on what I value. Before, it was no big deal to spend $30 to pick up drive-thru for dinner, but now $30 is a lot of money to me! I could eat for days for that price. I’ve basically given up all of the “extras” in my life – no shopping, no fast food, no hair cuts, and to be honest, I don’t really miss any of it. I think I could live a very happy and frugal life, even if I wasn’t sort of forced into it 🙂

    1. Good job on not missing any of it 🙂

  12. Like most things in life, there are always misconceptions out there. Frugality is not excluded. Being frugal does take discipline and sometimes requires making sacrifices or trade-offs, but you are right, Michelle. Being frugal has huge advantages and it certainly does not make for a boring life.

  13. Kayla @ The Jenny Pincher

    I’m not the most frugal person, but as I’ve gotten more frugal in the last couple of years I’ve still been able to enjoy life. Frugality doesn’t mean a boring life.

    1. It definitely does not mean a boring life 🙂

  14. I chose to adopt a frugal lifestyle for all of the reasons above. First, it started out as a way to save more money while paying off my debt, but I realized that my goals and values aligned perfectly with frugality. I’m content with living simply and want to focus managing my finances properly and creating memorable experiences with friends and family as opposed to spending money on everything.

  15. Great way to think about it 🙂

  16. Jen Wells

    You make excellent points Michelle! Lliving a frugal life is simply a trade-off. We trade “stuff” for peace-of-mind. We trade financing for patience, and put what we would have paid in interest, right into our bank account! We trade eating out for cooking at home and eating healthy food. We have everything we want and need in life, and I would venture to say, someone on the outside looking in, wouldn’t think of us as frugal. The main reason for our frugal lifestyle is as Christians, we believe we are honoring God by carefully managing the resources He has given us.

  17. Jesse Gernigin

    Frugal living gets a lot of bad play. I think if we changed the word ‘frugal’ to ‘independent’ we would have a lot more people interested in it.
    I think people who choose frugal live well because they do so ‘mindfully’. There is an easy to understand difference between ‘frugal’ and ‘cheap’ and the people that understand the former and shy away from the latter end up having better lives.
    I became a frugal traveler years ago and because of it I have seen the world, Iceland, Croatia, Tokyo, etc all because I focused on my experience of being in those places instead of how much I could spend while I was there.

    1. Yes, changing the word would be interesting 🙂

  18. Stockbeard

    Nelson, I 100% agree with you here. I’m progressively getting rid of stuff, and one of the blessings in my life is that I never lived in a big place (since I moved out from my parents’ house). As a result, we have been constrained to small places all the time, reducing the amount of stuff we could buy. In my “spending” years, I hated it, but now I am glad this was enforced on me, as it increased my frugality. I wouldn’t change it if I could.

  19. Gina

    I try to live my life to the frugal-est. I don’t think that spending money can make a person happy. In fact, it can be quite stressful if you overspend. My husband and I try to live frugally and enjoy what we have in order to make the most of my life. I think frugality will always be a big part of my life, no matter what my salary is. Maybe people talk so negatively about it because they don’t want to think there is anything wrong with their lifestyle. Since frugal people do things differently than them, they just assume it’s bad. Which is crazy!

  20. Generations

    All of those make perfect sense. A lot of people think that frugal living means having a boring life and not allowing yourself to have any fun or buy anything new.

  21. Being frugal is something that I work towards. No day is perfect for me considering I am living with a spender who does not see things the same way I do. It’s hard finding a new perfect balance especially with a fluctuating income every month. But the best part is that being in my 20’s allows me lots of time to play around with what works for me.

    1. Yes, for some it’s something that constantly has to be worked on. It’s worth it though!

  22. I started being frugal a few years ago when I realized that I needed a change. Some people understand what I’m doing, but a lot of folks don’t. They are too busy keeping up with the Joneses. Being frugal has helped my debt get lower and has allowed me to raise my credit score by 168 points in 8 months.

  23. Thanks for bringing this up! I have experienced some of the negative attitudes firsthand toward being frugal, and it’s a really hard line to draw sometimes, especially with family. Some of our family have more money and are used to spending more because they have always had a stable large income (though they did work hard to get it), or because they equate spending with living the good life and don’t view debt as something to be paid off immediately. Our income is really limited right now, though, and we have a lot of debt to pay off and would like to before our kids get older and need more money (for things like orthodontia, sports, college, etc.)

    I guess it depends on what frugal means. I don’t think it always means avoiding spending money. Sometimes you have to spend money to do certain things that are needs/are important. For us, being frugal allows us to do the most with our limited budget, and hopefully as time progresses and our alternative income streams grow, it will allow us to save money by cutting unnecessary spending and direct it towards things that matter to us, or to help out others, support our kids/our dreams, etc. Right now being frugal is also helping us to get out of debt.

  24. Yes, I am interested in frugal living! 🙂

    I think there are negative stereotypes in the media that frugal people are hoarding money and not living the life, they want. For us when we reach our early retirement, our focus is on experiences rather than on things.

    1. I have a post about experiences vs. things going live this week 🙂 Perfect timing.

  25. Dane Hinson

    I consider money as a means to financial independence, not as a means to happiness. I think what people forget is that living frugally doesn’t mean that you’re not living a happy and fulfilling life.

  26. Hi Michelle! We’ve always been frugal – mostly out of necessity, but now that we have more income coming in we still tend to be on the frugal side. I’m going to start saving even more though as I try to do things more intentionally – especially budgeting! I am decluttering and just starting to meal plan!

  27. Amy @ DebtGal

    I think many of the people who react negatively to discussions about living frugally do so either because they miss the distinction between frugality and miserly-ness, or because they know subconsciously that there’s a lot of truth to the arguments for frugality and feel guilty or threatened because they choose not to live that way. (I can’t help blaming the subconscious – I was a psych major!)

  28. It’s all about priorities. Buying material pocessions provides such temporary happiness, and can be followed by regret. We choose to live a frugal life for all of the reasons that you highlight. We have debt to pay off, better financial goals, and are generally happy to enjoy the simple things. I venture to guess that the average person does not take the time to enjoy things like a beautiful sunset, because they are too busy coveting cars and electronics, or worrying about their clothes and homes looking perfect. In my opinion, a frugal life is the better option.

  29. I love this post and it always bothers me when people equate frugality to deprivation and sacrifice. It’s as if you aren’t spending money, you’re not having fun, but many of simpler things in life don’t cost much and are the things that I enjoy the most. I can’t say the same thing for buying the newest tech gadget…sure maybe for the first few days, but the novelty wears off fast.

  30. Great article! These are very helpful ideas for me. I really wanted to live a simple and frugal life and yet I’m having a hard time pushing it since I’m living with my parents and I’m the bread winner of the family. I really enjoyed reading your article and I learned a lot from it. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Brittney @ Life On A Discount

    Overall, we live a pretty frugal life. We live well below our means by only spending about 40% of our income, saving 40% of our income (retirement, e-fund and general) and putting the remaining amount toward debt (student loans and mortgage). Once our debt is paid off in 2 years, we will switch that money toward savings. Our goal is to effectively live off one income in the next few years when we want to start a family, though we both plan to continue working.

    We still enjoy life by engaging in fun hobbies like budget traveling, frisbee golf (very low cost), hiking, game nights and relaxing together at home. We spend money when necessary or when it’s a high priority, but we aren’t frivolous with our expenditures.

    Our goal is to retire by 50, so we figured that if we can be frugal now, we can be frugal for life.

  32. Crystal John

    Nice article. Yes there is a clear difference between being cheap and frugal. Being frugal doesn’t mean that someone is cheap and can’t afford but it means that how to manage and spend your money wisely. I really love to shop new clothes and first it was to take lots of money of mine but then I turned my self as a frugal person and started shopping it while availing the coupons from clothingric.com, lavishcoupon.com, savings.com and sites a like and now I am really able to save my money.

  33. Moz

    I first discovered minimalism when I got divorced and found myself with way too many bills and a house mortgage i could not afford. A house full of things. Some good, some old and lots of shit I didnt need or want. but yet I kept it. I kept it all. Then one day when I could no longer afford to pay for my house and all the crap in it. I lost home. And gained my life my life back. The bank wanted my home. I didn’t care anymore. I lost hope. I was out of town for 2 weeks for work. When I came home I discovered a pipe broke in the basement and completely flooded basement. I looked around. picked out everything that actually had meaning to me. And walked away.

  34. Paul

    Frugal? Gee to so many people, including some of my “so called” friends that means I’m a Scrooge. Or worse a tightarse.

    The last one comes from my wife so often it isn’t funny.

    Funny how “she” complains we don’t have enough money, but NOTHING stops her from shopping for clothes (3 wardrobes jam packed full of that). Nor from buying supermarket “treats” because “I work hard and I’m entitled.” Such a mentality huh? Nor from inviting her “friends” (some of whom she actually dislikes) for an eating session, typical Filipino tradition. Or from buying takeaways (take out in the US) because I can’t be bothered cooking. Oh, and my cooking is never ever good enough for her, even if she likes it and comes back for seconds, and god forbid, thirds.

    Yes this Frugal stuff is so hard… on your wallet. Not!

  35. In my recent years I’ve had to learn the hard way, by no means was I live a frugal lifestyle. However, my fiance and I have made a big decision to move to Florida which required us to sell our house, and most of our things. We are doing this to live more simply and enjoy our lives doing what we love.

    I use to think that people who were frugal were being cheap, but I’ve come to realize now that they are actually just being “smart” with their money. It pays to be frugal and to be aware of your spending. It’s very easy to lose track of your finances and where your money is going.