Frugal People Dos and Don’ts

Frugal folks aren’t necessarily cheap but they do watch what they spend and where they spend their money.

“Frugal” from Latin frugalis; from frugi ‘economical, thrifty’; from frux, frug, ‘fruit’.

Here are some key things I’ve noticed about frugal people:

  • They look for sales or at least ask for deals.
  • They rarely give-in to lifestyle inflation.
  • They don’t drive expensive cars (unless they can afford it now based on their past frugal ways).
  • They don’t spend lots of money on themselves.
  • They aren’t infatuated with gadgets.
  • They don’t care about impressing others.
  • They don’t waste stuff (they re-use and re-purpose items whenever they can).
  • They budget.
  • They pay themselves first and try run a monthly surplus.

What other traits do ‘fruitful’ folk follow?  Do you consider yourself frugal?

My name is Mark Seed and I'm the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, we're inching closer to our ultimate goal - owning a 7-figure investment portfolio for semi-retirement. We're almost there! Subscribe and join the journey. Learn how I'm getting there and how you can get there too!

34 Responses to "Frugal People Dos and Don’ts"

  1. Frugal people always keep a close eye on their bank statements and are aware of where their money is going. I don’t pay bank fees because I watch my statements carefully. Also frugal people usually have some sort of budget (even if its really basic) that allows them to track their money (as you mentioned)

  2. If that’s the list that qualifies someone as being frugal, then I don’t think I’ve made the cut because I have no problem spending money on myself and my career is in technology so I have no problem buying gadgets (especially those that save me money). I’ve been known to waste the odd thing in the name of time efficiency as well. Some things just aren’t worth reusing or re-purposing. I will pay big bucks to save time.

    1. From what I know about you Stephen, and certainly what you write about, you’re far from frivolous with your money. That’s still frugal in my book – watching where you money goes and when to be “fruitful”.

  3. Hi Mark,

    Frugal people know how much things cost and where to buy them at the lowest price. They never buy on impulse and are willing to wait for something to be on sale before buying.

    You will never see a frugal person buying at the corner store.


  4. Great list. Maybe that’s why I can never come up with a birthday wish list whenever people ask what kind of present I want. I keep saying I have everything I need. 🙂

  5. Great list Mark. I think I see myself in most of these traits, although I never did a budget for myself. Just always made sure that I didn’t spend more than I made, so never bought anything on credit except for our home mortgage. Not even vehicles.

    My older brother is very frugal and has recently retired, I think he realized that his portfolio was big enough for him to be happy with. No pension. But he has started to use K cups for his coffee. He told me that they are the one thing that is worth it to him to splurge on. I had given him a coffee grinder as part of a gift basket for Christmas a few years ago–that was too much work for him.

    1. I see myself in some of those traits but not all of them. I do splurge now and then for sure!

      I’ve read articles about folks who were very frugal all their lives, then later in life, cannot spend the money since their habits were so hard-wired. Hopefully your brother is learning to let go a bit more…life is for the living and for that reason my wife and I, although we could definitely save more each year, do spend a fair bit on travel on other things because it’s important to us. I don’t want to have any regrets.

      1. I also love to travel and that is where I like to spend my money. Fortunately I prefer the international destinations that are not expensive. In 2012 I had three international trips for a total of 8 weeks, in 2013 I did one long trip to several countries of 9 weeks duration, and so far this year I have been away twice in the country I love best for a total of 4 weeks. I had wished it was longer, but I don’t like to travel alone and it is hard to get travel companions who can be away.

        It is easy to see how peoples’ frugal habits stay with them. If you don’t get any enjoyment from spending the money, why do it? I don’t like shopping and buying things, only when I need something in particular do I shop. Fortunately, my husband loves to shop….(sometimes that is unfortunate and I have to take away his Visa….)

        1. Wow, 9 weeks? I can only dream for now. I suppose I’m frugal to a point, then, when I travel I enjoy some nice perks like decent hotels, B&Bs and the like. Thanks for the comment Barbara!

  6. I agree with the list completely. The main theme is that frugal people are not afraid to spend, they are just smart about it. A pet peeve of mine is when frugal people are called cheap. Cheap people will choose not to spend and will pass up on opportunities because of cost. Frugal people will spend and are jerry good about finding affordable ways to do so. I love that your list reflects that and do not mention an instance where you bypass an opportunity because of the cost.

    Again, great list.


    1. I agree, cheap isn’t the same as frugal. I mean, I can be cheap sometimes but more often than not I’m looking for value for money; thinking about “how much my time is worth”; trying to be “fruitful’ (frugal).

      Thanks for the comment Bert!

  7. I would definitely agree with the point about frugal people not worrying about impressing others. I think that’s where a lot of spendy people fall – they focus too much on what others think and not enough on what they actually value and want to spend their hard earned money on.

    1. I still care (a bit) of what other think of me, how I spend, etc. but this is becoming less of an issue as age. Maybe I’m just getting more comfortable in my own skin as well…

  8. I think theres a difference between frugal and smart and a lot of people get that mixed up, being smart with money and how to spend it is a huge advantage and should be no one else’s business. We are also ‘frugal’ at times but when we do spend we have fun!
    Great article.


Post Comment