Living Frugally: Less Waste

Adopt a More Frugal LifestyleI would like to take you on a mental journey to a place of less … less consumption, less waste, less spending, less accumulation of stuff. In this place, less actually leads to more – I see your forehead wrinkling but stay with me. Less spending yields more saving and less consumption yields more contentment.

In our American culture, being frugal is sometimes synonymous with being a tightwad, penny pincher or cheapskate. We are all about the latest gadgets, the newest models, and the most expensive everything. But let’s think for a second. How is it that folks featured in the books The Millionaire Mind and The Millionaire Next Door are ordinary folks with ordinary jobs yet have bank accounts that most of us only dream about? The answer is frugality.

See, these self-made millionaires are frugal with their incomes. That is why they’re millionaires. They don’t spend money on the big boat, high-priced vehicles, fancy eateries, designer clothes, etc. On the contrary, they’re completely content with a used … sorry, certified pre-owned … American made car, no-name clothing and eating meals at home. They save the money most would spend on a yacht to pay for their child’s education instead – 100% cash, no financing. These folks frequent thrift shops. There they find both designer and non-designer clothing at half the price, or less. What does this mean in the long run? Simple: They keep a higher percentage of their paychecks than you do!

So with that in mind, let’s explore how you can put yourself on Frugalist Street. We’ll concentrate on how it will affect you, specifically thinking of, “How will being frugal help me retire financially free?”

Consider how much you spend on things you really don’t need. Let’s take that cable/satellite package you’ll be using to entertain your friends this season. At ninety dollars a month you are spending $1,080 a year on a ton of channels, knowing you won’t watch most of them. Now, take the number of years between your present age and age 65. For me that’s 27 years. When we multiply 27 by the annual cost of that cable package we get a whopping $29,160! Yeah I was also shocked when I did the math.

SavvyCompoundInterestThat’s how much money you could have in the bank at retirement age if you decided to live frugally by watching the games at a sports bar instead of paying for it at home. Keep in mind this number is before compound interest is calculated over that 27 year period. Imagine the places you could visit during retirement if you lived as a Frugalist now. Imagine being able to help someone in need or donate to charities if you were disciplined enough to spend less now.

My encouragement for now – for your sake and those of your loved ones – is to decide to live the Frugalist lifestyle. You will not regret it.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. We haven’t had tv in the house for years. It’s just too much money and it sucks up way too much time. Plus, the kids were always much more productive without it (and probably us as well!). My wife and I just started to proactively be “frugal” a few months ago, and we’ve already saved a boatload of money because of it. I wish we had started sooner!

    • Finding ways to be more frugal will absolutely save money, money that can be used to live a more satisfying life and fund retirement accounts. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion.

    • Great decision on not having a TV Kevin Wilderman, It’s amazing how productive we can be when we’re not sitting in front of that contraption for hours on end.
      My wife and I do have one but we refuse to ever have a second one & we don’t have cable.
      Congratulations on the $$ you’ve saved as a result of living Frugally. Please stay in contact.
      Google plus: Taz Bright
      Twitter: @bbminister
      Facebook: Taz Bright

  2. Most of the Americans love to buy all those material things. They want to show up that they have the gadgets and stuff that only rich can afford to buy.

    Simple wealthy folks know the importance of living below their means. It is important to them to be frugal than to earn big bucks but no savings.

    • Absolutely. As is often said, “they are trying to keep up with the Joneses.” As you observe, simple wealthy folks know the importance of living below their means. Doing say provides the opportunity to invest money and capitalize on the power of time and compound interest. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

  3. TV is for the brain dead – turn it off – talk to you partner instead – or go out and meet interesting people. TV sucks (apart from the big sports events).
    And two great books which I’ve read recently – the millioniare mind and the millionaire next door – both essential reading for people who are trying to turn their lives around. Great Post.

    • Mike, No doubt that it would serve all of us well to watch less television, particularly the programming that really is aimed at the brain dead. There is some good content out there, on TV and the Internet, that can enrich lives; however, there is also a lot of inane content and discussion.

      • James, I completely agree that there are some enriching programs on television. HGTV, features shows that show viewers how to do improvements & repairs in their home & garden for themselves instead of paying someone to do those things-that’s frugal.

        • Yep, the wife and I are all over HGTV. I wish we had the ability to implement an Income Property! I tend to watch a lot of documentaries – as indicated in a lot of my SavvyRecommendations 🙂 – through some of the various streaming services (e.g. Amazon, Hulu Plus, HBO Go). I also like to occasionally catch some TED Talks. Great information on a wide variety of topics.

    • I appreciate your honesty and directness Mike. My wife and I are not big on TV watching. We have a Netflix membership and we check out movies from the library. We haven’t had cable/satellite since 2009 & we really don’t miss it. I’m not saying it’s completely evil but, like you, I see the benefits in getting out and meeting people instead of being sedentary in front of the tube.

      • That is one reason I really like the way television is heading with OTT (over the top) programming through streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, etc. I love the ability to watch exactly what I want – e.g. the TED Talks I referenced previously – when I want. With traditional linear delivery, you generally have to plop down in front of the TV and wait for it to come on at some predetermined time. A more diverse selection of content, viewed at your discretion, is a good thing.

        • Really good point James. I don’t do HULU often but I see the advantage to watching what you want instead of sitting thru the junk to get to the beneficial stuff.

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