10 Ways Of Frugal Living For More Happiness And Peace

- | 50 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Happiness, Life & Inspiration

Mother teaching child how to live frugally by saving

This is a guest post by Nathaniel Kidd, who is a retired soldier and frugal living blogger. He was the runner-up of December 2014 Aha Gem Leaderboard and thus the winner of this guest post opportunity. He reveals the ways of frugal living that can make you and your family live happily in peace, forever.

There is nothing better in this world than living a happy life with your family.

Unfortunately, so many people are too hung up on financial struggles, so they never really get the opportunity to enjoy the true fruit of living.

While many are making New Year’s resolutions that involve “getting healthy” and “losing weight,” what you really need to focus on is living a happy life.

You see, believe it or not, happiness does not start tomorrow or the next day, or even someday – it begins with you right here and now.

Happiness leads to healthy living and yes, happiness can also lead to weight loss.

With all of those thoughts in mind, I am going to take some time to share my personal secrets with you!

Here, you will find 10 ways of frugal living for more happiness and peace in 2015.

Frugal Living For Happiness And Peace

There is a common misconception of thrifty or frugal people as folks who pinch every penny so hard that Abe Lincoln screams, “Uncle!” whenever he sees them coming.

Let me assure you right now that it is so far from what frugal living is all about.

It is just another in a long list of false impressions about economical people.  Living sensibly does not mean living like a tightwad.

1.  Start With A Simple Life

A simple life has a different meaning for every person.

For me, living a simple and happy life involves eliminating the material items that I do not need from my life and only buying items I need.

While I could go out and enjoy a luxurious life, I prefer living a simple one, because that is what makes me happy. In a simple life, lies a big difference between wants and needs.

balancing need and want on a  plank supported by a cylinder

2 Don’t Worry What Others Think

I recall a time when a friend of mine was so caught up on caring about what others thought of her, to the point where she was spending more money than she could afford, trying to keep up with the jones’, as the old saying goes.

She would only eat at the finest restaurants so she could relate to her friends and keep them impressed and interested in her.

She did not want to be found in a “low quality” place, such as the dollar store, so she’d go to a “name brand” store and pay more for her items.

For the longest time, I hesitated on whether or not I should talk to her about this problem.

Finally, I sat her down and had a long heart to heart talk. I told her that she should stop worrying what others think of her financial status – to stop spending money she really couldn’t afford.

I gave her some of my secrets to living a happy life and pointed her towards my blog.

After that talk, she listened to me, made changes in her life and is now happier than she has ever been before.

I know she is not alone in her boat – there are many people out there that are just like her sinking in debt and cannot find a life preserver to escape it.

3.  Learn To Say No

I am telling you right now; there are people out there who simply do not know how to say “NO” to others.

Are you one of them? Yeah, I used to be one of that type of people and honestly, it was dragging me down.

Take it from me, if you are not able to say “NO” to someone, you will take on too much, and this leads to undue stress.

Yes, I understand that it is difficult to say no because we want to be liked and included in everything.

We do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We say yes to so many things because maybe we are trying to prove we can do it all or maybe it is out of guilt – I am not really sure, and it differs from person to person.

But what I am sure of is you should remember that it is okay to say no sometimes.  Your wallet or purse will thank you later.

The only person, you have to worry about accommodating, is YOU, so don’t make the mistake of giving in because you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, or because you think you are obligated to them somehow.

A standing man with a call out of No instead of face

4. Learn Why It Is So Hard To Say No

There are many reasons why an individual finds it difficult to say no to others. However, what all this reluctance does is to cause worry and stress.

Worry is not in your best interest, as it also causes depression, doubt, a lack of peace, and so many other health related issues.

Don’t allow guilt to overtake you.  Don’t be concerned with the impression you will leave, as long as you convey your answer in a positive and polite way to others.

Above all, don’t be afraid to say no because you are worried about whether or not people will still like you.

5.  Pay Off Debt

People frequently find themselves tied to jobs or situations that they dislike because they are in debt and need to pay their bills.

By living frugally, you will enable yourself to pay off your debt and have the freedom to live the lifestyle you want.

Just remember that frugality is not something you stop once the debts are paid off, and you have a more secure life.

Living frugally is a mindset, and it simply means you want to get the best bang for your buck, and you desire to live a prudent and economical lifestyle.

This type of mindset is what will propel you to a life of happiness and peace.

6 More Leisure Time

Living frugally allows you to have fewer bills to pay and the ones you do have are smaller and more manageable.

It also makes it possible for you to avoid working long hours of overtime as too many Americans do.

This frees you to do as you like with your time, whether it is spending more time with your family or taking up a few hobbies.

There is an old quote by Henry David Thoreau that says “We make ourselves rich by making our wants few.”

Old man and woman with money in hand and happy

7.  Retire Early

Being thrifty and frugal now will make it possible for you to reach a financially comfortable retirement level long before your friends and colleagues do.

It also gets you used to live a modest lifestyle before you retire.

This is very important and will ensure that you will not be in such a shock when you do retire and find that you have to live within or below your means.

You’ll be much happier if you start saving earlier rather than later. The future is coming so start preparing for it today.

8.  Leave Your Children An Estate

Many people would be thrilled to be able to take care of their children once they pass away, but that is not always possible.

Sometimes circumstances arise and people find that their expenses are so large when they are alive that there’s no money to put aside for savings.

The frugal person will always have money put away for an emergency. For me, this starts with understanding how much I make and ensure I spend less than that.

It seems like a simple concept, and actually it is once you truly embrace frugal living.

If you embrace this concept you, can have the peace of mind and satisfaction of knowing that you can impact not only your children financially, but also generations that may come after them.

9.  Benefit The Environment

Frugal people find it very simple yet empowering when it comes to protecting the environment.  It happens quite naturally.

They use less disposable products and make less trash in general because they learn to reuse what they have.

They also use way less electricity, water, and other household amenities because they are thinking about keeping expenses down and living below their means.

Man offering piggy bank with saved money as help

10. Give More

Thrifty people might tighten the belt for themselves, but they can also be very generous to others.

By keeping their own expenses under control and saving more money, they are able to support people in need and various social causes that they believe in.

All of this is guaranteed to make you a happier person.

Try it for yourself and see how it feels to be able to help someone in need by giving instead of having to be the receiver.

We all fall on hard times financially, but if we practice frugal living, we will be able to sustain those hard times much more effectively.

So there you have it, 10 ways of frugal living for more happiness and peace in 2015 and beyond.

Over To You –

What about you, do you plan on living a happier life this year? What are your ways of frugal living? Share in the comments.

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos



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50 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Harleena Singh

    January 16, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Nathaniel,

    Welcome to Aha!NOW as a guest author this time. It’s so good to see you in this role here. 🙂

    I remember that you had submitted your name in the guest post giveaway I had last August. I’m glad that you finally earned it by being an awesome contributor on the ABC.

    Coming to your post, I must say that this is one of my favorite topics. I love to live frugally, and don’t mind declaring it publicly. While a few extravagances here and there occasionally are okay, but in general I believe in living a frugal life.

    I loved the ways of frugal living that you have described in the post. I agree when you state that frugal living can bring more happiness to your life. Definitely, because you are then always financially comfortable and may be even richer than your friend who show off a lavish lifestyle and use luxurious things. But in the end, being rich is defined by how much money and resources you have saved, isn’t it?

    Even if I live a frugal lifestyle, I’m not a miser or a person who doesn’t spend money even when there is the need. I’d say being frugal is to have a balanced and sensible mindset. You remain practical and realistic.

    Your #1 hits us right in the very start. First, only buy things that you need, and control your desires or wants. You are known by your personality and how you carry yourself, and the branded clothing and accessories are secondary. It’s best to live a real life, than a fake and pretentious one. If you need to make friends, make those who like you and not your clothes or your mobile!

    Saying no is what I learnt gradually with time. And I’ve a hard time teaching the same to my kids too because it is sometimes not easy to do so. I keep my debt in check and put a control over the use of the credit card too.

    You’re right that we should live a life where we can have more leisure time and also retire early. That sounds so good and I wish I could do that. So, that would be my financial aim and also to have enough funds for the emergencies and to leave some financial value for my kids, as my parents did for me.

    I wish everybody lives a frugal lifestyle, which would make the world a happier and peaceful place. Thank you Nathaniel for sharing these wonderful ways of frugal living. I hope the readers benefit themselves from these tips and lessons.

    So, now I leave you in-charge as the host to take up the questions and comments the awesome readers of my blog would have for you. I’d be joining in only to welcome the newcomers, or to answer if I’m referenced. This is the spotlight you had been waiting for, so cherish and enjoy it! Take it away, Nate! 🙂

  2. Nathaniel Kidd

    January 16, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post and share my passion for frugal living with your readers. You are correct, I submitted my name back in August for your guest post giveaway.

    Actually I am thankful I have taken the road of joining your community and earning it through engaging with the community because it has been way more empowering, insightful, and special due to the engagement and friendship I have built since joining.

    Living frugal definitely can bring more happiness to our lives. When we live frugal and place ourselves in a better financial state, we lift a heavy burden off of our lives. This leads to better health, better decisions, more time with family (vacations and special day trips), stronger relationships, peace of mind, and so much more.

    Living frugal for me is a mindset and has turned into a way of life. We still can enjoy the things we like but through frugal living you learn to challenge yourself financially and mentally and make wise choices and do things in moderation. As you stated, it’s all about balance.

    I love your point about clothing. We do not have to keep up with what others are doing and especially so, in order to make and maintain friendships. Learn to build relationships on a solid foundation and not your financial status! This also means learning to stand on your beliefs and saying no sometimes.

    Frugal living has been very exciting to me. I have seen such a drastic improvement in so many aspects of my life since doing so. My goal now is to mentor others by providing a positive example, support, and tangible examples through my blog.

    Thank you again for offering me this platform to express something that is so dear to my heart.

  3. Harish Kumar

    January 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Hi Nathaniel,
    Thank you for a wonderful post! I enjoyed reading it.
    I agree that living a simple life and eliminating excess wants is a wonderful way to refocus and enjoy life. In fact, the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui and the Indian Vastu Shastra tell us the very same thing for optimal energy flow and productivity. The idea is that filling up every space of our lives with things that are not functional increases the energy burden and I totally agree. There is something powerful and enjoyable about a simple life and in retrospect some of the most simple moments of our life have also been the most enjoyable.

    I love what you said in #2 about not worrying about what others think. I think that far too many people do things and acquire possessions because of societal and family pressures. The idea of “social proof” is a powerful influencer in psychology and many people will follow because it is the popular thing to do. This is closely intertwined with your #3 point also. We do things sometimes or follow because we do not want to appear demanding and disappoint others by saying no or refusing to take up additional responsibility. Even though social proof and reciprocity can be wonderful social engines, we need to be aware of their potential pitfalls too. Social proof and reciprocity are the very psychological ideas that many companies use to make people buy their products. They might be the reasons why people feel obligated to do things that they would rather say no to. So I believe that it is a great idea to become aware that the pendulum might swing either way on social proof and reciprocity. I really like the example that you provided.

    All your other points are worth reading and re-reading. I would like to add that happiness research has repeatedly shown that buying more things and acquiring more possessions and other pursuits like that do not increase happiness. In fact, they churn the engines of what is commonly referred to as ” the hedonic treadmill” where the bar for satisfaction is set higher and higher. Of course possessions and money do bring happiness but only to certain limit. The problem is that we underestimate this limit and overestimate the happiness that material possessions will provide us, thus causing the hedonic bias in the first place. The other point is that it is widely recognized in happiness research that happiness can be synthesized based on our feelings and viewpoint and beliefs. Thus if we believe we can be happy with what we have and the simple things instead of running after the next big thing, we often do. But if we believe that something out there will bring great happiness, then we get disappointed more often and set the bar higher and higher instead of enjoying the simple moments that are passing us by.

    Thanks for a wonderful post!!
    Harish

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Hello Harish,

      Thank you for your kind words. You truly have me motivated now. I always enjoy learning something new and you have taught me what the the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui and the Indian Vastu Shastra says about frugal living as it relates to optimal energy flow and productivity. That is truly encouraging!

      You make a great point that many folks acquire possession because of societal or family pressures. It’s unfortunate but it surely happens a lot. That causes people to spend unnecessary money and become financial bound and obligated when they do not have to be.

      You are so right my friend that possession can only bring happiness to a certain limit, and oftentimes that is very minimal. What possessions do bring though is more bills which can lead to stress.

      You made some awesome points here today and truly gave me even more to think of. Thanks for sharing my friend.

  4. Bo Tipton

    January 16, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Nathaniel excellent post and well written.

    There are so many points here that I agree with but I won’t take up space to comment on them all. My favorite is number 6 more Leisure time. We can get so busy living life that we forget to live life. I do not want my children and grandchildren to remember how hard I worked I want them to remember the fun times we had together.

    The other thing I appreciated was doing what it takes to live within your means and to pay off bills. As long as we have to work to pay bills there is no freedom. Our life is controlled by our possessions that we do not want to lose.

    Great post and lots to ponder upon. Thanks

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Hello Bo,

      Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement. Leisure time is very important I think. You are right, sometimes we get so busy living life that we forget to live life.

      What I have found is that sometimes we acquire so much stuff that it leads to distractions and not to mention more bills. Of course, more bills means that some folks have to work even longer and harder to pay off those possessions. Now we find ourselves in a pickle and cannot even enjoy that leisure time.

      Our freedom is precious and I hope that this post will resonate with those that may be trading their freedom for longer hours on the job to pay off those unnecessary possessions.

      Thanks for sharing my friend.

  5. Chery Schmidt

    January 16, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Hello Nathaniel,

    So nice to see you here on Harleena’s blog my friend! What a Great Post, I love all the tips that you share on your blog as I do love to live a frugal life and I do agree this most definitely doe help to live happy life.

    Keeping up with the Jone’s (SO TO SAY) can be very stressful and will lead you right into debt HUH?

    Loved all your tips.. Thanks for sharing..
    Chery :))

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Hi Chery,

      I am very fortunate to guest post on Harleena’s blog. It is so very important to me! Thank you for your kind words my friend. You have always been a great supporter of my blog and I am glad you love the tips.

      I am glad you mentioned keeping up with the Jones’. So many people do this and it is crippling to so many areas of their lives and especially financially.

      It is not necessary and I believe we can live a very happy life on less stuff if we apply ourselves. I have found that I am much happier living this way. Thanks for your awesome insight my friend.

  6. Yvonne I. Wilson

    January 16, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Nate

    Welcome to Aha!NOW this time as a guest blogger. Even better that you are the first for the year. Congratulations on winning that spot.

    This is a great topic and so much wonderful points that you have shared with us. I will admit that I am not used to frugal living lifestyle so thanks to you for bringing the awareness and for creating the desire in me to change my style of living.

    The benefits I can see are great and can bring more happiness into a person’s life. It is good to keep track of spending and to know where every dime is being spent on.

    Thanks for sharing with us. Have a great weekend.

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Yvonne,

      Thank you for your kind welcome. You know what, I am the first of the year aren’t I? I did not even think of that – So Cool! I surely like bringing awareness of frugal living to everyone, and especially so in this day and age. Saving money is paramount in the society we now live in.

      Frugal living is a mindset and once we capture the essence of what it truly means I think many people will love that lifestyle! It surely can make for happier people in my opinion. Thanks for your awesome insight and words of encouragement today. Have a blessed rest of your weekend.

  7. Steve W

    January 16, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Hi – I’m all about frugal living and spending less than I earn. it’s a great concept and works well in practice. You have to train yourself not to want things and not to watch those stupid advertisements that are on TV all the time. Once that’s done, you’re halfway there. The only point in your list that I don’t subscribe to, is point 10 “Give More”. If I go to the trouble of living a frugal live and enjoying life’s non materialistic gains, I’m certainly not going to give away any extra money to other (my daughters would be man exception to this).

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Steve,

      That is awesome you are already practicing frugal living. Yep it surely is a mindset and you have to train yourself to think differently from the way we were taught previously.

      Keeping away from those infomercials is a big start that is for sure 🙂 Your point about giving more made me smile. I think it is just my nature as a retired Soldier to give more.

      I do understand your point but I think if we give more and especially to those in need or a good cause, we help/bless others that may be less fortunate.

      Again, I definitely respect your views on this also though. Thank you for giving me another viewpoint to think about. Have a great rest of your weekend.

  8. Corina Ramos

    January 16, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Hello Nathaniel,

    It’s so nice to meet you. You just described what my husband and I call our “life plan”. Five years ago we implented 1-5 (our phases). We did some major downsizing. The one that hurt the most was trading in my BMW. But I’m working on getting one for my retirement gift :).

    Which means, we’re currently working on the next phases of our life plan which is your points 6-10. We’re taking a minor step back because our daughter is going to college this Fall but with the debt we’ve paid off, I don’t think we’ll feel that too much.

    The hardest thing for us was saying to the material things. It took some time but once we realized we weren’t missing those things anymore, we really never needed it in the first place.

    Our major goal is retiring early. We have never traveled outside the country let alone the state so we are making big plans for that.

    This was a great post I really enjoyed reading. Thank you for sharing this advice with us. Congratulations on the opportunity to guest post on this awesome blog! Have a wonderful day and weekend everyone.

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Corina,

      It is very nice to meet you indeed. I like that term “life plan”. Sometimes we have to make some very sacrifices for the greater good. At the time we think they are painful sacrifices but when we look back years later we realize we are better off for making those choices.

      Like you said, you can get another one as a retirement gift, and I bet at that time it will mean more to you because of the sacrifices you made to attain it again.

      Material possessions are ok in moderation I think. We get in trouble when we exceed what is acceptable moderation. That is awesome you have a daughter heading to college. Your wise spending has caused you to not feel such a huge financial impact as college – Awesome!

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and I hope to see you over at the Frugal Soldier sometime. Have a wonderful weekend.

  9. Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    January 17, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Hi Nathaniel,

    Congratulations at winning the guest post opportunity here at AHA-Now! Your topic is an important one. Too many people waste money on things they don’t need. They end up having to work harder and longer to earn money and then lack the resources to acquire the things they really need.

    I always think when I’m about to buy something that when I bring it into my house it’s going to have to leave my house somehow. Where will it go? To the trash? Is so, is it really worth it?

    I used to live in an apartment in New York City with a small closet. Very time I bought new clothes I had so get rid of something old. I would force myself to decide which article of clothing I wanted to get rid of in order to buy the new one. Did I really like the new one better? Usually the answer was No!

    I love your quote about how to become rich. It’s really about appreciating what we have instead of coveting what we don’t.

    Thanks for sharing your insights with us here at Harleena’s place, Nathaniel.

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thank you. I think that society as a whole does a terrible job financially and definitely wastes a lot of money. If we could just get all of the money back that we have wasted over the past 30 years, we all would probably be millionaires 🙂

      You are very honest here and you make a great point about how we tend to buy new items when we already have a closet full. We all are guilty of that. We must admit, it is wasteful.

      They key for me is to bring awareness and then over time hopefully we all will improve little by little. It won’t happen overnight, but I think we all are very capable of living the frugal lifestyle.

      Thank you so much for sharing your awesome input today. It surely helped me. Have a great rest of your weekend.

  10. Ilka Emig

    January 17, 2015 at 2:05 am

    Hi Nathaniel!

    Thank you for a fantastic list of how to live frugal and happy by focusing on the right things. My values are also not materialistic. If I have an expensive treat from time to time it’s nice but if not it is ok as well. As you say, family and stress- and worry-free time is what really counts.

    Congratulations on your first guest post here! Well done!

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Hello Ilka,

      Glad you liked the frugal tips that surely can lead to more happiness. Treating ourselves from time to time is just fine but when we strip away all of the stuff we acquire over a lifetime, what really do we have?

      For me, at the end of the day living a quality life with a loving family leads to so much more happiness.

      We can do this in my opinion by living on less and keeping all of the clutter out. Thanks for sharing your awesome insight today.

  11. Ikechi Awazie

    January 17, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Hi Nathaniel

    Congratulations on being the first guest author of the year and you have discussed a topic that will help everyone who wants to be financially free.

    I must tell you that I love the points that you have raised and they will must certainly enable one to live a peaceful and happy life. No matter what people say, frugal living isn’t a poor mindset.

    You know when you talk about needs. I discovered that most times people say they want things but only needs do benefit us. You go purchase something you think you need and after some time you dont want it anymore. Talk about the waste in finances.

    I agree that people don’t know how to say No. I was one of those people who didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but I realised that even though my reason was guinuine, I was being hurt too so I agree that it doesn’t hurt to say No.

    In conclusion frugal living does bring hapiness. Thank you for an awesome post.

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Ikechi,

      Thank you so much for your well wishes. As you know I have a passion fro frugal living and I think there is so much peace to be had with a financially free lifestyle and mindset.

      You are so correct, the needs are what benefit us in some way. The wants may satisfy our craving for a short while, but then we are off to trying to satisfy that craving all over again. This is a vicious cycle.

      Loved all of your words of wisdom here today my friend. Thank you for sharing. Have an awesome weekend.

  12. Julie

    January 17, 2015 at 6:16 am

    It’s so important to learn to say No. It’s a hard lesson to learn and took me years (and sometimes I still struggle with it). The why is very important. I have been lucky to learn these lessons early and can live on the smell of an oil rag but I am happy and have always had lots of time for the important things in life. Thanks for a great read Nathaniel.

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Julie,

      I agree with you, saying No is important to learn to master. When we master it then we become able to learn when to say no. I am glad you have learned how to do so.

      I like your point about living on the smell of an oil rag 🙂 Have a great weekend and thanks for your insight on this topic.

  13. Brenda Lee

    January 17, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Hi Nathanial. Great to see here!

    The frugal “simple” life is totally what I live now. My husband and I have a 10-year plan going right now in which in the end, we are selling all our material things and hitting the open road. Getting there is the hard part. Making sure all debt is paid off, and we don’t live beyond our means. Simple is better imho.

    I really enjoyed your post, and it’s very humbling. Hope to see you again on Aha!Now soon!

    B

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Brenda,

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I am glad to connect with another frugal person who practices this lifestyle. It feels great doesn’t it?

      I have always said that I want to one day soon retire and just travel from state to state at my leisure. There is so much out there to see. This can easily be done if we keep our possessions and expenses to a minimum. There is so much freedom in that!

      I hope we stay in contact because I would love to know when you guys start out on your journey. Thank you for your insight and have a wonderful weekend.

  14. Marcy

    January 17, 2015 at 6:34 am

    I’m new to this blog, and so delighted to read your post that evidently kicked off 2015 for AHA-Now, Nathaniel! I’m with Bo: to me at this stage of life, TIME is precious wealth.

    A few years ago I moved from a 4000-sq.-ft. house with a pool, spa & guest house to a 12’x15′ rented room. I vividly remember my feeling upon climbing into bed in my tiny new quarters following that intense day of moving: pure contentment. Like I had shed a chrysalis! As you can imagine, there is a lot of context to this story, but in the spirit of your post here, it marked the beginning of the most frugal… and most satisfying… era of my life so far.

    But even throughout my “American Dream” years (nice houses, 2 cars, 2 kids) I was always frugal at heart. Hate to buy retail, always go straight to the clearance rack (which I believe one can do when one has good taste!). Re-used, re-purposed, recycled always.

    I’m deeply gratified that my now-adult children (23 and 27), though raised in lovely homes surrounded by nice things, possess what seems to be an innate frugality. My daughter since high-school has been a brilliant thrift-store shopper, and (despite a near-fanatical fixation on his Santa list for many years) my son appears to have rejected material excess and is very financially responsible.

    I like to think this was seeded early in their lives, through cultivating in them a sense of wonder and imagination. This in turn fosters “rich simplicity,” because then everything becomes something amazing: wind through the trees is fairies dancing… a piece of wood becomes an alligator or a doll… a spoon becomes a great flag or a king’s scepter. Then we don’t need to constantly purchase things. (Laura Huxley once mused to me that the two overriding cultural messages with which we are bombarded are: 1) “Buy it”; and 2) “Throw it away.”) When anything can become a toy, the child experiences such freedom!

    And I think that is what this wonderful frugality is truly all about — freedom. Yes?

    Marcy Axness
    author, “Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers”

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Hi Marcy,

      Welcome to AhaNow! I hope you visit often – Harleena and Vinay are so awesome! Yes time is very precious and you and Bo are spot on about that!

      Wow what a huge change of scenery! Just reading how you felt when you made the move brought chills to me. I bet it felt so good and as you said, it started you on the path of living frugal.

      It seems that your mindset rubbed off on your kids. I always said, living frugal is a mindset. We can still have very nice things but it is all about timing and moderation from my perspective.

      I love your point about “rich simplicity”. With this mindset we can stop and smell the roses and appreciate the small stuff.

      You are absolutely right that the frugal lifestyle is all about freedom! It feels so good when you truly capture the essence of frugal living. Thank you for sharing such value with us all today. I hope to see you over at the Frugal Soldier from time to time.

  15. Barbara Charles

    January 17, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Hi Nathaniel,

    All of these suggestions to lead a frugal life are right on point. We do get too caught up in the world and some of your suggestions are what we need to do to live a more natural life.

    To live a better life, I have set things up for my children (all grown now) to be comfortable; I am working to get out of debt and definitely trying to live a more leisurely life.

    Setting up a frugal life can be challenging, but many of your suggestions can be used to accomplish this task.

    Great post.
    Barbara

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Barbara,

      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you like the article. It is very easy to get caught up in what the world and others are doing, isn’t it? We have to stay mindful of that I think.

      I agree at times that frugal living can be challenging. I have found this to be the case because we have the hardest time changing our mindset. Once we can accomplish that, frugal living starts to become fun.

      Thank you for stopping by and giving your wonderful input. Have a wonderful weekend and keep pressing toward that frugal lifestyle 🙂

  16. Balroop Singh

    January 17, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Hi Nathaniel,

    It is nice to meet you here at Aha-now! Though I have seen you and your comments, I am reading your brilliant ideas for the first time. Fantastic tips to live a simple life but it is quite difficult to do so when you are young with all those dreams of flashy cars, smart phones and wonderful tech tools beckoning you! I have seen the next generation of my kindred…my nephews, nieces and even my own children spending a lot of money on all the modern availabilities and in a way it gives me great satisfaction to see that they have such a purchasing power.

    So selling this idea to youth is quite absurd, that is my experience. We tend to tone down our expenses and desires with the passage of time and maturity. Human beings have an innate tendency to chase materialistic possessions, I guess it wears off as we mellow down.

    Thanks for all those tips. 7 and 8 are my favorites! Have a blessed weekend.

  17. Nathaniel Kidd

    January 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Balroop,

    It is very nice to meet you as well. Thank you for your kind words. Yes when we are young we think we have all the time in the world I think. Living frugal is the farthest thing from our minds, but I think we have to change that mindset for the next generation.

    You are right, as we mature we become mindful of our waste and start to think about our future. My goal is to get not only our generation but the younger generation seeing the importance of frugal living.

    Thank you for your very awesome insight on this topic my friend. Have a great weekend.

  18. Vernon Layne

    January 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Nate,

    First congratulations again on winning this guest post opportunity! You’re doing an excellent job here. A life of peace and happiness to me can only be found in simplicity. I agree that we should find that healthy balance you mentioned between need and want. This may mean that we have to face new conflicts within ourselves.

    I too know people who are controlled by what others think of them. I’m glad to hear you finally spoke to your friend about your concerns. That’s all part of giving more you pointed out. You truly helped someone in need.

    To say no is one thing to mean it is another. Guilt and shame can cause us to forget why we said no in the first place. There are many reasons why saying no is so hard just like you said. But once we learn why it will benefit the whole family.

    Thanks for all you do here at ABC!

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Hi Vernon,

      Thank you for your very thoughtful congratulations. The experiences I have had since joining this awesome community has been nothing short of awesome!

      Simplicity is a spectacular way to put how we can acquire a life of peace and happiness. It starts with finding that healthy balance between needs and wants. This is part of the transformation of our mindsets in my opinion.

      When we do this successfully we then can start on the path of frugal living. Part of that journey is also learning to say no and not being controlled by what others think of you from a financial standpoint.

      This journey of frugal living is a great one and if we practice it daily, I believe I can guarantee that you will be much better off than you started.

      Thanks for your awesome input on this topic my friend.

  19. priyanka

    January 17, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Hi Nathaniel,

    I think all the tips given by you to live a frugal life are to the point and i liked them very much .I was certainly not used to live such life before as i always used to pretend,to show( knowingly or unknowingly.. 🙂 ) but for the past two years, because of many reasons i understood the real meaning of life and i do agree on your point that we should erase the sentence “What others will think ” from our life..
    Thanks for the post and Have a happy weekend…. 🙂

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 17, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      Hi Priyanka,

      I am honored you like these tips. When we have to change our mindset about our way of life and thinking that sometimes is difficult and we instead pretend and not want to face reality.

      Frugal living is a mindset and I think one of the very best things we can do for ourselves as a society and a country is to get into this way of thinking.

      Can you imagine how better off the world would be without all of the debt we have, and this even includes the government. Changing our mindset can change our reality!

      Thank you for sharing your heart felt thoughts on this topic my friend.

  20. AJ Walton

    January 17, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Nathaniel – congrats on the GP!

    I love the frugal mindset. I love how you expanded this idea to encompass the health of the environment and ourselves too. While I feel I do a decent job of living simply and debt free, I definitely could stand to focus more attention on this holistic sense of frugality you shared with us.

  21. Nathaniel Kidd

    January 17, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Hello AJ,

    Thank you so much for your warm words of congratulations. I am glad to meet you. Isn’t the frugal mindset very simplistic yet empowering? I do believe this simplistic mindset can touch so many other parts of our lives and the lives of those around us, to include our health.

    I am glad you have found the connection I attempted to make on the holistic sense of frugality. Thank you for reading and sharing. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend.

  22. Nataly Auger

    January 18, 2015 at 5:43 am

    Hello Nathaniel and congratulations on winning this guest post opportunity!

    I really enjoyed your article on frugal living. It is very well written and gives us a perfect picture of the frugal life.

    I used to live a very material life, but I have learned with time to live a more simpler way of life, have less debts and just spending time with my family. I also learned to say “no” to others. You are so right when you say that we are so much more happy this way. I am way more at peace with myself and also less stressed.

    Thank you for writing this awesome post and I hope to read you here on Aha!NOW again. Have an amazing rest of the weekend! 🙂

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 18, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Hello Nataly,

      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the article. I think as we get older we start to realize even more the importance of frugal living.

      Living a simpler life leads to so much happiness in my belief. When we complicate it with so much “stuff” all that leads to is stress and of course we know stress leads to so many other negative aspects of life.

      I hope to connect with you even more in the future Nataly. I am here on AhaNow daily 🙂 Have a great week ahead.

  23. Michael Gregory II

    January 18, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Hello Nathaniel!

    Really enjoyed what you posted. From the looks of it, this is one of your first guest blog posts. What you have here is amazing and what I need to start looking into more now that I think about it. A frugal lifestyle is being adopted by more and more people in this modern age and it’s time that people start taking a shift of mindset to it.

    One of the groups I think this should really target is young adults and college students because they’re new to the world and just understanding the basics to what to do.

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 18, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Hello Michael,

      I am glad you enjoyed the post. Yes this is one of my first guest posts and I am very honored that it is on such a prestigious blog. I agree with you that in this day and age the frugal lifestyle surely needs to be adopted.

      As parents and even mentors to the young, I think it is important that we target the young adults – pay it forward so to speak! If we can get them to see the importance of frugal living they will be so much better off when they reach their retirement years.

      Additionally, I believe anyone who practices the frugal lifestyle will be able to look back on their live year after year and see improvements, more happiness, and peace of mind.

      Thanks for your valued insight on this topic. I definitely appreciate your point of view. Have a great week ahead.

  24. Rahul Krishnan

    January 18, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Nathaniel,
    Glad to see you here as a guest author.
    You shared so much useful tips indeed.
    I have that #2 habit you said. I always think what others think before doing a thing.
    Debt is always a piece of worry. So to be happy, it is essential to pay off debt.
    Working always gives us stress. So having leisure time provides us relaxation as well as happyness.
    Along with all the points you gave, I will be happy with my friends and family.
    Thank you so much for your vakuable and experienced advice.
    Regards,
    Rahul

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 18, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Hello Rahul,

      Thank you. I am very honored to guest post here for sure! I do think that debt causes so many people to worry. Living a simple life and control the amount of debt you have leads to so much happiness and peace in my opinion.

      When you have excessive debt and continually incur more and more stuff, all that does is brings clutter to our lives and unwanted stress, which can lead to so many other negative things.

      Living frugally can lead to happiness and I hope my post can provide some insight on how just to do that. Have a wonderful week ahead my friend and thank you for your awesome insight.

  25. donna merrill

    January 19, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Hi Nathaniel,

    What a treat to see you here on AHA Now! Frugal living does play an important role with couples. The two people must agree on a strategy for frugal living. Saving money, using less electricity, some even take showers together to save on water lol.

    But it is so true, we do have to put aside money so that we can share it with others. Most importantly leave our legacy …estate planning to leave to our children.

    Great points as usual!

    -Donna

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 19, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Hi Donna,

      Thank you for your kind words. It has been a wonderful experience for sure. You make a great point in that a couple must agree on their strategy as it relates to frugal living. If they can do so, they surely will see results not only financially but in many other areas of their lives.

      Leaving our legacy is so huge in my opinion. We have to ask ourselves, what good did we do while here? What kind of impact did we have on others. We can only hope a positive one.

      I think if we live a frugal lifestyle, we stand a much better chance of leaving that positive legacy for many reasons. One of those reasons is because we will have more to share with others and feel much more at peace financially, which allows us to have great attitudes towards life each and every day.

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and wonderful insight on this topic my friend.

  26. Carol Amato

    January 19, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Hello, Harleena and thanks so much for featuring Nate, what a blessing!

    Loved your article, Nate – really great content, and I couldn’t agree more! 🙂 Sharing with all my friends too.

    You’re spot on, my friend, needs and wants are completely different things, and within the last couple of years we have taken massive action to start living a very simple life with less stuff.

    We are focusing on people and experiences, not accumulating more stuff or keeping up with the Joneses.

    I am the baby of seven kids so we often got my clothing at thrift stores because that’s what fit the budget. You would think I would get the hand-me-downs, but by the time they got to me they were usually worn out completely, beyond patching… LOL

    I will admit to being against buying used things early in my marriage because of my childhood experiences and being made fun of, but I soon grew to understand the benefit of frugality and moved past thinking this is a stigma associated with it.

    Throughout the years we have definitely enjoyed giving to others, whether it be our church, the poor, the homeless in our community… it’s been such a privilege to help so many people. Giving of ourselves first is key, then our money, donations, etc.

    Thank you for this wonderful thought provoking article, and I wish you a wonderful day.

    ˜Carol

  27. Nathaniel Kidd

    January 20, 2015 at 1:41 am

    Hi Carol,

    Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate your support! I agree that a life with less stuff does make things so much more simpler. Once we grasp that idea of frugal living and living a simpler life, we are on our way to true freedom and happiness.

    I am glad you shared your family dynamics. You may have gotten some hand-me-downs but I bet that shaped you in ways you may not been aware of at the time. Knowing how to survive on less is an important lesson and you seemed to have learned that at an early age.

    I agree when it comes to giving to others, there is so many ways to do it. I am so thankful to call you a friend and t know what a wonderful giving person you are.

    Thank you for sharing your views on this topic my friend. Have a great week ahead.

  28. Irish Carter

    January 22, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Hi Nathaniel,

    I loved this post. I think my favorite part of being frugal is allowing yourself to not be financially bound and you can give more. I am focused strongly this year on being more responsible with my spending and finances. Thanks for the tips.

    Irish

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 24, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      Hello Irish,

      I am so thankful you loved this post. There are huge benefits of being frugal and one of them is you find yourself able to give more because you have more.

      I am very happy you have made a commitment to being more responsible with your spending. That is always a good thing. I hope we continue to connect and you share your success throughout the year.

  29. Mi Muba

    January 22, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Hi Nathaniel

    Watta a topic; my favorite one, it’s my second religion to spend a simple life without spending unnecessarily and staying within my financial limits.

    It’s benefits are innumerable. I never have any kind of worry in my life; never been under even small type of debt.

    Even I don’t have to borrow ever even a small amount from anybody just because of my responsible budgeting.

    I am spending a luxurious life without having any kind of luxury item. My car is local made and small one, my house is not so big and all my personal use and household items are not much costly. But the level of happiness and joy I have with my life living a contented life with my family is not be described with any diction.

    Right now I just taken my dinner of a simple rice dish and again sat on my PC to enjoy talking to wonderful people like you.

    Your point no 2 is the gist of this post. If you don’t care what others think about you it means you can live like a King and if you do it means you are nobody but the mental slave of all.

    Thanks a lot for sharing and very good to see you here at Harleena’s blog.

    • Nathaniel Kidd

      January 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Hello Mi Muba,

      Thank you for your kind words. I am a firm believer that a simple life without spending recklessly leads to so much more peace and happiness.

      That is awesome you do not have that burden of financial worry. There are many that would love to be in that situation and I hope my ongoing financial tips can assist along with your awesome comments here which are very encouraging.

      You are so correct, when we are financially responsible, we find that we become the lender instead of the borrower. Mi Muba I love your point about having a luxurious life without luxurious items. It is all about your mindset my friend.

      You have given me so much more inspiration by providing examples of how wonderfully you live. Thank you for sharing my friend. I feel I have connected with you on a different level today.






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10 Ways Of Frugal Living For More Happiness And Peace

by Nathaniel Kidd time to read: 6 min