Why Frugal? Why Thriving?
Welcome to Frugal and Thriving, a website that celebrates all things frugal. I believe that a frugal way of life is the key to happiness. That we can not only survive but thrive on less.
What you will find at Frugal and Thriving
- tips and resources for saving money
- money management resources
- household tips and tricks
- urban homesteading
- small space living
- ideas and resources for green, sustainable living
- ideas on how to find happiness outside of economic circumstances
- how to thrive on less
What is Frugal?
While there are traditional definitions of being frugal, on this website being frugal is defined as:
Saving money – The key to financial success no matter what your income is to spend less than you earn. You can be frugal whatever it says on your paycheque. When we save money on the little things, it enables us to spend on what is really important.
Conserving resources and reducing waste – Being frugal is also about conserving resources (natural and individual ones too like time and health) and reducing waste. Reduce, renew, reuse, recycle is the frugal mantra. We accept that we’re responsible for our individual impact on the environment.
Emphasising a value driven life – When we have clearly defined values, it’s easy to make choices. For example, we choose to live in a smaller, cheaper house, so that I can stay at home and raise our kids. Frugality is about not spending on impulse and then working overtime to cover this expenditure. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses, and you feel great about it. Life is purpose driven and we are happier for it.
Intelligent consumption – After six years working in retail I can tell you that happiness is not found at the shopping centre. Intelligent consumption involves more than reducing the amount of “stuff” that we buy. It’s about reducing waste, considering value as opposed to cost, and taking into account the social and environmental impact that the purchase of goods have.
Independence – when you think about it, we rely on someone else to do almost everything in our lives for us. We rely on someone else to make our food, someone else to make our clothes, someone else to build our shelter, even someone else to entertain us. DIY means taking back some of our independence. Learning and practicing new skills not only ensures we are less dependent, it is a source of pride, increased self-esteem and happiness.
Being frugal is not about being a miser, being stingy or being a cheapskate.
Being frugal is both a means to an ends and an end in itself.
Frugality is a means to an ends because by saving money we are able to meet financial goals, such as paying off the mortgage early or going on that holiday.
Being frugal is and end in itself because it is a way of life based on reducing our negative impact on the world around us, and instead creating a positive and lasting legacy. We become free of the work to consume cycle.
The exciting thing about saving money is that it has a positive impact on every other aspect of our lives. By eating whole foods that we prepare at home, we save money and improve our health. Reducing our electricity consumption reduces our carbon footprint. Turing off the TV and spending quality time with our family improves our relationships. Learning new skills empowers us, increasing our self esteem. All of these things increase our happiness.
There is a correlation between happiness and money. Happiness peaks when we have enough money to meet the basics plus a little extra. More money does not equal happiness. Some of the happiest nations in the world have much less money than we do.
About the Author
Hi, my name is Melissa, and I live in Queensland, Australia with my husband and two children (a pre-schooler and a toddler – life is busy!).
I have always been pretty frugal without knowing it. Necessity dictated that I automatically adopt many of the principles of frugal living: spending less than I earn, recycling, reusing, mending, menu planning, shopping smart. I still wear socks that I first darned about 7 years ago (well, they still do the job)! Necessity certainly encourages creative money skills.
While I knew about being frugal, I became conscious of money management just after finishing university. After majoring in English and History and with no real career in mind, I was working as a retail assistant in a department store when I happened across the Rich Dad, Poor Dad book. This was my introduction into the world of personal finance.
I began learning skills to take our financial situation from living paycheque to paycheque to thriving on less. We make plenty of mistakes along the way, and I still have days where I “want it all” – there is still so much to learn.
I went back to school to study accounting and worked as an accountant. My absolute favourite aspect of accounting is budgeting. Give me an Excel spread sheet any day and I can be excited for hours (which is pretty ironic for and English Lit major!).
Starting this website has enabled me to rekindle a lifelong passion – to be a writer. I currently devote my time between caring for my son, "home duties", writing, reading everything and crafting whenever I get the chance. Many posts on this blog reflect our real life, as we’re living it.
I hope that you enjoy Frugal and Thriving and I look forward to hearing from you.
so much info – where to begin?
I’ve created a start here page to help you navigate the site. It includes some key posts on frugality. You can also browse the archives by category, which you can find on the green bar at the top of the page.
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You can contact me at any time at email@example.com. I’m sure you’ll understand that as a busy mum, I’m not always at my computer so I will get back to you as soon as I can.