While I personally don’t care all that much about what people think about my habits, I appreciate that this might be different for other people. And for these people frugality comes with a challenge – while it’s valid and important in everyday life, nobody really wants to come across as ‘cheap’ or ‘stingy’. In this article I’ll walk you through specific frugal habits which are not only far from being perceived as cheap, but right now are in fact aspirational for many.
Watching what you eat
This term is a blanket term used to back your meal choices, regardless of whether they are financial or not. In scenarios where you are at a restaurant in a group and you don’t fancy the weight of a 3-course meal, or you’re going through a drive-through with friends but only want a black coffee OR you are in an office setting, an established habit of paying attention to your diet and food intake excuses you from peer pressure. Being able to decline something you do not want or do not wish to spend in that manner saves you money as a side effect – the main outcome is just a reinforcement of your willpower and ability to make decisions about your health and wellbeing.
Watching what you eat further goes hand in hand with meal planning and meal prepping. These are done for multitude of reasons such as the cost saving involved, convenience and overall time saving in procuring your food daily. But I have another reason – I meal prep because I care about what I eat. Whether you chose to position yourself as a picky eater, a health-conscious gym bunny or a super-busy professional, the frugal habits of meal planning and prepping carry enough value to completely disband the idea that they are done because you are ‘cheap’.
So if you are ever in a situation where somebody questions why you’re not having a dessert or bringing packed lunch to the office, it’s because you’re watching what you eat.
Shopping around and negotiating prices where possible
Do you really think I’d buy a luxury yacht without speaking to 20 different dealers, doing a price comparison and then negotiating a deal? No, and you shouldn’t either. So while your friends might be surprised that you are wanting to bargain for a £0.20 picture frame at a car boot sale, you’re just practising your negotiation skills.
And the same goes for purchasing anything with a ‘fixed price’. For example, need a new blender? You will shop around, compare features, look for discounts on your preferred model and only buy it if it ticks all the boxes, financial, functional and aesthetic. Why? Because ‘it will do’ is below your standard. ‘It is exactly what I wanted’ is your standard and maintaining it sets a pretty tight window for things entering your life. It also helps to auto-filter anything that you’ll consider clutter or just cr*p 10 years down the line.
So while somebody might be surprised that you don’t buy something that you wanted right away, you just happen to have high standards and want to be sure that this thing is exactly it.
Curating your wardrobe
There is a reason why we don’t spend £150 a month at Primark, friend. It’s because clothes made of plastic which falls apart in 2nd wash by people paid £1 per day for work in atrocious conditions just aren’t fun. Instead, shop for clothes that are well fitted, look cute and last a while. This means that the wardrobe might be just a tad slimmer, but it’s full of things which look nice and fit with your personal taste and style.
This also means that sometimes it’s ok to shop at a charity shop, and sometimes to even come home empty-handed. What it doesn’t mean that you are deprived of nice outfits, quite the opposite. You just opt for items which add value to your closet, not things which cheapen your look.
And no, curated wardrobe does not equate to obscenely expensive designer clothes. It equates to purchasing the items which you genuinely like and for which the quality meets your needs. And since such items usually last longer, you might find yourself spending less than you would on ‘disposable’ garments.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Are there any frugal habits which you have adopted recently?