The Frugal Living Guide 2021-2022


Have you ever heard the following sayings?


“You think money grows on trees”


or


“Sometimes you have to rob Peter to pay Paul”


… I'm guessing you’ve been around some Caribbean individuals in your lifetime.


The first saying:


Is used to advise someone to be mindful of how much money they are spending because resources are limited.


Fun fact:

Money trees do exist (with their scientific name being Guiana Chestnut). However, its leaves cannot be used as currency any time soon.


The second saying:


Would be used to describe having to borrow from one person to pay another person and not paying your debts to the lender.


To be honest with yourself these two behaviours are reckless which leads you down a rabbit hole of debt. Today we are discussing how to stop, start or continue healthy financial routines.


Developing healthier financial choices opens up the opportunity of accomplishing your goals. You are in control of how your finances aid in your journey of goal accomplishment.


How do some individuals/families survive living chronically on a low income?



What steps should you take to reduce your monthly variable expenses to save money monthly?


How can you manifest the life you have envisioned for yourself?


Fugal living may be a lifestyle choice for some and a forced means of survival for others. No matter if you are the former or latter these tips will be of value to you regardless of your current situation.


What is a frugal lifestyle?

A frugal lifestyle is the conscious choice of living with purpose and intention when spending resources/money. If you execute this correctly, you’ll focus on accomplishing life goals that are important to you and your envisioned future. Frugality is living mindfully and with purpose daily.


How do you live a frugal life?

By definition frugal is “characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources” (Merriam-Webster). The answer is that you have to be mindful of all the economical resources you are using in your life. Cut out the expenses that are the least important FOR SURVIVAL. Look at budgeting as a way to filter your needs versus your wants.


How can I become very frugal?

You can become very green and frugal by assessing all of your basic needs and fixed cost (i.e.: shelter and transportation). Let’s face it…you’ll need to put all of your excuses aside and diligently be happy with what and who you have in your life.


Can you get rich by being frugal?

You too have the opportunity of using strategies like budgeting, living comfortably below your means, saying “NO” to frivolous deals and opportunities to save money. Frugality cannot make you rich alone, but the skills from this lifestyle are optimal choices in creating/building your wealth.


Is it good to be frugal?

There are societal stigmas about “looking cheap”, getting hand me downs and upcycling materials however if we look at the numbers Canadians specifically should be more concerned that “across all Canadian households, we collectively owe almost $1.77 for every dollar of disposable income we have or a ratio of 176.9%. That’s very close to the all-time high of 178% in late 2017.

(link: https://www.moneysense.ca/save/debt/canadas-climbing-debt-to-income-ratio-what-you-need-to-know)

Is it bad to be frugal?

No, not at all. The definition of the word frugal translates to the economic use of resources. No matter if you have an abundance of wealth or not, the mindset of “less is more” is the main attribute of individuals in this lifestyle share.


What is the difference between being frugal and cheap?

The difference between being frugal and being cheap is quite clear to be completely honest with you. Frugality is the intentional action of wisely spending your resources or money that compliments your needs. Being cheap is having tunnel vision solely on reducing out of pocket expenses at all costs. It’s a quantity versus quality mindset when being cheap.


What is the 30-day rule?

The 30-day rule is a financial diet that benches the purchase of an unplanned item for 30 days. You would calculate the total cost of the item (add tax and shipping) then deposit the total into your savings account. If you still need the item after 30 days, then purchase it. If not, keep that amount in your savings account.


What is the 90-day rule?

The 90-day rule is the big sister to the 30-day rule. If you want to have an optimal financial diet this benches the purchase of an unplanned item for 90 days. You would calculate the total cost of the item (add tax and shipping) then deposit the total into your savings account. If you still need the item after 90 days, then purchase it. If not, keep that amount in your savings account.

Are you looking to learn some more tips to accelerate your frugal money mindset?

I've compiled 100 optimal ways that one can


read through with appropriate links to jumpstart your frugal mindset today! A tip: check out the reddit frugal sub or search in r/frugal to find and share some creative tips!


Top Frugal transportation tips:

1. Walk to nearby destinations or use public transportation


2. Take care of your car and possessions to make them last longer


3. Conserve gas and re-fill on days that prices are low


4. Start cycling as a means of faster transportation and efficient calorie burner!


5. Choose to carpool (using your car; Uber/Lyft rides) (Resume post Covid-19)


Frugal beauty & health tips:

6. Do beauty upkeep at home: manicure, pedicures (Pedi-egg), eyebrows

(i.e.: YouTube tutorials, Wikihow - https://www.wikihow.com/)


7. Use cloth diapers for babies


8. Choose generic instead of name brand (Medication, food)


9. Utilize a water filter instead of buying filtered bottled water (tap is better though)


10. Acclimate to warmer/cold temperatures


11. Breastfeeding is extremely beneficial to your child; helps moms uterus shrink back; helps with weight loss and is the wisest economical choice versus using formulas


12. Tip nearly finished products (i.e.: body wash, dish soap) on its head and let drain to the opening to get the last portion out. Recycle or reuse packaging to reduce carbon footprints


13. If you are a menstruating female then please look into menstrual cups. We could converse about these benefits in the comments! I am 6 years in the menstrual cup journey!


14. Use coconut or olive oil to remove makeup



Top Frugal food & micro garden tips:

15. Making most of your meals at home

16. Shop at discount grocery chains (No Frills, Giant Tiger…etc.)


17. Avoid prepackages meals/foods


18. Eat smaller food portions


19. Don’t waste bottled water give remainder to pets or plants


20. Buy a whole chicken and de-bone it at home (wrap/label/date; freezer bag)


21. Minimize food waste by cooking individual portions x number of people

(i.e.: recipe converter: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/recipe_resizer.html)


22. Meal plan with any leftover as ingredient for school/work lunches


23. Use Checkout 51 (App) when ordering or personally getting your groceries to get cashback on your purchases

(i.e.: https://www.checkout51.com/)


24. Dining out: use coupons, research where children/elderly/veterans eat free or discounted

25. Entertain at home or someone’s house, potluck style

(If and when Covid-19 becomes a distant memory)


26. Dry out you bread ends and pulse than in your blender to make breadcrumbs, store in the freezer for future use…hamburger recipes anyone?


27. If you have the space and money for extra energy, then get yourself a deep freezer to buy meat and veggies in bulk and store


28. Start cooking some flavorful meals in a slow cooker. There’s an abundance of slow cooker recipes that I like to use:

(i.e.: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/253/everyday-cooking/slow-cooker/)


29. Save bones and vegetable scraps for soup or basic stocks


30. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars yearly on annuals invest in perennial plants/flowers


31. Use sprouted garlic/onion/ lettuce core to replant and eat at home for free!



Top Frugal home & maintenance tips:

32. Practice Minimalism


33. DIY everything you can


34. Repair items before trashing them


35. Make your cleaners using natural products


36. Cut old clean towels and use as rags


37. Use less detergent than recommended


38. Reduce the number of products used in all areas of your life


39. Hand wash your dishes just make sure to use gloves


40. Rent or Own shelter that is just enough space to live, not oversized


41. Use a programable thermostat and timer for lights


42. Run washer and dryer at later times or just hang your clothes


43. Repurposed items, upcycle! There’s every topic under the sun on Pinterest 😊


44. Create home décor using by repurposing/upcycling to save money and the planet!


45. With gloves; Flip the Swiffer pad to the other side to get two uses out of one pad while cleaning your floors

46. Invest in a very basic sewing machine to complete basic clothing repairs/alterations at home (I saved my money and purchased a Singer 3232 Simple Sewing Mach to repair my family's clothing, D.I.Y face masks, curtain alterations etc.


47. Use dryer balls instead of purchasing dryer sheets for your laundry. They pay for themselves since you no longer buy dryer sheets, right!?


48. Home Depot cuts any wood you buy from them for free! I used this service to D.I.Y my fence post turned bed risers


49. Marry a human being who shares the same morals, values, beliefs and lifestyle choices as yours that way your wedding will be an amazing investment of your commitment and not adding another expense like divorce to the struggles of life.


50. Buy items that are reusable versus single use-items


51. Don’t use any indoor lights during the day, since the sun is F-R-E-E, and you get that Vitamin-D


52. Choose hobbies that have the potential of making income, that way your invested time will become a lucrative business opportunity in the future



Top Frugal discounts & coupon tips:

53. Sign up for coupon codes with retailers (unsubscribe if you no longer want to receive emails)


54. Shop at discount stores

(i.e.: Buck or two, mom + pops discount stores)


55. Find and use coupon codes

(i.e.: Honey https://www.joinhoney.com/trending/stores)


56. Shop thrift stores and it's discount days (i.e.:https://www.reddit.com/r/askTO/comments/e8uvlt/best_thrift_stores_in_toronto/)


57. Purchase early for a discount


58. Join Groupon; LivingSocial, WagJag, Tuango for deals on (get out of the house) entertainment


59. Shop online to see larger clearance and sale sections and/or options


60. Apply for contests that are reputable (only enter the ones you can keep up with)



61. Apply for scholarships/grants regularly to cover educational expenses


62. Use your alumni card to get discounts when purchasing tools, stationary and/or books at the college/university you graduated from


63. When an item is on sale for half of its original price, buy two (for the price of 1)


64. Shop with companies that allow you to collect loyalty points in exchange for groceries or other goods in exchange for your dollars spent with them

(i.e.: PC Optimum membership here at https://www.pcoptimum.ca/)


Top Frugal budgeting & managing credit tips:

65. Track all expenses by creating and maintaining a budget

(i.e.: https://www.mint.com/ by Intuit a FREE savvy budgeting tool)


66. Consider stay-cations versus vacations since there’s always much to explore no matter where you live


67. Review cost of all variable services annually to price match with competitors


68. Share cost for movie subscriptions (Netflix; Prime Video; Disney+, etc.)


69. Cut that cable off


70. Plan all purchases to minimize impulse shopping.



71. Always check your receipt (in-store!) carefully - I found a $43.69 mistake last month


72.Create an emergency by fund putting away $7.00/week to start


73. Save credit card points and cash in annually for a gift card


74. Shop with a list to stay on track of not buying off-list


75. Start to say “no” to wasteful offers both in-person and online


76. Bulk buy, review and compare the costs per unit


77. Choose paperless billing options to skip the monthly fee


78. Withdraw money from your branch ATM, to eliminate extra ATM service fees


79. Extend payments to yearly instead of monthly (when possible)


80. Speak up and ask for a cash discount when using cash as payment


81. At all costs avoid doing cash advance off your credit card. You get charged a transaction fee AND a cash advance fee!

82. Add a save feature to your debit card (every time you use your debit as payment, you authorized like TD’s simply save: (https://www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banking/how-to/ways-to-save/automated-savings/)


83. Use a purchasing guide to find out the best time of year to purchase big-ticket items (i.e.: https://lifehacker.com/the-best-time-to-buy-anything-during-the-year-5973864)


84. Pay your credit card before the statement comes out to increase your credit score

85. Consider a bi-weekly, I-monthly or monthly shopping trip to limit impulse shopping



Top Frugal technology tips:

86. Buy second-hand electronics


87. Unplug electrics that are not currently in use


88. Use a timer on your phone as soon as you tap your Presto Card to know when your transfer will expire to maximize your trip(s)


89. Use your smartphone until it dies. No need to renew your phone every year, it’s a waste of resources and further pollutes our earth


Top Frugal social on a dime tips:

90. Free activities

(i.e.: https://www.todocanada.ca/free-things-toronto/)


91. Utilize the libraries! Free resources:

(i.e.: https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/elearning/)


92. Swap services with friend (i.e. babysitting)


93. Search the web to see events at community centers near you



Top Frugal clothing tips:


94. Shop second hand when needing outfits for big events


95. Minimize children’s wardrobe


96. Buy children’s clothing 1-2 sizes larger and hem to size


97. Everything needs maintenance. Even your footwear! Wax can save your shoes from the garbage bin; Use a shoe cleaner on the sides of shoes and weather protector for easy cleaning


98. Think in terms of quality over quantity (especially not buying into fast fashion)


99. Avoid those “Dry Clean Only” articles of clothing


100. Try and keep your body weight consistent so you don’t have to buy new clothing every few months or yearly


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