While being frugal and being cheap might seem to have heaps of similarities between them, both the concepts are miles away from each other in reality. People who love going cheap are driven only by the price of things, whereas frugal ones see value over money. Being cheap essentially results in spending less but being frugal means prioritising your spending so you can end up with more things you really value.
Confused? Let us give you an example. Being cheap is buying inexpensive, low-quality clothes because they are cheaply priced, but being frugal is waiting for sales to buy quality clothes that will last you a lot longer than the inexpensive ones. So all in all, both the cheap and the frugal love saving money, but a frugal person will think of the long term before spending while the cheap one will always look at short-term gains.
Are you a spendthrift who is now hunting the internet to understand frugality better? Or do you love saving money but don’t want to be cheap anymore?
It’s time to step on the other side of the fine line. Here is why being frugal is awesome:
1. Frugality helps you understand your priorities
Frugality not only helps you save money (loads of it!) but it also changes your perspective towards the things you spend on. Just try spending money on only those things/services that really matter to you for a month and you will be surprised to know how easy it is to know your most important priorities.
This could include anything from skipping alcohol at the Friday night-out with friends, giving up your gym membership to jog at the local park instead or cooking food at home instead of ordering out when your friends come over. The best part about this is you will be able to cut out everything unnecessary and do only what you really enjoy doing.
Related: 6 Cheaper Alternatives for Everyday Services That Singaporeans Use
2. Frugality helps you declutter
While decluttering seems to be a physical activity on the face of it, it is so not. In this consumerism-driven world, we buy oodles of things that we only think we need. When you try to be frugal, you only spend on what you REALLY need and skip the rest.
This means you will spend on fewer clothes, bags, crockery, cushions, gadgets and even friends. It has been proven scientifically that clutter leads to stress. Kiss the hoarder in you goodbye by being frugal and lead a simple, healthy life.
Related: 8 Items You Should Never Skimp on, No Matter How Tight the Budget
3. Frugality is environment-friendly
Do you constantly have the urge to do your bit for the environment but don’t know where to start? It’s simple. Stop buying products you don’t need and don’t add to the junk. When you buy unnecessary things, you encourage people to make more of those and thus add to the mess.
According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), Singapore’s solid waste output increased significantly to 8,559 tonnes per day in 2016 from 1,260 tonnes per day in 1970. That is a scary number and you don’t want to add on to it. Who thought frugality could make Mother Earth as happy as it could make your wallet? If your heart still leans towards shopping some days, invest in these everyday eco-friendly things to help you save money and the environment.
Related: 8 Things You Must Do to Be Environmentally Conscious and Make Your House Green
4. Frugality leads to happiness
We cannot resist mentioning the cliché here – the best things in life are free. In a world where a designer handbag seems to bring more pleasure than spending time with a loved one, we all need to rethink our priorities.
Wondering how to do this? On a day when you are tempted to take an impulsive shopping trip, without having a specific idea on what you need, ditch the shopping plan for something you generally don’t do – like volunteering at an orphanage or learning a new skill like baking. The satisfaction you will get at the end of these activities will beat the temporary high that shopping brings with it. We promise.
Related: 25 Free and Fun Things to Do in Singapore
So now that you are convinced that being frugal is the way to being happy but don’t know how to go about implementing this in the daily life, don’t worry. We have whipped up a list of simple tips that can help you become a naturally frugal person.
How to be frugal on food
- Use apps like Eatigo to get up to 50% off dining at restaurants. No coupons required and the restaurant list is long!
- Use the Citi Cash Back Card to enjoy an 8% cashback on all food bills. You will also get discounts between 10% and 25% when you dine at restaurants across the city and 1-for-1 buffets at selected places.
- Bakeries like Bread Talk and Swee Heng offer delicious items for a discount at the end of the day. Feed that sweet tooth.
How to be frugal on commute and travel
- Ditch the expensive cab and choose to walk or ride the MRT instead. It is not only good for your wallet but also your health.
- In case eliminating taxi from your life is a scary thought, try carpooling with neighbours or booking an UberPool or GrabShare. You will end up saving money and maybe even making new friends!
- Not buying travel insurance is cheap. While we wish the best for you, if you experience a theft or a health hazard in foreign land, you are going to miss buying a travel insurance. Not sure which one to buy? Here is some help to decide which travel insurance suits you the most.
How to be frugal on entertainment and shopping
- If you want to be frugal when it comes to shopping, your keyword is Sale. Make sure you don’t shop expensive items throughout the year but wait for the Great Singapore, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and CNY sales. Having said that, stick to only those things you need and leave no room for an emotional shopping spree.
- If you are craving the taste of designer stuff, don’t just buy them. Instead, check out rental services like Style Theory, Style Lease, or Rent A Dress.
- Buy the S$25 (subsequently S$20) Sentosa Islander Pass that gives you unlimited access to Sentosa and discounts around the island – a great bargain!
Before you spend on entry passes, check out Fave
This article is first published on BankBazaar.sg.