Let’s get it out there…frugality is hot! Years ago to be frugal meant you were
cheap, and cheap had a negative connotation. Today frugal means you are
hip, empowered, assertive, innovative, creative, and even humble; that you
don’t have to spend a lot to feel great and have fun in life.
Jordan Page is a blogger at Fun Cheap or Free and she has identified three
frugality trends and how to make them work for you.
There are great trends in frugality right now that can really save you
hundreds. However, frugality trends are like fashion trends: just because an
outfit is fashionable doesn’t mean it’s right for your body type or personal
sense of style. Trends in frugality are the same way; you might need to adapt
them to fit YOU and your lifestyle to get them to “fit” right for you.
Here are the latest and greatest frugality trends, and how you can adapt them
to be the right fit for your lifestyle:
Couponing is everywhere. Books, blogs, and even TV shows highlight the
thrills of extreme couponing.
• Why it’s a trend:
• It works! You can get entire carts of groceries for cheap or even free.
• It’s a great way to create a stockpile for your family, especially for
• It’s a fun hobby for many; people enjoy getting the coupon “rush” at the
But let’s be honest…couponing is NOT for everyone.
I like to compare couponing to trying to lose weight by training for a
marathon. It’s effective, but takes a lot of dedication and time. But
hey…some people simply love to run! The problem is, many of us say
“couponing just isn’t for me” then will turn around and spend full-price for
groceries…which, for most of us, makes up the majority of our monthly
Just keep in mind that extreme couponing isn’t the only way to get groceries
• Make it work for you:
• Heavy or extreme couponing: Check out www.thekrazycouponlady.com
She is the pioneer of extreme couponing in my opinion. Her site helps you
become a couponing pro and is full of great resources.
• Moderate couponing: Check out www.grocerysmarts.com. This
matches coupons with good deals for the week so you can choose which
deals you want to take advantage of. It’s a much more flexible way of
• No couponing: This is my personal method of shopping, I like to call it
“deal-shopping and price-matching”. I use the resources from
price-match all the best deals at Walmart. I only
make one stop, but get to take advantage of all the best prices from ANY
store! Walmart’s policy is that they will price-match advertised prices at any
local store…and they mean it! It works great for me and many of my readers.
she lists the best deals for the week at every
grocery store near you. You can create your shopping list directly from her
site (she even flags the best deals for you!), print it out, and go. She even
gives you meal plans and recipes to use up all your items, and rotate out
those that you’ve stocked up on in the past.
For a full tutorial and lots of tricks and tips on how to make the deal-
shopping and price-matching method easy and effective for you, check out
my site www.funcheaporfree.com and
click “how I grocery shop” at the top of
the site (or simply click HERE).
The next hot trend right now…
2. DIY projects
This is anything from refinishing furniture, to sewing and crafting, etc.
• Why it’s a trend:
• It used to be that if you were crafty, that meant you knew how to quilt,
crochet, or cross-stitch. Now it’s much more than that! It’s a hip and
innovative way to re-create something you saw in a store for cheaper, or
make something from scratch that is unique and custom.
• DIY projects are more approachable and accessible than ever thanks to
crafting blogs and sites like Pinterest.
• Oh yeah…and it’s fun!
However, many of us look at a tutorial for a homemade baby dress and think
“never in a million years could I make that…” or see a refinished dresser at
your neighbor’s house and think, “that would take forever; I’d rather just buy
it from a store…”
We all have our different skill and interest levels when it comes to DIY. So
how do you know when a project is truly worth doing yourself in terms of it
actually saving you money?
• Make it work for you:
First step, you need to separate hobby vs. trying to save money. Are you
doing it because it’s your hobby? Or mostly because you think it will save
your family some major cash, and possibly enjoy it at the same time? Once
you figure that out, the next few steps will become easier.
Once you’ve decided that you want to do a particular project mainly for
frugality purposes, ask yourself the following questions to find out if it’s the
right project for you:
1. Can you buy it cheaper somewhere?
Be sure to shop around – looking at both new and used – before you commit
to a project. You might just be surprised at how many great deals are out
there if you look hard enough.
2. How much will materials cost?
Price things out before you start. If you have to buy tools, determine whether
those tools will get enough use again to make it worthwhile.
3. How much time will it take me?
Don’t feel guilty about being stingy with your time! This is hard for so many,
especially stay-at-home moms. If it helps, put a dollar amount on your time.
If your family income is $50,000/yr, your time is “worth” $24/hr. Try to keep
that in mind when factoring the cost of a project. If it takes you 3 weeks to
complete a project that saves you $35, it may or may not be worth it…that’s
what you need to decide. Not sure how much time a project will take? Ask
around. Example: If you see a darling project on Pinterest, click back to the
original website and send an email to the author asking how long it took
them and if they’d do it again.
4. Do I think I’d enjoy this?
If you absolutely hate sanding more than anything in the world, it might not
be worth it for you to refinish your entire house of hardwood floors…simply
because you’ll be in complete misery the whole time. On the other hand, if
you love wood-working and are excited about learning how to refinish wood
floors, it may be the perfect project for you. That’s for you to decide.
There are THOUSANDS of projects that, when you DIY, will save you
unbelieveable amounts of money. However, there are projects occasionally
that might actually cost you more when you DIY. Just be sure to do the
research to make sure it fits YOU!
For example: I made my own baby bedding because I got gorgeous fabric on
sale and found a crib bumper to cover for $4 at a yard sale (get the tutorial
HERE). I don’t love sewing, but it was a simple enough project that it was
worth my time. However, I bought our king bedding set because it only cost
$22 from Ross…and it would have cost much more in time and materials to
make our own.
A few other small tips with DIY projects:
• Start with small projects so you can find where your interest and skill
• Sign up for sites like Pinterest and crafting blogs to get great DIY ideas.
Don’t feel like you have to come up with them on your own.
The third hot trend right now:
3. Thrifting and Deal-Shopping
Thrifting: Turning “one man’s trash into another man’s treasure” by finding
deals at yard sales, thrifts stores, classifieds, ebay, etc.
Deal-shopping: Finding great deals on new items by utilizing clearance
racks, discount stores, wholesale stores, outlets, floor samples, off-season
items, and close-out sales.
• Why it’s a trend:
• It works! You should never pay full-price for anything, and this is a great
way to get great deals. (Ps…that’s the “F” in my F.A.C.T’s of saving that will
save you money on anything in life for as long as you live. Check it out!)
• Great way to get unique items for your wardrobe and home.
• It’s more accessible than ever thanks to apps and the web.
• It’s fun to shop!
• Make it work for you:
Going to a massive flea market or shopping at TJ Maxx can be overwhelming
to some. But shopping there can really save you money! Here’s how to make
it easier for you:
1. Make a plan.
• Make a list or draw a blueprint of what you need for your home and carry
it with you.
• Make a list of upcoming needs like school clothes, birthday gifts, etc. so
you can be focused on what you really need.
• Have an outfit in mind before you go shopping.
• Have a budget in mind and don’t go over.
Having a plan will help you avoid unnecessary expenses. If you don’t need it,
you’re wasting money!…even if it’s an unbeatable deal.
2. Be mindful of prices.
• Take note of prices of things so you know when you see a genuine deal.
Just because it has a sale sticker, or just because it’s used, doesn’t necessariy
mean it’s a good deal! I carry a little notebook around with me and jot down
when I see a good price on something so I can refer back to it later if needed.
• Keep an open mind. Just because an item is at a thrift store doesn’t mean
it’s old and unwanted,
• Likewise, keep in mind that many times you can find an equally good or
even better deal on something that’s new rather than used. Check out
clearance, floor samples and returns, shop off-season, etc.
These frugality trends will save you hundreds if you know how to make them
work for you. Now, get out there and save some money!
If you have questions or want more fun, cheap, or free resources and ideas,
check out my site, www.funcheaporfree.com.