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8 Tips to Be Frugal Without Feeling Deprived

Frugality has gotten a bad rep. Many frugal people are looked at as cheap, penny-pinching, or during the holidays, scrooge-like. However, being frugal doesn’t mean you have to throw your life away. It is possible to be frugal and still have a good time.

8 Tips to Be Frugal Without Feeling Deprived

This post has been written by our talented staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.

So how can you do it? Check out the 8 tips below and you’ll be well on your way to being frugal without feeling deprived. 

tips to be frugal without feeling deprivedMake A Budget

How do you know if you are being frugal if you don’t know what’s coming in or going out? The very first step you should take is make a budget. It’s possible to be frugal without feeling deprived, but you have to know where to start.

Your budget doesn’t have to be super fancy. In fact, it can be as simple as 50/30/20. But, if you want to get detailed, that’s okay too! Just list your income and expenses, and you can start  being more frugal.

Related: How You Can Save Hundreds of Dollars – FREE Budget Tool Included!

Start Small

When you are trying to be frugal without feeling deprived, it’s always best to start small. It can be hard trying to cut a bunch of things out of your budget, but if you cut things little by little, you’re more likely to stick to being frugal, and feeling less like you’re giving things up.

Do you have cable that you only watch a few shows on? Try cutting the cord and trying out cable alternatives like Netflix, Hulu, or SlingTV. Spend too much money on clothes? Try thrift shopping. You’ll still be doing what you love, but for a lot less.

Save When You Spend

If you’re trying to be more frugal so you can start saving money, try this tip. Every time you save money on a purchase, or find a frugal alternative, save the money you would have spent. For example, did you go clothes shopping during a 50% off sale? Look at the receipt and see how much you saved on clothes, and put the difference in savings.

You can also try this tip if you treat yourself a little too often. Every time you spend money when you didn’t need something, save the same amount. This will show you what you’re spending your money on, and help you determine if what you bought is actually worth it.

Use Frugal Alternatives

Even if you’re a coffee snob (like me), you can probably make your cup of joe for less. Buy a cheap grinder, a decent coffee pot (or french press!) and start brewing it special at home instead of spending $5-$8 on a latte every day. You won’t have to sacrifice flavor, but you’ll be saving a ton of money.

Are there other alternatives you can find in your everyday life? Instead of going out to eat every weekend, try buying what you crave from the grocery store and make it yourself. You can even turn this idea into a cheap date night or night in with friends (because who doesn’t love making their own delicious pizza?).

Find Frugal Entertainment

Speaking of being frugal with friends or significant other, you can be frugal without feeling deprived in the entertainment area too. You don’t have to spend a lot of cash to have fun when you go out. Attend happy hours when food and drinks are half off. Go to the park and play frisbee. Look up your city’s website to see what there is to do for free or cheap.

No one wants to miss out on a good time with loved ones. But you also don’t want to sacrifice frugality for a few nights out. Instead, find a nice balance. Then, take the money you save and put it in your savings, or save so you can splurge on something you REALLY want to do later.

Barter With Friends

Do you know some talented friends? Maybe you know a friend who’s a cosmetologist, or maybe you have a friend who works at a sushi restaurant. You can always barter your talents and services with friends. If you can clean really well and fast, you can barter to clean a friend’s house if they cut your hair.

Even though money talks, bartering can still offer you great services for free or super cheap. That way, you can still enjoy what you love, without seeing your wallet emptied.

Delayed Gratification

Instant gratification is everywhere…

Think about it. How many people do you know that went out and bought the new iPhone, even though their current phones worked just fine? Spending, and instant gratification, are at an all-time high, mainly because it’s so easy to get what you want with just a little credit or down payment.

However, when you’re trying to be frugal without feeling deprived, it’s really important to practice delayed gratification. Now, I’m not saying you can never have what you want, but a great way to practice this is the 48-72 hour rule. If you see something that you want, but don’t need, try sleeping on it for 48-72 hours. Still want the item? Go get it. But at least you gave yourself time to think about if you truly wanted it or not.

Sometimes, you’ll realize that you don’t really want the item after all. But, if you still do, you won’t feel guilty if you decide to purchase it. Now, if the item is expensive (like a TV), try waiting for around 30 days.

Treat Yourself Guilt Free

We all have guilty pleasures, and it’s okay to indulge in them every now and then. You don’t have to blow your budget to treat yourself. Instead, allot yourself a certain amount of cash for “splurges” throughout the month, and stick to that budget. With the other tips listed above, you shouldn’t have to worry about going over budget, or being too frugal.

Being frugal without feeling deprived is all about balance, and it can be achieved with these tips. You can still have fun, be a part of the group, and treat yourself without breaking the bank too.

What will you do to be frugal without feeling deprived?

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Free entertainment from the library: CD’s. books, and movie videos. This has save me literally thousands over the years.

    • Yup! Love it! And you can rent videos online through the library! We’ve done this a few times. Works great!

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