How To Thrive While Living Like a Frugal Peasant

More money gives you freedom. But you don’t need tons of it to start improving your life today.

Mini plant, dollar bills and pennies on a table, and a crystal shape with candle inside.
Mini plant, dollar bills and pennies on a table, and a crystal shape with candle inside.
Photo by Katie Harp on Unsplash

Self-improvement activities that cost little to nothing

There are many routes to take. Getting overwhelmed and lost is so easy. It happens to me often enough. Life throws its curve balls and I am far from immune to them.

  1. Writing: I improve this skill by practicing it as a habit. Writing here on Medium costs me nothing but my time and structural effort.
  2. Reading books and taking courses: There is a surplus of information available on blogs, here on Medium and on YouTube. If you know what you want to learn, you look for the leader in that space and follow their advice. Very often, their paid courses are a compilation of their best work that is already available online, for free, but repurposed for those who are willing to pay to get there faster.
    Books cost some money, but what is $10–15 for one book filled with knowledge versus two takeaway meals with cappuccinos? One good book, or the right book could be enough to turn your life around 180 degrees.
  3. Taking care of my body. No money for a gym subscription or classes? Think about going to the local park or forest. Body weight exercises at home also cost you nothing. The highest investment I made for home exercise is my yoga mat.
Picture of a park in autumn
Picture of a park in autumn
Photo by Toni Lluch on Unsplash

If you really want to enjoy life while living frugally, consider adhering to the following principles or guidelines:

1 — Have zero remorse in saying “NO” to events or activities you don’t want to pursue.

A weekly brunch outdoors? A house party? I will pass, thanks. If it has no meaning to you, you won’t enjoy spending your money on it.

2 — Lower your living costs.

I chose lower rent over a fancy apartment because I’d rather avoid the burden of high upcoming payments breathing down my neck all month. More square meters, a garden, a balcony, extra rooms and all that jazz, that would be great, but I’m not willing to pay the extra cost. This comes down to what you value most, of course.

3 — Remove unnecessary expenses.

List all your expenses. Do you need YouTube Premium, HBO, Netflix and Disney Plus all at once? Are you actually making use of your gym subscription, or have you not visited the place once in the last six months because you “forgot where you left your membership card”?

4 — Stop recklessly buying random stuff you don’t need.

A sixteenth pair of Nike sneakers? Who cares. Also, I don’t upgrade my tech every often. I invest once, and keep it until it breaks, which could be forever. I kept an iPhone 4S from 2012 throughout 2018 until it became unstable and most apps dropped support for such an ancient iOS. Renting tech is also an option these days.

5 — Determine where most of your variable spending disappears, and put a budget on it.

If I’m not careful, I spend hundreds on food, despite being a single person household. Look out where you burn money, and consider slightly lowering it in order to spend it on that course that costs $30 a month, or a book you’ve had your eye on.

6 — Learn to have fun for free.

Not everything has to cost you. I don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to have a good time today. When you need a break from life, there are so many things to do in your area that cost nothing.

7 — Train your self-discipline.

Want to buy something, but can’t afford it right now? Great! You’re now training your delayed-gratification muscle. You’re also forced to examine your spending. This is an opportunity to look for leakages and solutions to find out how you can afford to get the thing you want.

I don’t see the current amount of money I have available as limiting. I see what I can do with it.

Written by

Writing my way to progress. Topics: personal growth, life lessons, tooling & (failed) ventures.

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