What Are Frugalists?



Frugalists aim to be financially independent and / or retire as early as possible in their lives. Some frugalists reach this goal in their early thirties, some at forty, and others later in life. To achieve the goal of financial independence as early and fast as possible in life, they have different approaches:

  • Reduce expenses
  • Buying something used instead of something new
  • Saving Large Parts of Salary (Some frugalists save up to 70 percent of their income.)
  • Cheap living
  • Buy cheap food
  • Invest to live on interest
  • Abandonment of luxury foods such as alcohol or cigarettes
  • Car abandonment, designer furniture, house, restaurant visits, expensive technology (flat screen TV, laptop, smartphone)
  • No parties, shopping and holidays

Among other things, frugalists invest their money in bonds, funds and real estate. As a result, they generate dividends, interest income and rental income. The revenues are used by frugalists to achieve their savings goals faster.

The name “frugalist” derives from the word “frugal”. “Frugal” means simple, economical. Find out more about the word “frugal” here below.

What does frugal mean?

Frugal means:

  • modest
  • easy
  • sparse
  • moderate
  • not lush
  • plain
  • economical
  • light

“Frugal” is used in the sense that it means that someone sparingly uses resources such as money or food. In a broader sense, it also means “cheap” and that something is served only in small quantities.

In a broader sense, frugal means that someone is frugal, doesn’t need much, and has no great needs or desires. Someone who lives frugally is thrifty and housekeeping.

If a dish is frugal, it means that it is simple or small.

The opposite of frugal is “opulent” or “rich”.

The term “frugal” belongs to the Janus words – meaning words whose meaning is the opposite of their sound or their associations.

Where does frugal come from?

“Frugal” comes from the Latin “frugalis”. “Frugalis” means “fruity”, “belonging to the fruits” and “usable”. With “Frugalis” is the Latin word “Frux” related. “Frux” means fruit. “Frugal” entered the German language via the French word “frugal”.

Frugal and Frugalists

From the idea of ​​frugal living, the frugalism “FIRE” movement has started. These people are called frugalists. They value a thrifty lifestyle and refrain from unnecessary expenses or expensive purchases. Frugalists live frugally so that within a few decades they are financially independent and no longer dependent on permanent employment.

Find out more about frugalists here.

More too frugal

The term “frugal politics” exists in the English language. Literally, this means: “saving politics”. Another term is “political sparing” – or “political frugality”. With both expressions a sparing and resource-saving policy is connected, with which the excess is rejected.

“Frugal innovation” refers to inventions that are characterized by reduced complexity, reduced costs and reduced production. By this is meant that functions or features that are not essential to be removed. Thus, the price of the good can be lowered and new markets can be tapped.

The movement of the frugalists is called “frugalism”. Some describe the frugal lifestyle as “extremely saving”.

What is frugalist about? How frugalism works?

Even though this often means “renunciation”, it does not mean that frugalists reduce their quality of life in order to achieve their savings goals, but that they are economical and frugal. A frugalist likes to renounce and he knows he will achieve his long-term goal of financial independence.

Frugalists question their habits. They wonder where they can lose money and where they can save money. Thus, for example, the question: what is better? Eat in the restaurant or cook something for yourself at home? Frugalists will answer this question with “cooking at home” as they not only save money but can even – at best – prepare a healthier meal as they control the ingredients.

Frugalists are not interested in showing something through expensive spending. They do not find it costly to drive expensive cars or expensive technology just to decorate themselves with the brands and represent something. Frugalists renounce status through expensive ownership.

Frugalists and the 30-day rule

Frugalists apply various rules to get their momentum under control and to avoid bad buying:


The 30-day rule has the following meaning: If you see something that pleases you and you want to buy it immediately, you wait 30 days and ask yourself the following question on the thirtieth day: Will I really buy it now?

The 30-day rule is as follows:

  1. Something you want, don’t buy immediately
  2. After 30 days you ask yourself the question: Do I really need that?

If the question is answered with a heartfelt and strong “yes”, then the item should be bought. If the “yes” is halfhearted or a “no”, then the purchase should be waived.

Benefits of the 30-Day Rule: Those who use the 30-Day Rule do not succumb to their impulses, desires or spontaneous feelings. Especially in the age of instant gratification and instant delivery as offered by Amazon, every impulse seems instant and always satisfying. The 30-day rule breaks this habit and regains freedom. In addition, another question can be answered: “Why do I buy this? Does it help against stress, does it help against boredom or is it something emotional? ”

Note: Everyone can apply the 30-day rule, not just frugalists!

What happens when frugalists have achieved their goal?

If frugalists have reached their savings goal, then they are masters of their time and can decide how they spend their time. Some continue to work voluntarily because they enjoy it, others become self-employed, some become artistically active.

How did the frugalism movement come about?

The frugal lifestyle emerged in the years of the economic crisis (2008) in the USA. Some Americans began to pay more attention to their spending in order to increase their freedoms. Not only did they want to avoid unnecessary loans, but they also wanted to get out of the job routine earlier.

Especially leaving the workday – where many have to be in the office from 9 am to 5 pm – is one of the biggest motivations for many frugalists. Once they have saved enough money, they can afford the freedom to give up a steady job and can afford to work whenever they want.

Frugalism also emerged as a counter-movement against the excessive, irresponsible and boundless consumerism. Moreover, frugalism is a reaction to the banking industry. Frugalists refrain from loans.

More about frugalists

Anyone who has a job where he or she earns well, the frugal life is easier. The income allows it to be easy. Single parents and low paid workers can live less or not at all frugally, as their finances do not allow this. Also, the frugal lifestyle with children is more difficult.

For some frugalists, the frugal lifestyle is even to the extent that they do without bulbs – to save electricity or that they reduce the toilet flushes – to save water. This shows that the frugal lifestyle can slip into the miser.

Now what are your thoughts on the frugalist movement? Is this “penny pinching” something for you too? Share your experiences here below.



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