4 Tips to Balance Frugality and Financial Freedom

4 Tips to Balance Frugality and Financial Freedom

Mariah French Saving Money, Spending Money 24 Comments

If you’re reading this, you’re probably more frugal than not. Or you’re wanting to be more frugal. Being frugal is a good thing! However, the purpose of your being frugal and saving money can sometimes get in the way of your financial freedom.

I am a firm believer that you should work hard to play hard. In financial terms, that means you should save your money so you can spend your money (within reason). Allow me to explain further.

My husband and I sometimes get so caught up in wanting to save our money that we refuse to spend it. For example, we both need new tennis shoes, but we both also think that other things in our life take higher priority. 

That is taking frugality to the next level. 

For some people, that level of thriftiness might be fine. For us, we want to have a better balance of saying yes to certain things. Things like shoes we need, for instance.

And don’t worry, we will get those shoes. We have a date to go shopping tomorrow!

Assuming you are like us and don’t always know the line between frugality and financial freedom, here are several tips on how to find the balance in your life.

1. Decide Your Priorities

First things first, you need to decide what your priorities are. As you can tell, my husband and I don’t consider personal items priorities unless we truly can’t use the old ones anymore. Toothpaste, socks, and deodorant would fall under that category for us. 

Something that I don’t even think twice about though, is spending on activities. My love language is quality time so I don’t mind spending a little extra to create quality memories with my family and friends. 

You need to determine what your own priorities are in regards to what you are willing to spend your money on. Make a list if that helps you focus your thoughts.

2. Use Gift Cards for Smaller Purchases

This is something my husband and I have done since we got married almost four years ago. As per custom, we received a lot of gift cards at our wedding. 

Guess what? We saved them! 

Any of the gift cards for restaurants we save for special occasions, like our anniversary. Other cards, like Amazon or Target, we use every so often for things like birthday gifts. We also have several Visa gift cards that we have yet to use. 

That’s right, almost four years later and we still have unopened gift cards from our wedding (and birthdays throughout the year)! Some might call that overly frugal, but we like to save those for smaller purchases (like shoes). By buying items with gift cards, we don’t have to worry about how it will affect our bank account.

3. Know Your Bank Account Balance

I can’t stress this one enough. Knowing your bank account will allow you to accurately determine if you can afford something or not. 

My husband is typically the one who wants to spend less and that can hinder his desire to actually buy it. Luckily, I look at our bank account at least once a week so I can tell him with confidence that we have plenty of money for whatever it is he wants. 

I also believe that knowing your checking account balance can help you decide how much you may want to transfer to a savings account. If my husband and I have a lot more than we need in our checking, we will normally send some over to our savings for extra assurance that we have enough finances to last.

On the other hand, sometimes you may not have enough money to go out even if you really want to. Being aware of your budget can also help you decide if you should spend on that extra pair of sunglasses or not.

4. Have a Christmas in July

Lastly, if you are super frugal and don’t want to spend your money at a time when it seems unnecessary, have a Christmas in July! I know a couple who is doing this right now and they have gotten really into it. 

They have set up their Christmas tree, decorated it with patriotic trimming, and will open their “presents” on July 25th. Of course, their presents are things they both have needed for a while, but have refused to purchase for themselves. Now, they have the excuse of a new holiday to buy their presents.

If you struggle to justify your purchases unless it’s a birthday or holiday, create your own! You can call it Christmas in July or Bank Birthday, but keep the purpose to buy  things you need that you wouldn’t normally get.

We hope you can apply these tips in your life and start living your [somewhat] financial freedom now!

Comments 24

  1. Great suggestions! I’m extremely frugal as well. Another GREAT way to save (since you all are so good with your money) is to put all of your expenses on a credit card – I highly recommend the CHASE Sapphire Preferred. Pay them off every single week (or even more often if necessary) and at the end of the year, you will have thousands of points in which to use on travel. My family of six spent two full weeks in Hawaii, completely on points. It has literally changed our lives forever! Again, you are very wise to be so careful with your money! Blessings!

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  2. Great tips! The gift card tip is very unique. My husband and I used our cards almost immediately. Haha! I guess I just never thought about saving them in this way.

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  3. These are good and practical tips, which I think is really important. If we’re unrealistic in our goals and approach towards things, it makes it unattainable and you lose your drive.

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  4. Love love love the idea of using gift cards – that’s actually what we’ve been doing for the past 4 months while we’ve both been at home – using our stockpile of cards from over the years. Thankfully we had them haha! I also like the concept of Christmas in July – I try to start buying early in the year so it isn’t a tough go. I also picked up a piece of advice from a friend – to buy a $25 gift card every month of the year so you’ll always have a quick gift (or for yourself!).

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  5. I am so frugal and actually do many of these tips! Since he pandemic, I have not had any steady income and realized my frugality when I was making money was too frugal. So I am not looking forward to actually spending money once I start having steady income again!

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  6. This is great! I’m frugal and love to see our savings grow. Now that our family is growing up I try to not be so frugal that we can’t enjoy doing things as a family.

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  7. Great tips! I have put so much into prioritizing and it works out great. I don’t want to be like everyone else in California and spend thousands of dollars a month on rent. I want to actually use my money to do things. So what did I do? I’ve stayed in the same apartment in Anaheim for 4 years, rent has only gone up about $120 in that time. I split rent with my husband and we rent out our extra bedroom to friends/co-workers. So now, I only spend $480 on rent a month which frees up so much money for traveling and money for savings! If we didn’t do this, my husband and I would be spending $2000 a month for a 1 bedroom somewhere in Orange County and that just sounds like throwing away money to me.

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