Sep 15

The 6 Habits of Highly Effective Frugal People

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Highly effective frugal people have one thing in mind — making the most out of what they have so they can have more of what they love.  Their habits develop around this core pleasure principle.  Here are six habits of highly effective frugal people that can be developed to help you get more of what’s really important to you.

Six Habits of Highly Effective Frugal People

Six Habits of Highly Effective Frugal People

#1   Independent Thinking and Decision-Making

Frugal people think independently and make independent decisions. They don’t care much about what Mr. and Mrs. Jones are wearing or the new car they’re driving. They probably don’t have cable and don’t really miss the celebrity gossip or the commercials that are designed to make them feel inadequate or insecure. They will ask for a discount and not blush. They will present coupons at the checkout. They don’t think or live in a vacuum, but they do prefer the sound of their own minds (and like-minded frugalists) when thinking and making decisions.

#2 Goal Setting

Frugalists know what they love and want more of it. They make the most out of what they have so that they can have more of the stuff that really matters to them. Sure I’ll ask for a discount on my phone bill (this works, by the way) if it means I have more left over to spend on my daughter. Frugal people know they can’t possibly have everything, so they set goals that result in them having more of what really matters most to them.

#3 Prioritizing

There are only so many minutes in a day and so many days in a lifetime. Frugal people want to spend as much time as they can doing the stuff they love to do. They unapologetically set these things as the top priorities in their lives.

#4 Viewing the Big Picture

Frugalists understand the big picture. This is why they recognize the importance of planning for the future while simultaneously living in the now. Saving for your retirement may mean doing with a bit less at the moment, but it will ensure that you have the resources that you will need to continue to enjoy things in the future.

#5 Wanting to Learn More and Understand Stuff

Highly effective frugal people do their research and have a real desire to understand stuff. They will read reviews and articles about different refrigerators before they go shopping. They will know what features they want and which features they don’t want and they will know what a fair price range is before setting foot in a shop or ordering online.

If something costs more, the frugal-minded person will want to know why. If it costs less, the frugal-minded person will want to know why.  A frugal person understands that good information is a prerequisite for making good decisions and assessing value.

#6 Looking For Synergies

There is that old saying about “killing two birds with one stone”.  Well, a highly effective frugal person will go and pick up that stone that she or he just killed two birds with and then try to kill three birds with that same stone next time.  No, highly effective frugal people are not murderous maniacs; it’s an idiom.

Frugalists recognize that riding a bicycle is both a form of transportation and a great form of exercise.  They know that sealing drafts in their home will make them more comfortable, save them money, and reduce impacts on the environment.  Finding synergies is actually quite fun and a great way to exercise your creative powers (see, there’s yet another synergy).


Highly effective frugal people seem to share certain habits.  Like all habits, frugal habits can be learned (or unlearned if you ever want to become a spendthrift).  You can also learn a lot by visiting this website several multiple times per day and by leaving multitudes of comments and sharing this post with everyone you know.

Are there any habits that are missing here?  Are there that should be removed or changed?  What do you think?  Please leave a comment below. 


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Author: Jason Milburn Google

Frugal dad – focusing my money and energy towards happiness and the things that matter most since around 1985.

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  1. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Excellent post, Jason. Frugalism really is a mindset that can be learned – if we could turn into highly effective frugal people, anyone can! 🙂

  2. Jason

    Thanks for your comment, Laurie.

    You’re absolutely right – a frugal mindset can be learned by anyone. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why everyone isn’t frugal already. I mean who wouldn’t enjoy having more of what’s most important to them? It’s the world’s best kept secret (at least for right now).

    Very nice to hear from you, Laurie. I hope you visit again sometime very soon.

    Cheers, Jason (froogalist)

  3. Adam @ Money Rebound

    Great post! Being frugal isn’t always about being cheap, sometimes spending that little bit extra can work out more frugal over the long term.

  4. Jason

    Thanks for your comment, Adam.

    I agree with you completely. Right on. Value is what I look for and, as you say, sometimes spending a bit extra is worth it. I like the way you think.

    Cheers, Jason

  5. Romona@Monasez

    I definitely think frugality is a way of life. You make some great points in this post. I think prioritizing and goal setting are the most important.

  6. Jason

    Thanks for your comment, Ramona@Monasez.

    Yes, I agree that prioritizing and goal setting are super important habits. With limited amounts of time and money, having goals and priorities is a must. It was really nice to hear from you. I hope you’ll come back and share some more of your ideas sometime soon.

    Cheers, Jason (froogalist)

  7. dojo

    I think the MAIN thing we can do to be successful in our lives is to just focus on our needs and not what others think. If you try to impress people, you’ll get nowhere. We’d rather remain debt free, save and enjoy life as we make it than worry that x and y think we’re losers if we don’t over spend on the stuff they like to over spend.

  8. lyle @ the Joy of Simple

    Thanks for a fun and informative read Jason. Stephen Covey would be proud 🙂

    Unfortunately, I can’t group myself in #5. As long as something works, regardless if it is used or new, I don’t care about the mechanics of things. I guess I’m not that curious.

    Now, when it comes to music of the Web, that is a different story, I’m all over the “why’s” of something, just not with products.

    Thanks again Jason and take care. All the best.


  9. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    I love this definition of frugal people, “….making the most out of what they have so they can have more of what they love. ” Such a positive message and words to live by.

  10. Jason

    Great point, Dojo.

    It is up to each person to decide upon what makes them happy and to go with it. No one else can (or will) do this for you.

    Thanks for dropping by. I hope you visit again sometime soon.

    Cheers, Jason

  11. Jason

    You’re too kind, lyle. I am really happy that you enjoyed the post.

    I didn’t really do anything except write down some of my frugal habits, but your supportive words really made my day today. Thanks.

    #5 takes a lot of work. It is one area where I sometimes have to tell myself ‘Okay, Jason. That’s enough now’. You seem to have a great approach.

    Once again, it was really nice to hear from you. Hope to hear from you again sometime soon. All the best.


  12. Jason

    Thanks for taking the time, Stefanie.

    Your very kind words have given me renewed frugal vigor. I appreciate it very much.

    Don’t tell anyone, but it has taken me THREE years to come up with that tagline. I like it too. Looks like we both have good taste in taglines:)

    I hope to hear from you again sometime soon. Thanks again.


  13. Mike Collins

    I think #4 is key. Having a big picture view or understanding the concept of delayed gratification will help you make small sacrifices now in return for something better later.

  14. Jason

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, Mike Collins.

    You’re right about the importance of the big picture view being so important. It seems that it is also one of the most difficult things for many people to do. I admire your discipline, Mr. Collins. Kudos!

    I hope to hear from you again sometime soon. All the best.


  15. James Molet (SavvyJames)

    Great list…and I particularly agree with #3, Prioritizing. As you note – and it is something I often tell people – is that there are only 24 hours in a day and everything cannot be the top priority. It is important to understand how your actions at any given moment support – or don’t support – your goals/objectives.

  16. Jason

    Good to hear from you, James.

    You make a great point; “… everything cannot be a top priority”. It takes conscious effort to think about ones actions and how they support “or don’t support” your goals. You comment is very powerful and appreciated. Thanks.


  17. robert@moneyrebound

    I really like the points you have made in this post. Wanting to find out more and understand more is one thing which not everyone takes the time to do but it is so important

  18. Jason

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, Robert.

    As you point out, wanting to find out more does take time, but it is crucial. It is difficult to make a good decision if you don’t first understand the facts.

    I hope to hear from you again sometime soon, Robert. Thanks again.


  19. David Smith

    These habits should really be adopted if people want to be frugal. Perhaps the most important of these is to set achievable goals. It is also important to think independently and make practical decisions. These are habits that can be developed as you have pointed out carefully.

  20. Jason

    Dear David Smith,

    Thank you very much for your comment. Yes, setting goals really is crucial. Without a goal you don’t really have any way to measure your success or lack of it. As you also point out, thinking independently and making practical decisions are also key. Great to hear from you. I hope you visit again sometime soon.

    Cheers, Jason

  21. This Life On Purpose

    Love this post! This describes me in many ways but I still have some things to work on.

  22. Jason

    Hello This Life On Purpose,

    Love your comment! I also have many things to work on. Hope to hear from you again sometime soon.

    Cheers, Jason

  23. Renee s

    This post is me exactly, haha It is uncanny how spot on this is.

  24. Jason

    Me, too. Thanks for your post. Please check back soon.

  25. Rachael Lines

    Pleased to have found your blog on twitter – I loved this post, it made me smile a lot.
    I sometimes feel quite alone with my frugal ways as my family are really not like me at all. Since exploring online websites and social media – I have found a new self fulfilling warmth to know there are like minded people around, who are a real inspiration to my life.

  26. Jason

    Hello Rachael,

    How wonderful to hear from you. I appreciate you taking the time to comment (it made me smile a lot too).

    I understand completely what you said about sometimes feeling alone as a frugal-minded person.

    In a sense, though, I feel that this is exactly what makes being frugal so fun and rewarding. It requires a deliberate and ongoing focus on what it is that really matters to each of us and to get as much of that in our lives as we possibly can by filtering out the extra ‘fluff’. In this sense, it is both challenging and rewarding.

    Thank you, once again, Rachael. I hope you will comment again sometime soon.

    Your frugal friend, Jason

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