In our rampant consumerist existence in developed societies, frugality often has a weird association with Mr Burn’s-like kooky miserly-ism and stinginess. But it that isn’t the case, and it could be one of the greatest gifts you could ever “give” to yourself and your loved ones.

Frugality isn’t about saving every cent possible at great labour and pain to the expense of yourself and people around you. It is about maximising life and financial efficiency.

Frugality is about the 80/20 principle, in that there are lots of very easy and simple ways to save money and time. Yet these “low hanging fruit” are ignored by so many people because they are time-poor, stressed, rushed, lack socio-economic privilege, or are not taught or encouraged to think outside of the box beyond living week by week.

By reducing excessive and unnecessary expenses, it is possible to boost your effective net income, boost your happiness (by reducing financial stress), and create more financial security which gives you the power to make more risky, and potentially higher gain, decisions in life.

Over the next month will be launching a series of financial independence articles to give information and advice to others currently living, or planning to live, in a nomadic or transient existence. We’ll also be filming a new video for our YouTube channel on the same topic for those who prefer to listen/watch instead of read.

If your new years resolution is to save more money, reduce financial stress, and enable yourself to travel and live more, maybe our advice will help you to achieve those goals.

In the meantime, these are our top five frugal living, money saving tips for those heading towards the often expensive and stressful December holiday/Christmas season:

The best present is your presence

Opt out of consumerism and stressful reciprocal gift-giving. Instead we recommend spending time with family and friends, sharing a meal or beverage. Give your time and attention as a gift. For those with friends and family living in other regions or countries, give them a phone call or send them a personalised email/message and let them know their in your thoughts.

If you do choose to give a gift…

Consider buying a second hand OP shop item that has character and will suit the persons needs. Another option (our favourite) is to hand make some sweet or savoury treats and attach a personalised message on it. We also like to gift people our “time” such as offering to take them out on a MTB trail tour, or give them surfing lessons.

Take advantage of people leaving for the holidays

Offer to do house and animal care-taking. This offers a nice spot to stay during the holidays if you live in a nice area if you’re already on the road. Or for people who are still saving in preparation to embark on a nomadic lifestyle, you can rent out your own accommodation for some extra money while you house sit elsewhere! Win-win!

Sharing is caring

Talk to your neighbours and members in your community and if you need something, ask and you may receive. We often find ourselves lending tools and equipment to friends, and we also often borrow cooking equipment or other special tools that we don’t usually use and don’t want to buy just for a once off use.

Your credit card is a tool…

Like many tools it can be dangerous if used incorrectly or in haste. Always ask yourself “do I REALLY need this” before buying anything. This is especially important during the December festive season, where expenses from eating and drinking out, travel and accommodation costs, and various misc purchases add up and can result in serious financial stress in the new year. Vigilance and self-discipline takes time to develop, but will be worth it in the long run as your spending habits change.

As a final bonus-tip

We also recommend avoiding alcohol where possible during the festive season. Difficult as that may sound to many, it’s a major expense both for your bank account and your personal health. It’s truly a special feeling to wake up at dawn on New Year’s Day with a clear head and focussed mind – rather than feeling bloated, sluggish and sick for the rest of January as a result of over-indulgence of unhealthy foods and alcohol. We’re not preaching complete abstinence, just that it is greatly beneficial to respect and care for your body at all times, even during this time of year.

We wish all of our readers and followers a fantastic and safe wrap up to the year, and we look forward to launching our new articles and video series in the new year.

Until next time, have a good one!

Recommended sites for financial independence, minimalism and early retirement inspiration and information:

  • Mr Money Moustache: An awesome, engaging blog from a fellow who retired at 30 and focuses on lifestyle optimisation
  • Go Curry Cracker: A family of three that retired and now travel the world
  • Squarkfox: Tools and information to earn more and spend less
  • Budgets are Sexy: How to get out of debt and increase your net worth