Modern living is expensive in a consumer-driven society, and the availability of credit cards makes it possible to purchase more than you can afford. Combat this phenomenon and take charge of your finances by adopting a frugal lifestyle. The goal of frugality is to live within your means. If you wish to be extremely frugal, eliminate all but the necessary things from your life and use as little as possible for as long as possible. Extreme frugality can become a way of life or a solution to a temporary financial situation.
Reduce your living space by moving to a house or apartment that has just enough room for you and your family. You can obtain a home that is even more economical if family members are willing to share bedrooms. A smaller living space also translates to lower utility bills and less maintenance.
Lower the cost of food. Grow your own vegetables, buy only those food items you cannot produce, avoid restaurants and fast food, and take home-cooked meals to work and school. When you have to buy groceries, only purchase items on sale and in quantities that are just enough for your family for a specific period.
Buy clothes only when you need them. For instance, purchase a pair of jeans when the pair you have are no longer in the best shape and are beyond mending. If you are handy with a sewing machine, make your own clothes to avoid the higher expense of store-bought clothes.
Spend as little as possible on transportation. Walk or ride a bicycle if your destination is close enough. If not, take the bus or train or hitch a ride from a friend who is headed in the same direction. If you must own a car, choose one that is gas-efficient and just big enough for your needs. When you must replace your car, buy a used car instead of a new one.
Enjoy free entertainment. For instance, choose free TV shows over a cable subscription; borrow movies on DVD from the public library; and browse the Internet at establishments that offer free Internet access, such as the library and some malls. Check your city's website for free entertainment and attractions in your area, such as admission-free days at museums.
Use appliances and furniture carefully, to extend their usefulness and to avoid having to replace them prematurely. There are books, DVDs and websites that show you how to repair these items yourself, when necessary, to avoid the cost of hiring a professional or purchasing a replacement.
Spend as little as possible when you need to make a purchase. For instance, obtain free and inexpensive used items through websites such as Freecycle.org and Craigslist, yard sales and thrift stores like The Salvation Army and Goodwill.
Sell the items you do not need. This creates more space in your home and generates money that you can use for the things that you do need.