Frugal living doesn't make one rich, but rather it opens more doors to possibilities. Frugal living adds up your savings, but it doesn't increase your income. In my opinion, one should not predominantly focus on being frugal alone. The notion of increasing your savings and your income should be weighted equally for best efficiency, hence I try to be a frugal capitalist.

It will be interesting though, to have a thought experiment on the options one can have for budget cutting(Since the topic today is on frugality). With the assumption that misery is not in the equation, here is the list that I can come up with.

1) Borrow instead of buy, especially for books. One can find neighborhood libraries everywhere in Singapore now. You can borrow dvd movies and internet connectivity in the library too. Think of it as a government subsidy.

2) Doesn't matter if you start work at 9am. Take the train to work and board before 7.45am to get free train rides. That way, you can save alot on transport.

3) To contrary beliefs, do not use cash, use credit card and debit card when possible to get points and cash rebate.You pay for the same amount but you get a cash back(debit card) or a credit refund(credit card).

4) Ditch cable and television all together. There are more interesting programs to watch online(youtube, internet etc) now. You can watch them as and when you are free, unlike cable and television where you have to meet their timing. Imagine the cost you will save from cable subscription, television set and electric bills. 

5) Try to get a better price on insurance. Call and ask around to make sure that you are getting the best price out there. Consider taking a higher deductible, too.

6) Drink plain water. You don't need any other alternatives. Boil tap water and store in your fridge. Imagine the amount of money you can save from not buying commercialized beverages alone. You will become healthier from this. Bottled water is also handy when you are out for a meal. It saves you money, as it prevents you from ordering overpriced drinks that most restaurants serve.

Here are just a few examples I can think of. It is important to find a balance to match your lifestyle. Do not take anything to the extreme.


  1. Hi Hayden

    I always like to debate on the topics of whether frugality or aggressive working is better. It is aliking it to defense or offense in a modern soccer game. I always like a defense mode. I think it is the build up and discipline to any success.

  2. Hi B

    For me, frugality is analogous to controlling the leaking bucket of water that I earned. It doesn't get me far but it increases the possibilities of me earning more with the water I saved. Saving too much will make me miserable. Have to find the Goldilock zone.

    I always think that a frugal way of living and a capitalistic mindset is compatible. You can earn another leaking bucket water while controlling the leak at the same time :)

  3. Hi Hayden,

    Good post on frugality. To me being frugal does not mean I lead a miserable life. Its more of getting value for what I spend on. Frugality is a habit. If you're not frugal now, you'll still spend all your money even if you earn a lot.

    Like you said, we need to save and earn more at the same time. Being frugal alone will not make one rich.

    1. Hi SYI,

      I agree with you.

      Good to cultivate an enjoyable low output lifestyle when you have a high input. That way you can save more. Another good example is visiting parks(eg Botanical Gardens etc) with family, you can enjoy good family time without a cost :)

    2. Here, we can take a leaf from our malay friends. Often see the whole family & friends , picnic at the parks. Sharing food and gossips, while the kids gets some out doors suntan and interactions with their cousins & peers. They use the company's van/lorry/truck to ferry the family around.

  4. Hi Hayden

    " Ditch cable and television all together. "

    I hoped to explore this option but failed. Reason, my current 3Mbps cable internet isn't able to give me smooth images while streaming. Hated when the screen freezes etc. Upgrading to fiber once my contract expires in Jan 2014.

    "Drink plain water"

    We loved to have gassy stuff from time to time. Often home-made my flavored cold drinks, e.g lou han gor, barley, green tea. Am wondering what else I can try ? Any recommendations.

    The biggest cash leak here is when my partner just won't endure that last 15mins walk home and buys a teh peng. Tasteless brown stuff with lots of ice, costing like $1.50 OUCH..... We have Nestle Thai Milk Tea (from Thailand) that tasted so much better and we have ice cube at home.

    The other point is eating out. Seriously, I felt that it cost me more to cook at home then to cycle to the market and grab a bite. Sure, the fun of home cooked meals and controlling the salt & MSG added. Still, a pack of veggie here and meat there, plus rice, water and electricity.... sometimes.

  5. Hi SnOOpy168

    I am currently using WIFI from my singtel broadband to stream youtube, videos online and the speed and quality seems ok to me, but you are right we definitely need to upgrade to fibre in the future. I predict that when technology advance more in the near future, it will be the end of books(taken over by kindle), cds(taken over by itunes), tv(taken over by video stream), cameras(taken over by camera phones) and radio(taken over by multi purpose devices) in the near future.

    Try plain water. If you drink it regularly with the premise of quenching your thirst and cleansing your body, then you will start to like it :) Most barley and green tea drinks have artificial flavors added in them to make them taste good(commercialized ones most of the time) .

    I agree with you that eating out saves money. Imagine you don't have to buy so many plates and utensils and the amount of water you can save, also not to mention your house will be much cleaner without the disposed food. :)

    Thanks for the heads up.