Frugality and Low Impact Life are very intertwined with each other because for the most part if you are frugal you also minimize your environmental impact just by not buying unneccessary stuff. It is therefor quite hard to separate them cleanly but under the “frugality” category I will focus more on the financial aspects and under Low Impact Life more on the environmental aspects. You can read about my path to becoming a frugal weirdo here.
If you start reading about frugality you easily fall into the amazing world of financial independence. To sum it up financial independence is about having enough income from your assets to cover your expenses so that you never have to work again (read more in my post here). This is often the goal when living a frugal lifestyle. Is it really worth spending many years longer at your job just so that you can afford an expensive lifestyle that you don’t have time to enjoy anyways? What is more important: more time to do what you want or more stuff?
By being frugal and working towards financial independence you spend less on things, cars, big houses, expensive hobbies and so on that you don’t really need or value. You learn where your “just enough” or in Swedish lagom level is which coincidentally leads to reducing your environmental impact substantially. You can read more about my thoughts on money in my post here, our monthly budget here and why you need an emergency fund here. What the path to financial independence also does is creating a space where you can reflect on what your goals with life are? What is most important? What would you do if you didn’t have to work? How do you live a fulfilling life?
I have gone through a year of buying nothing new (you can read my six month update here and what I learnt here). This is to both save money and to reduce my environmental impact. Read about our first steps to setting up the infrastructure for saving more each month here, about the money making machine here and our approach to FI here.
- bike more
- reduce eating and drinking at restaurants and bars
- bring your own lunches to work
- get a library card
- don’t buy new stuff
- if you have a need for something – borrow, find for free, swap, rent or buy second hand
- cut your own hair
- optimize food shopping and use everything you buy
- make sure your electricity, insurance and phone bills are as low as you can get them
- Shop groceries on sale
- rethink subscriptions to magazines, tv channels, newspapers, groceries and so on
- forage for food
Here are some resources to learn more and get inspired to start thinking what do you want to do with your limited time on earth (in order of discovery):
- Mr Money Mustache (blog)
- Frugalwoods (blog)
- the Mad Fientist (Podcast)
- Choose FI (Podcast)
- Our Next Life (blog)
- Rika tillsammans (Swedish blog and podcast)
I have also written a post with reading tips here if you want to find some great books on the subject.
I love tracking progress therefore calculate how much of our goal we have reached every month and I post about it on the blog three times a year. You can follow our financial journey here:
- Our first financial update May 2018
- Financial update #2 August 2018
- Financial update #3 December 2018
- Financial update #4 April 2019
To illustrate our progress I calculate the percentage of the goal achieved and put those numbers into the the graph below. This is only how much money we have in our money making machine. We have other savings outside of the market and have a lot of money tied into our apartment so our net worth is a lot higher.