Are you ever frugal by accident?

“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” – Jackie French Koller

That’s one of my favorite quotes, but leaves out another path to wealth – growing rich by accident! :)

Was thinking about all the things I do naturally that just happens to save money over time, and thought it would be fun to share and see how everyone accidentally saves too :)

Here’s my short list, in particular order:

  • I cut my own hair. SO CONVENIENT!
  • I wear jeans and tees daily. So comfortable!
  • I go on walks for entertainment. FREE!!
  • I crave PB&J’s for lunches. Tasty!
  • I rock beards every winter. Warm!… except when you become “Two Face” ;)

half beard(9 months of hard work right there!)

  • I prefer road trips over flight trips. Adventure!
  • I buy books over stuff. Learning!
  • I cut my own lawn. Nature!
  • I work out at home instead of the gym. Convenience! (Or it’ll never happen!)
  • And I genuinely don’t need anything too fancy in life to be happy… The key to it all :)

Hasn’t always been this way (just a decade ago I was blinging out everything from my ears to my cars to my jewelry!), but funny what happens when you truly zero in on the things that are important to you…

Or perhaps I’m just getting older, who knows, haha…

Either way – it’s good to be content with less than more!

Curious to hear all your frugal ways as well… :)

PS: Went to publish this blog post and WordPress told me the title/url was already taken!! Looks like I blogged about this *exact* same thing over 3 years ago, and interestingly enough I’m still at my same frugal ways :) Here’s the post if you want to compare: Are You Ever #FrugalByAccident?

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  1. Dave @ Accidental FIRE June 6, 2019 at 5:20 AM

    I’ve tried to cut my own hair a few times but mistakes are sometimes unrecoverable…. without going bald. And I’ve made some mistakes….

    1. J. Money June 6, 2019 at 6:05 AM

      Haha…. I might have shaved off a spike or two myself over the years… ;)

  2. Kate June 6, 2019 at 5:58 AM

    Getting sober was the best frugal accident ever! Then I quit smoking. And then I gave up snacking. I’m healthier, happier, and have saved a fortune!

    1. J. Money June 6, 2019 at 6:06 AM

      Oh, hell yeah!! Good for you!! Now you’re gonna have even more time to enjoy all that $$$ later ;)

    2. Debora June 6, 2019 at 5:12 PM

      Wow! That’s boss savings! Cigs and liquor are no joke. I’m too cheap to drink except at Christmas when I splurge on Evan Williams egg nog. :-) Congrats and keep up the good work!

  3. Jacq June 6, 2019 at 7:35 AM

    When bloggers suggest ‘no spend days’: Most weeks I get groceries one night, and fill up my car a different day. Other than online recurring bills, I am not going on spending sprees!
    To me it’s faster to make coffee at home than stopping on the way to work, so coffee out is much less of a temptation just for time savings.
    I love the library and will generally only buy books if I’ve shown I take them out more than once and it would be ideal to have all in the series if I go on a reading spree.
    My parents were frugal when I was growing up (and still are now), there are probably lots of other things I couldn’t think of because they seem normal.

    Thanks for getting us thinking!

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 9:52 AM

      Thanks for playing along :) Sounds like you had great role models growing up!

  4. Fred Leamnson June 6, 2019 at 8:05 AM

    Hmmm. Never thought much about it (blasphemy, I know).
    I cut my own hair (#1 clipper)
    Wear jeans/shorts/t-shirt/flipflops(whenever possible)
    Will soon sell or give away my old suits (used to wear them daily)
    We like to drive on trips too, except for the really long ones

    I strike out on many of yours. We have a gym membership (do hot yoga 3 – 4x a week). Haven’t done the winter beards. Most of the rest have been intentional.

    Not sure I want to be the trendsetter with a one-sided beard. I hope that works out for you.

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 9:58 AM

      It was only an afternoon thing to freak out my kids ;)

  5. Chanda June 6, 2019 at 9:00 AM

    ~We drink tap water & refill a reusable bottle. *gasp*
    ~We pack lunches for work and school.
    ~have reusable baggies and use containers rather than disposables.
    ~We buy tons at the thrift shop.
    ~we use a resale clothing app for clothes too
    ~Also mow our own yard.
    ~Buy groceries at Ruler foods and ALDI type stores and bag our own with reusable bags. I couldn’t tell you the last time I stepped foot in a superstore.
    ~Buy Starbucks pods for the work keurig instead of visiting the Starbucks in the lobby. (9 drinks for $8)
    ~I’m a clearance shopper almost exclusively.
    ~only eat out to bigger sit down dinners for special occasions.

    Sure I could come up with more but those are most

  6. Chanda June 6, 2019 at 9:03 AM

    Also big on libraries and thrifting books! Big readers here. We like how books feel and smell too, so there’s that.

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 10:00 AM

      Totally!! I only read physical books anymore and hope they stay around forever!!

  7. Joe June 6, 2019 at 9:23 AM

    I use the #2 clipper. Easy peasy.
    I wear cargo pants these days. They are so much more comfortable than jeans.
    I still have a gym membership. Working out at home never sticks for me. I’ll try it again this summer.
    All in all, I’m pretty frugal. Oh, I use the library instead of buying books for years now. I find I don’t read old books that much.

  8. Debbie June 6, 2019 at 9:30 AM

    We already do all of these too (quit flying in 2001 due to vertigo/we’ve been cutting each other’s hair 15 years/never went to a gym/love P&J/cut our own lawn/live in jeans or sweats). A year ago I quit buying kitchen garbage bags. Instead we use the plastic bags from the grocery store. They are smaller but free! We recycle quite a bit & it’s just the 2 of us so we don’t have all that much garbage. I just cashed in points on my Discover Card & was able to buy a few Christmas gifts cards 20% off (bought $25 gift card using $20 worth of points–bought 2 of these). My husband has a goatee. Will have to see if he’d agree to 1/2 a goatee, LOL (doubtful). That is quite an interesting statement!

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 10:02 AM

      I want a pic if you can ever convince him of it ;)

  9. Fire Year FIRE escape June 6, 2019 at 9:33 AM

    I find after living the frugal life for a while its good to un-train yourself a little bit.

    Accidental saving: I set up a home theater PC last week from spare parts I had. I was trying to find a way to avoid buying a $20 adaptor to get from my TV to PC. Then I realized I had worked on it for 2 hours and it would have been smarter to just buy the adaptor. I did in the end anyways.

    I’m actually un-training myself these days…hopefully I don’t go too far!

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 10:03 AM

      You’re much more skilled (and patient) than me, haha… Good job completing it!

  10. Moneybee June 6, 2019 at 9:52 AM

    I’m happy to take leftovers for lunch most days. After all, most of what I make is food I like (the rest being things I haven’t tried yet) and why wouldn’t I want to eat more of something I like? And related to what Jacq said with coffee, heating up lunch takes only a couple minutes of my lunch break, while going to get something would take 15 or more.

    If at all possible I read books from the library, buying them only if I really liked them. (Don’t want to get stuck with books I don’t like!)

    I don’t often wear makeup and I don’t highlight/otherwise dye my hair (Too much work, and my hair is really soft and nice and I don’t want to mess that up.) Also I tend to let my hair get pretty long before I get tired of that and cut it, so I get haircuts once a year or less.

    I have a super cute water bottle– with colorful elephants!– and tap water here tastes fine, so I don’t buy bottled water.

    My commute is about eight minutes. (Total luck on that one.)

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 10:03 AM

      I wanna see that water bottle!!

      1. Moneybee June 7, 2019 at 2:17 PM

        It’s the Tervis Tumbler Mehndi Elephants water bottle, with a white lid. (I think it was a Christmas gift from my mom.)

        1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 2:37 PM

          That is pretty! Just googled it :)

  11. John Butrick June 6, 2019 at 11:17 AM

    I totally shop at a thrift store my girlfriend works at. Clothes for 50% off thrifty prices. Saves a ton on my wardrobe

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 10:05 AM

      I don’t know what’s better – the fact you save 50% or that your girlfriend works there!!

      You win in both!! :)

  12. Liberty @ Love Liberty Shelter June 6, 2019 at 11:30 AM

    One of the easiest frugal choices we’ve made is gratefully accepting hand-me-downs for the kids. Even with four kids, we literally buy no clothes. Only a pair of shoes here and there. Probably $1000s saved, and no shopping headache.

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 10:11 AM

      And it’s all still “new” to them, so probably just as exciting! My kids love any time we bring home boxes of used clothes haha…

  13. Natasha June 6, 2019 at 11:49 AM

    Only read books that are available at the library.

    Always pack a lunch to take to work.

    Enjoy hobbies outdoors like hiking and walking, which are free.

    Do minor car repairs like changing air filters myself.

  14. Megan June 6, 2019 at 12:03 PM

    I do a lot of frugal things naturally, even more so as I get older:

    – I’ve never been much of one for makeup, I only wear it for special occasions
    – I have a fairly limited wardrobe, and only buy a few new pieces a year to freshen things up
    – Most of my hobbies are fairly inexpensive; biking, hiking, watercolors, embroidery, photography, reading (mostly library books)
    – My husband and I are both homebodies and spend very little on going out/entertainment (eating out budget is $130/month for the two of us)
    – I do have someone else cut my hair, but only every 12 weeks for about $30 and I don’t dye it
    – I paint my own nails and get manicures very rarely

  15. Karl B. June 6, 2019 at 12:15 PM

    I have regular site assignments as part of my job. Typically, somewhere internationally and working long hours for a few months. That has several accidental frugal benefits:
    – Work is generally 6 days per week with several overtime hours – instant 50% pay increase. Sometimes more if I’m on an allowance;
    – Long hours means you’re not spending as much on luxuries. Most places I go to also have a much lower cost of living;
    – I take advantage of the fact I’m in a foreign country to take 5-10 days or so of vacation somewhere nice. I save the cost of the flight ticket and got to see Cape Town, Fiji, Auckland, Brisbane, Perth, Bali, Rio De Janeiro, Nouméa, Panama, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dubai, for much cheaper. I just pay for hotel/food/entertainment. I have been doing that for 15+ years now.

    The trick is to not count on these assignments in your annual budget but take advantage of them when they happen. I typically try to allocate 20%-25% or so of the extra I make in “fun money” and the rest towards savings and/or mortgage pre-payment.

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 10:13 AM


      What type of work do you do to score that??

      What a perk!!

      1. Karl. B June 9, 2019 at 11:32 AM

        I’m an engineer by trade but now a non-ferrous smelter specialist (titanium, platinum and nickel mostly). I mostly do construction management now. The travel and time away from home is tough on the personal life – that’s why you have to take advantage of the good parts. I typically work in mining towns but you do fly in through the big cities to get there.

        1. J. Money June 10, 2019 at 7:59 AM

          Very fascinating for sure… You don’t hear non-ferrous smelter all too often ;)

  16. Kat L June 6, 2019 at 3:33 PM

    After reading ERE I started cutting my own hair (simple long style), don’t do makeup (ever), make cold brew iced tea (tea bags in cold water overnight in a jar, add stevia, dilute and pour into reuseable coke bottles!)

    But the new thing is I’ve recently become ‘barista FIRE’ where I have enough for eventual retirement, and in the meantime am taking fun part-time jobs. One of the biggest benefits is each job has a side benefit like Free Food (working in a natural food deli kitchen), free training (work for a shuttle company, get paid to get CDL), tippable jobs (delicious cash) etc. I’ve not had to buy groceries pretty much for the last year because of the kitchen job, so much free to staff food!

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 10:25 AM

      Nicely done!! I think I’ll always be Barista FIRE too – just cuz I love being around people and always curious about different jobs… I really want to work as a bank teller one day so I can look for rare coins/notes that come through too ;)

  17. Shawna June 7, 2019 at 12:19 PM

    Hmmm let’s see what’s accidental:
    -I barely drink (like once every 4 months) because my partner doesn’t drink at all
    -I either make coffee at home or drink the coffee at work because it’s faster than going out for coffee
    -I only have to fill up my gas tank once every 4-6 weeks because I work 2 miles from my home (Id bike but there’s a massive hill in the way!) and I work from home regularly
    -I paint my own nails
    -I’d argue my gym memberships save me on medical costs long term because it keeps me healthy but I just dislocated my knee while working out so no savings right now ;)

    1. J. Money June 7, 2019 at 2:40 PM

      Ouch! Haha… sorry to hear :)

      I’m all for gym memberships so long as you actually *go*. So far I do much better at home unless someone drags me out of it and takes me to the gym :)