Monday, September 19, 2011

Frugal Life - is it really that dreary or a smart thing to do?

Why the Secret?

Shhh! Don't let on that we are frugal! Why the secrecy? It can be a good thing, you know. In fact be glad you know how to be frugal. Its the in thing right now.


Frugal! Once upon a time people would shy away from using such words to describe themselves. Today its just the reverse! With rapid rising cost of living, we have to use our common sense and wisdom to know how to live a quality lifestyle without too much unnecessary frivolous spending.

Of course we love to spend! Its how you spend that matters.

Of course we all do spend extravagantly once a while, depending on the occasion and our budget. To be frugal is smart and gives a sense of satisfaction.

Frugal living to me means spending wisely, on good quality products and fresh and tasty food. It does not mean eating scraps of old veggies bought from the discount corner. It does not mean buying overripe mangoes which cannot be eaten and bananas which should be delegated to the garbage bin the next day.

Waste not, Want not

It simply means knowing what to buy, where to buy and choosing your menu carefully. I used to overstock my pantry as I seldom have time to shop leisurely lately. Too much fresh perishable foods in the fridge may be wasted if we decided to eat out for a few meals.

Eating out can be great too

Sometimes eating out is great, a wonderful treat when we eat with family and friends. But there had been times where we felt regret for spending a lot of money for poor quality food. A whole bowl of noodles with a few scraps of chicken and 2 tiny prawns, some vegetables. That may cost up to RM13, excluding extra vegetables and drink. An average meal for 2 may cost between Rm20 to Rm30.

DQ Organic Chicken?

For Rm40 we can buy a small DQ organic chicken and some fresh vegetables. And that is enough for a simple meal for up to 4 - 5 persons. Just increase the variety with something cheap and nutritious like eggs or fried ikan bilis or a quick soup tofu veggie made from some bony parts of the chicken.

Eating Well

I had been reading on frugal cooking and realise the food can be as interesting and tasty as some expensive cuts of meat and exotic vegetables and fruits. I also learnt that its better to eat food grown locally as Allah has created food good for us within our own vicinity. He is Most Wise, Kind. Even needy folks can have healthy, tasty nutritious meals from their backyard. We have become so sophisticated that we end up paying lots of money for imported food that may not yield us maximum benefits.

Blessed with lots of great fruits and vegetables

Just think papayas, pineapple, mangoes, watermelon, yams, sweet potatoes and even local avocado and promegranates. Lime, starfruit, coconuts, mangosteen, guava, rambutan and pomelos are all rich in different nutrients. we do not have to travel the world to look for our vitamins and antioxidants.The problem is we usually do not have time or inclination to eat with discipline, wisdom and care.

Colourful Palette

A simple guideline is to look for a colourful palette when we choose our fruits. Every colour has its own special qualities. We can also enjoy sweetness with gula melaka.

Even local produced fruits and vegetables are no longer cheap so imported ones are even more so. Lots of fresh and raw live food and less meat and white products like refined white flours, rice, sugars etc. We cannot guarantee good health or long life but at least we can make an effort to care for ourselves and our loved ones on a daily basis.

Quality food and healthy cooking

Frugal also means choosing generally less expensive foods and products without sacrificing quality and enjoyment. Buying quality products that can last longer and provide more satisfaction .

How to

Good to steam, bake or stir fry our food. Soups and salads are easy and quick to prepare.

Cheap does not mean economical

Sometimes it is frugal to buy a more expensive product if it is of superior quality and within our budget. Just make sure we make good use of it and not let it collect dust in a corner.


  1. Salam sis.

    Frugality in my terms mean to spend on something that measures up to its value and it must be based on necessity, and within one's means.

    Personally I do not see the justice in spending RM50 on a couple of pizzas when I can use the same amount of money to make miniature pizzas and let the entire family place their own toppings. Greater satisfaction, ample family time, and you know what goes in it.

  2. alhamdulillah! Well said. Its also much more fun to create our own mini pizzas. Kids just love doing that. And also save the adults some work too. Win Win situation.

  3. So very true! And great fun to create our own mini pizzas. Kids really enjoy that as they can double all their favourite fillings and get away with it. Saves the adults some time too.