What are the best frugal living books?

Living a thrifty lifestyle takes time and effort to perfect.

But if you’re interested in becoming more frugal, you have to start somewhere!

One of my favorite ways to learn more about a subject is to grab a good book.

And that’s especially true when learning about budgeting and finances.

These 11 best frugal living books are a great way to get started on your path to thrifty living.

You’re going to love digging into all the tips and tricks outlined in each of these amazing books!

From learning new budgeting techniques to finding unique ways to save more, frugal living books are packed with advice to help you be more thrifty.

The books on this list make great gifts, too!

Whether you know a college student who’s having a hard time making ends meet or a new mom who wants to start saving for their kid’s future, these books are sure to be a welcome present!

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Savings Tip: Many of the below frugal living books are available through Audible, an Amazon company with the world’s largest selection of audio books.

If you don’t already have Audible, you can get a 30 day trial, which gets you 2 FREE books! If you cancel within the free trial period, the books are still yours to keep!

1) The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

By Dave Ramsey

If living a frugal lifestyle seems like something you could never do, I suggest giving The Total Money Makeover a read.

After combing through the detailed plan outlined by financial expert Dave Ramsey, you’ll be able to whip your finances into shape once and for all.

In addition to helping you live well with less, this easy-to-follow financial plan can also get you out of debt and start saving for your future.

This book is such a popular option for people looking to improve their family’s financial situation that it’s sold more than 5 million copies.

And since the advice and tips outlined on the pages are straightforward and practical, most of the book’s readers can report real results that worked for them.

The book outlines seven baby steps you can take to get out of debt and save for retirement.

With the help of The Total Money makeover, you’ll learn how to:

  • Design a plan for paying off debt, including large debt payments like your student loans and mortgage
  • Recognize the 10 most dangerous money myths and how to avoid them in your own life
  • Create a nest egg for emergencies and retirement, no matter how much income you bring in

On top of the actionable plan, the book also includes new features, like sidebars that discuss marriage conflicts surrounding money and how to tackle college debt.

And you’ll receive a variety of helpful forms in the book to get you started.

Pros:

  • Designed for anyone hoping to start living a more frugal lifestyle, this money management book gives you all the tools you need to start budgeting and saving
  • The seven-step program outlined in the book is a simple guide to help you get started, no matter where you are on your financial journey

Cons:

  • Anyone already living a frugal lifestyle may find the book redundant or overly simplistic
  • Seasoned budgeters may not be able to apply the advice or may have already implemented many of the tactics in their own finances

Quotes:

“Change is painful. Few people have the courage to seek out change. Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change.”

“You must walk to the beat of a different drummer. The same beat that the wealthy hear. If the beat sounds normal, evacuate the dance floor immediately! The goal is to not be normal, because as my radio listeners know, normal is broke.”

“It is human nature to want it and want it now; it is also a sign of immaturity. Being willing to delay pleasure for a greater result is a sign of maturity.”

“A budget is people telling their money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

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2) The Minimalist Budget: A Practical Guide On How To Save Money, Spend Less And Live More With A Minimalist Lifestyle

By Simeon Lindstrom

Frugality and minimalism often go hand in hand.

In The Minimalist Budget, you’ll learn how to combine the practice of minimalism with budgeting so you can save money, spend less, and live more.

The book attempts to take a different approach to budgeting than many other frugal living books do by combining minimalist principals with financial concepts.

Instead of talking about crunching the numbers, The Minimalist Budget starts by taking a deeper look at the concept of budgeting altogether.

Instead of focusing your efforts on budgeting your money, why not think about how you should budget your life?

By looking at your emotional, behavioral, social, and spiritual capital, you can start taking an inventory of your assets and begin to make smarter decisions.

The book outlines a variety of topics that go hand in hand with living a frugal lifestyle, including:

  • Shopping and spending habits
  • Problem areas in your budget
  • The issue of debt
  • Setting achievable goals for your finances, home, and work

And while the text discusses money and finances, it goes beyond the numbers to discuss the concept of minimalism in more detail to allow you to pair your budget with bigger lifestyle changes.

This companionship could then lead to a more authentic and longer-lasting spending plan that will naturally become more frugal, too.

Pros:

  • A different approach to money management, the book combines two principals that many frugal people already use in their daily lives to help them reimagine their lifestyle in a new way
  • The guide helps you find ways to minimize your spending without sacrificing your quality of life

Cons:

  • Some readers found the content too rudimentary

Quotes:

“The fact that our lives are finite is scary enough – to know that you squandered what you had on looking at gossip on the Internet or flipping past infomercials on the couch will make this fact even harder to swallow.”

“Undoubtedly, what came into your mind when you heard the word “budget” was simple: money. Money is a thing to be feared, to be saved, to be celebrated when it’s there and mourned when it isn’t. Budgeting, we are told, is necessary. When you live in a world where there is always one more thing to buy, being cognizant of the fact that you don’t have endless resources is just the practical thing to do. However, budgeting can be much more than this. To put it simply, money is only one of the resources that we should be managing in our lives, and possibly not even the most important one.”

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Related article: 17 Simple Tips For Becoming A Minimalist

3) Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life

By Ruth Soukup

Living frugally doesn’t mean you need to give up the good life!

You just have to learn how to be content by spending less.

In Living Well Spending Less, author Ruth Soukup can help you see the benefits of organizing your finances, finding ways to cut your spending, and learning how to enjoy your life, even if you’re spending less money.

Soukup uses her own first-hand knowledge and experience to help readers create a practical action plan that will help you make lasting changes to your goals, home, and finances.

The actionable tasks outlined in the book are punctuated with personal stories and bible verses to help you stay motivated to stay on track in your budgeting journey.

As a helpful lifestyle guide for families, Living Well Spending less can help you:

  • Take back your time and schedule by making small changes in your daily habits
  • Reduce the stress in your home by helping you and your family clear out the clutter
  • Stay on budget by providing tips and tricks for cutting your grocery spending in half
  • Create a practical cleaning schedule that works for you

In addition to providing readers with tips and tricks for living a more frugal life, this helpful book goes on to provide you with a detailed guide to minimalist living.

Whether you find yourself comparing your life to those around you or just need help keeping your life organized, this inspirational book can give you with the tools you need to start living well without the need for more money.

Pros:

  • This book is an inspirational story to help you stay motivated as you live your frugal life
  • Written for anyone who struggles with budgeting and spending, the book is a great introduction into a transition to frugal living

Cons:

  • Faith and Christianity are discussed throughout, which may deter some readers who are interested in more financially-driven text
  • The book is written more as an uplifting story than a how-to guide, although there are some money-saving and organizational tips throughout the story

Quotes:

“Likewise, you can’t live a truly productive, contented, and joy-filled life while your finances are in complete disarray. A Good Life and financial stability go hand in hand.”

“At any given time, we all have room to grow and bloom, no matter where we are planted. No matter our season of life, we each have opportunities to learn more, develop more, give more.”

“I think sometimes we become so fearful of making a mistake, of doing something wrong, of having someone else laugh at us, that we become paralyzed with indecision.”

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4) The Good Life for Less: Giving Your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget

By Amy Allen Clark

Through personal experience, author Amy Clark learned how to live a frugal life.

And in her book, The Good Life for Less, she shares all her tips and tricks for smart budgeting and stretching her family’s money.

Clark offers a lifestyle plan to readers that can help you create a peaceful, thrifty home of your own.

With The Good Life for Less, you’ll learn how to:

  • Set a reasonable budget for your family and stick to it each month
  • Never pay full price for anything, from cars to groceries
  • Cook delicious and frugal meals for any family from scratch
  • Save money by making your own ingredients instead of buying them at the grocery store
  • Manage an organized and clean house without wasting time or money
  • Create memorable traditions and family occasions without breaking the bank

The smart and creative ideas for families living with less will inspire you to start living a more frugal lifestyle.

And with the help of the budget and financial guide on the pages of this book, you’ll have the tools and guidance to start saving right away.

Pros:

  • The book outlines creative and easy ways to live a full life without the need for your family to make big sacrifices
  • In addition to frugal living tips, the book also includes frugal recipes for your family to enjoy

Cons:

  • Designed for beginners, the book may be too basic for more advanced frugal families

Quotes:

“I think budgeting is a lot like dieting. If you go all out on some crazy starvation scheme, you’re not likely to stick to it. If you make small changes and learn to live with them, you’re more likely to stay focused on and meet your long-term goals.”

“If seeing is believing, then there may be no more powerful budgeting tool than a simple pie chart. This visual aid – the one we use to help children understand how the parts of a whole are divided – is just the in-your-face tool I need sometimes when one piece of our family’s budget starts taking up too much of the whole.”

“Pinpointing your spending pitfalls doesn’t necessarily mean giving up things you enjoy or splurge on. Instead, it means recognizing them, considering them in the big picture of your budget, then choosing what is and is not worth your extra cash.”

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5) The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living: Save Money, Plan Ahead, Pay Off Debt & Live

By Daisy Luther

With more and more families struggling to make ends meet, frugal living has become a popular idea in recent days.

And with the help of the The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living, you can start learning how to live well with less, too.

With the help of this guide, readers can get valuable insight into what it means to live frugally, allowing them to achieve financial goals, pay down their existing debt, and put their kids through college without going into debt.

The book covers the basics of starting and maintaining a frugal lifestyle, including how to:

  • Redefine what your family deems as necessities
  • Set financial goals and reach them
  • Start cooking well without spending a ton of money
  • Teach your kids how to handle money from an early age
  • Save more for the future

The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living can give you a new perspective on money.

After reading this book, you can begin to see how a frugal lifestyle might just make your life a little more fulfilling and a little less stressful.

Pros:

  • Tips and tricks for frugal living are outlined throughout the book, providing readers with actionable advice they can apply to their own life

Cons:

  • Some of the frugal tips in the book are extreme, which means they may not appeal to the average reader

Quotes:

“Being thrifty, cheap, or frugal doesn’t mean that you are miserly, non-generous, or poor. These words mean that you are thoughtful about how you spend your money. They mean that you aren’t wasteful. They mean that you will creatively find a way to solve more problems with less money. They mean you are free.”

“Hardcore frugality is not just making a choice to buy the generic brand of laundry soap instead of a jug of Tide with scent beads. Hardcore frugality is buying the ingredients to make five times the amount of laundry soap for half the price of that name-brand detergent, all the while loving the fact that the execs at Procter & Gamble are not going to their annual retreat in Santorini on your money.”

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6) The Frugal Homesteader: Living the Good Life on Less

By John Moody

Homesteading is a popular method of frugal living, allowing your family to become more self-reliant and spend less at the same time.

Learn how to build the homestead of your dreams with the help of The Frugal Homesteader.

With this comprehensive guide, you can get all the information you need to build and maintain your own homestead and start living more frugally.

From using your creativity to make your own DIY innovations around your home to raising and growing your own food, all aspects of homesteading are discussed on the pages of this book.

With the help of this guide, you can learn how to:

  • Set up and tend your own garden
  • Equip your barn and outbuildings with everything you need
  • Protect and provide for your animals
  • Harvest your own rainwater
  • Heat your home with wood
  • Forage for food
  • Produce what you need instead of having to purchase it

Whether you’re just starting to build your own homestead or are an experienced homesteader, you can learn something from this frugal living book, including affordable and sustainable ideas for your homestead and unique techniques and approaches to living a more frugal life.

Pros:

  • The book provides a comprehensive guide to starting and maintaining a homestead, allowing you to learn a little bit about everything you would need to know to get started

Cons:

  • The ideas and techniques in the book aren’t provided with much detail, which means anyone interested in learning more would need to do more research on the topic

Quotes:

“Homesteading is a journey you start that you never finish. You build, you plant, you improve, knowing and hoping that one day, someone else will come along and see the value of what you have done, what you have contributed, and pick up the shovel or the hammer where you left them, and continue making the land a more beautiful and enjoyable, sustainable place.”

“A second principle that guides our approach to homesteading is “Work once; profit many times.” Weeding is a never-ending battle, unless you decisively win the war with weeds. I would rather densely plant comfrey once along a fence edge to keep weeds out and also attract pollinators, improve my soil, and give me roots to sell, than mow those stretches every seven to ten days during growing season.”

“First off, “Never do anything that nature, an animal, a vegetable, or a microbe will do for you for free (and probably do better)”. Homesteading is hard work at times. Why make it harder? Why make more work by not enlisting the natural allies just waiting in the wings?”

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7) Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less

By Leah Ingram

Whether you’re in a tight financial spot right now or know you’ll have some big expenses coming up, sometimes you need to start figuring out how to save money right away.

Suddenly Frugal is a quick-start guide to helping you start living a more thrifty life right now.

With the help of this book, you can start taking a deep look at your lifestyle to find ways to cut your spending quickly and easily.

With the help of this simple book, you’ll be able to:

  • Shift the way you shop to instantly save money
  • Feed your family healthy meals without breaking the bank
  • Take a real vacation without overspending
  • Decorate your home with style while on a budget

Written by mom and financial guru Leah Ingram, this helpful guide outlines a simple plan for frugal living that can help you cut your spending without much sacrifice.

From helping you decrease the gas mileage on your car to using your appliances more efficiently, the tips described in her book are simple ways to help your family start saving money right away.

Pros:

  • Suddenly Frugal outlines several realistic money-saving ideas that don’t go to the extreme that some other frugal living authors do
  • Written for beginners, the book provides a wealth of information and money saving tips for families looking for ways to cut their spending

Cons:

  • Many of the thrifty tips in the book may seem commonplace to anyone already living a frugal lifestyle

Quotes:

“When you adopt a frugal lifestyle, start by re-examining your daily routines to make sure that you don’t spend any more money than is necessary to get the job done – whatever that job may be.”

“I grew up thinking it was normal that your drinking glasses used to be jelly jars, and that old Velveeta boxes had a second life as drawer organizers. And my husband’s uncle used to give him and his cousins the “fun” job of hammering bent nails into straight nails so he could use them again. Okay, so this borders on tightwad more than frugal, but you get the idea.”

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8) Love Your Life Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want

By Rachel Cruze

How often do you find yourself comparing your life to those around you?

This common habit can be so damaging – especially if you’re struggling to live a frugal life.

In Love Your Life Not Theirs, author Rachel Cruze discusses the issues that come along with attempting to compare your life and the things you have with your friends and neighbors.

She then outlines seven essential money habits you should start incorporating into your life instead.

The inspirational text in this book can help you:

  • Learn how to buy and do the things that are important to you and your family
  • Quit comparing yourself to others
  • Reframe the way you think about money
  • Develop new money habits, like avoiding debt, watching your spending, and saving for the future

Using the information provided in this book can help you rethink the way you’re living your life by quitting the comparison game and learning to be happy with the things you have.

Pros:

  • Using the framework of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, Cruz combines her own story with inspirational text to help you get your finances back on track
  • In addition to financial advice, the book also helps readers think introspectively about the money choices they have made throughout their life

Cons:

  • Aimed at a younger audience, the book is written for young adults and millennials, which means older readers may not connect with the ideas
  • Anyone who follows the Total Money Makeover may find the information in the book redundant

Quotes:

“Every dollar you spend is a reflection of your values.”

“Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent. And permanent, positive change is what we’re after.”

“When we start comparing ourselves to other people, we’re playing a game we’ll never win.”

“With every spending and saving decision, we’re moving ourselves closer to financial success or financial distress.”

“Change happens when you own up to the choices you make.”

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9) Cheapskate Monthly Money Makeover

By Mary Hunt

Transforming the way you think about money is the key to starting a frugal lifestyle.

Written by a reformed spender and credit card lover, Cheapskate Monthly Money Makeover uses proven techniques and sound financial principals to help readers have more money, increase their assets, and build financial security for their family.

The book provides an overall guide to making over your family’s money situation, including:

  • A self-diagnosis quiz to help you understand your own spending habits
  • A customized repayment plan for your family’s debt
  • Tips for getting the most out of every dollar
  • Help for anyone who has declared bankruptcy, has credit problems, or is self-employed
  • Practical spending controls you can implement in your own budget pain-free

The upbeat, user-friendly guide provides readers with a chance to break free from their money worries without feeling like they’re sacrificing their quality of life.

Pros:

  • This book is broken down into simple and actionable steps you can take to become more frugal
  • Written for people with a spending problem or overwhelming debt, this beginners guide is a great place to start when you’re ready to start reigning in your spending

Cons:

  • Since the book is written for someone just beginning to live a frugal lifestyle, experienced savers may not be interested in the tips and tricks discussed

Quotes:

“There’s a very good chance I’ve been where you are now, financially speaking. I’ve experienced just about every situation imaginable. I’ve been slightly uncomfortable. I’ve been in huge jams. I’ve gone through minor dilemmas, moments of unbelievable abundance, and seasons of interminable financial drought.”

“Money problems are rooted in one’s refusal to accept the fact that life is not fair…Money problem are the result of irregular, intermittent or unpredictable expenses…Money problems will never go away as long as debt is carried over from month to month.”

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10) The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle

By Amy Dacyczyn

The Complete Tightwad Gazette has been providing readers with practical advice for thrifty living for years.

And that’s because the tips and tricks outlined in the book are timeless tidbits you can use throughout your life to save time and money.

The book has spawned several editions since it was published in 1998, but I suggest you start with the original before grabbing the other volumes.

The guide is a great choice for anyone hoping to start learning more about living frugally because it includes hundreds of tips for saving money and getting out of debt.

With the help of this book, you can learn:

  • How to reuse and recycle things around your house to save money
  • Tips and tricks for saving more each year
  • Thrifty decorating tips
  • Cutting costs on everything from groceries to college tuition
  • Easy recipes and meal ideas to save your money
  • Tightwad traveling tips

This classic frugal living book makes a great introduction into the world of thrifty living, which means you’re sure to learn something new when you start reading.

Pros:

  • The book is filled with timeless tips for saving money that have been popular frugal living tactics for decades

Cons:

  • Some of the money-saving methods may seem extreme or outdated to modern-day readers

Quotes:

“Tightwaddery without creativity is deprivation. When there is a lack of resourcefulness, inventiveness, and innovation, thrift means doing without. When creativity combines with thrift you may be doing it without money, but you are not doing without.”

“The manufacturing of most goods harms the environment in one way or another. The culprit is not the factory, but it is we who buy what it produces. Therefore we should think carefully about items we purchase.”

“The relationship between ethics and thrift can be summed up in one sentence. It is wrong to save money at the expense of others. Period.”

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11) America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams

By Steve Economides

With so many families struggling to make ends meet, it can be difficult to find one that has their finances together.

But authors Steve and Annette Economides are a part of one of those families.

The couple uses their book, America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money, to provide other families with tips and tricks for spending less and saving more.

In their book, the couple provides you with a simple spending plan that they have used for decades, along with down to earth money saving principles you can easily apply to your own life.

After reading this book, you’ll see that you don’t need a degree in finance or even be great at math to live more frugally.

The book provides you with tons of information on saving money and living a thrifty life, including:

  • Hundreds of tips and tricks for saving money on everyday household expenses, like groceries, clothing, and healthcare
  • How to save money in advance of a big purchase, like a car or vacation, to avoid going into debt
  • Tips to stop living paycheck to paycheck
  • How to eliminate all your debt and avoid adding new debt

With the help of the advice in this frugal living book, you’ll be able to set and reach your family’s financial goals, all while living well at the same time.

Pros:

  • The book is filled with helpful tips and tricks for saving money every day
  • In addition to tips, the book also includes tons of solid financial advice that has withstood the test of time

Cons:

  • Since the book was published in 2007, some of the advice may seem dated to modern readers

Quotes:

“Set up cash envelopes for the three categories where you most commonly overspend. The most commonly overspent categories we’ve seen are food, clothing, and recreation. Make a game of it to see how much of your cash remains in the envelope at the start of the next month.”

“There will be three themes that you’ll see recur throughout this book: avoid debt like the plague, live below your means, and embrace the thrifty lifestyle.”

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Final Thoughts on the Best Frugal Living Books

Whether you’re hoping to start living more frugally in your own home or know someone who wants to learn more about the subject, grabbing a book is one of the best ways to get started.

Learning about being frugal has constantly opened up my eyes to new ways of living meaningfully and well without spending more.

Frugal living not only helps you save money. It also changes your perspective about money and possessions.

As you can see from these books, there are many takes on frugal living.

I hope through these frugal living books, you will have a better understanding of frugal living and be able to find the frugal lifestyle that works for you.

On a related note:

Here are the best frugal living tips I’ve come across.

Here are a few of my popular saving money posts. They provide ideas on how to save money without negatively impacting your lifestyle.

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Recap of the Top Books About Frugal Living

  1. The Total Money Makeover
  2. The Minimalist Budget
  3. Living Well Spending Less
  4. The Good Life for Less
  5. The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living
  6. The Frugal Homesteader
  7. Suddenly Frugal
  8. Love Your Life Not Theirs
  9. Cheapskate Monthly Money Makeover
  10. The Complete Tightwad Gazette
  11. America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money
books on frugal living

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