Wherever you are on your frugal journey, being able to read a few books on frugality with advice from people who have been doing it for a long time really helps.
Of course, I hope frugal living blogs like mine have a place in your reading, but if you’re like me, a blog can’t completely replace good old-fashioned frugal books.
You are reading: Books on frugal living
frugal living books that have stood the test of time.
where the author has proven his authority with dozens of pieces of advice and has lived his life according to his own advice.
where you can hear the authenticity in their written word.
Books on frugal living range from those aimed at beginners to those that really run the gamut of frugal living tips.
More detailed books also include advice that some people may feel is much more in extreme frugality territory.
but of course what may seem extreme to you may be completely normal to me!
a thin shelf of frugal books
As someone who has lived below my means for a long time to save enough money to be financially free and retire many years early, I’ve read a lot of frugal books.
But I don’t have dozens of frugality books in my library, because sadly many don’t live up to their reviews.
not for me anyway.
For books on frugal living to make it to my shelf and stay there, they have to offer much more than basic budgeting and money-saving advice.
These books should offer us readers solid practical advice, and plenty of it.
Pictures, lists, and diagrams help turn words of advice into real, actionable advice.
And to me, it has to be obvious that the author is still embracing frugality even though he now has, perhaps, a best-selling book.
Essentially, I want the author to not only talk about it, but walk around and test it.
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building your frugal bookshelf
If you don’t currently own any frugal books, I don’t recommend rushing out to buy any or all of these books, far from it.
after all, we are talking about frugal living here!
Your first step in building your frugal bookshelf should always be to visit your local library.
libraries are a wealth of knowledge and are free to use.
Checking out these books from the library first allows you to read them and see if they’re right for you.
I’ve read a few books on frugal living and they haven’t really caught my attention.
luckily I didn’t spend on them because I got them from my library.
In the ideal world, only once I’ve read a book from my library and loved it would I invest my cold cash in my own copy.
Having your own copy allows you to reread your favorite parts and refer to the tips within again and again.
the frugal way to buy books
It’s not always possible to get all the books you want from your library, but don’t go out and buy new ones.
The second step to building your frugal bookshelf is for whatever book you read and love, try to find it used.
Buying something used or second hand is a great frugal habit to adopt.
I’ve tried to find books at my local charity shops/thrift stores, but when you want a particular title, it never seems to be there!
if you can’t find it used at a charity shop/thrift store, then your next best place is to turn to the internet.
Most of my frugality books that I’ve bought used come from amazon.
and I often find new titles to read and research through amazon.
I still try to read them through my library first though!
the best books on frugal living that you should read
These 11 books on frugality are all books I’ve read more than once and rate them highly.
You absolutely don’t need all of them, as there is a fair amount of overlap between them.
but everyone talks about frugal living and how to stop living paycheck to paycheck in different ways.
there are great personal stories to read and learn along with different ways of doing things.
If you’re dying to know the titles without reading my reviews, here are the best books on frugal living that I think you should read:
1. the complete stingy gazette by amy dacyczyn
396 reviews on amazon.com with a rating of 4.5 out of 5
my absolute number one favorite frugal book. from afar. it’s a comprehensive guide to frugal living and I used it a lot to help me achieve the level of savings I did.
You’ve probably seen other reviews of this book, so mine won’t be news to you.
I just want to say: I love this book!
It’s funny, it’s informative, it’s wacky, it’s extreme, it’s eclectic, but most of all, it’s a creative collection of tips for economic living.
many of which are still relevant today.
There is so much you can still learn by reading this book. Check out my post on how it can really change your life: 9 Tips From The Stingy Gazette That Will Change Your Life
Originally a newsletter published in the early 1990s, The Complete Stingy Gazette is all those newsletters in one book.
There are easy recipes, money-saving calculations, tips from newsletter readers, and diagrams on how to make things like a solar-powered cooker.
Or how about 19 different ways to reuse milk jugs!
Two slight downsides to the book are:
1) The layout is newsletter-style, so it’s not clearly segmented into different aspects of frugal living. it means you need to bookmark your favorite pages, the ones you come back to again and again.
Alternatively, the book is read and used so much that you instinctively know where certain tips are. ahem.
2) some of the advice is outdated, think before the internet. therefore, advice that might include calling garages to get the car for the best price is outdated.
but the principles are still valid. the principles of obtaining the best price and value for your money.
and amy did exactly what she set out to do.
have a large family and a pre-1900 rural farm in new england (with attached barn) and live successfully on a single income.
He has not written any more books or newsletters since he retired after the publication of this book.
He’s not doing advertising interviews, he’s fulfilling his dream of living a fabulously frugal life.
See Also: Truyện Pachinko – FAHASA.COM
You can buy a (used) version of the full stingy gazette here.
If you need help building your frugal story, sign up for the frugal basics framework and get started today
2. your money or your life by vicki robin and joe dominguez
489 reviews on amazon.com with a rating of 4.1 out of 5
your money or your life, often referred to as ymoyl, is very different from the stingy gazette.
There’s advice on how to save money and live frugally, but there’s a lot more discussion about why you might want or need to live life differently.
ymoyl is more focused on tracking your money and understanding what it does for you.
the biggest wake up call ymoyl gave me was in chapter 3 when vicki talks about how:
money is something we choose to exchange our vital energy for
that really hit home.
We devote our precious life energy to work we probably wouldn’t do if we were millionaires.
The book is detailed and quite profound – You’re not making a living (in your job), you’re making a dying.
Do you come home from your “earning a living” job with more life, feeling refreshed, ready for a fun family evening?
not. you’re using your life energy to earn money to buy things that mean you have to go to work to earn money to pay for them.
Not a book to casually flip through, but an added bonus of the 2018 edition is a resend from mr money mustache!
I need to read this new edition.
You can buy a (used) version for your money or your life here.
3. the more of less by joshua becker
624 reviews on amazon.com with a rating of 4.6 out of 5
minimalism is not a frugal life. but there are many crossovers between the two.
I’m not a minimalist, but I do love some of the messages in the book of joshua.
Frugal people don’t buy too many things, they don’t buy too many houses, and they don’t try to compare their lives with others, like the jones.
all of which comes from a more minimal point of view.
many minimalists don’t live with just 33 possessions. far from that.
But what they’re not doing is spending all their hard-earned money on things and going into debt for it.
A word to the wise, Joshua was a pastor for 15 years and his religion is an important part of who he is.
If you don’t have a similar religious belief, my advice is to skip the parts that don’t resonate with your personal values.
But don’t let this put you off. there is much to be gained by living with fewer things.
You can buy a (used) version of sort of here.
4. family of six dollars: from six dollars to six figures by stacy barr
73 reviews on amazon.com with a rating of 3.9 out of 5
a much shorter book on frugality than some of the others on my list, but I’ve included it here because I think it’s a good resource for someone new to frugal living.
If you need to cut back and start saving money, this frugal living book covers all the basics to save money on groceries, make your own household products, etc.
A couple of reviews have complained that the advice in this book is very time consuming.
well yes on one level but on another, what else would you be spending your time on?
When you need to be frugal, time is something you have, money is not.
so yes, time is money. but is that a bad thing?
You can buy a (used) version of the six dollar family here.
5. the simple life guide by janet luhrs
83 reviews on amazon.com with a rating of 4.4 out of 5
While the focus of this book might be on the simple life, when you step back and put on your frugal hat, you know that it really does include all things frugal.
all advice focused on achieving simple living has all the hallmarks of frugal living.
janet talks about ‘living below your means’, having savings to have options in life.
reduce material needs and, of course, get out of debt. sound familiar?
This is a big book of 440+ pages and full of stories of her life and many others.
what I love is that you get a lot of information through the experiences of others.
I also have a real sense of peace when I read this book.
includes detailed chapters on money, inner simplicity, family, virtues and much more.
Full of ideas for simpler living, this is one of the most moving books on frugality I’ve ever read.
You can purchase a (used) version of The Simple Living Guide here.
6. cheap adult a millennial guide to living on a budget by amanda kintz
no amazon.com reviews yet, but watch this space
This book on frugal living is the new kid on the block.
new in 2019 with hints and tips based on living today’s life in a digital world.
Amanda and her husband married in 2013 and lived on an extremely low income ($16k/£13k).
had a baby, paid off student loans, and sponsored 2 children abroad through monthly payments.
Amanda’s focus is on a healthy lifestyle on a very small budget. She’s almost at the level of living stingy (but never cheap).
Her unique take on DIY hygiene products and natural medicine cabinet essentials are a refreshing change from other books I’ve read.
All you need are a few basic, handy recipes, not an entire garden full of herbs.
packed with sensible advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and how to stretch your budget as far as you can.
you can buy very cheap adult here.
7. low cost living by john harrison
501 reviews on amazon.co.uk with a rating of 4.3 out of 5
Many of the best books on frugality are written by American authors for the American market.
While many tips work wherever you live, it’s nice to have a book written for the UK market by an author who lives in the UK.
low cost living is exactly that.
The author, John Harrison, has been on assignment for over 30 years, so there is a strong focus on the self-sufficient lifestyle that growing your own food brings, along with reducing costs by focusing on homemade foods. whenever possible.
This little book is packed full of tips on food – growing it, storing it and making it which I have found seriously useful.
has included a few recipes in each chapter, enough to get you started on your self-sufficiency journey without turning it into a cookbook.
John’s goal is to provide enough information to enable him to have a higher standard of living at a much lower cost than he has had.
You’re also a big environmental advocate, so there are plenty of eco-frugal habits to adopt.
You can buy a low-cost lifestyle (used) version here.
8. the self-sufficient bible by andy & david hamilton
36 reviews on amazon with a score of 4.6 out of 5
This book will appeal to those of you who are trying to live a greener lifestyle, one where you tread less on the environment.
The focus of this book, if you haven’t guessed from the title, is to be self-sufficient in growing your own food.
There is also a lot of focus on getting rid of the chemicals in your daily life and being as natural as possible.
so not frugal per se, more frugal by virtue of being more self-sufficient.
What I like about this book is that it doesn’t assume you have a lot of money, 5 acres and farm animals.
the twins live in the city center of bristol!
yes, they have assignments but they also have families and normal working lives. normal as in the suburbs.
The book is split into 4 main sections of Home, Outdoors, Food and Lifestyle.
The home and lifestyle sections focus on being eco-friendly with lots of pictures and diagrams of things like making a pot-in-pot cooler and reusable baby wipes.
the outdoors focuses on growing your own food and herbs with the food section on using everything you grow to feed your whole family.
nothing goes to waste with twins.
Kitchen leftovers? – read the section and diagram on building your own worm.
no greenhouse? – read how to make your own cold frame, with diagrams of course!
You can buy a (used) version of the self-supporting bible here.
9. how to stop living paycheck to paycheck by avery breyer
309 amazon.com reviews rated 4.4 out of 5
This book is more about personal finance than a book about frugality.
I have included it because to be successful in your pursuit of frugal living you need to manage your finances.
it is aimed at people who are at the beginning of their money journey, who have debt or do not save money regularly.
There’s a free downloadable money tracker that will really help you control your budget from now on.
Personal finance books can be really dry and boring and this is where this book differs.
written in a more personal style with some really inspiring money quotes.
If you haven’t mastered your money yet, this book will be of great help to you.
You can buy a (used) version of how to stop living paycheck to paycheck here.
10. how to manage your money when you don’t have by erik wecks
506 amazon.com reviews rated 4.3 out of 5
This is also more of a personal finance book than one about the frugal lifestyle.
What I think makes this stand out from many personal finance books is that the author is not trying to teach you how to invest and get rich.
It’s about doing the best you can with the income you have.
which fits very well with frugal living and living below your means, whatever that means to you.
Through sharing his own personal financial difficulties he lays out a financial plan that requires more of you than just to follow some tips.
The author explains that it is also necessary to believe in the changes so that they are permanent.
His focus on avoiding expenses is particularly helpful, as are his approach and advice on how to survive the day-to-day of being in a bad financial position.
you can buy a (used) version of managing your money when you have nothing here.
11. economical ways for modern days by martin lewis
118 reviews on amazon.co.uk with a rating of 4.4 out of 5
This book is actually a curated compendium of great tips from the old-style saving section of the expert money saving forums.
Forums are a place where people ask for advice and share suggestions.
Basically, all advice comes from frugal folks like you and me.
As a long-time styler fan, I purchased this book as soon as it came out.
do not remove it from the library. mainly because all proceeds go to mse charity.
but also because I knew it would be nice because the old style forum is so cool.
If you are already extremely frugal you might not find it so useful as many of the tips are for people looking to save money and get back to basics.
some of the advice is timeless (old style), others are a bit dated as what was cheap in 2006 when the book was compiled is not so cheap now.
You can buy a (used) version in inexpensive ways for modern days here.
the best frugal living books for you
These 11 books are my recommendations to read and shortlist the ones that resonate with you the most.
Books written in the 1990s may not be right for you, in which case choose a more up-to-date one.
Alternatively, you might prefer the old-style advice before we all went digital.
if possible get them from the library to read them and judge for yourself.
then buy them used if possible.
no need to spend on a new one when used it’s just as good!
Find even more help than these frugality books by joining the Frugal Fundamentals Framework email course.
Come and follow me on pinterest for more money saving tips and frugal tips!
last updated on Jan 5, 2022 by emma