Simple & Frugal
May 18, 2016 10:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for blogs and resources on simplicity and frugality. But wait - there's more!

I've been looking for blogs and resources on simplicity and frugality, but most of what I've found have skewed towards individual, small-thing ideas like "99 ways to save by clipping coupons" and "here's an idea for making laundry soap". I'm looking for big-picture ideas and concepts to inspire me, not necessarily a pinterest-friendly listicle on ways to save a penny.

I'm thinking more about the value of work, personal philosophies and journeys towards frugality, simplicity as it relates to the American economy and way of life, and so forth. Longer think-pieces rather than "here's today's thing!". Also - I have no kids and don't really relate to the world of frugal parenting blogs.

I kind of like Zen Habits, but it's a bit too "here's today's thing!" for me. Perhaps if he didn't update every day with short posts, and instead posted thoughtful, longer pieces once a week or so? I read Mr. Money Mustache but that's more money-focused than philosophy focused.

So: blogs with long-form philosophical pieces about simplicity and frugality that are not all about money, children, or "get frugal quick" tidbits.
posted by Elly Vortex to Computers & Internet (23 answers total) 98 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoy reading The Frugal Girl. She lives an overall less-consumeristic life. She has a little of everything, including recipes, photography, living within one's means, paying money for important stuff. She writes about contentment with what you've got. She comes across as very kind and genuine.

She does have 4 kids, and she homeschools them, but they are on there more to show that kids don't need to be automatic consumers either. Here's a good example. It's got a pinterest button, but the message is awesome. And it can apply to adults.

The comments on her site are almost always great to read too. They're thoughtful and kind, even when they don't agree with her. She's got a great community of readers.
posted by hydra77 at 10:41 AM on May 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

I think you may really enjoy The Billfold. I've been reading it for years for its articles about class, economy, and how those things relate to people's lives.
posted by MsMartian at 10:44 AM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

You might like Frugalwoods, which is much less about tips and tricks and much more about a general approach to living frugally. Caveat: the author just had a baby, so there's been a fair amount of parenting-related content recently.
posted by rebekah at 10:58 AM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Frugal for Life is a off-shoot of the Tightwad Gazzette.

Vicki Robinson is now editing Your Money or Your Life, which had a profound influence on me. I'd say read the book, then check out the blog.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:01 AM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've recommended this book from the 1970s here before because I love it for a million reasons: How to Live on Nothing by Joan Ranson Shortney.

It's a how-to book, but it's full of stories from the author's own life, and while some of the advice may be out of date, the overall philosophy is a breath of fresh air. It may be the book (of any kind) I've re-read the most times.
posted by maggiemaggie at 11:58 AM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and (Almost) No Money by Dolly Freed.

Its an old book from the 70s, written by a kid and kind of mercenary but it expanded the concept of frugal way beyond darning socks and clipping coupons.
posted by ridgerunner at 12:11 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just popping in to say that "Your Money or Your Life" is one of the cornerstone books of my life. Highly recommended! Just ignore the sections on investing (too out of date...what's a CD Ladder???) and it's incredibly good stuff.
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:27 PM on May 18, 2016

If you don't mind a little Mennonite Jesus up in your frugality, Living More with Less is one of the classics of the field. It has tips and ideas, but it's primarily about WHY we should live more simply and how to think about living more simply and ethical standards to guide one towards simple living and so on.

(There are also two cookbooks by the same author, geared towards simple, frugal, earth-friendly cooking: More-with-Less and Extending the Table. The former is hearty, simple American food mostly; the latter is hearty, simple food from around the world.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:44 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Mr. Money Mustache is this exactly!
posted by jrobin276 at 1:18 PM on May 18, 2016

He's retired so he doesn't update more than about once a month anymore, but Living A FI is a great writer and his posts on his job experience are excellent.
posted by jabes at 2:19 PM on May 18, 2016

This is a topic near to my heart.

For those in search of philosophy, economics, and guidance, my first answer is always the essays of Wendell Berry. This page contains a collection of links to his essays that available via the internet. A sample, from his 1989 commencement address to The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME, when he was speaking of problems usually described as "planetary":

"The problems, if we describe them accurately, are all private and small. Or they are so initially. The problems are our lives. In the “developed” countries, at least, the large problems occur because all of us are living either partly wrong or almost entirely wrong.
It was not just the greed of corporate shareholders and the hubris of corporate executives that put the fate of Prince William Sound into one ship; it was also our demand that energy be cheap and plentiful. The economies of our communities and households are wrong."

A perspective from the 1930s: Ralph Borsodi's Flight from the City (link goes to the entire book, originally published in 1933).

Seconding Living More With Less, as Eyebrows McGee noted.

The blog, singlemomenough, is by a hospice care nurse (who has written a book, A Holy Errand) who has reduced her personal possessions to less than 100. There are lots of thoughtful back posts to read and ponder.

While The Tightwad Gazette (as Ruthless Bunny mentioned) at first glance seems to be oriented towards frugal parenting, Amy Dacyczyn shares her simple living philosophy in many of the articles therein. Recommended.
posted by apartment dweller at 2:25 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sharon Astyk's blogs and books.
posted by clew at 2:38 PM on May 18, 2016

2nding Mr Moneymustache
posted by rux at 2:45 PM on May 18, 2016

The TedX talk about The Minimalists is pretty inspiring
posted by stackhaus23 at 3:35 PM on May 18, 2016

Doing Marie Kondo's tidying-up method radically changed my approach to money and capitalism and gave me a much clearer head in terms of understanding where my money had gone and what had to change. It is much more than just five ways to fold your socks.

This previous question goes into great detail on this and why it's worth it; I would also recommend the original book.
posted by mdonley at 6:52 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was just about to recommend Marie Kondo's book "the life-changing magic of tidying up" but mdonley beat me to it, so please consider this a "second".
posted by forthright at 7:06 PM on May 18, 2016

Self-promotional, I know, but I wanted to note that my new blog Money Boss is sort of along these lines. (Many long-time MeFites supported me at Get Rich Slowly, my first money blog.) I don't write about nitty-gritty frugality stuff, but try to focus on Big Picture philosophy-oriented pieces. Here's a completely free no-strings-attached PDF that summarizes my financial philosophy, which is similar to MMM but not the same. (He and I will be conducting a workshop in Portland this August, by the way.)

I'm a big fan of Marie Kondo too, by the way. Life-changing magic, indeed!

Have you tried Raptitude? Sounds like it might be your sort of thing. David Cain's approach is more general, but very in line with MMM and Zen Habits, etc. You might also like Early Retirement Extreme, although that too is money-centric. Finally, you should definitely check out A Guide to the Good Life.

Other than that, perhaps check out the leanFIRE subreddit? (Which is for people pursuing financial independence and early retirement with simple lifestyles -- sort of like MMM.)
posted by jdroth at 8:57 PM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Better Off comes to mind.
posted by aniola at 10:37 PM on May 18, 2016

2nding Mr Moneymustache

You're actually thirding it because Elly Vortex mentioned in the question that she already reads it.

I like Blonde on a Budget. Her claim to fame was a yearlong shopping ban, but her posts have gotten a little deeper and more thoughtful over the last few months/year.

I also read Raptitude as J.D. mentioned.

I'm not crazy about the Becoming Minimalist blog itself, but I follow the blog for the weekly link round-ups that often bring new articles or blogs to my attention.
posted by mama casserole at 10:26 AM on May 19, 2016

Reading My Tea Leaves - humble (sometimes overly so) living in a New York apartment.
posted by kidsleepy at 12:20 PM on May 19, 2016

So many great responses. Thank you all! I have a lot of reading to do.

Also - it is wonderful to see that so many people are interested in this topic. It warms my grinch-like little heart to see that not everyone buys into (ha) the world of bigger-faster-consume-more-more-more.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:31 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I greatly enjoy the wry tone of the person that writes Simple Living in Suffolk. His archive of posts has a lot of gems in it.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:55 AM on May 21, 2016

One of my oldies but goodies was Frugal Babe - she'll post occasionally now but used to be much more frequent. I liked that she seemed to find a good balance between the philosophy itself and the logistics of living it.
posted by wannabecounselor at 4:09 AM on May 25, 2016

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