The heart of frugality can be discovered in Benjamin Franklin's quote, "A penny saved is a penny earned." The idea behind it is that you don't have to work harder to earn more money; you simply have to be smarter. If you don't spend the money, you won't have to earn as much.
However, learning how to avoid spending money involves more than finding a list of suggested ways to save your money and then doing them. You have to look at your own life and figure out where you spend money and ways to save money. A list might tell you to replace all your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. However, if you turn off your lights when you leave the house in the morning and no one turns them on until twelve hours later when you return home the savings will be small and perhaps not worth the time and effort. For a stay-at-home or work-at-home person with small children the suggestion might be a tremendous money saver. Here are three ways of thinking that will teach your how to be frugal.
Think before you buy something. Ask yourself, "Do I need it?" Remember that all a person really needs to live is food, clean water, clothing, and a roof over their heads. If the answer is no, put it back on the shelf and walk away.
If you go back, ask yourself, "Why do I want it?" Be honest with yourself. Follow up your answer with the question, "Will I still want it six months from now (or a year, or five years)?" If you still want it after asking yourself these questions, ask yourself:
"Can I make or find something like it for less money than what I hold in my hands?" Keep asking yourself questions and until you are thoroughly certain that you should buy it.
Think before you throw something away. Fix it if you can. If you can't fix it or have no desire to replace it, ask yourself, "Can I use it in a different way or as something else?" If the answer is yes, ask yourself, "Would I want or use it if I converted it to another purpose?" If so, keep and repurpose the item.
Read books and websites about frugality and saving money. These sources will give you many ideas. Some ideas will work for your lifestyle and some will not. Be discriminating. Even if you do not find any ideas that work for you, it will teach you to think outside the box and be more creative in your own life. While this last suggestion is short and easy, it can have the biggest impact.