For most of us, being a consumer is an automated routine: we buy the $3 cup of Starbucks coffee without thinking about it, we buy the new car even when the used one will save us five figures and we order takeout even as the ingredients for that healthy dinner we had planned to cook languish on the kitchen counter.
Then there are the super-frugal people out there and, given the number of blogs dedicated to minimalist living that keep popping up, their numbers are increasing.
Work + Money asked a variety of converts who have fully embraced the frugal lifestyle for their best tips, and most of them can be implemented with a little planning and discipline.
"You come to terms with living with less," said J.R. Duren, a personal finance expert at HighYa.com, a consumer-focused website. "I'm not saying that frugality leads to minimalism but it does make you rethink how much stuff you actually need to enjoy life."
These are the people who think about the implications of every purchase they make and seemingly make a game out of finding ways to not spend money.
You may still be a consumer, but with the following tips, at least you'll be a conscious consumer.