The Rise Of Frugal Chic?

Megan Hotson


In a world driven by consumerism and materialistic pursuits, the idea of frugality often takes a backseat. 

Living frugally has been seen as living ‘cheap’ in the past, but put simply it means living more consciously when it comes to spending.

There is a growing movement that seeks to redefine the concept of frugality and make it not only practical but also trendy. Embracing a frugal lifestyle is no longer seen as a sign of financial constraint but rather as a smart and savvy choice.

With a reported almost half of GenZ saying they live pay cheque to pay cheque, brands such as The Inkey List, and Glambot are leaning into making frugality 'cool' to show how it can benefit their consumers.

The Inkey List doubles down on dupe culture

Influencers, and social creators online are fully embracing dupe culture to share more affordable alternatives to more exclusive, hyped up products with their follower base.

The demand for dupes is unsurprising given the context of a cost of living crisis. British brand The Inkey List has leant into this demand and developed their  Smarter Skincare service.


This service is accessible through its e-commerce chat function ‘AskInkey’ or through Instagram direct messaging. The concept relies on users sharing their personal skincare routines and how much the products they use cost them. 

Summing up their routine, the user then decides which of the products they currently use they would like to keep and which they would rather replace with Inkey’s own lower-priced items.

Glambot – makeup for cash?

When it comes to buying second-hand, makeup might not be the most obvious winner. However, research from Capgemini found that the second-hand cosmetics market is estimated to be a $7bn market. 

Glambot is the makeup equivalent of Depop - a go between platform for reselling pre-loved cosmetics products. Any items traded through their platforms are first sent to the brand’s specialised lab where they are inspected, and sanitised before being sent to the buyer. 


Sellers can receive their payment in the form of cash, or as credit to spend at Glambot (with a further 30% off when they choose to redeem this credit).

This platform has proven a real winner with the environmentally conscious GenZ because it helps consumers shop more ethically. Moreover, the brand also stocks a variety of discontinued makeup products, meaning you needn’t breakup with the products you can no longer find at your local cosmetics shop(s). 

50-25-50 rule 

It is not just brands that are helping consumers re-imagine what it means to be more frugally minded. 

We have TikTok to thank for this one. The 50-25-50 rule, is a social trend that took off on TikTok, and helps people prioritise how they budget their money in the most efficient way possible.

Screenshot 2023-06-01 at 14.24.30

The concept advises that you split your money into three categories - one for rent, bills, and short-term savings, one for long-term savings, and one for day to day spending. When you get a pay check, the rule states you put 50% of that pay into the account for rent and bills. The remaining amount you then split in half, allocating 25% into the long-term savings and 25% into day to day spending.

Social media, and TikTok especially has become a marketplace for more than trends, but advice too. Looking ahead, as consumers become increasingly interested in their financial health we can expect to see more content created to educate the money curious crowd. 

Key takeaways 

- A shift in perception is underway as more people realise the advantages of living within their means and making mindful spending choices. Instead of mindlessly chasing the latest trends and accumulating debt, individuals are embracing frugality as a means to gain financial freedom and live a more fulfilling life.

-Consumers are increasingly looking to their own commodities to create capital. We often see clothes as capital, and platforms like Depop and Vinted allow users to seamlessly trade, and make money from their used possessions. Cosmetics are now entering this space, allowing shoppers to unleash capital from pre-loved makeup. 

- The use of social media as a place to exchange ideas and advice around how to be more frugal, is indicative of how being money smart is on trend. In fact, in January this year - the hashtag 'moneysaving' amounted 357 million views. There is a clear appetite from social media users to learn more about financial health, and brands have an opportunity to use TikTok as a platform to reach a wider audience and educate them on matters pertaining to money. 

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