7 Money Saving Tips From the French That the Rest of the World Might Find Useful

3 years ago

Few people can really call thriftiness one of the national features of French people. This is because France is associated with a beautiful life and the ability to enjoy it. But in reality, the residents of this country sensibly split their expenses and set their own priorities.

We at Bright Side decided to learn about how rational the French really are and what allows them to save money without decreasing the quality of their life. In the bonus part, we will tell you how the residents of this country keep their lives in good shape and maintain a work-life balance.

1. They prefer inexpensive cars.

In addition to the fact that the French are fans of their country’s auto industry, which produces Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen, most people prefer economy class cars or public transport. If there is a need for an expensive car, on a rare occasion, a French person will take out a loan to buy it. They will likely either opt for beneficial leasing or refuse to make the purchase altogether. French cities are not very comfortable for car drivers — the streets are narrow and there is always a chance that they’ll scratch the car. Still, local people have a philosophical attitude toward these inconveniences.

“Went to Paris a few years ago, and I saw a girl parking a car. It was literally into a space where she had to bump someone back a bit, bump someone forward a bit, and repeat until she had enough room to get in. That’ll make your car look old and beaten up pretty quick.”

In recent years, bicycles and electric scooters have been gaining popularity in French cities and a part of their residents, especially the youth, have shifted to this means of transport. Special rules are already being introduced for this mobile transport so as not to create accidents, although, at first, movement on electric scooters was not regulated in any way.

2. They are not ashamed to buy semi-finished products for lunch and dinner.

French cuisine is considered to be one of the most delicious and sophisticated in the world. But at the same time, the French are quite simple about everyday food. It doesn’t mean that they use low-quality products. However, they’re not snobby about using semi-finished products and they don’t feel bad
about ordering a pizza. Pasta has become especially popular. There is a popular chain of stores called Picard in the country, which sells only frozen products. Their assortment includes very different dishes and there is one thing that unites them — you just need to heat them up to cook them.

For example, here you can buy veggies, fruits, snacks and salads, main courses, bread and baked goods, desserts and ice cream, and various sauces. There is a section with organic products and a special section for kids’ food.

3. They use things for a long time and don’t chase trends.

The prestige of things means very little to the French — they would rather be practical. Moreover, it is considered bad manners to discuss the value of things you own, even in a circle of close friends. It’s the norm for French people to use old phones and not replace them with newer models. Moreover, purchases that are too expensive can cause friends’ to taunt each other — you’ll be reminded that you got trapped by the intrusive commercials for the product. The same thing applies to expensive clothes and accessories, especially if a person focuses on them.

4. They save money on utility services.

Utilities in France cost a lot, that’s why those who know how to save on them are considered thrifty. There are practically no radiators in the houses in the south of France, because residents simply don’t consider it necessary to install heating devices for a couple of months a year. In the rest of the country, there is no centralized heating, which means the expenses for utilities depend on the habits of the apartment owners. For example, they can program the switching on of the radiators only for the hours when it’s absolutely necessary for them.

Also, the French aren’t in the habit of wearing light clothes in the fall and winter at home. Warm pajamas are very popular here.

5. They like to save money but they never talk about it.

Having savings is a life rule that even young people stick to. The statistics there reflect the real position of things because French people can take part in polls anonymously. At the same time, French people will never discuss the size of their salary or savings. Just like talking about the cost of things is inappropriate here.

6. They believe that it’s better to have less of something but of better quality.

French women are reputed to be trendsetters, but in everyday life, they dress as simply and discreetly as possible. In clothing, they prefer quality over quantity. That’s why you are unlikely to see a French woman grabbing a pile of clothes on sale.

Moreover, according to statistics, the French spend the least amount of money on their wardrobe among all Europeans. Almost 70% of the residents of France say that they are not interested in fashion.

7. They love thrift stores and giving a second life to things.

Flea markets and thrift stores are perfect examples of the trade life in France. The residents like them because they can find really unique things there. If they lack something for their interior, French people will likely start with a thrift store rather than with furniture stores like IKEA. Most often, the French prefer to buy small things for their interiors and antique furniture at flea markets. Another plus, is that they can also profitably get rid of unnecessary things at these places.

Bonus: They are sure that rest helps you to work.

Generally, it’s hard to call French people workaholics — they prefer to keep measure at work and are able to take a real break. You won’t find 24/7 stores in France. On Sundays, the city freezes waiting for Monday.

There are some traditions that show how important a good rest is for local people:

  • In August, the entire country goes on vacation, and people put aside all their important deals at the end of July.
  • If a holiday happens to fall on a weekday (on Tuesday or Thursday) the French “forgive themselves” a day that stands between the weekend and the official holiday and take unpaid leave.
  • Kids have a vacation every 1.5-2 months, usually correlating with holidays, like All Saints Day, Christmas, and Easter.

What specifics of everyday French life do you like?

Preview photo credit Depositphotos.com, Depositphotos.com


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Regarding #1: here in Brazil, that Renault electric car costs 3 times the price of a basic combustion one... 😒


people in my country also love ordering pizza, no one fees bad ordering it 😅


Western Europe can relate, utilities are expensive, so warm pajamas are the saviors during the winter 😉


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