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Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty
Written by Oana Schneider

Being thrifty is not just about saving money – it’s a way of living (and it starts to be adopted by more and more people tired of financial issues and of being drowned in debt). Believe it or not, movies can teach us quite a lot about being thrifty as well – and even if they don’t provide actual advice, they can definitely be quite motivational.

What are the top 10 movies that taught us to be thrifty and why else should you love them? Read on and find out more about this.

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

Undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous movies, Titanic features a beautiful and tragic love story – and that’s a pretty good reason to love it. Aside from that though, Titanic teaches us that lots of money will never bring happiness (and if you can imagine the scene where Jack saves Rose from committing suicide you will definitely understand why).

Even more than that, Titanic teaches us that sometimes, all we need is a bit of faith that things will turn out the right way (think of how Jack did not even have the money to buy his ticket on the Titanic). Of course, gambling is NEVER a solution, but you should learn that most of the times, happiness lies in small things and that lives can be changed in the blink of an eye.

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

This French production is a masterpiece of the all-time cinematography and honestly, there are thousands of reasons why you should love it too. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you do it because it will be one of the touchiest, cutest and funniest quality movies you have ever seen. Aside from the good vibes this movies sends though, it also teaches us about living in a simple way and about how happiness can be found in such a lifestyle. Watch the movie and feel inspired!

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

There are multiple versions made after Thomas Hardy’s novel – and they are all relatively faithful to it as well. For the sake of the quality of the movie proper, you might want to choose to watch a more recent version – however, all of them will show the same story. Tess of the D’Urberville teaches us, again, that happiness never lies in money and that it can be achieved even when you use your hands to make a living. In fact, in this movie you will see how too much money can actually bring a lot of unhappiness and how it can change people (and not always for the best). The latest version of the movie has about 4 hours (split into 4 episodes), but watching it will be more than worth it, especially if you are into sentimental, romantic and tragic movies!

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

In general, Disney movies end up in a large palace and they involve a glamorous wedding with a Prince. This is not the case for Pocahontas, though. Inspired by the life of a Native American woman with the same name, Disney has created a family-friendly version of her story. Although not entirely accurate to the real-life story, Disney’s Pocahontas will still teach you that simplicity and frugal living are better than anything – and that sticking with your family is always the best choice you can make.

At the end of the movie, Pocahontas chooses to remain with her people and to her simple life – and that’s a great lesson for those of you looking to live a healthier, more frugal life. Even more than that, the entire movie is sprinkled with wisdom inspired by the Native American teachings and they will surely inspire you to live a thriftier life as well.

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

It’s impossible not to have heard at least about this movie. Oscar nominated and absolutely delicious, Forrest Gump is a movie about many things – from how the hippie revolution took place to how a simple-minded person can actually achieve success in life. Even when rich, Forrest is all about frugal, simple living. He doesn’t complicate things – he just takes life as it is with its ups and downs. He loves, he shares and he is always optimistic. He is a dreamer and a doer at the same time and he follows his most basic (and beautiful) instincts. This is a movie that will teach you not necessarily how to live a frugal life, but whydoing it can bring you with so much satisfaction. A true work of art everyone should see!

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

You may not necessarily think of Will Smith as a touchy-movie actor, but the truth is that he did a marvelous job in this one. Released in 2006, The Pursuit of Happiness is one of the most beautiful stories you will ever see on the big (or small) screen. This is the story of a father who is struggling with his finances and has to take his son into custody – a truly delicious adventure into finding happiness not in money, but in working hard. Again, it may not teach you much about frugal living as such, but it will definitely motivate you to move past the obstacles standing in your way in order to achieve your dream.

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

Forrest Gump is one of the most famous characters Tom Hanks has ever breathed life into. However, it is definitely not his only masterpiece. Inspired by Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Cast Away features Tom Hanks as the only survivor on an island. As he learns to live simpler, he discovers a kind of happiness that he did not know of before. Of course, nobody’s telling you to go and live on an isolated island, but this movie will definitely show you just how resilient the human nature can be and how adaptable we are when it comes to making sure we survive – even when we are far away from technology and from luxury.

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

Again, this is a European production and it will surely bring tears to your eyes. One of the most beautiful movies created on the topic of the Holocaust and the Second World War, La Vita E Bella is the kind of movie that will follow you for a long time from now on. It may not teach anything about actual frugality (by choice), but it will surely teach you the most important lesson there has ever been on the surface of Earth: that of love.

As you move along with a Jewish man’s story and as you see how much he tries to protect his son, you will discover, again, that the human nature has an incredible power in it. And that will inspire you to live a better life and to be thankful for less too!

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

Although the title of this movie may seem a lot like the one we have just described, keep in mind that it’s a completely different movie. In fact, it’s very likely that you have seen it before too. One of the most famous old-time classics, It’s a Wonderful Life features the story of a man who loses his job on the Christmas Eve. When he says that he would have much better been dead, an angel visits him to show him the contrary. Aside from the fact that this is the perfect movie to watch on the Christmas Eve, it is also a movie that teaches us that financial trouble comes and goes – but that love, family and the simple “pieces” of happiness in life stay with us forever.

Top 10 Movies That Taught Us to Be Thrifty

Charlie Chaplin is one of the greatest actors and directors in all the history of cinematography – and that’s something nobody in the world can deny. His most famous character, The Tramp, appears in multiple movies (including, but not limited to The Kid and City Lights). Although all of these movies teach us about the beauty in living simply (and very frugally), The Kid has a special touch to it and it will definitely touch your sensitive chord. It’s not a very long movie, but there’s no way you will not love it. If you haven’t watched it already, do it because every second of it is a precious lesson on how to smile and be happy with your simple life!

Of course, there are tons of other movies just as amazing as the ones described here. Inspiring, emotional and beautiful, these movies are not your usual how-to’s – but they are some of the best types of motivation sources you need when it comes to frugal living. Take some time off, rent them and watch them with your friends, family or just by yourself because there’s no way in the world you will not be moved and inspired by them!

More importantly though, take these lessons into your own life too and start changing it step by step – so that you live simpler, happier and healthier too.

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About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois and was part of our team as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget and has a degree in Communications.


  • I’ve seen some of these movies. Definitely when I watch _Forrest Gump_ I am inspired to make the best of what I have. I’m not sure if they teach me to be frugal, but they definitely remind me of what matters in life. They direct our attention to living life fully, in the moment. They encourage us to find our own happiness regardless of what the bank statement says.

  • I really enjoyed The Pursuit of Happiness. Me and some friends watched it together I believe 2 or so years ago and all of us loved it. Definitely a movie with a very feel-good attitude to it.

  • I’m no stranger to Pocahontas; it’s my daughter’s favorite disney movie and we watch it constantly, sometimes even twice in a row. Yeah, Pocahontas could very well be an example of how to be thrifty but more than that, it’s an example of how riches aren’t the only important things in life.

    • I’d say that Pocahontas has tons of lessons and values contained within its runtime. It’s a great movie that most people have seen in their lifetimes, kids and adults alike. I’ve seen it a handful of times in my life, and it’s a special viewing every time because the movie is so meaningful on various levels.

  • The Pursuit of Happyness was an incredible movie based upon a true story. Will and Jaden Smith had great performances in the film. Of course, they could barely survive throughout much of the film with little money and few opportunities. It’s an incredibly touching story that involves a lot of forced frugality. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

  • These movies are very awe inspiring. I’ve either heard or seen all this movies and not only have they made me think of all my blessings but also how fortunate I am. I know they always show it’s a wonderful life during Christmas and of course that’s the time.e for giving and spending time with your family and this movie makes me so grateful for every family member I have

  • Living a frugal life is definitely not a one moment thing. I know most people practice living a frugal life when they are down financially. But when money starts to come in plenty they completely forget about their frugal ways.

    But these people should be scared. Scared that if they continue their lavish ways, their money will soon dry up and they will be worse off than where they started.

    Living a frugal life doesn’t mean you live uncomfortably. It’s about enjoying life but in an economical way. Say you want to buy veggies and fruits, you’ll find that purchasing them at your local market will save you a few dollars as opposed to buying your veggies at the supermarket

    Oh and by the way a simple life doesn’t mean girls won’t be attracted to you as the movie, titanic clearly shows this.

  • I like that this list really focuses on being frugal not as being thrifty or penny-pinching, but as a lifestyle of seeing value outside of material wealth. Pocahontas was my first movie to really open my eyes to the value of nature and things that don’t cost anything to cherish. Never once thought of it as being frugal, but reading this, I’m seeing that really did play a big role in my thinking.

  • It’s actually amazing just how much we are able to learn if we take the time to look at things around us and take the lessons that the things have to offer. Because just by watching movies, we can see that life is more than about how much money you have or don’t have, and you’re certainly more than able to have a great time with the people around you without having to spend all that much at all. This is definitely something that I have learned for myself in recent years, and I am definitely glad that I have, because now I don’t feel as though I have to worry about the money that I spend, and instead I can relax with those who I love, and the money that I have, even though it might not be all that much.

  • It’s a Wonderful Life is an incredible movie, I watch it every year at Christmas, a truly heart-warming tale.

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