Are you guilty of being frugal to a fault?
I love saving money. My proudest moment in savvy shopping was when I haggled with a Navy Exchange salesperson to reduce the price of a patio set by 55% and it wasn’t even on sale. However there have been times when I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of being frugal to a fault.
Here are 10 ways you think you’re saving money, but are actually spending more. (Yes I am guilty too.)
- Clipping ALL Coupons: We all love coupons, but if you buy something you don’t need just because there’s a coupon, you are wasting money. The flyer when you walk into the commissary is full of coupons but do you really need everything offered or do you just feel the need to buy them because there is a coupon? Don’t buy the bottle of mouthwash just to save 50 cents.
- Buying Sale Items: You see that big red sale sign and are drawn to it. Though you know you don’t need it, you no doubt instantly come up with a reason you should buy it. Read sale signs carefully. Target has red clearance signs that make you think you’re getting a great deal, but quite often it’s only a few cents difference. Seriously, numerous times I have almost picked something up only to read the fine print that it’s only 5 cents off the regular price.
- Creating Upcycled Crafts: Turning something into a craft project sounds good and fun, but how much money did you just spend buying all the other things you’ll need to turn that toilet paper roll into something?
- Redeeming a Store Credit Card Discount: As you check out of most stores these days the clerk will likely ask if you want to save 15% by opening a store account. You might want to open their little pamphlet and check out the details first. The 29% APR is going to change your mind.
- Purchasing Warranties: As Consumer Reports points out, it isn’t worth the money in most cases. You might be spending more money than your product is worth and many companies will work with you regardless because they want to keep customer service positive.
- Buying in Bulk: Do you really need 5 gallons of mayonnaise? Will it go bad before you can use it all? Before you buy something break down the price per ounce to see if it really is cheaper.
- Being a Cash Hound: Saving money for a rainy day is great, but keeping large amounts of cash on hand is actually causing you to lose money. You’re missing out on interest you would be earning through a checking account or other financial endeavor.
- Buying More for the Free Shipping: I’m guilty of this one. I just can’t stand the idea of paying more for shipping than I did for the product itself. If shipping will cost the same no matter how much I buy then I feel like I should get more for the money. Similarly, if spending $75 qualifies for free shipping but you’re only up to $60, do you buy more to meet that amount?
- Making Your Own (fill in the blank): Pinterest has many wonderful ideas. Is it really worth the money to spend the time to make some of these things (ie. beer, laundry detergent, butter)? Many DIY projects require buying supplies that you’ll only use for one project.
- Being Cheap. If you are so over the top frugal that you will only buy what’s at the cheapest price possible you might just be missing out. Is it really worth it to only have single ply tissue? Did you buy something so poorly made that it breaks and you have to buy another? Did you thaw out a chicken breast and not get around to cooking it until 5 days later and make yourself eat it even if it is bad just because you don’t want to waste the money you spent?
Sometimes being frugal just doesn’t add up.