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4 Frugal Habits that May Actually be Costing you – and How to Balance Them Out

We here at AllTheFrugalLadies are all about advocating frugality , minimalism, and saving money. However, we’ve discovered that when frugal habits are sometimes taken to the extreme or not controlled properly, they might end up costing us a lot, and thereby missing their mark. The following list portrays a few dire consequences of certain frugal habits that need self examination and reconsideration, plus tips on how to prevent them from actually burning a hole in our pockets or taking control of our lives. In a nutshell, you’ll find that balance is the key, and too much of a good thing, in this case, can also turn out to be … well, too much.

Wasting Valuable Time on Coupon Clipping and Online Research

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

If you find yourself spending too many hours each week on comparing prices online, searching coupons, and looking for the best deals at the expense of more important things like quality time with your children, your studies, or even your job, you need to stop and reassess. While paying a full price at any retail store can usually be avoided with the right amount of research, remember that time also translates into money, especially in the 21st century. You could be using this time to much better use, such starting that side business you are always talking about or initiating some other great idea that will ultimately move you forward financially or professionally. The balance I’ve found that best works for me in these instances is not to procrastinate, but to actually gather up all the coupons on the day they arrive and putting in about 1-2 hours that night for sorting them out and clipping them. This also includes research on online deals that I feel may benefit me during the week to come. After those couple of hours, I have everything I need and will stop myself from initiating any more online searches for the rest of the week.

Buying Low Quality Products Just Because They’re Cheaper

While there are many products I buy from cheap online stores such as pencils, erasers, used books, certain clothes, textures for the house, and others, there are certainly products that I insist on spending more money to promise myself a higher degree of quality. High quality electronic products, for instance, promise me a longer and more expanded warranty, and I know that I am investing long-term since the chances of this product crashing in a few months are much lower, thereby saving me time and money in the future. Same stands for home repairs – if you have a major repair that you can’t DIY, it’s better to pay more for a quality repairman and products than have someone inexperienced messing around with your home and repairing it with low quality or imitation products. Like before, priorities need to be made on what’s important and what’s worth spending more money on and what isn’t.

Buying a Product you don’t Really Need Just because it’s on Sale

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Image courtesy of digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net

American consumer mentality is notorious for buying products that are on sale that the consumer doesn’t really need. Or in other words, quantity over necessity. Too many times I have passed by a shopping store aisle, saw a product that I didn’t really need and bought it just because it was on sale. Usually this entails buying a few of the same product because the “good deal” only works if you buy more than one. At the more extreme situations, this ended with me hoarding products in my house and causing unnecessary clutter and a stressful home environment (not to mention the extra hours of cleaning and organizing I had to put in just to accommodate everything). In more cases than others I didn’t even get around to using these products because I didn’t really need them to begin with, or because the expiration date expired by the time I got around to actually needing them. My best tip here would be to avoid the habit of spending your day shopping as a way of passing your time. Only go to the store to get things you need. If you have extra time to pass by shopping, be good to yourself and invest in other things instead – exercising, spending time with friends and family, going to the movies, ect.

Neglecting to Maintain your Investments

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

Some of the products you buy need to be maintained in order to last long and to make the investment in them worthwhile. For instance, if you buy a car, don’t forget that the price for the car includes insurance and maintenance for the years to come. If you don’t have the money to invest in these, you will find yourself cutting corners and ultimately damaging your investment. Spending money on good maintenance will definitely be worthwhile in the end when you are able to sell quicker and for a profit. The truth is that you need to sometimes spend money in order to make money. This also includes health issues; the better you maintain your health by exercising, eating healthy, getting your teeth examined and cleaned twice a year, and going for regular doctor check-ups – the more you will ultimately be saving in time, money and effort in the future. Thinking long term in this case is key!

Do you have any frugal habits that you feel are costing you? If so, what do you do to balance them out correctly?

About Sherrie W.

Sherrie is a part-time contributor to All the Frugal Ladies. She currently works for a small publishing firm in London and enjoys writing about her frugal (and not so frugal) life experiences and lessons learned along the way :)

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  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of buying lower quality products because they cost less. Unfortunately, you have to use more, or they break more quickly!

  • Robin Rue

    I don’t use coupons and honestly, I don’t really ever even look at prices when I shop. Sigh.

  • Jeanine @ sixtimemommy.com

    I’m terrible with shopping. I NEVER use coupons or price match or do any of that stuff. I always also go shopping hungry. It’s awful. I need to work on it all.

  • Catherine S

    I am bad about buying lower quality products and it always cost me more in the end. I have learned you get what you pay for.

  • Meagan

    I totally agree, sometimes the lower quality products will end up costing you more in the long run. You really need to be aware of prices.

  • I used to do a lot more coupon shopping. I did find that I would buy things I didn’t need in the first place though!

  • Debbie Denny

    I think there is a balance. You have some great points.

  • dinnerthendessert

    I’m totally guilty of buying the item on sale I don’t even need!

  • Obviously MARvelous

    I tend to stock up on items during a good sale. Now meal planning and going through our home to see what we are truly in need of helps me to buy less overall.

  • I know so many people who buy things they don’t need because they got a deal or found it on sale. That is fine if you give to charity but many just let things go to waste and that is so sad to me.

  • Kristi Nelson Renner

    Some excellent points. I am always surprised when I hear of people not keeping their house up or maintaining it. Neglecting to Maintain your Investments just seems so wasteful, especially a house that is so expensive.

  • Marvelous Mommy

    I use coupons but I don’t spend much time on it. I only use the coupons that can be added directly to my card so I’m not holding anyone up when I’m checking out!

  • Crystal

    I learned my lesson with cheap shoes! Not only did it cost me because they had to be replaced, my feet hated me.

  • Penelope

    My dad is notorious for shopping the sale rack & buying things he doesn’t need. Just because it’s half off doesn’t mean you need it. But it’s his money and I doubt I could change the habit now.

  • Christie

    I used to invest so much time into couponing. It definitely took so much away from family time. Great tips and reminders

  • I used to coupon some and found myself buying things I didn’t need just because I had a coupon. Definitley not a money saving way to coupon.

  • Kelly Hutchinson

    We typically don’t use coupons because we found we weren’t saving that much. I definitely have bought things I didn’t need because they were on sale.

  • I am pretty good at sticking to a budget, I wish I could find betters way to be frugal though, I am guilty of spending more than actually should be when I am actually trying to save!

  • I’m certainly guilty of the last tip. I ahould take better care of all of my inveatments especially my health.

  • traceynicole

    This is so interesting. I am going to try and implement these tips into my daily life.