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
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
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
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?