We’ve all been there, thinking we’ve found the next best life hack or cracked the code when it comes to saving more money. However, more often than not, money-saving life hacks will end up costing us more in the long run. That’s why I put together a list of false frugalities with some answers from the lovely people following me on Facebook on the Budget Girl page and in The Budget Club.
Find out if you’ve actually been spending more money than you need on these money-saving falsehoods!
20 false frugalities to avoid:
1. Buying cheap or fast food
Fast food is usually the more convenient option but that doesn’t mean it’s also the cheaper option. Plus, we all know fast food isn’t great for us, considering the high levels of sodium and sugar found in it but if you have a bad habit of always eating take out then those little daily spends can add up quickly. Plus, your health will also suffer in the long run, which could mean costly medical bills down the line.
2. Low-quality hair, skin, and body products
Thinking you’re saving big because you bought a value-size of a cheap shampoo or conditioner? The ingredients list for ultra-cheap hair, skin, and body care products is usually filled with some nasty stuff. This doesn’t mean that luxury products are the only way but just do some research into ingredients and you can still find great lower-cost products that your body will like better.
3. Bottled Water
Unless you live in an area that doesn’t have safe drinking water, buying bottled water is expensive and not necessarily the healthier option.
4. Sale items
A good rule of thumb for sales is to ask yourself, do I NEED this, or is it just on sale? More often than not if you buy something on sale that you didn’t actually need, the item will end up unused and that good deal will just be wasted money.
5. Big DIY home improvements
I’m all for DIY projects, but even I know there is a limit to my capabilities. Save your money when it comes to electrical, mechanical, or other big projects that usually require a seasoned professional to ensure a safe and durable outcome. It can be dangerous and you’ll most likely end up hiring a professional to fix your work anyways.
6. Rent-to-own products
Rent-to-own products are usually never worth it. They usually have high interest rates or markups put on them. You’ll find if you do the math, simply waiting and saving for the item would save you more money than paying a monthly rental fee for it.
7. Always buying the cheap option
Batteries, tools, shoes, the list goes on. Buying a cheaper product that you will use on a consistent or daily basis will end up you costing you more because it will need replacing more regularly. Instead, buy the higher-priced but more reliable item that will last you longer.
9. Buying something simply to get a deal
Deals are great, but only if they make sense for your lifestyle. Do you remember that TLC show called “Extreme Couponing”? These people would buy ridiculous amounts of food in order to get a deal. Avoid food and other waste buy only buying what you need, no matter the deal.
10. Avoiding healthcare professionals
Thinking you’re saving money by avoiding going to the doctor or dentist because you don’t want to get bad news will only cause you more problems in the future.
11. Single-ply toilet paper
You’ll end up using more and going through it faster because of its low quality. Buy the two-ply, it’ll be worth it.
12. Sacrificing your time for a few dollars
Your time should be valued just as highly as your money. Is driving around all afternoon trying to find the best deal really worth your time? Or instead, is it best to do some research before you go shopping and have a plan for exactly what and where you need to buy items the better option? Think smarter not harder.
13. Becoming a homesteader
Yes, growing your own fruit and veggies is a lovely idea but it’s simply not practical for most Americans who live in apartments, condos, or homes that don’t have the outdoor space to accommodate this big undertaking. Plus, the upkeep can be incredibly time-consuming for most of us busy, full-time earners.
14. Homeownership vs. Renting
Buying versus renting has been a source of debate for decades. Since housing prices have skyrocketed in the last few years depending on where you live, homeownership might actually be the less financially smart option. Don’t buy a house because you think you have to based on societal norms, do it because you can afford it and it is something you want to do.
15. Sacrificing your comfort
Is it really worth it to turn off your heat or refuse to put on the A/C and forever be cold or too hot? Don’t make yourself unwell simply to save some coin.
16. Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers can be a great environmentally friendly option but only if you’re willing and fine with the added cleaning, time, and upkeep they require.
17. Leasing or Financing a Car
Always do your research but financing a new and fancy car that will require you to make monthly payments for literal years, as opposed to buying a reliable, second-hand car, that still has a lot of life in it, in cash will end up being a better option financially.
18. Buying everything in bulk
Costco is great, everyone loves Costco. However, just because you can buy something in bulk doesn’t mean you need it in bulk. Do you do a lot of baking? Then yes, that huge bag of flour and sugar might make a lot of sense for you to buy, otherwise evaluate your lifestyle before buying bulk.
19. Free or discounted pets
This can be seen as a controversial one, but taking on any pet is a big financial commitment and then adding to the mix a lack of knowledge of the health or history of the pet could mean big vet bills in your future.
20. Saving worn-out items for the future
Hand-me-downs are great but make sure before you stow away certain items for future kids, friends, or loved ones that you aren’t giving them broken, torn, or unsafe items. They’ll end up not being used and the repairs for them might cost as much as or more than buying new.