Everyone is trying to cut costs, and living frugally will become more important with a global recession on the horizon. You can do some practical things to cut costs, like turning off lights when you leave a room, but many “frugal” methods end up wasting time and money.
Millions of frugal living tips are out there, but not all will save you the money you hoped. Some are sales pitches disguised as money savers.
Here is a list of frugal living tips that do not save money.
Skipping Routine Car Repairs and Maintenance
Oil changes can cost $40, and a new tire can cost more. You may think you can get by without either, but you will pay more when your car breaks down, or you have a flat. In the end, it is cheaper to maintain your vehicle so you can work.
Using a Lot of Food Savings Apps
Apps are great, and you can save money on food and toiletries. However, it would help if you were careful about what you buy because some coupon apps are for higher-priced items you would never buy.
Buying Items in Bulk
People stroll into wholesale warehouses and come out with a gallon of pickles. It never occurs to them while they are shopping if they can eat all those pickles. The truth is this: many bulk purchases will go bad before your family finishes them.
That said, you can save buying in bulk with particular items. Buying a side of beef and having it cut and stashed in the freezer may mean you never go to the store all winter. Depending on the price, it may be worth it.
However, buying one hundred rolls of toilet paper because it’s three cents cheaper per roll than a four-roll package will cost you more this week and won’t save you much.
Not Buying Health Insurance
People, particularly younger people, think they are healthy enough not to buy health insurance. The problem is that they could get hurt in an accident or come down with a sudden illness.
We got a good dose of the unexpected with the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep your insurance.
Trying To Fix a Home Repair Yourself
Some homeowners are handy and know how to use tools. They have no problem fixing a wall socket or a leaky sink, and it would be a waste of money to call a professional. Then, there are the rest of us.
It’s OK to learn about home repairs and try to do some things yourself but stay in your lane. Taking on a series of repairs without knowledge, experience, or tools will cost you much more money, especially when you call a professional.
Getting Budget Airline Tickets
There is a saying that you get what you pay for, which is undoubtedly true with airlines. Finding a cheap flight or looking for different options is not bad. The problem is when you go for the most affordable without reading the fine print. These are the airlines that may you pay for items that are usually included.
You could be paying to stow your carry-on as well as your peanuts. It could cost you more than a standard ticket when it is all over.
Eating Cheap Food
You may think that ordering off the dollar menu is smart, just like buying that package of hot dogs for a dollar. It’s not. This kind of food has all sorts of fillers that contain no nutritional value and leave you hungrier.
Junk food may seem cheap, but, in the end, you will spend more on it than you would on good, solid food like meats and vegetables that are more filling.
Skimping on Car Insurance
Most states have laws about car insurance and will fine those who are caught without it. Plus, it could cost you thousands of dollars and put you in legal danger if you are in an accident.
Buying Stuff You Wouldn’t Normally Buy on Sale
Those sales are so tempting, but if it is something you wouldn’t otherwise think about buying or don’t need, then it isn’t saving money. You should make sure you need the item before you are lured into purchasing from a super sale.
Buying from Yard Sales
People flock to yard sales because of the idea of finding that special item that could be worth a fortune. Yet, most of it is junk. Feel free to buy things that you think will add value to your life that you would enjoy or need, but do not buy them from a yard sale just because it’s interesting.
Buying with a Rebate You Won’t Use
Rebates can help reduce the cost of an item, but they are a pain to get. You must go online, print out a form, fill it out, include a copy of the receipt, and mail it in. Then, wait four to six weeks to get your rebate check.
Do not buy the rebate item unless you plan to go through that process. Otherwise, you will end up paying the total price anyway.
Signing Up for Services to Get Something Free
Many subscriptions claim you can get a month free if you sign up for three months. Before you buy, make sure you want the service and will use it. Otherwise, you are throwing money away.
Ordering More to Get Free Shipping
Some online services will give you a minimum order to get free shipping. Watch out for it because it may cost you more to meet the minimum purchase than it would be to pay for the shipping.
The secret to living frugally is only to buy what you need and use. That requires some planning and discipline to walk away when it does not. It is good to find what you want, save for it, and then find that item with the best price. Then you are assured of saving money.
Image Credit: [Zimmytw]