In last week’s post, I shed light on some tips and tricks for how to manage your finances when you’re forced to be frugal. After being part of the PF blogosphere for nearly three years now, I smiled when the anticipated comments rolled in about how much we bloggers enjoy being frugal, how frugality is a ticket to the bigger and better things in life, and how cutting back is one of the best ways to truly appreciate what we have.
While reading comment after comment extolling the virtues of frugality, I began to wonder just how frugal we really are. Naturally, this led to me thinking about the many ways someone can sabotage their own best efforts to lead a frugal lifestyle. If you consider yourself a frugal person, then surely you aren’t someone who’s guilty of engaging in the following behaviors that can send your hard-earned money down the drain before you even realize it:
Skipping Meals Out Yet Not Being Frugal with your Grocery Budget
I have a friend who is working hard to trim her budget. She’s doing a wonderful job of learning to control her spending impulses, how to identify true needs instead of wants, and is on the path to living a more financially stable lifestyle. There’s just one problem: She spend upwards of $700/month on groceries….for just herself. And this doesn’t include household or personal care items.
Before I launch off on some judgmental tirade, the point of sharing this tidbit is to illustrate the fact that just because you’re cutting back on meals out (and don’t get me wrong–this is a fantastic decision!), doesn’t give you a green light to spend yourself into oblivion while grocery shopping. If you’re trying to become more frugal or are trying to balance your budget, remember that there needs to be a give and take among all budget items/categories–including your groceries. Yes, you need to eat. Yes, it should be healthy food. No, it doesn’t need to cost you a small fortune each time you visit the store.
Washing Your Money Down the Drain
Too much shampoo. Too much laundry detergent. Pricey hand soap. Too many designer paper towels and napkins (yes, they do exist). If you’re not paying attention to your consumption of products once you bring them home, no matter how great the price was, you’re still wasting your money. To make your products–and money–last longer, pay attention to the recommended amount for use (read the back of that shampoo bottle!). If you’re unable to cut back on how much product you’re using, consider cheaper alternatives such as using 99-cent conditioner as shaving cream or mayonnaise as a deep conditioner.
Once I learned that the appropriate amount of facial cleanser is usually no more than a pea-sized drop, I was amazed to see how I could make what I use last longer. I eventually decided to splurge on a pricier cleanser, but I was pleasantly surprised when the bottle lasted over a year because I was using only what was needed. The good part? I bought one bottle in the course of an entire year. The best part? My skin has never looked better!
Drinking Your Money Away
How many times have you found yourself reaching for a cold soda when you’re thirsty? Not a soda drinker? How about juice? Or beer? Or coffee? Or seltzer? Whatever your regular drink of choice, those extra calories come at a potentially high cost to your health and can be a sneaky money drain on your budget. The next time you find yourself in need of a thirst quencher, do yourself (and your budget) a favor by opting for free tap water. Jazz it up with some orange, lime, or cucumber slices and you’ll be on your way to a relaxing refreshment break.
What other habits threaten to throw a wrench into your frugal plan?
Photo courtesy of: Tax Credits