We all love to save money, but it’s also easy to get in our own way and sacrifice savings. Don’t let that be you! Here are 13 frugal hacks that seem like they will maximize savings but often result in the opposite.
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Cutting the Cord on Cable
Cutting the cord on cable is a terrific way to save money. Unfortunately, it’s easy to rack up streaming service subscriptions like candy and overspend.
Too many people stick with the set it and forget it mindset with streaming and don’t treat it any differently than cable. Select one or two services, watch what you want, then cancel and move on.
Only Using Cash
Frugal people love to use cash. It makes sense as spending is an emotional experience. However, only using cash puts you at risk if you lose it.
Furthermore, you sacrifice the protections and benefits of credit cards. Using rewards credit cards alone is a great way to get cash back or rewards on your purchases. If you’re already going to buy something, you might as well get something for it.
Buying in Bulk
Buying in bulk is long held as a way to cut costs. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let it get out of control and increase food waste.
We buy in bulk a lot in our family, but we do it wisely. Do that and you’ll save money.
Shopping Multiple Stores to Get Good Deals
It’s tempting to drive all over town to score the best deals. There’s one problem with that philosophy – it overlooks the miles you rack up to net a small savings.
It also overlooks another problem – you waste time that you could put to better use. Instead, keep your shopping to nearby stores that offer deals you’re typically happy with.
Always Buying the Cheapest Option
The cheapest option is always best, right? Incorrect. Instead of shopping for price, shop for value.
If you have to replace the cheap item in a few months, it cuts into your savings. Quality items often last longer, allowing you to save more over the long-term.
Shopping on Amazon
Amazon loves to market themselves as the go to place on days like Prime Day. We’re all guilty of giving in on those days, but they may not always offer the deals you think they are.
Other large retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and more often run better deals on Prime Day, and other popular shopping days. It literally pays to compare.
Waiting Until Black Friday to Buy Something
Black Friday is oft-believed the best day to buy something you need for a good price. That isn’t always the case. Days like Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, and Prime Day can often provide similar, or better deals.
Being patient, and knowing what you should spend goes a long way to help determine if it’s time to buy.
Doing Everything Yourself
Frugal people love to repair everything themselves. We like to do it in our home, but it’s not always the best way to save.
If it takes you too long to fix, or you end up ruining the item more, you’re out time and money. Know your limits, what you can reasonably do, and outsource the rest.
Making Your Own Laundry Detergent
Making your laundry detergent can be very labor-intensive and many people can’t believe its effect on their clothes. Some people find out the hard way that nothing beats buying name-brand laundry detergent for convenience and effectiveness.
Always Going For the Cheapest Gas
Do you have that family member that loves to drive extra miles to save a few cents on gas? We all do, and we may be guilty of it ourselves.
However, it’s a waste of time and may even cost us more. Instead, use a gas rebate app like Upside to get cash back on your gas and save your time.
Have you ever looked at a home decor item and thought you could do it yourself for less?
While admirable, unless you’re really crafty you’re going to spend more time and money than it’s worth. There are some exceptions to this, but for most it’s a waste of money.
Couponing is a traditional frugal habit. It’s a good way to save money on your groceries, but it takes more time than it’s worth. Furthermore, you may purchase something you don’t need.
Instead, opt for a rebate app like Ibotta and do your shopping as normal. Take a picture of the receipt with the app, and it does the work for you by identifying available rebates.
Skipping the Dishwasher
The dishwasher uses water, which costs money. The cheapskate in your family may claim it’s too expensive to use. However, the average dishwasher uses a mere four gallons of water.
Washing by hand? Plan on using nine to 27 gallons. The math is simple.
How to Multiply Your Money
Get-rich-schemes are typically scams. However, there are ways to truly grow your wealth. While not flashy, they can help you build real wealth.
How to Make Money in One Hour
Whether you need to make ends meet until payday or you want extra spending money, earning quick cash is possible. Check out these legit ways to make money in one hour.
7 Steps to Break the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle
Making ends meet is hard on a limited income. However, it is possible to break the cycle and find financial stability. You just need to know where to start.
15 Best Coupon Apps to Save Money
Saving money at the store is as simple as using your phone. Better yet, you can redeem savings for free PayPal money or gift cards. That’s a win-win.
13 Best Free Streaming Services
If you’re looking to cut back on your TV budget, these 13 top services will help you trim it way back, even all the way to zero if you use them exclusively.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.