Being frugal is a great way to cut costs. Unfortunately, not everything in frugality is worth trying as it may not result in much savings. In an online forum, people discussed instances where frugality isn’t worth it. These are their top ten efforts where cutting back isn’t worth it.
Table of Contents
1. Avoiding Hobbies
As many people relate, life is short. If the only way to save money is not to partake in the hobbies that bring you joy, is it even worth it? I say it isn’t because hobbies, whatever they are, make life worthwhile.
One person notes, “Hobbies open up the doors to friends, relationships, learned skills, etc., not to mention the joy and relaxation (or rush if you’re into that) they give you.” It’s also possible to enjoy things that aren’t expensive, so it’s not worth giving them up.
2. Making Your Own Laundry Detergent
It’s surprising that anyone would attempt to make their own laundry detergent to save money. As someone who lives frugally, this option never even crossed my mind. As it turns out, my lack of knowledge is a good thing, as several people share their experiences.
Someone says, “Homemade laundry detergent is harsh on your clothes,” while another explains, “It also ruins the washing machine.” I’m glad I never attempted this misguided frugality.
3. Unplugging Electronics
Unplugging all of your electronics is an age-old money-saving tip that should be put into the “old-wives tale” category. Not only is the money saved minuscule, but it takes needless effort making it basically pointless.
One user asserts, “Unplugging things like the TV, microwave, and lamps when not in use will [only] probably save a couple of pennies a year, takes a ton of time, and wears out the outlets.”
4. Doing Home Improvements Yourself
It’s okay to make home improvements yourself occasionally to save money. But often, the task is difficult, time-consuming, and stressful. Yes, it can save money, but one contributor points out, “There is a lot to be said for paying someone to do work that you could do, but they could do better and faster.”
Another person mentions that their husband aptly calls this “the Aggravation Coefficient” because spending a little money is better to avoid aggravation.
5. Extreme Couponing
Many frugal people love to use coupons to save money. After all, why not spend less on what you need in your home? That’s one thing. Taking it to an extreme is something else.
Some take it too far by spending hours poring over coupons to save a few bucks. It’s often just not worth it. That time could be better spent elsewhere.
6. Buying in Bulk
Buying in bulk can be very cost-efficient. But this frugal practice only works for certain people. If you have a large family, buying large quantities for less money is a natural money saver.
But if you are a single person or only a two-person household, buying in bulk isn’t worth it, particularly regarding food. Things will likely spoil before you can eat everything, which ends up being needlessly wasteful.
7. Reusing Tea Bags
I live on a budget, but the idea of reusing tea bags sounds terrible. It’s not only unappetizing but saves so little.
One tea drinker shares, “I thought [about] this once. But then I realized I could get a 50-pack of bags for $3.” I concur with this assessment. Yes, we want to save money. But it’s not worth it if we have to drink flavorless boiled water.
8. Sacrificing to Save Less Than $20
Small savings add up. However, life is also meant to be lived. Going over the top to save just a little can rob joy from your life.
One person explains why, saying “Squelching any available joy for the purpose of saving less than $20. Life is for living. Keep your large expenses low (car, housing) so you can enjoy your day to day life.”
If you get joy out of that daily coffee, and can afford it, go for it.
9. Not Traveling
Traveling is a difficult issue when saving money because it can be expensive. But we also need some joy in our lives. Staycations are an excellent option because it feels like a treat without spending as much.
But as one traveler notes, “It’s okay to take vacations. Sometimes a staycation doesn’t feel like a vacation. Going out of town occasionally is great for your mental health.”
Not all travel will break the bank. You can find always find affordable options. You can even use a rewards credit card to stretch your budget further.
10. Cutting Your Own Hair
Unless you have the simplest haircut, do yourself a favor and refrain from attempting to cut your own hair. Hair stylists are often very expensive, but you can find ones that do not charge as much at places like Supercuts.
It’s better to go to a place like that than live with the agony of giving yourself a horrendous haircut.
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This thread inspired this post.
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.