Saving money is a necessity for all of us to keep our budget balanced. As you try to live frugally, you may soon learn that not all money-saving efforts are worth trying. In an online forum, commenters shared instances where selecting the lower-cost option wasn’t always the best. These are 12 of their most common blunders.
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1. Choosing the Bus Over a Plane
For obvious reasons, countless people still regret traveling via bus instead of airplane. What were these people thinking?
Granted, some are blinded by the significant price difference between the two forms of transportation. However, nearly every traveler can agree: Paying to fly in a plane is infinitely preferable to riding the bus for free.
2. Not Hiring Movers
I get it; hiring movers to help you move out of your current home and into a new home is prohibitively expensive. It makes sense that millions of people choose to forgo this service.
However, the numbers don’t lie: Nearly every person who refused to hire movers regretted their decision almost immediately. Hiring a moving company is so essential that you can’t think of it as an expense: you must think of it as a utility.
3. Buying Cheap Furniture
It makes no sense to skimp on furniture. Investing in high-quality pieces means you’ll have faith that your couch or bed frame can withstand decades of use. “I used to shop at IKEA for my furniture exclusively,” reveals one woman. “Most of it fell apart within a year or two (and in some cases, months). I should have saved my money and invested in some quality furniture that doesn’t fall apart so easily.”
4. Choosing the Commute Over Convenience
When you get a new job that requires you to relocate, you’re faced with a tough decision. Should you choose a more expensive apartment or home that’s close to work, or do you pay less for a place to live that’s a little farther away?
Nearly all people who choose the latter confess it was a terrible mistake; sure, they saved money, but the commute made them miserable!
5. Not Going to the Doctor
Let the mistake of a formerly-dumb teenager serve as a lesson: Go to the doctor when you break a bone! “A couple of years back, I broke my left wrist falling off a skateboard, and I didn’t want to pay the $300 emergency room co-pay to get it looked at,” explains one man. “I still have full range of motion, and it’s not like I’m in constant pain, but every once in a while, it kind of seizes up and hurts for about 20-30 minutes.”
6. Buying Cheap Shoes
Shoes are one of the most important purchases you should never cut corners on. Sure, some shoes and sneakers cost less than $20, but are the savings worth aching feet and uncomfortable footwear?
Some people believe you’re better off being barefoot than wearing cheap shoes.
7. Not Buying Full Automobile Insurance Coverage
Car insurance can be expensive, and one of the easiest things to do is cut down your coverage until you’re only paying for bar-bones insurance. That’s a bad idea. “You don’t want to accidentally crash into a Mercedes-Benz, have it considered your fault, and not be able to cover the expenses with your insurance, especially if someone was injured,” one savvy woman advises.
8. Flying Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines have turned the airline industry on its head with bargain-basement ticket prices. Understandably, many travelers jump at the opportunity, but they’re often faced with sticker shock once they make their purchase. Spirit charges for every amenity an average airline gives for free, from water to your carry-on luggage!
9. Booking a Car Through a Third-Party Website
Even the best of us have decided to search on the internet for a better price, but deceptive pricing runs rampant on certain websites! “I decided at the car rental place that it would be cheaper for me to rent a car using my phone to reserve it through Priceline,” confesses one man. “It turns out they have a billion hidden charges, and it took 15 more minutes and cost more.”
10. Sleeping on a Futon Instead of a Mattress
Sleep is not only essential to living, but it’s also an activity you spend nearly a third of your life doing! With that in mind, why would anyone try to save money by buying a cheap mattress?
Trust me; there is an ocean of difference between a Craigslist mattress find and a pillow-topped little piece of heaven.
11. Shopping at the Dollar Store
Shopping at a dollar store is a way to save money, but not everything is worth the savings. Sometimes, you can tell there’s a reason why it was so cheap.
One person said, “Have you ever tried dollar store plastic wrap? My god that’s the worst experience.”
Another person added “Don’t bother buying toilet paper from dollar stores either. Even if it’s two-ply, the paper somehow never fails to fall completely apart and leave behind little toilet-paper dust bunnies all over. Same with ‘silicone’ kitchen utensils. They will melt.”
Gardening is often something you will find frugal people doing. It’s fun to eat from your own garden, and it’s a great way to show young children where food comes from.
But, it may not always save money. One person explains why, saying “Sure, in theory you save a bunch of money, but after spending a lot on tools, seeds, potting mix, planters, fertilizer, pesticides, stakes. It would have been cheaper to just buy the vegetable at the supermarket.
In order for vegetable gardening to be a viable way of actually saving money, you need to do things like save seeds, make your own compost, grow valuable crops and grow a ton of produce. I don’t regret it though. Gardening’s been enjoyable, even if I didn’t save anything.”
That’s very well said.
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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.