When Throwing Frugality Out the Window Feels Good

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. Read our disclosure to see how we make money.

Throwing out Frugality

My friends and family call me a very frugal man. I didn’t used to be this way, but after battling my way through massive credit card debt, frugality seemed to fit.  I don’t mind being frugal, but don’t call me cheap!  There is a difference.  I guess you can say that frugal is the new cheap.

I manage my money, track my spending, and try to do what I can to pay less for items I normally buy.  I am also a DIY nut who loves to try his hand at almost anything.  I will try something once to see if I can do it. After that, I will call the professionals.  That being said, there were countless times this weekend when I wanted to throw frugality out the window.

When Frugality and Moving Don’t Mix

My wife and I just closed on a new home.  We have been searching for it for some time.  We were happy to find one and we moved in this past weekend.  In order to save money during the process, we were going to move ourselves.  I rented a moving truck and started packing it up.  Unfortunately, the biggest truck I could get didn’t hold all of our stuff. This meant multiple trips.

After two days of moving boxes and other big items into our new home, I was spent. I had no energy left, but there was a long checklist of things needing to be completed.  Before we started packing, my wife asked if we could just hire a moving company. I didn’t want to because of the expense.  Well, after spending two days moving our crap, I wished I had hired the moving company.  While being frugal is cool, so is being able to stand without your back tensing up. I am not as young as I used to be!

Frugal Painting

One of the main projects in our new home was to paint.  We needed to paint pretty much the entire inside of the home.  While that is not that bad, it ended up being a very large project.  We had bought all of our paint during a huge Memorial Day sale. We saved a lot of money on the paint.

In order to save more money, we wanted to do the painting ourselves.  I am pretty good at painting as I have done it multiple times.  After we started some work, we realized it was going to take a lot more time than we had originally allocated. We are three days into painting and pretty close to picking up the phone to call a company to finish it. I will gladly pay someone at this point.

Frugal Flooring

I am pretty good at doing flooring.  The one exception is carpet. I just don’t have the tools and don’t want to rent them.  We paid a company to install new carpet for us, but in order to save money, we had to pull up the old carpet and then remove the staples from the pad.  This didn’t sound so bad.  Well, tell that to my back!  After a day of pulling up carpets and bending over to remove staples one by one, I wish I had just paid the company to remove the stuff.  They only charged $150 to remove, but I wanted to keep that money to pay for other things.  My frugal side won the decision, but my logical side just kicked me in the butt.

The point of this is to show that you don’t always have to be frugal. On the quest to constantly save money, I have clouded my judgement.  These three scenarios show me that paying someone to do a task for you can pay off.  While I value my money, I also value  my time (and my back!).  I have been spending the past four days killing myself to try to get the home in a move-in ready state.  Our stuff is in our basement and we are living out of bags.  I will be doing work every night after work until the home is ready.  I am sure I will be very tempted to open up all of the windows and toss frugality right out of them.


Have you ever just wanted to forget frugality and go with convenience and time saving methods? If you’ve moved, what did you do to keep expenses down? Looking back, what did you do yourself that you wish you would have just paid someone to do for you?


Photo courtesy of: Steven Depelo

The following two tabs change content below.
Grayson is the owner of Debt Roundup and Empowered Shopper. He also co-owns Sprout Wealth and Eyes on the Dollar. After going to battle and winning against consumer debt, he decided it was time to learn how to use credit wisely and grow his wealth. He discusses all things personal finance and is not afraid of being controversial. He also is a freelance writer and blog manager.

Latest posts by Grayson Bell (see all)


  • We currently have carpet on a large majority of our floor but we eventually want to rip it all up, as well as the hardwood in the kitchen, and make it all hardwood. I haven’t researched it much but I have no idea if it’s worth it to DIY or if it makes sense to pay someone else to do it. I get quite a bit of PTO so that would help, but I don’t want to be kicking myself for being cheap.

    I would only go the DIY when moving if we had friends and family to help. We did last time and it went really quick. If you don’t have people to help, though, then it can be back-breaking work.

  • Catherine says:

    After out last moved I vowed when we move again I won’t do it until I can afford to hire someone to do it for us! I’m a lot like you in almw always attempting to do something on my pwn before ever paying but sometimes you just have to give 😉

  • Liz says:

    There are definitely some things that can be worth hiring out but I like to DIY when I can. Last summer we ordered a brand new mattress from sleep number. I was super upset shortly after we made our purchase when I realized that we were upcharged for delivery. Instead of giving us the shipping options while we were ordering the bed, they just charged us for the most expensive option- which was that someone deliver and set up the bed for $170!!!. Once we realized that there were less expensive options I was furious. I called the store manager and corporate to complain and had the shipping method changed. Obviously we can set up a mattress ourselves!!

  • We paid to have someone install our carpeting and kitchen countertops because those tasks are far beyond our range of abilities. We painted ourselves, though. I can handle painting!

  • I agree, frugal is the new cheap! And I hear you on making choices on when to call in the professionals. We originally thought we would paint our home, but the previous owner had done some excessive painting and with some oil based paints, so we knew we had a big challenge on our hands. We found greater painters and a deal on them through Angie’s List. They had a team come out and in took them almost 5 days to finish. It made us realize we made the right call. We would probably still be painting now.

  • E.M. says:

    Oh yes. We moved everything ourselves, and when the truck broke down, we had to transfer everything to another truck in the middle of our trip. We were really wishing we had people to help us out then. We ended up getting a third floor apartment. and had to haul everything up the stairs ourselves. When we move out, we’re hiring help, period. We’ve learned from our mistake. My parents set their home up by themselves, but my dad has always painted the walls. I’ve never seen them hire out much! They plan on replacing their carpet with hardwood later in the year, too.

  • Will @ FQF says:

    When I created my PF site, I forced myself to learn multiple coding languages instead of purchasing a theme. Took forever!

    Oh, and I always do my own car repairs – it’s a pride sort of thing. Money aside. I will be repainting my hood, fenders, bumper, and side skirts next Spring. Should be fun!!!!!

  • Will @ FQF says:

    Oh and you live in Omaha. I’m in Lincoln. You should have called me up to come paint! 🙂 Now that you’re almost finished it probably wouldn’t be worth me driving up though.

    I’m painting a ton of the house I live in for a reduction in rent.

  • I’m with you on this one Grayson…hopefully we’ll be moving soon and while DIY is great and often cheaper…there are times that it’s worth it to have the pros take care of it. Another example of when I threw frugality out the window was when my son was first born…when you and your wife are sleep deprived and you have a fussy baby at home…you do not have the time and patience to always seek out the best prices. Hmmm should I find a coupon and go to the cheapest store to get diapers/formula etc or do I go to the most convenient place?

  • Hey Grayson, congrats on buying the house. I remember when I first moved to Oregon, companies quoted me around 7k or 8k to move my stuff from Florida for me. This included a car an all of mine and Ana’s belongings. I figured no way it would be worth it. After the move, I’ve got the same opinion you do. The road was nice but the actual moving part was brutal! It seems like I always underestimate on paint too, don’t feel bad. Ohh and I used to kick in carpets with my dad, good thing you hired someone for that part of the process or your knees would have been as sore as your back!

  • I hear you on the back breaking work. We are not as young as we used to be either! We did the moving ourselves with the help of 2 other people plus paid one worker to help us expedite. After making 2 trips the move was completed in 4 hours. It was well worth the $100 for his service as he used to be a mover and he helped us organize the truck and move things along faster. I’m pretty good at painting too but we had to paint the entire house so we hired people to do that. I painted small things like trims and doors to help keep the cost down. Flooring is another item I paid for. I saved by hiring a friend who does this for a living and he charged us half the price that Home Depot would charge to put in new floors in the entire house. It was well worth the price.

  • We just moved as well and have been doing a lot of work ourselves. Painting our screened-in patio was our most recent big project (phew!) and now we are going to tackle some very minor plumbing work. BUT the snag is that we realized our only main water shut-off was at the street and not in-home. Since this is not ideal for emergency situations (i.e. pipe busts and is flooding the house) or even for DIY situations, we are having a main water shut-off put in and I just hired the plumber!!! Since this type of work is related to building codes, we don’t want to DIY and later have issues selling if we can’t prove it was done correctly, etc. We are all for DIY but, when it comes to structure or codes, we default to a professional.

  • Grayson, you’ve made so many good points about when it’s best just to pay someone. Rick and I are huge DIYers too, but auto repair is the time when often we’ll just pay someone instead. If it’s a simple thing, like an oil change, Rick does it, but if it’s something he’s not had experience with before, and it looks from the DIY forums like it’s going to be a pain, we’ll head up to the auto repair shop instead.

  • Hey,
    Sorry but you know I’ve done the same thing many times but I don’t realize it until I’m halfway into a project of the end of a project. I think I get overwhelmed but after it’s done I’m still happy that I did it. I know what you mean though. Balancing time is often difficult and although we would like to save money sometimes it pays to take a back seat and call in the pros to get it done. I know when I do some renos around the house I will pay someone and it’s not because I can’t do it. It’s because I don’t like to do it and I”m slow at it. Congrats on the new place!

  • Kim says:

    We are going to add a roof to our back porch and could probably do it ourselves, but the mess and time frame would be heavy, and the quality might not be great because we’ve never done anything like that. I think it will be better to hire a professional and have it done in a few days. We haven’t gotten final estimates, but that sounds like the plan at this time. I also usually have to go to the chiropractor after lots of paining, so I’m not sure it’s money saving after you count all that!

  • I hear you, Grayson! I don’t mind spending money when it makes sense and I hate spending money when I shouldn’t need to. I can’t blame you for wanting to go the DIY route since you are so handy and could save money too. Sorry it didn’t work out quite like you expected! t was fortunate with our two big moves that they were Corporate moves, so they paid for it, so I’m a bit spoiled right now. We have to move into our rental in a few weeks and this is our first move with children. Lots more stuff! We have family that would certainly lend a helping hand but we will probably look at movers. Mainly because of all the lifting – at our age – it’s not worth the risk of hurting backs, etc.

  • “…forget frugality and go with convenience and time saving methods?” Haha…all the time. I don’t always follow through with that…depends on the project and my skill level. If it’s something I can complete in a reasonable amount of time, I’ll do it myself. Otherwise, time is very valuable to me and I would pay someone else to do it so I could devote my energies elsewhere.

  • Oh man I don’t blame you one bit for wanting pro help on any of those things, especially painting. Some people enjoy it but I find it’s a form of torture! 🙂 As far as moving, I get rid of everything I can so that helps, and I do know a lot of guys so I just give them beer and pizza and I’m usually set, but I have a small one bedroom apt so that usually helps. All in all, moving does suck! Hope you settle in soon!

  • Aldo @ MDN says:

    I’ve move so many times I can’t even count them and every time I ask my friends to help me move – what are friends for, right? But the last time I moved, I moved into an apartment together with my girlfriend. It seemed like a hassle to ask my friends to move my stuff and then go to her house and move her stuff as well so we decided to hire movers… that’s probably the best decision I’ve made in a while. I just got to delegate and tell people what to carry. It was awesome.

    We decided to hire movers because Kate got a $500 gift card from work and we used it to pay the movers, so in reality it cost us nothing. Yes, I know we could have used that money for something else but I think it was worth it.

  • Amy says:

    I completely agree with you on all of these!

    My husband is pretty adamant about snow-blowing our driveway himself, but the snow-blower broke about a week before a major snowstorm this past winter. He also insisted on fixing it himself, but two days before the storm, he broke down and had a small engine repair place fix it for him. (Money well-spent!) But because he waited too long to call them, they weren’t able to fix it before the storm. Thus, we had to hire someone to plow the driveway during the storm. It was pricey, but very nice. He went back to snow-blowing once we had the blower back, but it was a fun experiment in luxury. 🙂

  • We had our annual Memorial Day weekend party, which doubled as our “done with our Debt management Program” party. We weren’t frugal at all…we were on a budget, but it definitely wasn’t frugal….and you’re right – it felt GREAT!

  • I feel for you, Grayson. You must be so tired! The way I look at it is, we can’t be experts at everything. Therefore, people who know what they’re doing and are good at it (renovators, painters, movers) are actually worthwhile when you attach a money value to your time (which will take much longer). I feel a little different about handyman work though, because often you are paying more for the service call, and the work is relatively quick. If you can do your own plumbing, electrical, dryer, washer, dishwasher repair it is probably more frugal. My husband is handy like this and I appreciate when he can fix those things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *