It seems like everything costs more these days, which is why most of us look for any opportunity to save money. While things like cooking at home to spend less on take out actually do help you cut costs, not all so-called frugal habits really save you money in the long-run.
It all comes down to finding the right balance between the value of your time and the value of your money. You may want to reconsider these habits that are supposed to save you money, but actually don’t:
- Buying something just because it’s on sale - If you were already planning to buy it, catching it while it’s on sale can help you save. But if it isn’t something you wanted or needed and you’re just adding it to your cart because it’s discounted, you’re spending money you could have saved.
- Shopping at multiple stores to collect deals - Some people make the rounds to different grocery stores to take advantage of sales, which seems like a smart strategy, but it might not be when you factor in the time and money spent driving around town to save a few bucks.
- Driving out of the way for cheaper gas - The same is true of going across town to fill up the gas tank somewhere that’s just a few cents less than the gas station around the corner. You’d have to be getting the gas for a lot less to really save, especially if your car doesn’t get good gas mileage.
- Buying everything in bulk - Shopping at Costco or Sam’s Club makes sense for some items, like toilet paper and laundry detergent, since the cost per item or unit is lower. But if you’re not going to immediately use that 50-pound bag of potatoes before they go bad, you’re really just throwing money away.
- Buying cheap - Trying to save by buying cheaper versions of products including furniture, shoes, tech and clothing can backfire because the lower quality items may wear out or break sooner. Then you have to replace them, which means spending more than if you’d just bought the better product to start with.