Living on a strict budget sometimes goes hand-in-hand with having to go out of your way to save a few extra bucks. Collecting coupons, hitting yard sales and going with the cheapest option may all seem like great ways to save money, but do you ever get the nagging feeling that perhaps doing these things may not be worth the savings after all?
Before you sit down this weekend to clip coupons or scavenge yard sales, take a look at the following 7 frugal spending habits that may not be worth your time or money.
1. Driving Around for Cheap Gas
Do you frequently drive out of your way to fill up at the cheapest gas station? Whether you’re driving farther in distance or navigating a busy part of town to reach the cheapest gas station, you could be wasting valuable time and energy just to save a dollar or two. Evaluate whether the savings per gallon is really worth your extra time and the wear-and-tear on your vehicle, and go from there.
2. Clipping Coupons
Collecting, organizing and cutting out coupons can take valuable time out of your day — not to mention the extra time you’ll spend searching for and printing coupons from the Internet. Plus, research shows that people who clip coupons often buy products they don’t need just because they have coupons. Unless certain coupons are easily accessible or genuinely worth hunting down, try devoting less time in your life to couponing.
3. Going the Cheapest Route
It’s happened to everyone: you’re faced with choosing between two similar products, but opt for the cheaper brand to save money. Later on, when you get home, you realize the product is low in quality and wasn’t worth your time or money after all. Before automatically resorting to the cheapest route, evaluate whether spending a few extra dollars will pay off in quality and use.
4. Doing It Yourself (DIY)
There are certain scenarios in which taking on DIY projects can benefit you from a savings standpoint, such as cooking at home or changing your own motor oil. But if you’re thinking about building a deck to avoid paying contractors, or making all your holiday gifts to avoid crowds, think about the extra time and money you could waste buying supplies and learning how to do these tasks. Sometimes DIY can result in setbacks, especially if you invest time and money on supplies and are unable to finish a project.
5. Buying Used Products
Buying certain products used can save you lots of money, especially items like furniture, tools and exercise equipment. But there are certain things that, when bought used, can pose safety risks for you and your family, especially outdated baby items that may have been discontinued or recalled since their release. Always take safety and quality into consideration when purchasing used items.
6. Shopping for Bargains
Shopping at yard sales, outlet malls and thrift stores can be a fun way to spend your day and save money on items you need, but what about the items you buy that you DON’T need? While it seems like you might be saving lots of money on a new toaster oven, do you really need it? Keep in mind that just because you’re getting a great deal on certain items, you’re not necessarily saving money if you don’t need those items.
7. Wasting Time Shopping Around
Have you ever devoted an entire day or weekend to shopping around for the best deal on just one specific item? While it makes sense to do this for major purchases such as homes and vehicles, you could be wasting valuable time if you’re simply trying to save a few bucks on items like groceries and household goods. Before embarking on a wild goose chase for a product that meets your budgetary needs, consider whether your time is simply worth the bargain.
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