Frugal tips can make a difference, but their effectiveness depends on how you implement them in your daily life.
A user took to the forum and asked what’s an outdated or just wrong piece of frugal advice you see repeated? And here is what people have to say:
1. Use ONLY Cash
I love to use cash. It helps me understand how much I’m spending and helps me stick to my budget. However, I also use credit cards for payments that are recurring. It helps me gather points that get good deals on travel, gas, etc.
“Don’t use credit cards. Use cash for everything.” – an easy way to not have an excellent credit score when you need a loan. Use the cards and pay them off monthly.” shares one.
“Think of all the cashback and extra rewards/bonuses/miles you’re missing out on, too.” said another.
2. Do it Yourself (DIY)
It is worth it if you are good at crafting, love it, and have the equipment for it. But, for people like me, who struggle to DIY anything, I prefer spending money on it and using my time to do something I am good at.
3. Reusing Plastic Containers
A user says, “People reusing plastic containers for food. No, that is not designed to be reused for ten years.”
4. Not Hiring Out Anything
Time is money. If you can spend your time effectively and on things that help you generate income, then yes, you should hire out tasks. However, if you are going to sit and while away time, then maybe, you should do it yourself.
“People don’t account for quality or time at all. Yes, I can clean my own house, mow my lawn, and fix whatever is broken, but all of that takes time to do, and it won’t be as good as some who does it for a living. You can always make more money, so be more frugal with time than money.” says one.
5. Wait For Black Friday For Everything
“Black Friday, Boxing Day, etc, are all scams, and spending too much money is the frugal option.” : There is some truth to this, but people miss it entirely.
Using these kinds of sales for big purchases if the price is better or comparable to the recent price history of the item.
Last year alone, I got a new microwave for %50/$150 off, let alone cutting my cellphone and internet bills in half. In the past, I got much-needed furniture, other appliances, and general household items I needed on these sales.”
6. Not Using Delivery Services
Frugalists recommend not using delivery services and paying for them. But, more often than not, it can save you from impulse buys.
“Delivery services. I do Walmart delivery all the time. I save on impulse purchases, it’s free, and the $10 tip saves me so much time and energy. Plus, I can examine the price/weight in more detail. My kids can’t beg for stuff or sneak things in the cart.”
7. DIY soap
“Making your laundry detergent. It’s performative frugality and a tremendous waste of time. Powdered detergent is cheap.” said another.
“Clip grocery store name-brand coupons to save money. Most of the things that have manufacturer’s coupons are high-markup processed foods. Often another brand was a better buy than the coupon item. Sometimes a different size of the same product by the same manufacturer that didn’t qualify for the discount was a better buy.
Buying generic and cooking from scratch are usually cheaper.” said one.
9. Driving For Cheaper Gas
So many recommend driving for miles to save 2-5 cents on gas. It is still done today, and I don’t think it helps.
10. Not Buying Cleaning Products
While it is great to use available items to clean, sometimes, it is not worth the hassle.
“Cleaning products. Sometimes baking soda and vinegar doesn’t cut it. Save your body soreness, frustration, and wasted time. Buy yourself some soft scrub!” says one.
11. Wash Dishes By Hand
“Wash your dishes by hand. Yeah, my dishwasher uses less power to heat the water and run a load than the hot water cylinder uses to heat the water. It uses less water than a full sink, and I can do more dishes in that amount of water than I can. So saves me money there too as I have to pay for water.
An actual handy frugal tip incoming, scrape food off your dishes and then load it into the dishwasher. Do not rinse your dishes. Add dishwasher powder to the pre-rinse section and the regular wash section. Select a cycle with a pre-rinse start. The dishes come out perfectly clean. Use powder, not tablets. The powder is generally about the same price as tablets but will get you twice the amount of loads.” said another.
12. Going Cheap On Everything
“Going cheap on everything. You are not doing yourselves any favors by buying cheap appliances. Cheap appliances break easily and need to be replaced. When you buy something, make sure it lasts and you are not throwing money away to replace it every couple of months.” said one.
13. Buy In Bulk
“It’s cheaper to buy in bulk,” then half of the item goes to waste because of spoilage or freshness.” said another. It is not worth buying in bulk if you will waste it, and buy them again anyway.
14. Emergency Funds
“My pet peeve is “you need to save three months of expenses in an emergency fund.” You need way more than that. Eight months to a year is recommended to sustain yourself during a recession.
And anytime I look for a new job, it takes two months at least before I find something. I wouldn’t want to lie awake at night worrying that the last month will escape me before my paycheck arrives.” said another.
15. Replace Only When It Breaks
A user shares, “The general idea is that you should keep everything as long as possible and only replace something when it breaks.
For older electric items, especially things like heaters and refrigerators, the energy consumption of an older appliance can be 4-5x higher or more than a new model. Depending on how much your energy costs, that extra energy can be the equivalent of buying a new appliance every few years.
Same with cars. With the amount you spend on repairs/maintenance and the generally poorer fuel consumption, you’re often better off financially buying a newer one sooner rather than “driving until the wheels fall off.””
16. Hoarding Stuff
It is not frugal to hoard something in case you need it later. Sometimes, it might save you money as you aren’t branching out to storage units.
Also – it takes a toll on your mental health when you push the tip too far has a high cost. You have to remember what you have, have space for it, spend time organizing it, and always be on your toes to be able to use it.
17. Spending On Brands
“Almost all of my (mostly designer) wardrobe has been throated or bought at yard sales/consignment shops, etc. So, that part isn’t accurate; it depends on where you live/travel and your eye for quality items.
I got a bespoke embossed teal leather clutch two days ago for $2. Looked it up online, and it retails for $160. Just before that, a Waverly duvet retailing at $250 for $5. You gotta know where and how to look.” shared one.
18. Cutting Down On Small Items
“Cutting $100/month on streaming and small expenses is gonna involve (a) negotiating with my wife and the kids and (b) some amount of disappointment ($100/month would be, like, all of our music and video streaming. So that’s a lot of disappointment). In other words, it takes a lot of time and effort for nobody to get what they want.
It is easier and quicker to find $100 in savings by refinancing a mortgage, student loans, or car loans or working on other significant expenses like car or homeowner’s insurance.”
19. Fixing Shoes
“I think the most outdated advice involves fixing shoes. When I grew up, you always repaired them, but now, it costs money to do so. Unless the shoes or boots are perfect, your best bet is to buy Amazon returns and stick a tap on the toe and the heel’s outer edge yourself. That means perhaps a dollar in taps and twenty minutes of your time. Once the soles are gone, it’s no longer practical to re-sole.” said one.
20. Driving For Grocery Deals
“My mother will drive around to 2 or 3 different grocery stores to take advantage of various deals, but I’m certain that the time and gas burnt driving around cancels out any savings on groceries. (This may be less true with grocery prices skyrocketing recently).” shares one.
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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.