Spending Disguised as Saving: Frugal Habits That Can Actually Waste Money

published Oct 28, 2014
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Jim Barber)

You know how to stretch a dollar, have a Ph.D. in comparison shopping, and certainly don’t spend needlessly. Even your stern great grandmother who grew up during the Depression is tearily proud of your budgeting efforts. Yet, are there certain things that you’ve found that just aren’t worth the little money they save? Here are a couple of practices to question…

Follow Topics for more like this

Follow for more stories like this


Clipping coupons certainly has its place, and no doubt some people save money with the practice. But, while they sound like a great thing, there’s a discipline to making them work for you. Otherwise, they just get you into the store and lead you to buy things you normally would not have purchased, simply because they seem like a good deal. If you have a pantry filled with more tuna than you can eat in three years, you might know what this is all about.


When faced with two products with vastly different price tags, do you hesitate and weigh the pros and cons of each? Or, do you just grab the cheaper one? In my household, we have a phrase that it’s about cost per use, or cost per wear. If something holds up over time, and gets repeated good use, then it’s worth the money. There no point in spending any amount of money on something that will disintegrate after one wash, break the first time you use it, or never work well in the first place.


It’s easy to think that making something yourself is the budget way to get something. But sometimes, when you factor in supplies and any tools you need (not to mention the time), the bottom line might not work out as well as you originally anticipated. When you’re thinking about DIYing, mentally calculate both the obvious, and hidden, costs associated with the proposed project.


We’ve all done this. Perhaps you go to five stores to look for the best price for a camera. Or, you take a really long route home to avoid highway tolls. But then you’ve also spent all afternoon driving around town, instead of doing something more purposeful or worthwhile. With everything you do, there is an opportunity cost involved. Is the amount of money you’re saving worth the effort you are putting in?

Tell us. What other money practices have you found not worth doing?

Re-edited from a post originally published 10.28.14 – NT