One of the results of the recent recession has been a renewed interest in frugality. We all seem to want to know how to save money. However, sometimes being frugal can be costly in the long run. As you make an effort to be frugal, it’s important not to let the desire to save money in the short run cost you bigger in the long run. Here are some ways that you can be frugal to a fault:
For some things, it really doesn’t matter if you get a low-quality product. However, in some cases, saving a few bucks and sacrificing quality can add up to big losses. My husband’s shoes are a good example. We spend about $100 on his casual, everyday shoes. In an effort to save money once, we bought some lower-quality shoes for $45. In six months, those $45 shoes were worn out from all the walking he does. His $100 shoes last at least 18 months (and sometimes two years). If we spent $45 for cheaper shoes every six months, in 18 months we would have spent $135 — instead of $100 for better shoes.
Consider whether or not your penchant for cheap goods is actually costing you. If you find you are buying the same things over and over again, it might be time to spend a little more up front to save money down the road.
You can save a great deal of money doing some things on your own. However, some projects ought not be attempted by the budding DIY-er. If you are trying to save money by working on something major, you could actually end up costing yourself a great deal. What if you mess it up? In some cases, you could mess up something serious, and then have to pay for it to be fixed. Fixing a botched project can be way more expensive than paying a professional in the first place. Know your limitations, and understand when a project is simply beyond you.
Skimping on Maintenance
There are some basic maintenance items that need to be taken care of if you want your home, car and body to last a little bit longer. Take care of home maintenance issues sooner in order to avoid paying more later when minor problems become big messes. The same is true of taking care of your car. Following regular maintenance schedules, such as changing fluids regularly, can help ensure that your car runs better, and that you spend less in the long run as major systems break down.
Finally, don’t forget regular maintenance on your body. A yearly physical is one way to catch health problems early — before they balloon into disasters. Take care of your teeth, and make regular visits to the dentist. My husband ended up with more than $1,500 worth of work on his teeth after avoiding the dentist for seven years. He could have had problems caught sooner, and the fixes would have been less expensive, if he had gone in for regular maintenance on his teeth.
Using Coupons as an Excuse to Buy Something
While coupons can be great money savers, sometimes they are just an excuse to buy something. Sure, I can save $1.50 on a $4.50 tube of new, expensive toothpaste. But if I stick with my regular brand, I’m only paying $2.50 a tube. If I use that coupon to get the more expensive toothpaste, I’m actually spending $3.00 — that’s $0.50 more! Instead of using coupons just to use coupons, have a plan. Make your shopping list, and then find coupons that match what you would buy anyway.
What other ways can frugality cost you in the long run?