Over the years, I’ve learned it doesn’t always pay to cut corners, even if you’re trying to save money. Individuals all over the internet are sharing ways to be extreme couponers and save money at all costs.
And while I applaud your efforts and willingness to make sacrifices to keep more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket, it could end up costing you more in the long run. Here are five times when being thrifty can backfire and cost you more money.
1. Household Items and Toiletries
No, I’m not joking with this one. When money’s tight and you’re searching for every possible way to cut costs, household items and toiletries may be the first area to take a hit. But I know from experience that this isn’t always a good idea.
I’ve tried generic shampoos and conditioners, lotions, plastic bags and even toilet paper, during my collegiate years when funds were limited; what a huge mistake! The hair products and lotions left my mane and skin feeling a bit rougher than usual. The plastic bags could barely hold a sandwich without ripping, and as for the toilet paper, well I’ll let you figure that one out.
Long story short, I wasted money on products that were quickly tossed in the nearest trash bin. So don’t skimp on these types of purchases. Take care of your body and your health, so you don’t end up wasting money on cheap products.
2. High-Deductible Insurance Policies
You need an adequate amount of medical, dental, life or auto coverage, but what if you can’t afford the monthly or quarterly premiums? In most instances, we just increase the deductible.
I’ve been guilty of doing so, and things didn’t turn out pretty. The deductible on my health insurance was $1,000 but I only had $400 to my name. So I was forced to take out a pricey personal loan to cover the difference, in order to afford the treatment I needed. Not a smart move on my behalf.
Increasing the deductible of your insurance premiums may save you a bit of money each month, but what happens when you need to use the policy to pay for damages or a doctor’s appointment? Make sure you either have enough money set aside in a savings account to pay the higher deductible, or find another way to make ends meet.
3. Reservations for Lodging
If you’re looking for the cheapest deal on lodging for a weekend getaway, you probably head to one of the online deal sites that allow you to name your price and choose the cheapest option.
However, my luck ran out on this one. The first and last time I used a website to save on lodging, the hotel was a bit smelly and we were eaten alive by bed bugs. To make matters worse, the parking and resort fees were exorbitant once we arrived. I guess looks can really be deceiving and we got exactly what we paid for.
Of course it’s important to spend time finding the best deal, when booking reservations for lodging, but not to the point where you sacrifice comfort, or safety. Look for other areas of the budget you can cut, versus staying in a poor hotel.
4. Auto Maintenance
I recently covered ways to slash auto repair expenses and one of the suggestions is routine maintenance. But there was a time when I used to cut way too many corners and ignore the signs.
Long story short, my transmission failed and it ended up costing way more than it would have to keep up with the basic service requirements. Working with a reputable mechanic, and getting routine maintenance on your car now, will cost far less than doing a huge overhaul later — or having to undo work from a previous mechanic.
5. Coupons for Random Items
During my couponing phase, I saved a lot but I also spent a lot! Oftentimes, the deals were too good to resist, so I stocked up on a ton of items that weren’t originally on my shopping list. They ended up sitting on the shelf and eventually expired before we ever got to use them.
Don’t buy things just because you have a coupon. While you may be saving money on your purchases, ask yourself if you will be using them, or just forgetting about them.
I don’t regret any of these experiences, because they taught me valuable lessons, but I would strongly suggest to look at the entire picture and long-term effects of your frugal habits. Be mindful the next time you attempt to cut corners, and be intentional with your spending.
Do you have an experience with saving money up-front but then wasting it later? What’s another instance where being frugal may not pay off?