10 Times Frugal Living Made Me Miserable

Can you get so caught up in planning for everyday expenses and mortgage spending that your frugality can cause you to miss out on good things in life? There are sometimes when people regret being too frugal for many reasons.

I Regret Being Frugal

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Being frugal is often seen as a smart and responsible way to manage money. However, it’s not always easy to strike the right balance between saving money and living better. In fact, there are times when being too frugal can lead to regrets and missed opportunities.

Someone recently shared, “I’ve made a life-long game of seeing how cheaply I could live and how much I could do without. I saved my vacation time at work so I could be paid for it instead.”

However, now they are retired and not enjoying their money as much as they believe they may have when they were younger. They even went as far as to say, “I think I regret being frugal.” So is there such a thing as being too frugal? Here are ten honest responses.

Be Frugal About the Right Things

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One indicated slowly learning that being frugal is about being “frugal on the RIGHT things so you can still enjoy life.” For example, on their vacation, they watch spending on flights and lodging so they can spend more money on experiences and tours.

Striking a Balance

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“Striking a balance between saving for later and YOLO is a classic problem, but it’s a good problem to have.” Many people don’t have a choice. “It’s either live frugally or burn.”

However, they advised that you can’t take your money with you and it’s better to enjoy it now by living like “you’re going to die tomorrow.”

Don’t Be Cheap

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There is a difference between frugality and cheapness. One warned that you should spend money on things that add joy and happiness to your life while still being frugal and not cheap. Don’t deny yourself entirely, but be responsible.

Make New Friends

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One person said that, in their experience,  retirement is a great time to make new friends. People are retiring from work and looking for new friends. Additionally, some have lost loved ones and searching for a new circle of friends. They advised joining senior clubs, church, service groups, and library programs to meet new friends.

Be Frugal With Materialistic Things

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Another takeaway is to be frugal with worldly things, not experiences. For example, there is no guarantee that your health and quality of life will be there when you reach retirement age.

Read Die With Zero

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Many suggested they read Die with Zero by Bill Perkins. Someone asked, “Did you know that people with annuities or other guaranteed monthly incomes spend more lavishly than people with a nest egg? Simply because of the fear of tapping into it?”

Another factoid: “Your spending WILL decrease after about 75.” You don’t have the energy or desire to leave and do stuff the same way. “So budget that in.”

Enjoy Life While You Can

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“Don’t be so frugal; you let life pass you by.” This user shared a story about visiting Maui, Hawaii, in their 20s. First, they took a bus tour of the road to Hana. After returning to the black sands beach, everyone except an elderly couple jumped out to explore.

“I created a story in my mind that they probably saved their whole lives for this trip and now don’t have the physical ability to enjoy it fully. I will never forget that couple.”

Stay Frugal

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A friend in the frugal community offered the advice of staying “frugal while spending more on what you enjoy.” They also reminded the thread of the alternatives to frugality, like wondering where your next meal will come from, staying employed as you age, and keeping a roof over your head.

Living for the Day

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“My parents were incredibly frugal. They saved and put me through college but sacrificed so much regarding experiences and bucket list items,” one shared.


Her mother got sick, and her parents started “living for today” and traveling more. “I wish they’d done it years before.” It’s also why she is trying to do that now and not put it off.

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Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is interviewed after the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting held at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. on Saturday, May 2, 2015.
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This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved.


Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.