Reddit community members had interesting responses when one asked them to highlight the things they thought were frugal but turned out not to be. Here are some of the best responses from this thread.
1. Buying In Bulk
“Buying in bulk,” one noted, “I was very surprised when I figured out that sometimes you pay more per ounce! Gotta do the math.”
2. Making Own Laundry Detergent
“I made my own laundry detergent once and swore I would NEVER do it again. Felt like it took hours to grate all the soap, and it didn’t end up that much cheaper,” added another.
3. Buying Cheap Toiletries
Another user added, “Buying the cheapest toilet paper or trash bags never works out for me. With the butt napkins, more gets used per wipe because it’s so thin it turns practically to powder. With trash bags, the savings gets eaten up by how many times I have to double up because a bag rips.”
4. Growing Own Food
According to another user, growing food is not exactly cheap, “I always expect growing my own food to be more frugal than it actually is. It can be frugal, but if you’re buying soil and fertilizer, in your specific case, it probably isn’t. I enjoy doing it, and I don’t let the costs get out of hand, but I definitely tend to spend more than I plan at the start of the season.”
Some have debunked Amazon as the go-to online shop, “I gotta say that for 99% of items, Amazon is NOT the cheapest place to get it. Amazon used to be the cheapest, but their prices today are just meh. eBay and Alibaba are the cheaper options, but eBay is by far wayyyy less sketchy.”
“Literally any couponing for stuff you weren’t already planning to buy this week. If I look through coupons, I’ll be buying name-brand crap discounted for more than the store brand I usually buy. Plus, coupons mess with my impulse control (“but it’s on sale!”) and leave me with inventory I might get sick of,” added another.
7. Buying Branded Clothing
Branded clothing does not necessarily last longer; according to one user, “Buying clothes from sustainable brands. Those clothes are supposed to last longer, but my normal clothes also last quite long. Maybe it makes a difference in 15 years or so.. I’ll just stick with treating my clothes carefully.”
8. Booking Cheapest Accommodation While Travelling
“I learned the hard way when I failed to carefully read the reviews and felt like being suffocated by the smell/mold in the room. I checked out right away and promised myself never to book the cheapest anymore if there were bad reviews about the cleanliness of the place. It’s not worth it. Better to pay a bit more if it means being in a place fit for a human being in our century,” advised another user.
9. Living Off-Grid
This popular lifestyle may not be very cost-effective; according to another user, “Trying to grow most of your own food or living off-grid and everything connected to that. The time you spend taking care of all the plants/animals and solving all the problems around them, you could’ve spent working for more money, resulting in more food and less work.”
10. Dollar Store
“The dollar store doesn’t always have the best deals,” noted one user, “You have to watch sizes and counts and know your prices. You can get canned vegetables, tuna, etc., cheaper elsewhere. Hair ties are cheaper there but don’t hold up. Just a few examples. Some ppl think the dollar store has the best deals.”
11. Cheap Shoes
Do not buy cheap shoes, says one user, “Cheap shoes, when I was younger, it was all I could afford. But I found myself buying shoes a lot more often (like each month or so) to replace the cheap $10 flats or flip-flops I got at Walmart.
Now I buy the faux Birkenstocks (but still decent quality) for around $50-100, depending on if I can find them on sale). I’ve found these last me several years. Sure, it may not be the cheapest. But I still feel I am coming out ahead as I’m not buying so many pairs of shoes.”
12. Fast Food
“Fast food. Here in the US, anyway. I went through a Taco Bell drive-thru with the hubs on the way home to save from paying for a sit-down restaurant. A little over $20 for a few items and two sodas,” noted another user.
13. Cheap Tupperware
“Cheap Tupperware (not the real brand, the knock-off stuff from the dollar store) to freeze leftovers in. Most of the containers really did not hold up well in the freezer/microwave/dishwasher, even though they have all the icons on them to say it’s safe. Next time I’m buying name brand, and all the same sizes,” said another user.
14. Raising Chickens
“I’ve built the housing from recycled materials mostly. The cost of waterers and feeders are one thing,” said one user, “The feed costs have gotten out of hand. Yes, it’s nice to have fresh eggs. The problem is supplying fresh chicken on a regular basis.”
What things did you think were saving you money but ended up costing you more?
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