7 So-Called “Frugal” Habits That Are Actually a Waste of Time and Money

Not everything is frugal! I am sure you have read articles and tips that promote frugal living and give some ideas that are just not frugal! These frugal myths float around and sometimes even cost people a lot of money!

Things That Aren’t Frugal

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When you are looking to be frugal, remember that some things may work for some people and backfire for others. Just because something works for you doesn’t mean it will work for someone else and vice versa. The best idea is to keep an open mind and try new things to see what works for you. The best frugal living tips are the things that work for you!

Recently someone posted on Reddit’s frugal forum: “What do people swear is frugal and you just shake your head at?”

Here are some of the top responses:


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“Bundles are cheaper.” Like fast food meal bundles are rarely a deal anymore, or cable/internet packages, things like ski/amusement/hotel packages. Now all the packages do is rope you into buying more, not discount both package items,” someone wrote.

I don’t travel very often, so I don’t know if this is true, but do your research before being persuaded into buying a bundle. Sometimes it is cheaper, but sometimes it is just clever marketing to make you pay more money.

Skipping Care

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“Forgoing repairs, routine maintenance, and regular checkups at the doctor/dentist,” wrote one person.

I don’t see this recommended as a frugal tip, but maybe we are looking at different places. But this definitely seems to be a cheapskate move that will cost you more in the long run.

Dollar Stores

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“Dollar stores. For some things (home decor), it is quite frugal, and for others (food), you might be better off waiting for a sale at a regular grocery store. You just have to look at each item critically and think about whether the $1 is a discount or overpriced,” wrote one person.

Another added, “ya, a lot of time, it makes no sense. Like a can of tuna at the dollar store is 1.25, but at Aldi’s, it is 77 cents. Like, come on, dollar store, I thought we were friends.” [sic]

I love the Dollar Store, but not everything is a bargain! Look at prices critically before buying anything.

Buying the Bigger Size

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“Buying the larger size. Older example: cheese. 32oz was $4.99, and the 16oz is $1.99. Buy two 16oz for $1 less for the same amount of cheese. Also, the cheese stays fresher when you only open one smaller block at a time vs. opening the large one,” wrote one person.

This is a great example of why looking at price per unit and looking carefully at prices is a great way to buy groceries frugally.

Buying Too Many Things on  Sale

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“Buying tons of things on sale – for example: going to the mall and spending $50 every week because some piece of clothing or whatever was “on sale” but then accumulating a ton of c*** (possible low quality) you don’t need. it really adds up,” wrote one person.

If a sale is going to make you spend more money, then it’s not frugal!

Don’t Buy Cheap

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“”Buy once, cry once” – I always buy a cheap one first. That way if cheap is just as good, I’m ahead. If I don’t end up using it as much as I thought I’d need, I’m ahead. And if I end up using it a lot, I replace it with a higher quality one next,” someone wrote.

I do this too! Start cheap and then move up in quality and price until you get what you want.

Bulk Purchase

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Buying in bulk doesn’t always save you money!

“Bulk purchase for a lot of things. Unless it’s something like toilet paper you know for sure you’ll always need or something you consume a lot like rice. Many food can expire/taste goes bad or you might not just want a huge quantity in the future,” said one person.

I hope you enjoyed this Reddit list of frugal myths. Do you agree with any of them?

This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved.

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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.