Frugality is different for everyone; some people would go hardcore and try to save every cent, while others would go for a moderately frugal lifestyle. While everyone has a different perspective and intensity of frugality, there are certain things that any frugal person wouldn’t do, i.e., unsmart money decisions, that will keep you from achieving your goals.
Whether you are saving up for a house, or early retirement, having any of these poor money habits pushes you further from your goals.
Looking to keep your hard-earned money to help achieve your financial goals? Dropping these habits would go a long way in your journey.
1. Impulse Shopping
A recent study found that 40% of internet purchases are done impulsively. While the internet has made everything much more accessible, it also has problems, such as escalating poor money habits.
The study further revealed that Americans spend an average of $5400 annually on impulse purchases. Additionally, it stated that the top impulsively bought products in 2022 were clothes, foods and drinks, shoes, jewelry, and home accessories.
Impulse shopping entails buying unplanned items that are financially irrational. In the long run, impulse shopping often comes back biting harder.
Frugal people never buy anything unplanned. They include all their expenses in their budget and stick to it.
If you keep buying unplanned items, you may want to start by erasing all your card information from online shopping platforms, deleting shopping apps, shopping on a full stomach, making a shopping list and sticking to it, and shopping with just enough cash for your planned purchases.
2. Waste Food
With groceries being one of the most expensive expenses for families, leaving food to go to waste is a massive waste of money.
Any frugal person does all they can to avoid throwing food into the trash.
Looking to reduce food wastage in your household? Avoid bulk-buying perishable food items you do not use frequently, learn proper food storage to keep your items from rotting, repurpose leftovers to be eaten in the subsequent meals, and strictly practice the first-in-first-out principle for your food.
According to Planet Forward, if you curb food wastage today, you will increase your chances of saving up to $742.60 more per year per person.
3. Use Credit Unwisely
Unwisely using credit leaves people in unending debt cycles. You should never make this mistake if you are looking to secure your financial future.
Some great credit tips smart frugal people do that you should embrace include paying the entire balance by the end month or more than the required minimum amount, avoiding so many credit cards (one with great features and rates should serve you well), avoiding using up your full limit (some financial experts recommend not going beyond 40% of your limit), monitoring and finding ways to enhance your credit score.
Do not let your credit usage send you into ugly messes that become difficult to clear.
4. Buy Brand Names Only
One of the biggest financial misconceptions is that big brand names equal good quality.
While it may be true for some brand names, it is not always the case. You can always find alternative generic products that will save money and serve you equally well. Let go of your loyalty to that expensive brand and find an option that is favorable for your pocket.
Some items you should consider buying generic include cleaning products, condiments, pasta, and pet food.
Also, instead of spending a fortune to buy designer clothes, you should cross over and get good quality non-brand names or cheaper knock-offs.
5. Neglect Budgeting
Operating without a budget is a mistake any financially conscious person will never commit. Not having your budget increases your chances of committing some financial blunders. For example, you can easily and unknowingly spend more than you earn if you lack the visualization and sense of direction a budget gives you.
Neglecting budgeting also means not having clear goals and not tracking your finances.
If you want to start redirecting your finances into achieving your goals, you should start budgeting and tracking your finances to the last coin.
6. Buy New When Used Works
There are so many pros of buying used items over new ones. Of course, the major one is that you will save a considerable percentage of the money, sometimes even more than half the amount you would have spent buying new.
Other than saving money, buying used items helps protect the environment. Besides, you may also get unique, limited versions and vintage items while at it.
Some things frugal people never buy new include clothes, cars, books, toys, kitchenware, children’s items and furniture.
7. Ignore Energy Waste
If you want to cut down on your household expenses, one of the first things you should consider is how to reduce energy waste.
Ignoring energy waste is not only terrible for the environment, it wears and tears your appliances faster, all while escalating your bills.
You should start by implementing simple energy-saving tips such as switching off appliances on standby mode, getting energy-efficient bulbs, ironing clothes in bulk, heating just enough water, lowering the thermostat setting, and showering instead of bathing.
These will cost you nothing but will lower your energy bills tremendously.
However, regularly maintaining your HVAC system and ventilating your house will take your energy saving to the next level. It will cost you some money but can lower your energy costs by up to 20%.
8. Ignore DIY
Frugality entails being a hands-on person that does most of their repairs, building, and maintenance to save money.
There are a lot of household skills you could learn to do. This way, you will not have to pay professionals to get work done for you.
You can learn simple plumbing, HVAC repairs and maintenance, appliance repair, sewing, window cleaning, carpentry, car maintenance, and wall painting.
Before you dial your professional to book an appointment, try to get it done by following internet tutorials.
Also, it does not have to be about appliances and building something. Learning to do things like your nails and hair at home will save you so much money.
9. Pay For Unnecessary Subscriptions
According to the Self Credit Builder, the average American Household has 4.4 active paid subscriptions. Over 30% of these subscriptions go unused every other month, which translates to an average of $25.34 wasted money every other month.
One of the biggest frugal living tips is spending every coin on items you only need. Do not let your money go down on non-essentials you do not use.
Take some time and list all your subscriptions, not just streaming services. Capture everything you pay for monthly, and immediately cancel what has not or has barely been used in the past month.
10. Avoid Maintenance
Avoiding maintenance services may look like saving money, but it will rip you off in the long run. Although it may look like an unwise frugal move to spend money on maintenance services diligently, don’t get tempted to skip it.
This is especially important for your HVAC systems and your car. Not maintaining your HVAC system at least once a year will keep your money with you for a short while. But not long after, you will pay way more for endless repairs and eventually have to replace it prematurely.
Besides, the lack of maintenance of your appliances results in poor energy efficiency.
11. Mindless Entertainment Spending
A frugal person knows they do not have to fly out of town every other month. They know they do not need to buy concert tickets that cost an arm and a leg. These are some costly forms of entertainment you can do without.
Other forms of entertainment, such as going to nightclubs or movies every other weekend, may look like nothing much, but they certainly add up if you do it frequently.
To move closer to your financial goals, think of cutting expensive entertainment forms and saving that money.
No, you do not have to live a boring life. You can do many budget-friendly entertainment activities and have fun while at it.
12. Sacrifice Quality for Cheapness
While frugality is heavily about getting the best deals and keeping your hard-earned money with you, there are items and services you should never cheap on. Compromising quality to save money will end up costing you so much more.
You should never be cheap on mattresses, underwear, tires, insurance, and prescription eyeglasses. For these, and many other items, get good quality and forget about having to make constant replacements.
13. Purchase Trendy Items
Would you have bought that pair of shoes if they were not that popular on social media? How long will you wear it before it is out of trend? Would you then buy the next trendy pair that hits the streets?
Budging to the pressure of purchasing trendy items is something that frugal people never do. For starters, trendy items are typically purchased impulsively and often at the cost of items you need.
Secondly, trendy items are often not made to last. They are poor quality and may wear out very fast, pushing you to buy the next trendy item. You want to avoid getting into this cycle. Choose good quality timeless pieces that will last you for longer.
14. Pay For Unused Space
With the rise in rental costs, leaving space to idle around and paying for it would be an absolute waste of money.
Consider downgrading and moving into a smaller, cheaper apartment if you have an idle bedroom.
Other options include getting a roommate or renting out a room on Airbnb.
This is not just about rooms; you can also explore the possibility of renting out parking spaces you do not use. Do not let spaces you pay for sit idle.
15. Avoid Meal Prep
Meal prepping is a frugal person’s best way to cut grocery costs.
People end up ordering takeout or driving to the restaurant because of the tiring last-minute decision on what to eat. If you plan for your meals for the whole week and have them ready, you will save yourself from the temptation of getting the quick expensive fix: eating out.
Secondly, meal prepping is a great way to cut food waste. While planning what to eat, prioritize what you already have in your pantry and freezer rather than what you plan to buy. It also helps you watch and control the portions and nutrient intake.
Other than saving you money, meal prepping saves you effort and time.
Things Frugal People Never Do
While the concept of frugality is welcomed differently by everyone, there are specific money habits that no frugal person would do, whether you are extremely frugal or not.
Looking to move closer to your financial goals? Start removing these poor money habits, and increase your chance to save as much as possible.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.