Are you saving money with your great thrifty ideas or are you making a lot of mistakes.
You think that you are money savvy and have the best ideas to save you wads of money. Are you really being frugal or are you being foolish by wasting your time, energy and money on ideas that don't really work? What money saving ideas are really mistakes?
We can spot these money wasters in others but we can't always spot them in ourselves.
Being frugal for many people is a lifestyle that they thoroughly enjoy. To squeeze the most out of every dollar a pleasure. But you really need to make sure that you truly are being frugal and not foolish with your money. Saving money and money saving can have a lot of pitfalls for some.
1. Buying decorative items for other people.
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Copyright Ingrid Talpak 2012
"Oh look this lamp is on sale I am going to buy it for Cindy". We all know people that will buy stuff for other people and most of the time the people they are buying for don't want it. It doesn't matter if it is a case of soup you see at the big box store or some cute pillows on sale from the department store, no one asked for them, it doesn't matter how good the deal was, you should not be shopping for other people unless specifically asked to do so. This is not saving money if you are planning to give it way.
2. Stocking up on supplies for things you never make.
Can anyone say scrap booking? If you have a stores worth of supplies for your scrap booking but still have not put one page into a scrap book you a wasting your money. I have seen this in all sorts of hobbies and crafts like the woman who had 6 huge boxes of yarn because she thought she was going to use it all up making scarves and sweaters or the person who put a shelving unit in their garage to hold all their material that they were going to use to make quilts. If you are not using up what you are buying you are not saving money.
3. Having an extra freezer or refrigeration that is not constantly used.
This is especially bad if the appliance is more than 15 years old as they are real energy hogs. If you have an extra appliance that is only being used once or twice a year to hold party foods then think about just getting an extra large cooler and using that instead. You are not saving money if you keep the appliance plugged in all the time.
4. Thinking that the best deals are in discount department stores.
I won't argue that the cheapest items are often in discount department stores but I mean cheap as in shoddily made. Just because a store keeps telling you they have the lowest prices doesn't make it true. You might be really overpaying on some items. If you have found a deal on a staple (vitamins, bread, milk, diapers) keep checking that the size stays the same and the price stays the same. It is not uncommon for items to be downsized with the price staying the same.
5. Using cupons for items you do not need.
It does not matter if with double coupons you will get a gallon of mustard almost for free if you don't eat mustard. No matter how good the deal is if you don't use it up then you have thrown money away and you have taken an opportunity away from someone who might really need it. (Who needs a gallon of mustard? Well, group homes, scout clubs, soup kitchens, etc, etc.)
6. Subscribing to newspapers just for the coupons
This is even more of a waste of money if you are getting several copies of the paper so you will have multiple coupons. You have to factor in the cost of the newspaper to what you think you are saving with your coupons. Spending money to save money doesn't always make sense. You will also be locked into a newspaper subscription for longer than you need and you don't know if all the coupons will be of any use to you.
7. Stocking up on items that you won't use in the next 2 years
Fine, you have stocked up on enough toilet paper for the next decade. Now stop it. Toilet paper, feminine hygiene, paper towels will get musty if stored for too long and if they are stored in an area that is not checked very often can become very comfortable nests for insects and animals. If you have to stock up and everything then have a limited time that it must be used. (Two years) You can use your money for other essentials.
8. Driving miles out of your way looking for cheap gas.
If you are driving to the next town because you want to save 2 cents a gallon it is time to pull out your calculator to do a bit of math. How many gallons are you putting in your vehicle and multiply that by the cents per gallon you are saving and you have an answer pretty quick. Everyone want to get the best deal on gas but make sure that you are not erasing your savings because it costs more to get to that cheap gas station than you are saving.
9. Having life insurance on children.
It does not matter how an insurance agent presents this to you it is a terrible idea. If you are looking for some sort of saving plan then this is the last thing that you want to invest in. Research it on line, there are many better options.
10. Buying huge amounts of lottery tickets week in, week out.
It can be a lot of fun buying a lottery ticket and dreaming of "what if" but if you are spending more than a few dollars on it a month it has gone past fun and you are just throwing your money away. You might have convinced yourself that spending money on lottery tickets is a calculated risk so you can become a winner but you need to be realistic.Tally up how much you have spent on lottery tickets over the course of a year and if it is in the hundreds (or thousands) realize that you have over done it.
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Copyright Ingrid Talpak 2012