The Dos and Don’ts of Frugality

Some people are too frugal while others are frugal enough. If you’re on either side, you might need to adjust your spending behavior because a lack or excess of frugality can cause a whole heap of problems. These are the dos and don’ts when you’re trying to save money without losing your mind.

Below you’ll find a shorter summary of what’s in the video above.  For detailed information, please watch!

DO

  • Do a quick search for coupons during checkout or use a browser extension to do the work for you.
  • Check deal sites for what you’re looking for if you need something now, otherwise use sites like IFTTT (great for Craigslist) and CamelCamelCamel to track prices and get a notification for a specific product.
  • Clip coupons you’ll use. Unless you have some sort of love for it, leave it at that. Extreme couponing is a job for which you do not get paid, you just spend less. Don’t do it unless you truly love it.
  • Make larger orders as much as possible. Try to avoid the need to have it now and group as many items together as possible. At the very least you’ll save on shipping, and in many cases your shipping will be free. Sometimes, even upgraded!
  • Always ask for deals. You don’t have to be a haggler, just say what you want and ask if there are any deals. If you don’t get a good answer, tell them you don’t think you can spend that much. You can haggle beyond that point if you want to and don’t get the deal you’re looking for, but those two things are easy to do even if you think you suck at haggling.
  • On that note, know exactly what you need and how much you can spend. Frugality doesn’t mean being cheap, but rather saving money as is appropriate for your budget and savings goals.

DON’T

  • Avoid impulse buys. That doesn’t work for frugal people. Enforce a holding pattern of 24 hours before making a decision on any purchase that would have any real effect on your monthly spending.
  • Don’t wait for a deal if you need something now. You should wait if you can, but if you actually need to buy something and it’ll cost more than you’d like but you can afford it comfortably, then just do it. Like anything practical, if you overdo it you’ll end up anxious about every purchase you make. Overdoing frugality can make you nuts.
  • Don’t use coupons or find deals for stuff you don’t really care about. For example, if you don’t really like eating at Denny’s but you always can eat there for cheap thanks to coupons, STOP! You don’t like Denny’s. Don’t eat there. Eat somewhere you like, and eat out less if you need to save money. The enjoyment factor is huge, and you’ll actually end up wasting money eventually if you’re eating out more thanks to coupons because you’re going to be less healthy than you can be, most likely. If you get really fat that’s going to show up in the form of medical bills. If you just gain weight you don’t want, you’ll probably spend money trying to lose it. That’s just one example. There are plenty of unintended consequences to saving money for the sake of saving money. Do what you want in moderation and use coupons to save money whenever possible.
  • Don’t buy cheap stuff just because it’s cheap. It’s okay and much better to spend more money on something that will last much longer.