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Frugal Living: 7 Ways It Could Cost You

frugal livingFrugal living has made millionaires. Just like at Warren Buffet. He’s proof that living below your means and investing and saving the rest is key to being wealthy. However, frugal living, if done incorrectly, could actually cost you more money in the long run.

Below are 7 ways that frugal living is making you spend more.

1) Buying Cheap Items

I’m a sucker for a good deal. And I’ll be honest, I’ve grabbed a few t-shirts from Walmart before. However, overall, buying cheap items just to save a few bucks often costs you in the long run.

For example, my family just invested in reusable batteries.

While we mainly did it because we’re on a zero-waste journey, we also were tired of spending $30-$40 on batteries every couple of months (we work from home and have a lot of technology). I spent $100 on these reusable batteries, and they will last up to 8 years if taken care of. They’ve pretty much saved us hundreds of dollars, even though we spent more upfront.

The same can go for your clothes, shoes, and other items around your home.

While investing in good quality items can be pricey upfront, it can save you hundreds, if not thousands, in the long run. Items like cast iron skillets, knives, and even mattresses will last you longer if you spend a little more.

And if you can’t afford to replace all of your items at once, that’s okay! Just replace them as they wear out with a better quality item.

2) Being Afraid Of Credit Cards

When I started my debt-free journey, I was terrified of credit cards. I grew up in a household of financial infidelity and a parent that would put thousands on credit cards for no reason. So, I swore that I would never have a credit card and be like them.

However, if done correctly, credit cards can offer a ton of benefits.

  • Cashback,
  • rewards,
  • insurance,
  • and more on things you already purchase, and it could mean more money in your pocket.

Now, I will only recommend a credit card to you if you know how to use it.

If you find yourself spending on unnecessary items, or have suffered from credit card debt in the past, it’s important to know yourself and know what you can handle. If that means not getting a credit card, then please don’t. But, if you can pay off your credit card every month, and won’t use it for unnecessary things, it can offer a ton of benefits that you’re otherwise missing out on.

3) Not Going To Regular Checkups

I get it, I don’t like going to the doctor either. But what if I told you that regular checkups could save you thousands down the road.

In fact, a regular dentist checkup saved my teeth. I had a tooth growing under my gums, growing sideways, and near a nerve and my other teeth.

  • Because my dentist caught it, I was able to get it removed.
  • Had I not gone to the dentist, and on time, that tooth would have eventually knocked into either my nerves or my other teeth, and that would have cost thousands to fix.

Instead, I walked away only paying $800.

There are other ways regular checkups can save you money too.

Catching cancer early can not only save you money, but it can literally save your life. And you can’t put a price tag on that.

  • I know our healthcare system is terrible and in dire need of an overhaul.
  • I know doctors are expensive.
  • And I know we all love to deem ourselves healthy enough to not need a checkup.

But you do.

Don’t put your life on the line just because you don’t want to get a checkup. There are tons of ways to save on medical costs so you can get the support you need.

during a divorce4) Avoiding Maintenance

Not only should you be checking on yourself regularly, but you should be performing regular maintenance on what you own as well. Regular maintenance on your car and home can save you a fortune over time.

When I worked at an HVAC company, you wouldn’t believe how many people never got regular maintenance on their AC units and furnaces. And when a technician would go out, he’d have to, unfortunately, tell them that it would cost hundreds or thousands to fix their problems.

Had they just spent $100 a year for regular checkups and maintenance, their units would have lasted longer and wouldn’t have the issues they had.

The same goes for your car and other areas around your home as well.

  • Do those things take time? Yes.
  • Do they cost money? Yes.

But, not taking care of your home or car because you’re cheap isn’t going to help them or you in the long run.

5) Always Trying To DIY

Frugal living experts love talking about DIYing everything. But sometimes, DIYing could cost you a fortune. While there are some DIYs that can save you money, for the most part, you should leave them to the professionals.

As an example, I knew someone who wanted new flooring.

She had seen plenty of YouTube videos talking about how easy it was to DIY your floors in your home. However, she didn’t realize that she needed new sub-flooring as well, which she didn’t know how to do. But, she still DIYed.

She did such a bad job that her floors are already warping, and they’re sloped. She still spent hundreds on those floors, and will now have to pay a professional to re-do everything.

Had she just gone with a professional to begin with, she would’ve saved herself time, money, and a headache.

If you plan on DIYing something, make sure you check all of your options.

  • Do you have the experience?
  • Do you have the time?
  • And, do you have the money to fix things if they go wrong?

Frugal living doesn’t mean being cheap.

6) Overextending Yourself To Save Money

I’ve talked before about how I save a ton of time each week. And a few of the ways I do that is by outsourcing. As a business owner, wife, and mom (and college student!), I don’t really have the time or energy to:

  • grocery shop,
  • make my house completely spotless, and
  • other menial tasks that take up too much of my time.

Instead, I’d rather use that time with family or making more money.

When you’re trying to live frugally, you may think that doing everything yourself is saving you a ton of money. But, sometimes, it’s not.

I spend $10 a month to get my groceries delivered, plus tips. But you know what? I save at least 10-15 hours a month on grocery shopping, and I save money because we aren’t tempted to just throw things in our carts.

Frugal living doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to things that are going to save you time and money.

7) Buying Into The “Deals”

How many times have you bought something, just because it was on sale? That’s wasting money. Frugal living is not about buying a bunch of stuff that you don’t need, just because you have a coupon for it.

In fact, if you buy something just because it was a “steal”, you’ve still wasted money. Only buy things that you need. If they’re on sale, even better. But don’t buy into sales just because you see a % off sign.

Frugal Living Doesn’t Mean Cheap

It’s okay to be frugal and save your coins. Self-made millionaires do that. However, sometimes, being too frugal can make you cheap, and in the end, cost you more money than you wanted to spend in the beginning. While it’s okay to skimp on some things, there are some things you should absolutely pay for.

Are you too frugal sometimes? Don’t be afraid to spend in order to save and potential make your life better in other ways!

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AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard

Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.


  1. Your article, to me, is an explanation of how to go from cheap TO frugal. Frugal living is recognizing those situations when spending a bit more saves in the long run. Someone who truly loves frugally would recognize that skipping health checkups could seriously cost you in the long run.

    • For sure! Glad this article could help you, Karen!!

  2. I’m a nurse, and it is SO TRUE that regular check ups can save money. I’ve had patients come in that “haven’t been to the doctor in decades” and now they need a major organ surgery with weeks of in hospital care and rehab!! Something that is vastly more pricey than the same disease would be earlier on with proper monitoring and management.

    • For sure! Thanks for giving your two cents!

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