Despite the fact that the recession is officially over, many consumers still find themselves a little short on cash. Because of this, the popularity of frugal living shows no signs of abating.
Though there’s certainly nothing wrong with being frugal, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about achieving it. And when you go the wrong way, long term savings are rarely made.
If you’re looking to tighten your purse strings this month, here are six examples of what not to do.
Saving Money, Wasting Gas
Whenever you’re thinking about driving far away to benefit from lower prices, always factor in the cost of petrol. Discount stores on the outskirts of town tend to have pretty impressive discounts but they are only worthwhile if you plan on stacking up.
The same logic applies to cheap gas stations. There’s not much point in saving two cents per gallon, if you’re going to lose the savings on the drive home.
Cheap Food That Goes in the Bin
If you want to make the most out of coupons and promotions, a little bit of stockpiling is very much required. When you spot a great deal on something that you purchase every week, it makes sense to stock up on it.
Unfortunately however, expiry dates have a way of spoiling such plans. Always check the expiry date before purchasing a lot of something. Fifty percent off isn’t worth much if you end up throwing most of it out.
DIY Water Damage
DIY is a popular activity in frugal households and when done correctly, it can be incredibly rewarding. Unfortunately however, some DIY jobs lead to little other than expensive holes in the wall.
Doing your own painting and tiling makes sense. Doing your own plumbing and wiring does not. Never bite off more than you can chew. DIY mistakes tend to be pretty expensive.
Short Term Shopping
Purchasing generic brands at the supermarket makes sense. Purchasing a generic brand washing machine does not. When it comes to expensive products that you will be using for many years to come, it’s important to take a long term view.
A cheap washing might save you money this year, but next year, you’ll have to pay for repairs. And the year after that, you’ll have to pay for a replacement. When purchasing kitchen appliances, electrical gadgets and cars, focus on quality, not price.
Coupons for Coupons Sake
In an effort to live a more frugal lifestyle, many people get a little obsessed with coupons. One of the most common mistakes that such people make is purchasing items that they do not need solely because they have a coupon.
Coupons are supposed to lead to you spending less money not more. If you’re coupon use is increasing the cost of your weekly grocery bill, you’re doing it wrong.
Counting Pennies, Forgetting About Life
Finally, there is the biggest frugal living mistake of all, living a dull life. What’s the point in working so hard if you can’t enjoy the occasional night out?
When times are tough, it certainly makes sense to limit your spending. But don’t let the frugal lifestyle suck all the fun out of your life. By all means keep stacking coupons and searching for good deals but don’t forgo the pleasure of occasionally eating in a nice restaurant. You can’t take your bank balance to the grave.