15 Frugal Habits That Will Cost You More Money in the Long Term

Being frugal is a great way to save money and live debt-free. But sometimes, people's efforts to save money could lead to spending more in the long run. The following are some frugal habits that aren't saving you any money.

1. Shopping Sales

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Who doesn't love a good sale? It might seem like you're saving a ton of money when you get a good deal while shopping, but sales often trick people into buying things they don't need. Sales create a sense of urgency that makes people want to grab an item before it's sold out. If you're trying to be smart with your money, pay close attention to what you're picking up when shopping for sales. 

2. Eating Fast Food 

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Fast food is marketed as a cheap and quick meal solution, especially when you're on the go or running low on cash. However, fast food prices have increased over the last few years and are now equivalent to preparing a healthy meal at home. Additionally, while a balanced meal would keep you full throughout the day, fast food won't keep you full for long, and you'll find yourself spending more on additional meals and snacks.  

3. Extreme Couponing

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It's rewarding to hand the cashier a stack of coupons and watch the total drop at the register. While it might seem like a good idea to clip coupons, extreme couponing can lead you to stock up on items you don't need. Plus, the time spent searching for coupons and organizing them is taking away valuable time you could spend doing other things. 

4. Sacrificing Comforts

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People often imagine frugal people as people who will sacrifice anything to save money. But no one should sacrifice their comfort to save a few extra dollars. If you cut back on a comfortable bed, clothing, or a quality chair, you might have costly medical bills in the long term. Sometimes, spending more upfront will save you in the end. 

5. Washing Dishes by Hand

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Many frugal people believe that running the dishwasher costs more in terms of water and electric bills. While there's no electricity required to handwash dishes, you actually use much more water washing dishes by hand than using the dishwasher. Modern dishwashers are more efficient, use less soap, and sanitize your dishes, which is a much better solution than washing by hand. 

6. Not Using Credit Cards

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Frugal people want to avoid accumulating debt as much as possible. While this is understandable, avoiding credit cards means you're missing out on an opportunity to build up your credit score. Frugal or not, if you're using your credit card responsibly, there's no reason to avoid it.

7. Skipping Your Annual Checkup

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Your health is your most valuable investment. Many people have the assumption that as long as they feel fine, there's no reason to have an annual health checkup. But it can cost you a lot of money if a health issue goes undiagnosed because you skipped your yearly checkup. 

8. Buying Groceries in Bulk

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Many people claim that buying groceries in bulk is a way to save money, but it isn't for everyone. Depending on the items you purchase, buying in bulk could mean some of your grocery items spoil before use. Also, the upfront cost of buying bulk grocery items could strain your monthly food budget

9. Not Contributing to Your 401K

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Have you ever been tempted to skip contributions to your 401K? When money is tight, people are often forced to find creative ways to make their income cover their needs. However, you'll miss out on potential employer matching contributions if you don't contribute to your retirement account. Plus, the sooner you begin saving, the more money you'll have for retirement. 

10. Driving Far to Save on Groceries

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With the price of food steadily increasing, people are choosing their grocery stores wisely. You might be tempted to drive a few additional miles out of your way to find a cheaper grocery store. However, the cost of grocery shopping is more than just the food; it also includes the gas and vehicle mileage. 

11. DIY Home Repairs

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It's essential to know your limits when tackling a DIY job. Many frugal people will attempt to tackle a home repair job on their own before calling a professional. But it's easy to make a costly mistake when you aren't a trained professional. Know when to DIY and when you need to phone an expert. 

12. Avoiding the Doctor's Office

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Many people turn to Dr. Google when sick, but self-diagnosing is never a smart way to save money. Avoiding the doctor's office could worsen your condition and become more difficult and expensive to treat. Your health isn't something you want to find a cheap alternative for. 

13. Not Servicing Your Car

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Your car needs a regular checkup, just like you do. Vehicles need regular oil changes and should be serviced every six months to a year. Skipping routine servicing could lead to much more expensive vehicle repairs down the line. 

14. Buying Cheap 

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There's a cheaper alternative to just about anything you want to purchase, but it doesn't mean you should opt for the cheaper option. You often get what you pay for, and if you pay for a cheap product, that's what you'll receive. While it might seem more expensive up front, investing in quality products at affordable prices is the better choice. 

15. Ignoring Your Wants 

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Being frugal doesn't mean missing out on what you want. Constantly ignoring your wants and only spending money on the necessities is the path to an unhappy life. There must be a balance between your spending and your savings. Even if you're frugal, you can still treat yourself every once in a while. 


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She started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, which was freedom, so she decided to venture out. She took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by helping them how to save, budget, and invest.

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