What we think of as frugal behavior might not always be the most frugal in the long run.
A user asked the forum, What was something you thought was frugal, but turned out not to be? Here are the common responses.
BUYING MILK IN A BULK
“Buying in bulk. I was very surprised when I learned that sometimes you pay more per ounce! Have to do the math. Lol.”
GROWING OWN FOOD
“I always expect growing my own food to be more frugal than it actually is.
It can be frugal, but if you’re buying soil and fertilizer, in your specific case, it probably isn’t. I enjoy doing it and don’t let the costs get out of hand, but I tend to spend more than I plan at the start of the season .”
MAKING LAUNDRY DETERGENT
“Making Laundry detergent did not work for me, and it was a Pita, and Clothes became dingy.”
CHEAP TOILET PAPER
“Buying the cheapest toilet paper or trash bags never works out for me. With the butt napkins, more gets used per wipe because it’s so thin it turns practically to powder. With trash bags, the savings gets eaten up by how many times I have to double up because a bag rips.”
USING OLD FRIDGE
“Keeping our old fridge. When we replaced it with a new energy-efficient one, our electricity bills went down so much that it paid for the cost of the fridge in two or three years.”
BUYING AT AMAZON
“I gotta say that for 99% of items, Amazon is NOT the cheapest place to get it. Amazon used to be the cheapest, but their prices today are just meh. eBay and Alibaba are the cheaper options, but eBay is by far way less sketchy.”
BUYING A STRETCHY SILICONE BOWL
“Reusable stretchy silicone bowl covers and reusable food storage bags have been two of my biggest disappointments. Neither perform as advertised and are a nuisance to clean and dry.”
BUYING MAGIC CARDS
“All my friends growing up smoked cigarettes, but I thought it was a waste of money, so I bought into magic cards and Warhammer 40k instead.”
MAKING OWN CLOTHES
“Making your own clothes. Starting costs are expensive. Certain fabrics are expensive. Certain threads are expensive. It’s still cheaper than store-bought if you’re like me and seem to have an expensive taste, but it’s more expensive than I thought it would be.”
SHOPPING AT DISCOUNT STORE
“There is a grocery liquidator by my house. Their prices are amazing.
However, I am much more likely to impulse buy there because you never know what they’re going to have, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. My grocery spending went UP significantly when I started shopping at the “discount store.”
“Owning chickens for eggs. Lol.”
“Former chicken owner here.
Feed is expensive. Yes, you can feed them scraps and let them forage. And in exchange, their egg production will decrease.
Also, layers don’t make great meat birds. Most meat birds are harvested at 12-16 weeks; layers aren’t usually big enough for slaughter until much later on. In addition, you would want to get at least a season or two of laying out of them before slaughtering, and at that point, they’re much less tender.
The cheapest way to raise chickens is to 1) raise a lot of them and sell the eggs you won’t use, and 2) Grow a ton of chickweed in plastic bins and rotate them out when the greens are close to the dirt.”
ROLLING DOWN THE WINDOWS OF THE CAR
“Rolling down the windows instead of using the AC in a car. Yes, at a slow speed, this saves a bit on gas, but at highway speeds, it’s more efficient to use the ac.”
DOING MY NAILS
“The amount of money I have spent trying to do my nails “professionally” at home is embarrassing. In my defense, I could not have predicted so many things were not how they seemed.
It led me down this rabbit hole to try a simpler, better method. First with acrylic, then the gel, then the poly, then the special light, then the better drill, then the different tips, then the slick whatever, then more of this & that. Until. I’ve got two tool boxes full of fingernail “stuff”…I think I’d have a coronary if I added all that expense up, all in the name of saving 60 bucks a couple of times a year. I’m pretty sure that was not a frugal win. It just can’t have been.”
TRAVELING ON CREDIT CARDS POINTS
“Travel points on credit cards; I wished I had used a cashback card instead. Travel often for work, but I do a lot less flying now.”
BUYING SUSTAINABLE CLOTHES
“Buying clothes from sustainable brands. Those clothes are supposed to last longer, but my normal clothes also last quite long. Maybe it makes a difference in 15 years or so.. I’ll just stick with treating my clothes carefully.”
BUYING CHEAP BEDDINGS
“Really cheap bedding or towels. I got a cheap sheet set from Woot; I think mainly polyester. It was super hot and didn’t hold up to wear and tear from toenails and things, and it only lasted a few months, though it looked decent. I bought a decent set of linen sheets that have been my daily sheets for over a year and just seem to get softer and cozier with each wash.
Same for towels. The cheap ones will stuff your dryer’s lint trap, leave fuzzies on you as you’re drying off, and don’t hold up to multiple washing items. Instead of a new $10 towel every six months, get a $25 towel that lasts five years.”
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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.