10 Terrible Frugal Tips You’ll Regret Listening To

Frugality can boost your bank account, but it might also sink your daily life if you take it too far.

middle age woman sitting at table with papers putting pennie into yellow piggy bank
Updated June 6, 2024
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There is nothing wrong with cutting costs to save money, or because you’re on a tight budget.

But there are times when it is possible to be too frugal. The following super-frugal tips might not be the best ways to boost your bank account.

You should always clip coupons

JohnKwan/Adobe bunch of discount coupons all over the table

Clipping coupons is a good way to save cash, but it can also backfire if you take it too far.

Your time is valuable, and you might not spend it wisely if you waste hours clipping coupons for products you don’t want or need anyway.

More retailers are turning to loyalty programs or other convenient ways to help you save cash. So check on retailer-specific options that might cut your costs without requiring you to clip coupons.

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Do your own home repairs

bonniemarie/Adobe male worker standing on ladder to forge nails using hammer

Small repairs can be worth tackling yourself. This can be a great way to save money if you have the know-how and gumption.

But many other fixes are best left to specialists such as plumbers, roofers, or HVAC professionals. These experts know how to fix something the right way.

Trying to make a major repair on your own can end up costing you far more if you screw up and cause even more damage. Let the pros handle the complicated jobs.

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Always buy in bulk to save money

mandritoiu/Adobe inside of the delaware costco store with napkins at shelves for sale

A warehouse retail membership can help you save money in many cases. But just because you can get a lower price by buying in bulk doesn’t always mean it’s a good deal.

Retailers such as Costco or Sam’s Club may offer a great deal on fruit, for example. But you are wasting money if you buy something simply because it’s a “good deal” but won’t eat it before it rots.

Pro tip: A genius Costco hack is to buy your gas at the warehouse retailer. Fueling up at Costco often is cheaper than what you will pay at local gas stations. This is one case where “buying in bulk” pays off for many folks.

Don’t spend money on hobbies

sbandy/Adobe scissor and yard on colorful fabric cutouts with sewing essentials

If you enjoy crafting, reading, or baking, why deprive yourself of these activities? It’s OK to spend a little money on hobbies that make you happy.

Remember, if you are resourceful, there are almost always ways to buy supplies and equipment for your hobby without busting your wallet.

Pro tip: If you’re still worried about spending money on your favorite hobby, consider turning it into a side hustle. This is a great way to make extra cash while doing something you enjoy.

Start a garden

ronstik/Adobe female gardener wearing gloves planting flowers in garden

A garden can be a good way to save money on fresh fruits and vegetables. But some people find gardening to be too much work.

It is also important to determine how much you are truly saving. For example, you likely will need to water your plants regularly, which increases your water bill. And you also should place a value on the time you toil away in the garden.

Drive further for cheaper gas

Syda Productions/Adobe man pumping gasoline fuel in car at gas station

There are some great ways to save money on gas, such as using one of the best credit cards for gas so you earn rewards. But driving far away to find a better price often does not pay off.

For example, if you are driving just to save a few cents off a gallon of gas, you need to calculate how much you waste in gas getting to the station.

In the end, it might make more financial sense to pay a bit more at a station closer to you.

Cancel your car insurance

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Skip your car maintenance

dusanpetkovic1/Adobe car standing at auto workshop with man repairing car in background

Car maintenance can get expensive, and it’s tempting to let things go and keep the cash in your pocket.

However, skipping regularly scheduled maintenance can end up making things worse by leading to costly repairs.

So, stick to the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, including oil changes.

Hold on to clutter so you don’t have to buy items in the future

trekandphoto/Adobe store room full of containers with various supplies

Sure, there are things you may want to store away for the day you will need them. But there comes a point when keeping things for “what ifs” becomes hoarding.

Try and declutter on a regular basis by getting rid of things that you are unlikely to need again. If you are wrong and need to repurchase something, it won’t be the end of the world.

Cheaper is better

Aisyaqilumar/Adobe toilet tissues on display inside store in malaysia

Buying the generic version of an item is often a shrewd way to get a quality product at a great price.

But there are other times when cheaper isn’t better. For example, we probably don’t need to recount the horrors of cheap toilet paper. Cheap clothes also can be a bad investment if you need to replace them on a regular basis.

In some cases, spending a little more cash is worth it.

Save as much money as humanly possible

lovelyday12/Adobe man putting pennies in jar while writing on notebook in background with calculator and penny stack on table

Being frugal can be great for your bank account. But even this can be taken too far.

Is piling up all that cash really making you happy? You may be miserable always sitting at home because you won’t spend a dime to eat with friends or take that dream vacation.

It’s OK to enjoy spending at least a little of your money. Find ways to spend modestly that can make you happy.

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Bottom line

fizkes/Adobe Woman creating a budget

It’s great that you’re finding ways to save money. But as with so many things in life, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Find ways to save money without taking your savings plans to the extreme. A determination to move beyond living paycheck to paycheck is admirable. But don’t let it sap the joy from life.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.