14 Money-Saving Myths That Could Actually End up Costing You Cash

Discover the hidden truth behind these 14 money-saving myths that could drain your wallet.
Updated Sept. 12, 2023
Woman putting coins in a jar

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In the pursuit of financial wisdom, you'll come across countless money-saving tips. These nuggets of advice promise to cut costs and boost your savings.

However, not all of this advice is as golden as it seems. Some tips can lead you down a rabbit hole of unintended expenses and missed opportunities.

Here are 15 money-saving tips that may appear sensible but could ultimately cost you money and bring you heartache.

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Always buy cheap products

.shock/Adobe couple in consumer electronics store

Opting for the cheapest, lowest-quality products might seem like a money-saving move, but it often backfires.

Such items tend to wear out quickly, leading to the need to purchase frequent replacements and potentially costing you more in the long run. It's often wiser to invest a bit more upfront to get higher-quality goods that offer better durability.

Skip regular maintenance to save money

Paolese/Adobe expensive appliance repair

Skipping regular maintenance on your car or home to save money can lead to costly repairs down the road.

Neglecting things such as oil changes, HVAC servicing, or roof inspections might save you cash in the short run, but it increases the risk of bigger issues in the future that demand pricier fixes.

Hoard coupons

fotopak/Adobe discount coupons isolated on white background

Hoarding coupons may seem like a savvy move, but it can lead to overspending. Using a coupon to purchase an item you don’t need makes no sense. Instead, focus on keeping the handful of coupons you can really use and toss the rest.

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Always buy in bulk

trongnguyen/Adobe Costco meat department

While it's tempting to grab large quantities of things to get them at a discount, you aren’t really saving if you buy too much of a perishable item that will end up in the trash.

Moreover, buying in bulk ties up money and storage space, potentially costing you more in the long run. Be mindful of your consumption patterns before bulk shopping.

Opt for the cheapest health insurance

Minerva Studio/Adobe health insurance policy on table

Choosing the cheapest health insurance plan might seem like a smart move, but it can lead to higher costs down the road.

Cheaper plans might offer limited coverage and may not include essential benefits. If you skimp on coverage, you might pay more out of pocket for medical expenses and regretting your initial cost-saving decision.

Don’t worry about energy efficiency

jittawit.21/Adobe hand holding bulb with green leaves

Some people might say it’s not worth worrying about energy efficiency. But neglecting small steps that can help your home conserve energy can cost you money.

Don’t overlook insulating your home, buying energy-efficient appliances, or sealing drafts. Taking these steps can lower utility bills. Over time, that can lead to significant savings.

Purchase cheap clothing

terovesalainen/Adobe woman browsing clothes with 70% discount

Opting for dirt-cheap clothing might seem like a money-saving strategy, but low-quality materials and poor craftsmanship mean these items will likely wear out quickly.

That will force you to replace them sooner. Investing in higher-quality clothing can save you money over time, as these items will last longer, making it a smarter financial choice.

Try to save money with a DIY approach

Syda Productions/Adobe woman renovating old furniture at home

While DIY projects can save money, tackling tasks beyond your skill level can lead to costly mistakes.

Know your limits and consider professional help when necessary to avoid unexpected expenses. Materials and tools can be expensive, and if you make errors, you might need to hire professionals to fix them.

Sometimes, these fixes might cost more than hiring experts from the start. Weigh the cost of your time and potential blunders against hiring skilled professionals.

Purchase extended warranties

tashatuvango/Adobe warranty papers on a clipboard with pen and calculator

Relying on extended warranties can be a financial trap. Retailers often push these warranties as money-savers, but they can be costly. 

Many money experts say these warranties rarely pay off. Instead, buy a product from a manufacturer that has a reputation for quality.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources

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You’ll also get insider info on social security, job listings, caregiving, and retirement planning. And you’ll get access to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network to help you protect your money, as well as tools to help you plan for retirement.

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Don’t pay for professional services

insta_photos/Adobe businesswoman shaking hand with colleague

Avoiding hiring professionals for things such as tax preparation or legal advice can be a big mistake. Mishandling taxes or legal matters can result in fines, penalties, and other big costs.

While the DIY approach is an option for some tasks, complex financial and legal matters often require expertise. Paying for professional services can prevent costly errors.

Skip visits to the doctor

Prostock-studio/Adobe Patient talking to doctor during appointment.

Neglecting preventative health measures — such as skipping regular checkups or screenings — just to save money is foolish.

Undiagnosed health issues can escalate into expensive medical treatments or hospitalizations later. Preventative care is a wise investment, as it can detect and address health concerns early.

Early diagnosis can save you from significant medical bills and ensure a healthier future.

Buy cheap shoes

rh2010/Adobe standing in running shoes

Investing in cheap shoes is just as bad as purchasing cheap clothing. Low-quality shoes wear out quickly, leading to the need for frequent replacements.

Spending more on a durable pair can be more economical in the long run. Plus, cheap shoes may lack proper support, potentially causing health issues that result in additional expenses for medical treatment.

Save for retirement later

Cozine/Adobe Saving money for post-retirement purposes.

Delaying retirement contributions might seem like a way to save more now, but it's a flawed strategy. By postponing contributions, you miss out on years of potential compounding growth.

As a result, you'll need to invest much more later in life to catch up, potentially making retirement more challenging. Start contributing early to benefit from time and compounding.

Save as much as you can for college

Studio Romantic/Adobe smiling college graduate standing with diploma

Saving excessively for your child's education might mean neglecting other crucial financial goals.

For example, do you want to retire early — or maybe just retire someday at all? If so, you need to start saving as early as you can.

Financial aid options are available that can help cover tuition costs. Strike a balance between college savings and other financial priorities to avoid harming your long-term financial health.

Bottom line

KMPZZZ/Adobe male putting coin into a piggy ceramic for saving cost

While searching for ways to save money is commendable, don’t fall victim to money tips that sound good but, in reality, are counterproductive.

Not all money-saving tips are created equal, and some can end up costing you more in the end. Make sure your money moves align with your long-term goals and that your decisions will contribute to your financial fitness.

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Author Details

Adam Palasciano Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.