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young woman wondering if frugal habits really save money

Everyone loves to save money and get more bang for their buck. There are countless money-saving tips that can help you do just that. But there are some so-called frugal habits that seem to make sense until you dig a little deeper and realize they probably aren’t saving you money. And in some cases, they can even end up costing you more. Here are four “frugal” habits that don’t really help you save money.

Always Buying the Cheapest Version

When you’re trying to save money, always going for the least expensive option feels like an obvious choice. But it could be costing you more in the long run. It actually makes sense to pay more for certain products and services if you’re concerned about quality and longevity.

Take car tires, for example. Buying the cheapest version might feel good in the moment. But they’re not going to last as long as higher quality tires, and they may even pose a safety hazard. Chances are, you’ll need to repair or replace them more often, which ends up costing you more. You’re better off buying higher quality tires and taking care of them so they last a long time. Here are some other times it makes sense to pay more.

Buying Things Because They’re On Sale

If you find it hard to resist a good sale, you’re not alone. Almost everyone has bought something they didn’t need, just because the deal seemed too good to pass up. Marketers know that sales tricks, from BOGO offers to bulk discounts, get consumers to spend more than they planned. But here’s the thing about shopping on sale; unless it’s something you need, you’re not saving any money. You’re spending money you didn’t budget for and taking it away from one of your other financial priorities, such as emergency savings. The next time your needs align with a great sale, go for it! Otherwise, let the “bargains” pass you by.

Planting a Garden

Gardening can be a satisfying and therapeutic hobby. But it’s not always the money-saver many people assume it is. Sure, the idea of growing your own fruits and vegetables sounds like it would help you save money on your food bill. But getting a garden to the point that it yields enough of a harvest to make a difference is going to be expensive. Consider the costs of soil treatments, seeds, pest control and water (a LOT of water). It also costs a good deal of your valuable time to cultivate and maintain it.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with planting a garden and enjoying the growth process. Just be sure to maintain realistic expectations, and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t save you money.

Thrifting as a Hobby

Shopping second-hand, whether at thrift stores, yard sales or online, can seem like a money-saving activity. After all, you’re paying far less than retail, and sometimes you might even run across brand-new items at a fraction of their original cost. That’s totally frugal, right? Wrong. Shopping for things you don’t need, even if they’re inexpensive, is still a money-waster. Thrift shopping makes sense for certain things, like kids’ clothes, that have a short lifespan and need to be replaced frequently. But it’s not a free-for-all. Plan your thrifting trips, allow yourself a set amount to spend.

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