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By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and The Flat Broke Cookbook
Everyone everywhere is trying to save a buck lately. And with the increased cost of living it’s no wonder – heck, a dozen eggs could practically serve as a dowry for a young Victorian-era lady. But not all ideas are worthwhile, and some are downright dangerous.
In a few interesting threads (here and here) on Reddit, contributors shared the advice that they thought was the very worst in Frugal Land. Some of them could work in certain circumstances, but most, you may find, are not really worthwhile.
“If you can afford rent, you can afford a mortgage.”
While that might have been true once, with the ever-increasing mortgage rates it might not be true any longer. What’s more, unless you have a hefty emergency fund, the cost of home repairs and appliances can require a huge chunk of money that you may have to pay using debt.
This isn’t always the case – if you can afford to buy your home outright, you may be better served by purchasing. But if it’s a tight squeeze, you may be better off renting for a while longer.
“Buy a hybrid car.”
In theory, a hybrid vehicle would eventually save you money. But to get from now (the point of purchase) to then (the point of savings), there’s a whole lot of money in between. Hybrid vehicles tend to cost more significantly money than gasoline-powered autos, for starters. And don’t even get me started on the high cost of repairs. A battery replacement on a hybrid vehicle can cost anywhere from 2000 to 8000 dollars. Despite the fact you only need to replace it every 150,000 miles, you could pay for a new-to-you used car at the high end.
“Brush your teeth with X.”
There are all sorts of tips out there for ways to save money on toothpaste. Some folks suggest using just baking soda, others use coconut oil, and still others only use water.
I suppose it’s cheaper but only until you get the bill from the dentist. If you watch for sales, you can find a decent quality toothpaste at a very reasonable price. I always stock up when they’re on sale. Read this article on the importance of preventative dental care.
“Move somewhere cheaper and commute.”
I often see advice about moving someplace cheaper, and that can be a wonderful solution in certain situations. But…not in all situations.
Are you leaving a great job to move someplace without the same work opportunities? You might want to rethink that with the job market as it is. Are you planning to commute for work and school and just live an hour outside of town? Um… prepare to spend a fortune on gas PLUS loads of time as the commute gets longer when more people have the same idea. When you spend more time on the road, you have less time for cooking, meal-planning, yard work, and other types of activities that save you money.
“Missing out on life/hygiene to save a buck.”
We know that on occasion, broke happens and you simply cannot afford to go to an event that costs money, whether for gifts or transportation or admission. And sometimes we can’t afford to maintain things like hair color or professionally manicured nails or a stylish wardrobe.
But that doesn’t mean you have to step back from life completely. Have you ever met someone who avoids weddings, birthdays, showers, and holiday events just because they don’t want to save some money? I sincerely believe that’s no way to live. Sure, you don’t have to accept every single invitation that comes your way but for people you truly care about, I think that it’s worth the expenditure. We have all sorts of creative ideas for gift-giving on this website, as well as thrifty menus and other treats. Life is way to short to go full-on hermit in the name of saving money.
As far as your appearance goes, it’s one thing to skip the expensive trips to the salon or new clothes, but it’s entirely another to avoid cleanliness and personal hygiene. Unless your situation is truly dismal and you no longer have running water or a home, you can almost always afford to stay clean, if not fashionable.
Please understand that we’re not talking about extreme scenarios here – we’re talking about the lengths that some folks go to in order to save money when they could afford to spend a little and embrace life (and smell good while doing it.)
Anything health and safety related
There are some places you just shouldn’t cut corners. Don’t drive a car with bad brakes for “as long as possible.” Don’t get cruddy windshield wipers. Don’t go to work when you’re too sick to be there (or when you’re likely to spread your illness.) Don’t skimp on checking out that questionable lump or spot. Don’t resist getting emergency treatment for something that could become severe or even life-threatening.
With things like these, it’s just not worth the risk to save some money. Either you’ll spend it now, or you’ll spend more later, or even worse, something terrible will happen due to your neglect. Your safety and well-being are worth the extra money. If you can’t afford to fix your vehicle, then take public transit or join a carpool. If you need urgent medical care, go to the hospital and set up a payment plan afterward. Please don’t put yourself at risk.
What do you think are the worst frugal living hacks out there?
Is there a piece of money-saving advice that you just hate? Is there a frugal living trick that you think is dead wrong? What is it, and why do you think it’s a bad idea? Let’s talk about the worst frugal living hacks in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.