If you’re reading this then you probably have a desire to live a more frugal life. But developing a finely-tuned frugal mindset can take some time. It’s not easy. When you first start trying to spend less on things your eye catches every potential deal that’s out there. However, there are a few traps that can end up hurting your chances of success. I offer up a few that I’ve seen trick me in the past.
1. Buying the Wrong Products in Bulk
This is the classic trap. You see a crate full of something and look at the total price. In your mind you quickly calculate the per-item cost and you are blown away at the savings. You buy it. Three months later you still have two-thirds of the product left and no desire to use it, or even worse, it’s expired. If you’re a regular Sam’s or Costco user you know what I’m talking about.
2. Free Trials Turn into (Oops!) Credit Card Charges
We’ve all signed up for a free trial and accidentally forgot to cancel after the trial period. It happens. You end up paying an extra month of something that you stopped using after the first free week. If you use free trials, please make sure you set yourself a reminder to cancel the subscription. I use my MS Outlook calendar at work.
3. Chasing the After-Purchase Rebates
With a little work, the after-purchase rebate can work out great. Mostly though, we get a product home and never take the time to mail in the forms to get the rebate. You’re too busy using whatever it is you bought, right? Also, if the rebate is a reward instead of money, make sure it’s a reward you want. Bottom line: try to buy products with in-store rebates and get all your money up-front.
4. Not Reading the Fine Print
You mean I have to buy two? You mean I have to dine-in to get the deal? Take the time to read the small print on all your coupons, as they will inform you of what kind of deal you are really getting.
5. Confusing Cheap for Frugal
Lastly, don’t ever confuse frugality with being cheap. There a big difference, in my opinion. Find the balance between sacrificing your time/effort and the price you are paying. Also, try to avoid sacrificing quality if it’s a product that you will be sitting on, sleeping on, or depending on in some way.
Have any other common traps associated with trying to live the frugal life? List them in the comment section below.
Photo: by foxypar4