If you’ve been devouring blog posts on frugality tips, chances are you’re saving well and getting lots of value from using these frugal tips. Does this make you a wise frugal?
Once we decide to become frugal, over time, we tend to become better and better at being careful with our hard-earned money. This is a great thing right? Becoming more and more frugal surely means that we’ll save more and more money, and so increase our financial security.
But is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Could you become TOO frugal for your own good?! That’s when your money situation starts to become interesting.
According to dictionary.com, frugal is defined as “economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful”.
But I’d say that it’s a fine line between being a frugal and being overly frugal. How do we know when NOT to be too frugal, to the point of being unwise with money?
When you’ve fully read this post, you’ll be better able to avoid becoming too frugal, and therefore benefit by being a wise frugal.
Are you too frugal with money for your own good?
Here are the danger signs of being too frugal with money:
Choosing the cheapest foods
I’ve seen many people go for the cheapest foods like high fat beef mince, sausages and ham most of the time, as they’re tasty, convenient and cheap. But cheap beef mince is very high in saturated fats, while processed meats like sausages and ham contain nitrites, which have been proven to cause serious health problems.
Is saving money by being frugal this way worth it at all?
Eating cheap but less healthy foods saves you money, BUT compromises your health, especially in the long term. What you feed yourself may be more important to your health than the type and amount of exercise you do. We need to ask ourselves: Is buying cheap food worth the money saved? Is being overly frugal threatening the health of yourself and your family? Do not save by choosing cheaper and less healthy foods, as this would threaten your finances if you end up with largely preventable illnesses like hypertension and diabetes. Worse, health care costs inflate over time, posing an increasingly serious financial threat to everyone except the rich.
Many young people save on food. In a bid to cut their living costs, they often live on snacks like chips, chocolate bars and even candy. Others eat fast food on a daily basis, as it’s more affordable. When warned not to save on his meals, my son has always protested that his college peers look healthy despite consuming tons of unhealthy foods. But it’s really a matter of time before such young people suffer ill-health in the form of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other severe ailments that will compromise their quality of life.
(The sad irony is that many young people willingly work more hours to raise money to buy the latest phones and other gadgets. Yet they stint when it comes to choosing healthy foods).
Going for the lowest-priced products
I used to buy cheap ordinary shoes at half price to save money, and also because the bargains were too irresistible. Were those shoes great deals? How long did they last? Only 3 months at the most. That’s just False Economy, as I had to keep replacing them. They weren’t very comfortable too. In the long term they aren’t good for my feet. Our feet work hard to support our body weight, so it’s only wise to protect and support them properly.
I’ve become a bit wiser now, and so am willing to pay more for good quality shoes. But not at any high price. I look out for them on the clearance areas at premium shoe retailers.
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For instance, buying at a discount, I paid much less than full price for my pair of Skechers at $36. This is a good price for me. Despite frequent use, my Skechers shoes have lasted more than 18 months now, and they still look and function like when they were brand new.
Your pocket will thank you, because you actually save more money when you buy good quality things at a discounted price. You also gain as you get to use high quality products that perform much better over a longer period of time. The environment benefits too, as there’s less waste created since high quality stuff last much longer than cheap but low quality things.
In the past, I used to buy chemical sunscreens as they cost less. Later, I discovered that these are actually harmful.
It’s therefore crucial to get good quality sunscreens. Protecting yourself and taking care of your skin make outdoor activities more enjoyable, as quality sunblock gives you greater peace of mind. The safest sunscreens contain zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide. They are effective in blocking both UVB and UVA sun rays and are the safest sunscreens to use to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer. You may like to read about EWG’s Sunscreen Guide.
After researching all the ingredients carefully, I’ve been buying using the All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen for several years.
It costs more than regular sunscreen, but it contains natural ingredients like organic green tea and rose hips. In addition, it’s also non-greasy, non-nano, oxbenzone free and biodegradeable.
During summer, when kids spend more of their time outdoors, why not consider the All Good SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion? It’s specially formulated to protect them as they’re more vulnerable to UV rays.
Saving on the cost of medical care
Mr MMT was recently prone to dry skin, worsened by winter conditions. It all started with his not applying any cream to arrest it. The itch was unbearable, and so he scratched – a lot.
Despite my wise and stern warnings not to scratch, the scratching continued and the rashes grew more intense, angry and bloodied. Then they started to spread like wildfire. By that time, applying different types of cream didn’t work any more. But Mr MMT refused flatly to see the doctor. To save money, he went to a pharmacist instead. But that didn’t help. By now, his rashes were ‘weeping’.
Finally, at long last, after much nagging, he saw the doctor and was prescribed antibiotics and medication.
Angry red blotches of rashes had spread close to 90% of his body! It took weeks of care and attention before these rashes were finally banished.
We spent far more–close to $200 as we saw a pharmacist instead of going straight to the doctor. The man’s suffering was also prolonged unnecessarily.
Learn from his big mistake! Find a good doctor and seek medical care when needed. Good health is wealth, and so it’s worth paying for high quality medical attention.
We have learned our lesson the hard way.
Sacrificing our health for the sake of frugality at all costs is never a wise move.
Don’t let it happen to you.
Look out for more frugality mistakes in Part 2. If you’ve found this useful, share it.
What frugality mistakes have you made? Share them in the comments below. Thanks.