Taking Frugal Living Too Far

June 18, 2013
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extreme couponingWhen would you say someone has taken frugal living too far? My answer would be when you are spending so much time trying to save money that you are neglecting family and friends and other relationships. Or you are putting your health, well-being and safety at risk, all in the name of saving a few dollars.

What got me thinking about this was survey results from CouponCabin.com that reveals what U.S. adults think are the most extreme and unusual tactics to spend less and save more, with being a “freegan,” topping the list.

Being a freegan (i.e. dumpster diving, never buying new products) is America’s top selection as being among the most extreme spend less and save more tactics with 63 percent selecting it from a provided list. The folks featured on the TLC show “Extreme Cheapskate” would fall into this category. (Is that show even still on TV?)

Here’s how some other wacky money-saving tactics stacked up:

  • Training pets to use the toilet – 47 percent
  • Donating fluids for money (e.g. blood, urine, sperm) – 37 percent
  • Extreme couponing (i.e. spending hours finding coupons, obsessively using coupons, and/or buying large amounts of discounted items) – 36 percent
  • Participating in a clinical trial of a new medication/treatment for money – 26 percent
  • Driving with an ad displayed on the side of your car – 25 percent
  • Getting paid for tasks (e.g. making a video, singing a song, running errands) by signing up on an online site such as Fiverr or TaskRabbit – 18 percent
  • Selling items in a pawn shop – 17 percent
  • Selling prized items on an online auction site – 16 percent
  • Participating in a research study for money – 14 percent

“When typical saving methods don’t do the trick, some people choose to take it to the next level, and even beyond,” says Jackie Warrick, senior savings adviser at CouponCabin.com. “No matter how you approach saving money, it’s important to factor in what’s best for you and your family and choose an appropriate strategy.”

When it comes to how many people are actually employing unusual saving methods, 7 percent of U.S. adults admit they already use extreme money-saving tactics to save dough. More than one-quarter (29 percent) would consider using an extreme money-saving tactic. However, the survey doesn’t tell us what those extreme measures would be.

Of the list above, the ones that seem the least egregious to me is getting paid for tasks. I know plenty of people who are bringing in extra cash by spending their free time working as an errand-runner or virtual assistant to a busy person. That’s not taking frugal living too far. That’s being smart with your time, because in the end, time really does mean money.

What do you think?

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One Response to Taking Frugal Living Too Far

  1. Heather on June 19, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I don’t think it’s bad to take things to a pawn shop, as long as you were already planning on getting rid of them. Pawn shops and consignment stores can be a good way to get some money for some of your belongings that you no longer want. I always try them on my way to the Goodwill.

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