Are You Spending Too Much Time Being Frugal?

March 9, 2011

I know. That seems like a crazy question, right? But last week I read an MSN article called “17 Signs that Frugality Has Gone Too Far” and it got me thinking: it’s one thing to want to do right by your family by living frugally. It’s another to suffer for your frugality.

Here’s a quick recap 5 points that story makes–and my take on them.

  1. You spend more time trying to be frugal than on anything else. According to Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson, you should spend an hour at most cutting coupons for grocery shopping. I’m sure there are many people out there that spend way more time dealing with coupons. But at what cost? (No pun intended.)
  2. You have no social life. Frugality shouldn’t leave you feeling lonely and isolated. Even the most frugal among us find a way to invite friends over for movie night–$1 movie from Redbox, potluck dinner to keep things affordable, etc. If you are foregoing all the fun stuff in your life for the sake of frugality, you need to switch some things up.
  3. You buy things you don’t need just to get a good deal. That’s not frugal; that’s foolish. It’s fine if you’re stocking up on things you need in everyday life, within reason–extra birthday gifts, a few extra tubes of toothpaste–but if you need to buy new furniture to hold all the things you got at a great price, then you’ve gone too far. In fact, you could be bordering on hoarding.
  4. You’re not making smart frugal decisions. Not replacing the tires on your car or the batteries in your smoke alarm because you don’t want to spend the money is just plain stupid. The MSN story talked about people who even choose to eat expired foods to save money. Crazy!
  5. You can’t remember the last time you treated yourself to something. I know, it’s hard to spend money on yourself when you’re all about saving your family money. But a treat every once and awhile won’t kill your budget and it could improve your outlook tremendously. A way to help you make this indulgence is to wait for something to come through on Groupon or Living Social so at least you’ll be getting your treat at discount!

So tell me: how much of yourself to do you see in any of the above? Post a comment to let us know.

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5 Responses to Are You Spending Too Much Time Being Frugal?

  1. Judy on March 22, 2011 at 3:47 am

    My frugality benefits others. If I get something for free that we (including our two dogs) don’t need, I give it to the local women’s shelter or animal shelter. They benefit, I feel good, and my frugality obsession is satisfied. To use a tired phrase, its a win-win.

    • Leah Ingram on March 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

      I love the donating part! Thanks for posting a comment.

  2. dawn on March 12, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I know a lot of other frugal bloggers who spend too much time tracking money they find on the ground or the pennies saved by running all around town to take advantage of savings at different drug stores.

    Since we all have just 24 hours in a day, it’s best to prioritize how we spend our time and focus on those areas where we can potentially recoup the biggest savings, like shopping around for homeowners or car insurance, for example.

    People need to keep the bigger picture in mind and not be fooled into thinking that “busy work” is going to save you much just because you spend all your free time doing it.

  3. Sharon on March 9, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Good points. I hate hearing about people using coupons and ‘wasting’ their money just because they have coupons. Thanks! I just posted it to my blog FB page -because I think it’s something my readers should see!!/reallifedeals

    • Leah Ingram on March 9, 2011 at 7:16 am

      Thank you, Sharon. I’m heading over to your Facebook page to check it out!

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