Is Your Frugality Costing You Time and Money?
By April Lewis-Parks
OK – you know that we want you to be frugal, but you still have to be smart about it! There isn’t a piece of sound financial advice that doesn’t include a rule about living within your means, saving money or taking a frugal approach toward spending. While being more cost-conscious and avoiding unnecessary purchases is important to your financial health, excessive penny-pinching can actually have the opposite effect and make you more vulnerable to potential money problems in the future.
It’s important to strike a balance between being mindful of your money and foregoing things you need to save a few bucks. Below are several examples of poor decisions that may initially save you money, but can come back to haunt you.
1. Canceling your health insurance policy
You rarely get sick, but are still paying hefty premiums and co-payments when you’re forced to go to the doctor. You might think that simply canceling your insurance will allow you to bring more home each pay period. But what happens in the event of an auto accident, serious illness or injury? In these scenarios, you have only two options: face a huge medical bill or fore-go the treatment you need and risk getting worse – and eventually paying even higher medical costs. Health insurance may be costly, but the few dollars you save on premiums and co-pays are not worth the anxiety and potential for large medical bills down the road.
2. Ignoring maintenance on your home or vehicle
Seemingly harmless actions, such as skipping a full-service examination of your car or procrastinating on cleaning out your gutters, can prevent you from learning about ticking time-bomb issues or saving money on future costs. Simple home maintenance issues can help you extend the life of your appliances and features, and the same goes for conducting frequent checks of your vehicle.
3. Excessive coupon clipping
Coupons and discounts are a great way to bargain shop and stay within your budget. However, when you’re making purchases simply because the item is on sale – even though it’s not necessarily what you need – you may actually be throwing money away and wasting time clipping hundreds of coupons. Instead, focus on meaningful and organized shopping. Rather than purchasing every item for which you have a coupon, make a list of the things you need, find coupons solely for those items and focus on generic brands. These small tips will save you time, money and ensure you’re purchasing useful products.