When Are You Being Too Frugal?

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We all need to be thrifty to avoid waste and reuse whenever possible, but not be penny wise and pound foolish. This is a page about when are you being too frugal?


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The definition of frugal is "Prudence in Avoiding Waste". We all should be wise and thrifty, and reuse or recycle where possible, but here are some indicators when you just might be going too far to be frugal and are simply being cheap or possibly hoarding:

Does anyone here at ThriftyFun have any other ideas to share of what might be going too far to be frugal?

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March 25, 20111 found this helpful
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All I can say is you are 100% correct on frugalness. I have always said there is a difference of being frugal or just being downright cheap. It is too bad that some people just don't understand the difference. I know that some people are on a tight budget and have to make do.


But there are others ( we may all know someone) that just enjoys being cheap and then say they are frugal. Pick and choose what is important for you to save money or spend on. Give yourself some pleasure. Otherwise you might get to a point in your life with no friends or family no hobby and no joy for living. It could make you a real sourpuss.

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March 29, 20110 found this helpful
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Frugality practiced responsibly is the saving grace for most families on extremely tight budgets. I believe what you're describing is being greedy or stringy, and that's a whole different kettle of fish. Watching my mom, I have to say that the elderly are particularly vulnerable to being victims of their own cheap and stingy habits.


They eat food way beyond the safe zone, skimp on medications, refuse to use their AC/Heat for fear of running up the bill, etc. And many have hoarding symptoms, not wanting anyone else to get that item someone else is giving away or throwing out. It is up to family and friends to keep a close eye on the aging as this can quickly lead to a serious problem.

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March 29, 20112 found this helpful
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I absolutely agree with everything, except: "You deny yourself even the tiniest of treats that would be good for you emotionally...". I don't understand the concept of splurging as a necessity. Why would I pay four dollars for a cup of coffee when I can make it at home for pennies? Does the $10 body lotion moisturize better than my free samples or cheap after coupon buys? Why pay $30 to eat out when I can cook all natural foods for a week at home for the same price? I don't feel that I am denying myself anything by being frugal. Instead, I have more money that can be allocated to other areas: seeds, charity, home repair, savings, etc.

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April 7, 20141 found this helpful
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Excellent article and ethically sound; especially about stocking up on "free" items in stores and restaurants. I do find this activity as a form of stealing. In my world, frugality is expressed as taking, using, what is actually needed, and conscientiously discarding and recycling.

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January 6, 20161 found this helpful
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This is a pretty good post.

As a single person, it's hard for me to use up a bag of produce, even though the per pound price is cheaper. I often just get one large onion or bell pepper instead. With meat it's okay to get the big pack because I can freeze it in portions.

I've been a hoarder in the past so I have to be careful when it comes to saving anything that could be "useful", like product packaging. I don't want to get the behavior started again. Trust me, it isn't worth any little bit of money you might save.

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After watching some TV shows tout frugality that aren't really in our best interest, I wanted to express what I think is not frugal.

  1. I see folks spend a lot of time clipping/filing coupons they may never use, or shop online endlessly for the best price for various groceries at different grocers and then go to multiple stores to buy sales every week. That's fine as long as you see the payback in all your time spent with these habits. If they take you lots of time, gas and money, you may be better off using your time more wisely. You could either work an extra hour overtime, make a recipe from scratch rather than buying take out or prepackaged foods, or invest in a hobby that pays you, perhaps by selling something you make or offering lessons?

  2. Buying an inferior (cheaper) item/product/appliance may save you a few dollars originally but if it needs to be replaced or repaired quicker it may not be the most frugal move.

  3. Not getting things repaired or neglecting regular maintenance on your home or cars may save you today, but a leaking toilet or car with a "check engine" light may cost you big time tomorrow. It's usually much cheaper to maintain an item then to replace it.

  4. Speaking of maintenance, the same goes for your health, such as medical and dental check ups. Many diseases don't show symptoms until they are at critical stages; high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes are a few of the biggies. You don't want your first visit to the doctor or hospital to be due to a major health event.
    Missing a 6 month dentist appointment because you don't think you have any cavities misses the point that cleaning the teeth regularly prevents dental build up that could mean major problems like gum disease ( and possibly the loss of all your teeth.)

  5. Cutting corners on your health also include cheap meals. Like recent lawsuits have shown, cheap fast food meals can be purchased every day for only a few dollars, but eventually your body with pay the price for the poor fuel you've been giving it!

  6. Special events. This is an individual thing but when you have a mate or kids, you may think you can't 'go anywhere' due to the expense or the extra expense to bring children. But mates pass away and children grow up and your window to share experiences and memories are numbered. Don't forget to relish your life experiences. You may need to be creative, like camping somewhere instead of renting a fancy suite, but you will make lifetime memories for yourself and your family.
      Choose it wisely but DO IT!

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