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:
- You compromise your health by not seeking medical attention for something you know in your heart really should be checked out by a professional.
- You compromise your safety by eating food that you know is iffy because it could be spoiled.
- You reuse plastic water bottles, to-go food containers, plastic silverware, or even non-food plastic containers that are not recyclable Food Grade #2, #4 or #5. These plastics can leach bad chemicals into your food and beverages.
- You deny yourself even the tiniest of treats that would be good for you emotionally, like an occasional cup of coffee or meal out. You even deny yourself something as simple as a small bottle of your favorite bubble bath or lotion.
- You hoard items, because you got a good deal on them, but know in the back of your mind that you'll probably never really have a use for them.
- You save just about everything when you know you realistically probably will never use or need them, instead of giving them to someone who could use them or recycle them.
- You deny yourself basic necessities. I've known a couple of people who had nothing more than a bed and had to stand up to eat or sit on the floor, when they really could afford to at least purchase a couple of second hand chairs and a small table.
- On the reverse side of denying yourself the basics, you grab up every piece of free anything; from clothing, boxes, and knick-knacks to furniture, simply because it was free. It's piled everywhere 'just in case you can use it in the future', even when you know there is no real use to you. Your home has become a storage unit.
- You spend too much time trying to save money, instead of finding ways to supplement your income with extra earnings.
- You spend more on gasoline driving around trying to save a few cents on a sale or use a coupon before it expires, than you save.
- You take extras at stores or restaurants (like sanitary hand wipes, paper towels, napkins, or condiments) to save some money, when in reality doing so is stealing and is ultimately costing others for those items.
- You buy items that are cheap that you know really won't last long to save some money, when you could buy the better quality item for just a few dollars more that might have lasted a lifetime. Remember the definition of 'frugal'?
- And, as silly as it might sound, you feel there's no such thing as being too frugal!
Does anyone here at ThriftyFun have any other ideas to share of what might be going too far to be frugal?
March 25, 20110 found this helpful
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.
March 29, 20110 found this helpful
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.
March 29, 20112 found this helpful
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.
April 7, 20141 found this helpful
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.
January 6, 20161 found this helpful
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.