I love being frugal. It’s no secret that I’ll do slightly crazy, extreme things in the name of frugality. I don’t like to do things halfway and when I commit to something, I go all in.
Frugality is no exception.
It’s not a surprise then that I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I’m too frugal. This got me thinking… is it really possible to be too frugal?
Generally speaking, I think frugality (including extreme frugality) is a great thing…but there are several ways that being too frugal can actually make you broke!
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Prioritizing Price Over Quality
While I love a good deal as much as the next frugalista, the cheapest option isn’t always the best choice. This does not mean that you need to overpay or pick the most expensive item. It’s important to find a balance between price and quality.
Here’s an example. When my winter boots were falling apart, I was tempted to buy a cute and cheap paid of $20 boots. I didn’t because I knew they wouldn’t last long. Instead, I bought an $80 pair of Koolaburra by Ugg boots.
These are warm, sturdy, and will last for a long time even though I’ll be wearing them every day for half of the year (I live in Minnesota!).
I could have bought a $200 pair of Ugg boots but opted against that because I wanted a cheaper option. I chose something expensive enough to be solid quality yet cheap enough to still be very affordable.
This one makes me cringe. When we postpone (necessary) repairs, we’re typically avoiding forking over a relatively small amount of money…even though that might lead to a HUGE expense later.
Cars are a good example of this. My car is 19 years old so I have to pick my battles with it. I don’t get unnecessary repairs, but I always get it fixed when there’s a major issue going on.
Paying $500 now might suck, but I don’t want to keep driving it until the problem gets worse and worse and ends up being a $2,000+ repair.
This can happen with home repairs as well. Let’s say your bathroom doesn’t have a ceiling fan. Instead of installing one, you leave it. Years later, your bathroom is covered in mold and now you have to spend thousands getting it cleaned up and repaired.
Sticking to a strict budget can be a smart move, especially if you’re working toward a difficult goal like paying off massive debt. That being said, it’s crucial to make sure your budget is a realistic estimate of your expenses.
If you’re constantly underestimating how much you’re going to spend and you go over budget every month, that isn’t going to put you in a good spot financially. Keep your budget strict (if you want to), but make sure to leave a little wiggle room in case things cost more than you expect.
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Those of us who are super frugal are often motivated by a scarcity mindset. This means that you believe there will never be “enough”. Therefore, your thoughts, emotions, and actions stem from a place of lack.
It is difficult to make more money if you believe that you can’t. Remember that our thoughts drive our emotions which cause our actions and ultimately determine the results we get in our lives.
Thoughts -> Feelings -> Actions -> Results (this model was created by Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School)
If you believe there will never be enough money and that you’ll never earn enough, you likely won’t take the actions that would be required for you to significantly increase your income (like starting a business, finding a new job, applying for a promotion, etc.).
You will instead remain broke. This will only reinforce your belief that there will never be enough money.
Conversely, if you have an abundant mindset, you believe that you will always have enough and that you have the ability to earn more money.
You will likely take the steps needed to make this happen…which will improve your financial situation and give you the result you want (more money).
Stop Being Too Frugal
Frugality is a wonderful thing that can open doors for you in ways you’ve never even imagined. That being said, frugality can be taken too far.
If you’re doing any of the following things, you might be hurting your financial situation more than you’re helping it.
- Buying cheap, low-quality stuff that will fall apart and need to be replaced soon
- Avoiding paying for necessary repairs (and potentially paying a huge amount of money later)
- Underestimating your expenses and going over budget every month
- Viewing money from a scarcity mindset instead of an abundance mindset
Remember that balance is an important part of a frugal lifestyle. Finding good deals is great, but don’t forget about quality. Also, keep in mind that paying some money now might be preferable over forking over a huge amount later.
Keep being frugal, but don’t go overboard.
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