Budgeting your spending is important, but overdoing it can be costly. These are the nine most common instances when being frugal can actually cost you more money.
Creating an overly-strict budget
The point of creating a budget is to have control over your money. If you create an overly-ambitious, unrealistic budget for the sake of being as frugal as possible, you won’t end up having control over your finances.
Most successful budgets include cushions for life’s unexpected expenses and allot for discretionary spending. If you love to eat out, for example, it’s unrealistic to cut that out completely in your budget. Chances are you’ll overspend your budget and start to lose control over your finances. Follow these tips to create the perfect household budget.
When you forgo maintenance on high-value things
Three months have passed and it’s time for your car’s regular oil change. It’s tempting to skip out on these types of maintenance expenses, but if you do you’ll pay for it in the long term. Make sure that you’re keeping up with maintaining your house, car, and other high-value items. It even pays to spend a little to maintain items like shoes, clothes, and electronics. It’s cheaper than buying new items more frequently.
You don’t invest in your health
Regularly investing in good health is so important in the long run. The alternative could be developing health problems high-cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. All of these are much more expensive to treat, nevermind the negative effects they have on the quality of life.
Make sure that you budget for spending on healthy foods, exercise (like a gym membership), and doctor visits. Remember, you can still buy good food on a tight budget.
Choosing a high-deductible health insurance
Similarly, it may be tempting to cut your health insurance costs by choosing a plan with the lowest premium and high deductibles. This choice may feel good at the time, but keep in mind that you will end up paying $1,000.00 or more out of pocket before your plan covers anything. Most likely, that ends up being more expensive to you than plans with lower deductibles. It’s much better to check out other ways to get affordable health insurance.
You only buy things for the sale
Sale! Sale! Sale!
Sales and discounts can be fabulous ways to save money. Before you buy something, though, ask yourself: would I buy this at full price? If the answer is no, then reconsider if you’re just buying it because it’s on sale. You’re not saving money if you don’t need something and are only buying it because it’s discounted.
Time is a much more valuable resource than money is. Keep this is in mind when you’re working to save money. Make sure that the time you’re putting into something is worth it in the end. When you put time into saving money, think about the savings as the amount you’re getting paid for your time. Will it take you an hour to save $1.00? Then you’re getting paid $1.00 an hour. What could you be doing with your time that’s a better investment?
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s second nature to always go for the cheapest items available. This philosophy can often come back to bite your budget later when you have to replace the item more frequently.
When you’re paying for technology, shoes, apparel (especially jackets and jeans), services, tools, appliances, and furniture, consider that the cheapest things will do a poor job and/or not last long, ultimately costing you more.
Focusing on cutting expenses more than increasing income
Keep in mind that cutting expenses is only one part of your greater financial health as a whole. Just like with physical health, you can’t reach your full potential if you only focus on the output and not the input. Imagine spending two hours at the gym and then eating a box of donuts.
In addition to saving, make sure you are thinking about and planning your income. What’s your ideal income? How can you work to increase it, and when? Ultimately, making an income that satisfies your financial plan is going to do more in the long run than saving can ever accomplish.