When trying to live frugally, you’d think the obvious money-saving tips and tricks are no-brainers. Frugal hacks taught to you when you were growing up are likely stuck in your mind as cheaper options. But money is not the only factor when it comes to how much things cost.
Is it Really Cheaper?
Many times, we overlook the cost of our time when looking at ways to save money. Here are 14 things that appear frugal at first glance, but when you dig a little deeper, you may find that’s not always the case.
1. Cheap Cat Litter
Choosing a cheaper cat litter to save money can ultimately cost you more time. You’ll end up having to deep clean the litter boxes more often. In addition, cheaper litter often does a poor job of masking the odor, and cheaper litter can get stuck everywhere.
2. Shopping in Marketplace Groups
You can often find some fantastic deals in online marketplace groups. However, if you’re not careful, the drive to pick up the item can cost you more between your time and fuel costs. Try sticking with local deals and look for free delivery whenever possible.
3. Making Your Own Laundry Detergent
Sure, making your own household items from scratch can be a more environmentally friendly option. However, if your goal is to save money by making your own detergent, compare the amount of money you’re saving and the amount of time it takes to make the detergent. Is it worth it? And does it work as well as the alternative option?
4. Coupon Clipping
Seeing people check out at a store and get a large amount of items for a very small amount of money looks fun! And being the person to save a ton of money when you shop is exciting. It’s no wonder people love clipping coupons.
However, depending on your commitment level, planning, searching, and organizing coupons requires a significant amount of time. Be sure the amount of money you’re saving justifies the amount of time you’re spending!
5. Moving Yourself
Moving can be a very stressful time. Not only does it require a lot of physical labor, but once you’re fully moved, there is often a great deal of work to be done unpacking and organizing. It can be exhausting. Hiring a professional mover can be an excellent investment. And while it’s not the “frugal option,” it may be worth the money, especially if you’re short on time or have physical limitations.
6. Making Your Own Oat Milk
Making your oat milk seems easy enough, and it definitely cheap. But it often doesn’t turn out as good as the store-bought brand, and if you spend the time and ingredients to make it but don’t actually drink it, it’s simply a waste.
7. Driving Long Distances
In many cases, choosing to drive seems as though it would be cheaper than flying. Driving a long distance is often more economical if traveling with a group. Plus, you can entertain one another and sightsee along the way. However, if traveling alone, it may actually be the cheaper option to fly, depending on the cost of the ticket.
8. The Best Deals
Everyone wants a great deal. And while it can be a great way to save money, planning your shopping trips and visiting multiple stores can be time-consuming. When searching for the best prices, be sure to factor in your travel time and fuel costs.
9. Comparing Prices
Spending a good deal of time thinking, debating, and deciding which items to purchase is rarely worth the mental energy you spend deliberating the decision. If you find yourself taking a specifically long time on any one item, choose one and toss it in your cart or put them both back on the shelf and walk away.
You may have fond memories of your grandma’s delicious baked goods. Unfortunatley, due to high inflation the price of groceries remains sky-high. If you’re planning to bake any type of specialty recipe the ingredients themself may end up costing you more than it would to purchase the finished product at your local bakery. Not to mention the time it takes you to bake.
However, many people love to bake, so if you’re doing it for the enjoyment of it, by all means, spend the extra time and money to enjoy your delicious homemade goods!
11. Electric Bike
An electric bike is a great idea. It is cheaper than a car and will save you more time and energy than a traditional bike. However, it has a lot of expensive parts that may need to be replaced, so while you may save money on fuel, over time, you may end up spending a decent amount to maintain the bike.
12. DIY Furniture
DIY furniture projects are fun and a great way to save money or bring new life to an old piece. However, if you don’t have experience, do some research before starting your project. This way, you can avoid ruining the piece altogether and having to spend money to purchase a new piece.
13. Buying Cheap Toilet Paper
Buying the cheaper toilet paper brands can be tempting because they cost less money. However, most are super thin and require you to use much more product. Compared to the more expensive, thicker brand it may actually be costing you more money in the long run.
14. Making Homemade Butter
Homemade butter is delicious and not difficult to make. Still, if you’re only goal is to save money, once you factor in the cost of the ingredients and the time you’ll spend making it, the savings are negligible.
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Reddit may not be the first place you go when you’re looking for inspiration to save money, but the life hacks subreddit probably has more ideas than you’d expect. The original poster (OP) asked his fellow Redditors, “What’s a life hack that’s saved you a ton of money?” The r/lifehacks community was quick to share their best money saving tips.
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Inspired by this thread – photos for illustrative purposes only.