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Sometimes we have the best of intentions to save money and be frugal. We follow all the tips that were taught to us growing up from family or others’ personal experiences, only to find out that we’re actually just wasting time and money. Here are 17 things people thought were frugal but realized they’re really not…

1. Buying in Bulk

Aisle of bulk nuts and seeds in grocery store
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A user in a popular online forum said, “I was very surprised when I figured out that sometimes you pay more per ounce! Gotta do the math.”

Another user agreed and said, ”100% gotta do the math; even with smaller sizes, the one pound can be cheaper than the two pounds. Why? Who knows, just get that calculator out.”

2. Growing Your Own Food

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Someone said, “I always expect growing my own food to be more frugal than it actually is. It can be frugal, but if you’re buying soil and fertilizer, in your specific case, it probably isn’t. I enjoy doing it, and I don’t let the costs get out of hand, but I definitely tend to spend more than I plan at the start of the season.”

3. Making Laundry Detergent

Ingredients to make homemade laundry detergent
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Someone shared, “Making Laundry detergent did not work for me. It was a pit, and clothes became dingy.”

Another user agreed and shared, “I made my own laundry detergent once and swore I would NEVER do it again. Felt like it took hours to grate all the soap, and it didn’t end up that much cheaper.”

4. Upgrading Old Appliances

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“When we replaced our old fridge with a new energy efficient one our electricity bills went down so much that it paid for the cost of the fridge in two or three years,” a user shared.

5. Buying on Amazon

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Someone shared, “I gotta say that for 99% of items, Amazon is NOT the cheapest place to get it. Amazon used to be the cheapest, but their prices today are just meh. eBay and Alibaba are the cheaper options, but eBay is by far way less sketchy.”

6. Membership Warehouses

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One user mentitoned, “For me its membership warehouses. We just don’t shop that way and bought a lot of stuff we didn’t use or went bad. I know it works for a lot of people, but not for us.”

7. Reusable Silicone Items

Bowl of fruit with silicone reusable covers on top
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“Reusable stretchy silicone bowl covers and reusable food storage bags have been two of my biggest disappointments. Neither perform as advertised and are a nuisance to clean and dry,” someone said.

8. Cheap Dish Soap

Person putting dishsoap on a sponge
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One person noted, “Literally no dish soap works as well as Dawn, and I don’t understand it.”

Someone else agreed and added, “YES! I was raised poor, so I always thought Dawn was just a brand mark up but “how different can they be?” They are incredibly different from cheap dish soap brands.”

9. Making Your Own Clothing

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Someone said, “Starting costs are expensive. Certain fabric is expensive. Certain thread is expensive. It’s still cheaper than store-bought if you’re like me and seem to have an expensive taste, but it’s more expensive than I thought it would be.”

10. Rolling Car Windows Down

Girl smiling in backseat of car with window down
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Someone shared, “Rolling down the windows instead of using the air conditioner in a car. Yes, at a slow speed, this saves a bit on gas, but at highway speeds, it’s more efficient to use the air conditioner.”

11. Travel Point Cards

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A user said, “Travel points on credit cards; I wished I had used a cashback card instead. Travel often for work, but doing a lot less flying now.”

12. Knitting

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A user said, “Knitting. I thought, “Oh! I’ll knit my own sweaters!” But even with Walmart yarn, you can spend a fortune. For the last sweater I knit, I bought a very nice yarn, about $120, plus round needles in a specific size, etc. The sweater was nice, but it wasn’t $150 nice, and that’s not counting the labor I put in.”

13. Second-Hand Shops

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A user shared, “Going to second-hand shops or Goodwill. The clothes are the same price as new now. And a lot of the time, that same shirt is cheaper at Walmart new.”

14. Campers and RVs

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One user replied, “Camper/RV instead of staying at a hotel. I bought a used camper. The thing is that they are made cheaply and from the inside out. To fix/change anything is a giant task.”

15. Shredding Blocks of Cheese

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“For years, I thought that buying block cheese and then slicing/shredding it myself was more frugal than buying pre-shredded. One day, years later, I decided to check the price per pound and found that shredded costs the same as a block,” someone said.

16. Milk in Coffee

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A user shared, ”Using milk in my coffee instead of creamer. I thought I was saving money, but the amount of milk it takes to lighten my coffee the way I like it meant I was burning through milk like crazy. I went through 3/4 of a gallon a week on coffee alone.”

17. Buying a House

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“We bought a house so we wouldn’t throw money away renting. We ended up selling two years later to relocate for a work opportunity (to be fair, we didn’t anticipate this happening when we originally bought). Paying closing costs and realtor commissions took away any of the financial benefits.”

14 of the Best Frugal Hacks To Save You Money (That Most People Ignore)

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Most of us want to save money when we can. Why spend money on unnecessary things if you can find an alternate way to achieve the same goal while saving some cash along the way? It’s good to find creative ways to cut back on your expenses and save, but often, there are simple hacks to save right in front of us, but most people tend to ignore them. Here are 14 of the best (and easiest) ways to live frugally that don’t require a ton of effort. 14 of the Best Frugal Hacks To Save You Money (That Most People Ignore)

Avoid These 5 Money Mistakes to Achieve Financial Stability

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Financial stability provides peace of mind, freedom from debt, and the ability to enjoy life without constant worry about money. However, achieving financial stability requires careful planning and discipline. And along the way, it’s important to avoid common money mistakes that can set you back as you strive to achieve financial stability. Avoid These 5 Money Mistakes to Achieve Financial Stability

15 Reasons People Feel Like They Never Have Enough Money

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Actively saving and living frugally may lead you to think you’re getting ahead, but when you look at the big picture of where your money is going, the bills, food, and never-ending expenses make it seem like it’ll never be enough. Someone was asking for support online and asked fellow users if anyone else felt like they never had any money? Overwhelmingly, people agreed, so if you’re feeling broke, these people share similar struggles. 15 Reasons People Feel Like They Never Have Enough Money

7 Crucial Sinking Funds Every Budget Should Include

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How many sinking funds categories do you currently save for? If you’ve been budgeting for a while, you probably know all about sinking funds and why they’re such an important component of a budget, but are your sinking funds actually protecting your budget when you need them to? 7 Crucial Sinking Funds Every Budget Should Include

17 Things People Would Love To Own, But Can’t Afford

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It sucks when there is an item you wish you could own but remains out of reach—daydreaming until the day you have the money to own it. Recently, people participated in an online poll that asked, “What is an item you would love to own but can’t afford to?” Here are some of the top responses. 17 Things People Would Love To Own, But Can’t Afford

Inspired by this thread  – photos for illustrative purposes only.

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