Wednesday, October 31, 2018

When Being Frugal Is Not

When it comes to spending money, sometimes doing supposedly frugal things can be anything BUT frugal.

1.  Buying stuff just because it's free or cheap that you won't use.

All those "Deal" blogs out there laying out scenarios on how to get stuff for free or cheap are tempting, aren't they?  But really, it's NOT a deal if it's something you can't or won't use.  Buying items you have no plan/use for is just tying up your money with items that A-you then have to figure out how to dispose of and B-will take up space in your house and cause *gasp* clutter.  These unneeded items just cause more work for you.
Not every "Deal" is a "Deal" to everyone.
I know it's difficult sometimes, but just pass up the ones that don't suit your lifestyle and your needs.

2.  Spending large amounts of time hunting down a "Deal".

Time is money as the old saying goes.  If "Deal Hunting" and the associated prep time to find deals is taking up too much of your time each day/week/month, maybe in the end, these Deals are not such a Deal for you.
There are Deal Blogs and Forums where you can find good prices on just about everything and at every store.  If you tried to go after all the Deals out there you could spend most every waking moment on Deal Hunting.
If Deal Hunting is your whole life then more power to you!  But most of us neither want to or can let researching and implementing The Hunt take over our lives because frankly, we have other goals in life(and other people in our lives to deal with).
Unless you are making a living scoping out deals(getting paid to find deals for others)don't let this activity consume your life.

3. Trying to do ALL the Deals at ALL the stores.

Concentrate your Deal Hunting efforts on a couple of stores, find one or two Deal Hunting sites you can trust and stick to what you can get there. (Unless some really, really awesome Deal comes up, like This Staples Paper Deal in 2009.  I'm still using the paper I got back then! lolz)

When I first started hunting deals years ago I went everywhere......and I mean Everywhere!  I hit the deals at ALL the drugstores, ALL the grocery stores in my area.  Walgreens, Rite-Aid, CVS, Weis, Price Chopper, Wegman's, Giant, Sav-A Lot, ShopRite, Kmart, Target.
I was exhausted and had no time to get other things done sometimes.
I found that concentrating on just a couple of stores, ones were you get overall the best prices and the staff is friendly are the ones to limit yourself to.  Get to know "the system" at just a couple or a few and work those stores.  Nowadays I mostly do Rite-Aid and Weis, but I have been known to shop at Wegman's, ShopRite and Target infrequently still.

4.  Driving miles out of your way for a "deal".

Another rookie mistake is going too far afield from your usual environs just for a Deal.  All that time driving and extra gas will negate any savings you get from the Deal, unless it's a monstrously large Deal.  I would never go out of my way to say Target, to get a free mascara or a cheap package of toilet paper.  The Deal has to be much larger than one or two things and the savings has to be more than say $10 to get my attention and make me want to drive more than 5 miles out of my usual routine.
That happened in the Summer of 2009 when the Acme chain kept having tremendously good brand name deals and I drove all the way to the 'burbs of Philly on a couple of occasions.  Read about one of those trips HERE.

*Side Note* I sure miss 2009, after the Recession hit, when grocery chains were offering Killer Deals to get folks into their stores to spend money.  I sure miss the days of  doubling coupons up to $2 everywhere, R-A Single Check Rebates where you got back MORE than you spent on most anything and spending under $2K a YEAR for groceries for a family of 5.......

That being said, I have been known to frequent a far away store just for a change of scenery or to take a ride out in the country.  The trip to the particular store is just a side benefit.  I go to a ShopRite once or twice a year which is 45 minutes away from here.  What leads me to change my shopping pattern such?  When that store has a killer(for me)sale on enough items to make it worth the trip, and the weather is beautiful and the route I take is very serene and lovely, especially in the Fall when the leaves are at their height of color.  If I had to fly down a crowded interstate to get there I'd probably pass.  The journey is the primary focus, not the deals.

Now if I happen to find myself going somewhere I don't grocery shop at for another reason other than to be going there I'll stop in and do a bit of hunting.  Like when we take Hubs out to a brewpub he likes that's in a not too nearby town.  Since we were in that town it made sense to stop in to the local Amish Surplus Grocery outlet and see what we could use. But I only go there a few times a year if we are already planning to be in that area for something else.  And when we are traveling on vacation I am often seen checking out grocery and outlet stores and subsequently bringing home food "souvenirs" for the pantry and stockpile. 8-)

5.  FOMO with Deals

If you read the big Deal Hunting blogs and forums they seem to cover it all.....all the retailers near you, all the retailers not-so-near you and all the retailers at great lengths from where you are based and ALL their supposed deals.
You'll also see "brags" on these sites about specific shops that someone did and all the great things they got for pennies on the dollar.

And then, since we are all human, the anxiety and jealousy starts creeping in and the "Fear Of Missing Out" takes over.  Suddenly we get the urge to go to those stores and get the deals they got even if we have no use for those specific deals and we live nowhere near those stores and most importantly we don't have the financial resources to spend on all that stuff.
FOMO is much like "Keeping Up with the Joneses" in my book.
Keep an eye on yourself and when these feelings creep in and recognize them for what they are and check yourself before you spend money you shouldn't on stuff you don't need/want.

Do you deal hunt?
What rookie mistakes have you made in deal hunting?
What's the best deal you've gotten recently?



  1. If I confessed my deal mistakes when I first tried to do Rite-aid you would come and beat me, so it's a secret. But I was trying to be you. that is my defense.

  2. Love this post! You hit the nail right on the head ( :

  3. Perfect post. I am like you and will go out of my way a couple of times a year for special deals but they have to be super deals. I am amazed at a friend of mine who drives 10 miles to get the "best" gas price which is 3 cents a gallon cheaper than our nearby station. In an 18 gallon tank that is a savings of 54 cents plus 20 minutes through traffic. My time alone is worth that 54 cents. I understand filling up if you are in that area and I have done just that, but I would never make a gas trip to save a half a buck.

  4. Love this post! I think we all made those rookie mistake of trying to get ALL the deals.

    Like you, I also miss those killer deals. I know I used to leave Meijer with a cartload of groceries for $2-5. I'd shop there 5 days a week, the deals were so good. Not to mention all the drugstore deals. I used to leave CVS with extra long receipts. And boy, did I forget about those RA rebates. I used to love getting checks in the mail. So fun!

    I still hit all the drugstores, because I donate most items to various causes. I even tell those people to give me a list of their needs and I'll keep an eye out for sales when it's free.

  5. If we don't use it and the church outreach doesn't want it then I won't take it even if it is free. People offer me stuff all the time. I take what I can use. The rest I don't take. I wouldn't be able to move in my house if I took everything.

  6. I fell into those traps when I first started couponing years ago. Bought stuff just because it was very cheap or free and never needed it or used it. It was kind of addicting when you're getting all those deals (especially like they used to have). But it was very time consuming and making clutter I didn't need in my life. Now, I just make sure I try to find coupons for what I am planning to buy and take what I can get.

  7. Great post Sluggy. I will never devote enough time to maximize even one or two stores, but I keep an eye out for what will help keep my budget in check. I'm pretty disciplined at Target, but will stock up when the freebie gift cards come into play. I haven
    t bought Kleenix, paper towels, shampoo, or conditioner since April, but stashed away $15 in cards for Christmas or other gift shopping. I get inspired by your posts, but knowing I won't be able to max like you, no FOMO here.

  8. I used to overbuy because the deals. But I got much smarter. I only buy what I need, but I comb the ads for sales and so forth.

  9. I remember double coupons! I saved a lot of money back then. I shop at only one store and that's Publix. It's a mile from my house. It's clean and bright. Everyone there knows me and the staff is super friendly. I leave there feeling good and that means a lot to me, especially after a hard day at work. I shop the sales and stock up when there are bogos. I probably spend more than I would at WM, but it's worth it to me for many reasons including the fact that Publix helps the people in our community during states of emergency. I try and use coupons whenever I can, but like you said, I don't buy what I don't need or won't use. I don't have the space to store it either.

  10. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to
    be on the net the simplest factor to take note of. I say to you, I certainly get irked at the same
    time as people think about worries that they just don't recognize
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  11. Great post! I just need to get started. Somewhere, anywhere!

  12. Nice Post! I only deal hunt for things we need and will use throughout the year.


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