As a mom of 8 kids, it would be easy for me to spend a small fortune on everything from food to clothes, and activities. That is not an option so I have to save money. I have tried being cheap and being frugal and I definitely prefer to be frugal not cheap. Being frugal saves me money and being cheap costs so much more.
It took me a while to learn how to be frugal. I will admit that I still find myself being cheap sometimes. To me the definition of frugal is spending less to get the things you really want and need. I see being cheap as settling. When we are frugal, we know what we need and want and we find ways to get those things without spending too much money. You get the brands, quality, and experience you want. Frugality doesn’t mean buying cheap imitations that break easier, last a shorter amount of time, or don’t taste as good. Just last night my husband asked me to find a good deal on ping pong balls. My first cheap instinct was to buy the set of 144 ping pong balls for $6.45. What a deal right? Nope. The reviews consistently said the balls bounced wrong because of big seams and they were better for crafts. I still hated to spend 3 times as much for ping pong balls that had good reviews. Then I remembered that it is never a good deal if it causes frustration or ends up in the trash. Stop being cheap Heather! I bought the very good deal on quality, highly rated ping pong balls. I go through this scenario all the time. My instinct is always to get whatever is cheapest and that costs me money.
Here are my Top 3 Cheapskate Mistakes that are costing me money:
- My Mistake: Buying clothes I kind of like because they are a great deal and then never wearing them. I am always willing to buy a shirt for $5 or under but I just hate to pay over $20 on a shirt. I probably have over $50 worth of $5 shirts in my closet that I don’t wear because they aren’t flattering or really my style. What a waste of money. Don’t get me wrong, I have several shirts I love that I got for $5, but if I would have saved the money I spent on shirts I don’t really like, I would have more than enough money to buy quality shirts (on sale of course) that are flattering and my style.
My Goal: Every time I am tempted to buy a shirt or other piece of clothes that I don’t love, I am going to put the money I would have spent into an envelope. At the end of the year, I am going to use that money to buy 1 or 2 items I really love.
- My Mistake: I buy poor quality products because of the low price and then end up having to buy more because they break or don’t work like my ping pong balls I almost bought.
My Goal: I will shop smart and find good prices on quality products that have good reviews.
- My Mistake: I buy brands or items my family doesn’t like because I find a great sale and then it goes to waste. I am really getting much better at this but there is a pack of Chobani Chocolate Greek Yogurt just mocking me in my refrigerator. No matter how much I want us to, my family does not like Greek yogurt. I need to stop thinking a different flavor will fix that.
My Goal: I will not buy things my family doesn’t like. If I think they might like something, I will only buy a small amount. Even if I miss a great deal, it’s worth it to avoid having things go to waste.