I know quite a few people who would love to get their feet wet in finding ways to save money. I also know that sometimes people feel it might be more work than it's worth. It comes down to deciding what is worth it to YOU, but I would agree that there are sometimes downsides to the mindset of scrimping, saving, and scoring a deal. The downsides don't make me want to do anything differently, but I also don't want to give off the perception that frugality is easy. It is often rewarding, but not very easy! I feel that most things in life that are important can be tough and come with a learning curve, but I want to be sure never to portray a life style choice as easy or the be all, end all if it's not! I think I've covered a whooole lot of good on frugality, uninentionally even, but a bad experience this weekend got me thinking about the less pretty side of saving. See the first bullet point for that story!
Here are some of the 'cons' or downsides that I've experienced myself.
- You could look really hard for a sale, make a decision and purchase something, and still find it for less, higher quality, etc later on. It's frustrating! We recently went looking for a table and chairs for our deck. Based on all the set prices, which were fairly high, we decided to buy a table on sale at Rite Aid for $35. Then we bought 4 chairs for a total of $40. We bought an umbrella on closeout last year for about $30. Well... we found a set with much more comfortable chairs for $97. We can't return our table because we've already gotten rid of the box, so we are now debating whether we want to buy the $97 set and have an extra table for whenever we need it, but comfy chairs or keep what we have now with slightly uncomfortable chairs. If we had just shopped around a little longer/harder we wouldn't have this problem but... that just happens sometimes and you have to swallow your money saving pride! Update: We returned the 4 chairs, bought the set, and we're storing the extra table. The comfy chairs were worth the extra expense.
- You have to weigh what your time is worth vs what your savings are worth. This is different for everyone. Couponing kind of makes me crazy. I will do it somewhat, but I actually prefer finding stores/sales that make the product just as cheap or nearly as cheap. Luckily (well, in my opinion) most products we buy don't qualify for coupons so I appease my guilt that way. But for the few things that do, I've found buying in bulk, buying at stores that are so cheap they don't take coupons, or spending a minimum of about 10 minutes searching out coupons to really save my sanity.
- Depending on your dedication level, you might have to miss out on something you really want/really want to do. This could really go either way. You could decide that you aren't going to do/buy something because you can't find a good price OR you could decide to just suck up the cost because it's worth the item/experience. Having a neutral opinion can be helpful. I will sometimes beat myself up so much about the money aspect, that I can't really make a logical decision. Steven is a bit more, eh, willing to part with our dollars but sometimes I need that balance.
- People might think you're cheap. Even if you don't go overboard with being frugal, it can still seem extreme to other people. I try to help them understand that we are putting a lot of money in savings right now (for important future purposes like me staying home!) so I'm not just being cheap to be cheap. But you know what? So what if I am? But you try explaining that to people. A thick skin will take you far. Unfortunately, my thick skin is a bit defective.
Care to add to the list? I'll cover upsides later on in another post so, don't worry, things will be less dismal soon :).