Avoid frugal flops
Frugal strategies can cost you. They don’t always work equally as well for everyone. It’s easy to justify buying or doing things when you believe it’s going to help you to save money later. You can fall into a trap and make poor decisions all in the name of frugality. Frugality isn’t an all-or-nothing lifestyle. Pick and choose what works best for you or adjust strategies to fit your life.
What frugal failures have you experienced?
Here are three common flops shared by readers.
HOMEMADE LAUNDRY SOAP:
One reader, C.M. from Illinois, shares: “I tried to make laundry detergent. The recipe said it was supposed to become gel-like. It didn’t. It ended up being discolored water with yellow chunks floating on the top. Needless to say, we didn’t use it.”
–Get recipes from a trusted source.
If using a website, look for recipes that include ratings, reviews and photos if possible. Because results can and do vary, always test a small, inconspicuous area or a rag first, too. If interested in a homemade laundry soap recipe (liquid and dry versions), visit www.soapsgonebuy.com/Laundry_Detergent_Kit_with_PRE_GRATED_Fels_Naptha_p/pkg1001.htm.
–Explore your options.
You might discover that buying laundry soap when it’s on sale coupled with coupons is the better way to go, or you might enjoy options such as soap nuts (www.buysoapnuts.com) or Charlie’s Soap (www.charliesoap.com).
This type of buying is impulsive and often leads to buyer’s remorse. Another reader, Michelle from California, admits: “I love garage sales for the money they have saved me. However, they have also been my downfall along the way, as I have made the occasional errors in judgment and purchased items I didn’t need and/or ended up not using. One mistake was clothing items purchased one or two years ahead of time for my 9-year-old daughter, who decided she didn’t like them once they finally would
fit. They have been or are being garage-saled again.”
–Ask yourself the following questions prior to purchasing:
Do I need it? Will I use it? Is there room for it? Can I borrow this? How long will it last? Can I do without it? Can I find a better price? Are there negative consequences?
BULK COOKING AND KITCHEN GADGETS:
The concept is great, but it’s not the most practical or useful solution for all families. Many people have bought products such as juicers, dehydrators, canners, food sealers and meat slicers. They don’t use them often enough to justify buying them. Maybe you don’t have the time, or it’s not as cost-effective for you as it is for someone else.
–Consider your resources.
Such as whether you can buy appliances secondhand or have a source for inexpensive food. Know your limitations, too. Maybe instead of a large-scale bulk-cooking session, you can cook once and eat twice, such as making a large pot of soup or spaghetti sauce or a big pan of lasagna. Another reader, Jessica from Washington, shares: “My family started getting sick of casseroles. I have found that instead of making ‘heat and eat’ meals, I try to do a lot of the prep work and freeze the ingredients. Then all I have to do is throw it together the night we’re eating it. For instance, instead of freezing a big pot of chicken and dumplings, I fill a quart-sized bag with shredded chicken. Another small bagful of chopped carrots, celery and onion, and some poultry seasoning and flour. Another baggie with homemade chicken broth. I store all of these little bags in a larger bag in the freezer. When it’s time to make the meal, I just heat some oil in a pot, toss in the veggies and saute them briefly. Then I throw in the chicken and chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Then I make up some dumplings (or use refrigerator biscuits) and plop them in. A fresh, homemade meal that doesn’t taste like it came out of the freezer.”