When Being "Frugal" is not Very Frugal

When Being Frugal is not Very Frugal

Sales are great, paying full price stinks, and saving money on special deals can be very rewarding. However, there are cases when sale price incentives will only drain you of money that can be better allocated for something more necessary, such as savings.

For example:

  • When It’s Not a Sale at All: Especially when it comes to grocery stores, retailers are always marking items as “on sale,” when it may be nothing more than a competitive price to start with. Know your prices . An item listed as a “sale price” at one retailer may be nothing more than a price comparable to the list price at other stores. You won’t want to purchase 10 boxes of taco shells for $1.00 if that price is nothing more than a competitive price to start with or if that item is available for less elsewhere. You have just been tricked into spending $10 plus tax, believing you got a bargain when it may not be that special of a deal.
  • When You Buy Too Much: Being wasteful is never frugal. If you buy 50 pounds of chocolate Easter eggs because they are on sale after the holiday, you are being excessive and potentially wasteful. There is a good chance you will end up giving many away, rotting your teeth out, eating too much sugar or letting them go bad before you can truly enjoy them. Relax on the incredible holiday clearance sales. Chocolate covered Easter eggs will again be on sale next year. Spending even $10 on 13 bags of chocolate, when all you really need is 1 or 2 bags, is excessive and wasteful. You just spent $9 more than you should have! The same applies to perishable foods and other clearance items. Buy only what you can realistically use and properly store.
  • When You Don’t Need It: You may get very excited over a crazy sale price on a new tool, but buying something that you don’t need because of a 40 to 50 percent savings is just not smart. If you see a $30 sweater on sale for $9.99 and you have a closet full of sweaters, you don’t need to make that purchase.

The bottom line is that you need to be an educated consumer. Know your prices before you get excited about what is considered a sale. Know what you really need before you buy something that is heavily marked down. Only buy in bulk what is practical and necessary for you or your family.

Sales gimmicks are everywhere.   In many cases, these gimmicks are just a ploy to part you from your hard-earned dollar. A living room full of cases of soda may make you feel like you got one over on the retailer and the beverage company, but all you are really doing is cluttering your living space with a lot of empty calories. The mall kiosks are perfect examples. If something is always on sale for 40 percent off, it’s simply not worth the originally listed amount.

When you see a great “sale”, resist that immediate urge to take advantage until after you’ve given it some thought.  Your wallet will thank you.


Posted 07/17/2017 by CJA

Adapted from

The Financial Physician