12 Frugal “Hacks” That Cost More in the Long Run

Frugality is essential, especially in this environment of rising inflation and recession fears on the horizon. However, sometimes, being frugal isn’t worth your time or effort. Some “frugal hacks” may cost you more in the long run. 

Home Made Laundry Detergent

Woman looking at laundry detergent bottle in the grocery store
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Tide is expensive, but sometimes it’s easier to use store-bought detergent. “It’s only worth it to make it in large quantities, but then you have to store it somewhere.” explained one user. 

Skipping Your Favorite Hobby

A woman happily knitting.
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Don’t be so frugal that you forget to enjoy life, cautioned one user. “Life is too short, and many hobbies are pretty affordable,” they said. 

DIY Hygiene Products

bowl of purple bath bombs on a table with lavender around it.
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“All these DIY recipes for soap/chapstick/bath bombs/deodorant,” stated one user. Like laundry detergent, these DIY items have high startup costs and are far more cost-effective when created in bulk, but sometimes the products go bad before you get the chance to use them. 

Bulk Buying

man holding 7 roll of toilet paper in his arms
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Many things are cheaper per unit, but that doesn’t matter if it expires before you can use them. Shopping in bulk works for shelf-stable and frozen products, but ensure you have a plan to use any perishable goods before deciding to bulk buy. 

All the DIY

Woman wearing yellow rubber gloves using a plunger on a sink
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Sure, you could save money by painting your own house, changing your own oil, and crafting your own furniture. But typically, professionals are professionals for a reason, and if you don’t have the proper skills, you may pay more in the long run. 

Buying Generic

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“Some off-brand products are fine, some are not worth it,” said one user, adding, “I will not compromise on toilet paper or paper towels.”

Although some generic items are fantastic, others leave much to be desired.

Capturing Bath Water

image of a large luxury bath.
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Some folks take frugality to the extreme by capturing bath water in buckets while showers and sinks are heating up. One user said, “I appreciate the people that do this for environmental and financial purposes but remembering buckets, storing buckets/water between uses, making sure kids/pets don’t knock them over..It’s just way too much for our current stage of life.”

Extreme Efforts to Save on Gas

hands filling a car's gas tank
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“Driving further to save a few cents on gas,” responded one user. “I used to get on a friend of mine for driving 8 miles to save 5-10 cents per gallon, usually on less than 10 gallons. 16 miles round-trip is easily a gallon in his car. So he spent roughly $3 on gas to save at most $1 on gas,” added another. 

You don’t save as much money as you lose in time. 

Grocery Store Hopping

woman browsing aisle at the grocery store
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Sometimes, competing stores will have deals on different products simultaneously, hoping to entice shoppers. Extreme couponers store hop to save money on groceries, but some adherents to the frugal lifestyle say it isn’t worth the effort. 

Time Versus Money

hundred dollar bill locked up in a chain.
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Too many people get caught up in dollar signs and ignore the simple truth that time is also money.  If you can afford to free up your time, you should, even if it isn’t necessarily frugal. 

When you pay someone to do mundane tasks for you, you create more time to focus on other things. 


A happy older woman waters plants in her garden.
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Gardening as a hobby? Awesome! Gardening to save money on food? Probably not worth your time. 

Avoid Credit

small stack of credit cards spread on a keyboard.
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Money gurus tell you to avoid credit at all costs, but you need credit to build credit to get decent rates on a mortgage or car loan. Learn to use credit responsibly instead. 

Frugal Hacks from the Experts That Still Work

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Frugal experts are always coming up with innovative ways to save money. These hacks still work! 

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.