Saving money is difficult. It requires a certain degree of self control and ability to delay gratification. There are lot of money saving hacks you can find from all around. A casual google search can reveal hundreds of such hacks. Lot of them can actually help you save a decent amount of money. Yet, there is a tendency in many of us to save money on certain things, only to realize (or maybe, not realize at all!) that the costs are way higher than you thought & these money saving habits are actually expensive!
(And I am not even talking of penny wise – pound foolish approach which is not uncommon. It may need a different write-up altogether)
Here are some money saving habits which may actually prove costly!
- Shopping on sale – Sale is a great time. You get things you want for (hopeful!) a great price. But there is a catch. Suppose you are buying a $100 product at 50% sale for $50. Are you saving $50 or spending $50? It will depend upon whether you needed that product and sale happened to be around or whether you didn’t need that product but saw it on sale and bought it. Another variant of this is adding unnecessary products to your shopping cart just to be eligible for free shipping/ more discount/ cashback. How often we have done that?
- Buying poor quality product just to save money- Imagine buying a $100 shoe that lasts a year vis a vis a good quality $200 shoe which lasts 3 years. Which is better? Chasing chasing brands and expensive products may or may not be worth it. But it helps to understand the trade-off between price and quality. Of course, it may not always be possible to judge beforehand which inexpensive things can be bought and which expensive things to avoid. But being aware of this can help in deciding. No?
- Penny pinching so much that you miss out good things in life – A coffee here and there or eating out once a while won’t hurt (assuming you can afford it). Nor would a small break/ vacation once a while. So relax. Take some time off once a while. Eat out. Watch a movie. Spend some time with family/ friends. There are ways you can have a great time without spending too much!
- Repercussions that may prove expensive. Sometimes you end up saving money on something only to realize that repercussions are more expensive. Foe instance, you may take a train for a long journey instead of flight, but the loss of 1 business day may prove expensive. Few more examples – Using a poor quality spare part in your car which is cheaper, only to find that you need a replacement few days later. Or buying a cheap food product that is close to expiry – only to throw it away afterwards. Or buying a cheap air conditioner only to realize that it is a power guzzler and running costs are too high!
- Saving money by compromising on health – Have you ever avoided a health checkup or skipped a few tests just to save on expenses? Or avoided a medical procedure to save money? Or being in denial when a better/ more expensive approach may be needed? Sadly, lot of people do. Some due to financial constraints (quality healthcare is expensive!). Some … because they want to save money. And not just healthcare, this is applicable for preventive stuff – like ditching healthy food for the cheaper unhealthy variant – just to save money (and NOT financial constraints)
What are other money saving habits that can actually be costly?
Most of this assumes that opting for a cheaper option is discretionary and not out of compulsion. While I believe it is good to look for cost effective options, if possible, one must also be aware of the repercussions it may have.