Over time there is an important lesson that all frugal people must learn and accept: it doesn't always pay to cut corners just to save a few dollars. Yes, sales are great, and if you are able to pick up quality products or services on sale, then that's a great way to save money. This being said, paying for a product or a service that's cheaper but much lower quality is actually going to end up costing you more in the long run.
Here are a few things that you should never cut corners on just to save a few bucks.
There are many different kinds of insurance out there, and it can be easy to not purchase insurance or to choose coverage that doesn't offer much in order to save some money every month. But the truth is that if you're only getting the bare minimum coverage, you are putting yourself and your loved ones at risk. What if something happened to you, and you only took out the absolute minimum life insurance you could find? What would your family do? What if you got sick and had only the skimpiest health insurance on the market? Are you prepared to pay these bills out of pocket?
While there is something to be said about focusing too much on the "what ifs" in life, the reality is that bad and unexpected things happen. People get sick, accidents occur, and if you're not prepared for this eventuality then you're going to end up paying much, much more in the long run.
2. Preemptive Care and Check Ups
Are you someone that skips your car's regular oil changes or that 50,000-mile inspection? What about your yearly doctor's check up or twice-yearly dentist appointment? While none of these things are fun or exciting to do, they are part of being a responsible adult and taking care of yourself and your property.
Inspections, check-ups, and physicals are set up on these regular schedules for a reason, and by avoiding them you are risking your health and your savings. Not changing the oil in your car or not catching that cavity early on allows these problems time to develop and grow. This means the cost of dealing with these problems end up growing too, often to hundreds if not thousands more than the initial cost would have been.
Everyone has heard the saying, "you get what you pay for," and this couldn't be truer than for appliances like your fridge, stove, vacuum, toaster oven, coffee maker, etc. There are different grades of appliances and some are rated higher than others for a reason. Maybe higher-rated appliances are more energy efficient — which will save you money on your energy bill! — or maybe they really do a better job in less time. Whatever the reason, it is worth researching and investing in appliances that you're happy with, even if it costs you a little more up front. Often cheaper appliances end up breaking early on or do not come with impressive or useful warranties. An appliance is an investment and should be thought of that way. This is not to say that you shouldn't look for sales, but do not skimp on quality just because it costs more up front. Higher-grade appliances last longer and often end up saving you money in other ways too — like turning off automatically and not burning down your house.
4. Buying Something Because It's On Sale
Just because something is on sale does not necessarily mean that you should buy it. Buying something that you don't need because it's on sale is still spending money on something that you don't actually need. Lots of people buy unnecessary gadgets, clothing, and other products on sale or with coupons, hoping that they'll find a use for it. Don't get sucked into this pattern! Use your money for things that you actually want and need.
5. Your Pets
Taking on a pet is a huge responsibility and one that can become very costly very fast. Maybe even before you leave the breeder's! You have the choice to adopt an animal for less money or to spend more to bring home a pet from a reputable breeder. Take the time to get the details on the breeder's testing and breeding program, and don't be afraid to spend on a well-bred animal or to donate to a shelter that kept your new pet healthy while she waited for you to walk in the door.
Once you take your pet home, it's up to you to pay for proper care. This includes feeding them good food and paying for medical bills, training, and proper grooming. I am not suggesting you go out and buy your kitty every toy at PetSmart, but knowing when to spend your money is imperative. If your dog needs a specific kind of food that will keep him healthy and it costs upwards of $100 a bag, then you gotta go there. If your cat needs to be dewormed, it's your responsibility. Bunny needs eye drops? You know the drill. Saving money is about more than just buying things cheap or “snapping things up” when they're on sale. Sure, don't waste your money on unnecessary expenses! But don't let being frugal cost you more in the long run.
If you're looking to buy a few things because you genuinely need them, then make a list and check for sales on those items regularly. If you have the restraint to only buy the things you need, then go ahead and sign up for emailing lists at your favourite retailers to get the best deals on the specific items you're looking for. Just be aware that they'll be pushing sales at you four or more times a week, so this is not ideal if you have an itchy shopping-cart finger. Just be patient and stay focused on buying just the things you need, and you can save lots of money on higher quality items!