You may have noticed by now, I wear my “Frugal” label proudly. Some of our frugal habits were developed by Growing Up “Poor.” However, while tackling our overwhelming pile of debt. We have slowly adopted more and more frugal ways. Trying to save every last dollar to pay off our debt sooner.
There are a few frugal habits we do not include in our money saving techniques. Either because we think it is too extreme or it is not worth our time.
I shared last week on Facebook that we do not reuse Ziplock bags. One of my good friends gave me a hard time and had me seriously considering adopting this frugal habit. I started estimating how much we could save. I figured we used about 5 bags for non-meat items per month. Potentially, throughout a year we could save a box or two. So a couple dollars saved over a year.
The sad thing. I was seriously considering trying this method out. “Hey, a dollar is a dollar, right?” When I revealed my potential savings to my friend. She confidently stated “it’s not worth it.”
What? My friend who holds the title: “Queen of Frugalness” (in my book), told me “it’s not worth it.” She was right. My time and effort to wash and store a few bags was not worth it.
Do Frugal Habits Actually Save You Money?
This made me wonder if I had other frugal habits that are simply “not worth it.” Let’s take a peek at a few of the frugal habits I considered.
I make multi-purpose, carpet, and shower cleaners. If bought from the store, it would cost $25/year. My home-made cleaners cost me approximately $5/year. Homemade cleaners take next to no time at all. They are free of harsh chemical odors, which I prefer. $20 SAVED = WORTH IT
Home-Made Dryer Sheets
This is a new frugal habit to me. A 50/50 mixture of fabric softner and water. Cut up a sponge and place it in your solution. When you need a dryer sheet. Squeeze out majority of liquid and throw it in the dryer with your clothes. I have to add more solution every few months, but takes minimal time. A year’s supply of dryer sheets would cost $10. My home-made dryer sheets cost less than $1/year. $9 SAVED = WORTH IT
Washing Dishes by Hand
Our dishwasher is estimated to use $56/year in electricity and 2.6 gallons of water/use, which is most likely less water than I use to hand wash. However, our dishwasher is horrible and in order to have clean dishes you have to thoroughly rinse (basically wash) to end up with clean dishes. We will assume the water use is equal. Dishwasher tablets are more expensive than hand dish soap. Handwashing dishes requires 30 minutes/day (180 hours/year). $60 SAVED ($.33/hour) = NOT WORTH IT
Brown Bag Lunches
If my husband purchased his lunch, the least expensive would be $4 (commissary) and most expensive $10+ (restaurant). We will estimate an average $7/lunch. When he brown bags his lunch. He takes leftovers from dinner (most meals are less than $1/serving. He also takes 2 pieces of fruit, and one other item: yogurt, almonds, or granola bar. His brown bag lunch costs $2.50. $1080 SAVED = WORTH IT
Hang Dry Clothes
I have horrible allergies here in England, so we do not hang dry clothes outside. We do hang dry inside. I machine dry clothes for 30 minutes and then hang dry. To become completely dry, clothes would need to be in the dryer for 60-80 minutes. I roughly cut the dryer use in half. Although this method takes longer for the clothes to dry, it does not directly take much more of my time. $100 SAVED = WORTH IT
Seasoning, Sauces & Dressings from Scratch
We make our own seasonings (tacos, fajitas), sauces (pizza, teriyaki) and salad dressings. Most of this has been developed out of “necessity.” Many of the sauces and seasonings we enjoy are not available in England and our options are limited at the commissary. Savings is minimal, but we love the taste and healthier options. $10 SAVED = WORTH IT
One Car Household
Having only one car is definitely inconvenient at times. However, when we made the decision to be a one-income household we knew there would have to be some sacrifices. Fortunately, there has always been a way to manage and public transportation in England is great when it is needed. (Insurance: $600, Taxes: $450, Maintenance/Repairs: $1000, Fuel: $600, Purchase: $2500) $3300/Year SAVED = WORTH IT
Coffee at Home
We have a single-serve Keurig. We use a refillable pod with ground coffee. We are not heavy coffee drinkers, about 5 cups/week between both of us. Compared to the $2 Starbucks coffee or even the $1 coffee at McDonalds or Shoppette. A cup of coffee costs us about $.05/cup when brewed at home. $250-$500 SAVED = WORTH IT
No Paid TV
In England, we have no paid for television or “live tv.” In England you are required to have a “tv license” to watch live tv in your home. This license is £145.50/year (~$220). State-side we had Netflix and averaged 3 Redbox rentals per month. In England, we borrow movies and tv series from the library and re-watch our massive movie collection. $380 SAVED = WORTH IT
If I worked outside our home and my time was more limited and therefore more valuable. A few of these, such as hang drying laundry, would land in the “NOT WORTH IT” category. When developing frugal habits, determine what your time is worth. Do not waste your time on any habits that do not provide a big enough savings.
What Do You Think?
Do you have a frugal habit that is “not worth it?”
What is your best money saving frugal habit?
Is there a frugal habit you would “never” try?
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