So You Think You're Saving Money

I’ve given you many tips for saving money since the start of my reign as the Young & Free Maine spokester in June. Before that, Seth loaded you up with even more tricks to stretch your dollar. There are many ways to save money on the things you buy all the time. However, if you’re not careful, some things you do to save money could actually be costing you more. There is such thing as being frugal to a fault. Uh oh!

But never fear, there is hope for you yet. Keep these things in mind the next time you employ your favorite money saving strategies and you’ll have more green in your pocket in the long run.

You get what you pay for

There are some things that are just worth the extra money, especially when it comes to quality. Higher quality items cost more, but there’s a pretty good chance they’ll last longer. This is true for big items like furniture. If you’re shopping for a bedroom dresser, reserve a little more money so you can buy real wood versus particle board construction. If you’re in school and moving from a residence hall back to your parent’s house or to a new apartment each year, cheaper materials like particle board rarely survive more than one move. You don’t want to replace your furniture with every new bedroom you move into, so opt for the more expensive, better quality model made of real wood and you’ll save money in the long run.

Bulk not always best

This always comes up when discussing saving money at the grocery store, but will buying bulk foods always save you money? The answer is no. Unless it is non-perishable, freezable or you are likely to use all of it before it goes bad, do not buy it in bulk. I always buy meat in bulk and freeze it. Raw chicken breasts can be placed in freezer bags and frozen for up to 9 months, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. I also buy toilet paper and paper towel in bulk, since these have no expiration date. Avoid buying produce like lettuce in bulk because it can’t really be frozen and it is likely to wilt before you eat it all.

Driving extra miles for cheap gas

You’re almost on empty and the cheapest gas, according to MaineGasPrices.com, is about 15 miles away in a neighboring town. Is it worth it? Probably not. You’ll waste your time driving to a different town to fill up your tank and since the gas station is out of your way, you’ll waste the gas you just bought to get home again. Unless the gas station with the cheapest price is on the way to work or home, or you’ll be driving by it anyways for other reasons, stick to a more conveniently located station. Ask the most convenient station if they offer reward or discount cards for frequent customers so you can save money on gas without driving all over town for the best price.

BOGO

Buy one get one deals are fantastic, but only if you actually need two of the same item. If your favorite juice is BOGO half-off, grab two and store one in the cupboard for when you run out. If your favorite shoe store is offering the same deal but you only need one pair of running sneakers, don’t force yourself into purchasing a second pair of shoes just because they’re half-off. If you only need one of something and only planned on buying one before you heard about the sale, don’t fall for the deal! You’ll save more money if you stick to the original plan.

Have you ever fallen for a deal only to realize it cost you more money?

Kylie K.