Can Budgeting Backfire? 3 Money-Saving Methods to Watch Out For

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Saving money is something most of us enjoy. Whether it’s the joy that comes with having extra spending money at the end of the month, the thrill of walking away with free groceries after couponing, or the satisfaction that comes with a successful DIY project – there are plenty of reasons to reduce your spending. But can being budget-conscious backfire? Depending on your individual habits and your personal finances, there are a few money-saving methods that may not be worth your while.

Gardening

If you’re the type who loves to dig in the dirt, pull up weeds or research the best conditions for certain types of produce, then gardening can be a great way to save on your grocery bills. You may even be able to earn a little money from gardening by selling your produce at local farmer’s markets. But successful gardening takes a lot of work. Unless you’re willing to really put in the time and energy, the money you spend on supplies, seeds, tools and fertilizer will be wasted. So be honest with yourself. If you know you can’t handle the responsibility of gardening, you’re probably better off leaving it to the experts.

Couponing

Coupons are a tried-and-true way to save money, and not just for groceries. Auto shops, carpet cleaning services, clothing stores and hundreds of other types of businesses publish coupons to attract customers. But grocery store couponing isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. You might have heard stories about people who save hundreds of dollars on their grocery bills every month, or the people who use certain couponing strategies to get free groceries. This sort of thing is certainly possible, but it usually involves doing a lot of research on the local stores and figuring out when and where the best sales are taking place. You may have to go to two or three different stores, buying certain things at certain places to take advantage of double or triple coupon deals. That involves a lot of driving around and a lot of diligence to discover the best opportunities to save cash.

Likewise, a lot of coupons require you to buy a certain quantity or spend a certain amount before you can even use the coupon. For instance, you may have a “Buy 3 get 2 Free” coupon on packs of paper towels, or a “Spend $100 and get $10 Off” coupon for a high-end clothing store. The paper towels deal might be great, if you’ve got space to store 5 packs. But pay attention to how much the paper towels are. If they’re $3 per pack, you’ll be getting $15 worth of paper towels for $9. It may make more sense to just buy one or two packs and only spend $3-$6. As for the high-end clothing store, the average price for a simple pair of pants could be as high as $50. Two pairs, and there’s your $100. The fact that they take $10 off your bill is great, but you’re still paying $90 for only two pairs of pants. Not such an awesome deal when you really think about it.

Going Cheap on Everything

This method can be really dangerous to your overall finances. You may be thinking, “but how? If I buy the cheapest stuff whenever I can, how can I NOT save money?” Well the old saying, ‘you get what you pay for,’ comes into play here. There are just certain things you should not cheap out on. Having your buddy work on your transmission, buying low-grade home improvement materials, paying a friend-of-a-friend to design your business’ website…and so on. These are all things that can very easily backfire on you, causing you to spend more money to fix the mistakes. Your buddy who claimed to know about transmissions? Turns out he wasn’t as mechanically savvy as you thought. Now, you’ve got at least an $800 repair bill for the original problem, plus more to fix the damage your buddy did. Not to mention the fact that your friendship may now be strained – and that’s something you can’t put a price on. That being said, there are some instances where hiring a friend may work out fine. Just be sure you know your friends credentials and experience before accepting their help.

Can you think of any other money-saving practices that could backfire? Let us know in the comments!

Anna Platz is an Editor at ForTheBestRate.com, a leading mortgage rate research website, as well as the Lead Contributor to GoodCentsSavings.com, a blog about budgeting and personal finance. Anna is immersed in the world of real estate, mortgage, and home financing and is here to provide valuable resources for homeowners and soon-to-be-homeowners on buying and selling real estate, researching a mortgage broker or lender, and securing a home loan. Check back often for news, updates, and remember that you can find today's current mortgage rates at ForTheBestRate.com. My Google Profile+

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