7 Frugal Habits That Really Just Aren't Worth the Trouble

Two Save A Lot Circulars for Labor Day Weekend


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Thrifty Throwaways

As recession fears loom, it's easy to get carried away with belt tightening. For those who remember 2008, the kneejerk reaction is to cut everything, from streaming subscriptions to your morning coffee allowance. But before you start taking shorter showers, reusing zip-lock bags, and hoarding ketchup packets, ask yourself: Is this really worth it? If that question seems daunting or vague, consider the following frugal habits that thrifty Redditors say aren't worth the trouble.


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Avoiding Hobbies

While skipping the gym to save money may seem like a convenient excuse, even the internet's thriftiest users say that hobbies are worth the extra dough. "Life is too short and many hobbies are pretty affordable," the thread's top comment reads. But you don't have to take some random Redditor's word for it; the benefits of leisure activities are well-documented.

Related: 35 Hobbies That Pay Off in Jobs 

Beautiful dachshund dog in sunny living room

Living Without Pets

Redditors overwhelmingly agree that pets are worth the vet and kibble bills. And while companionship is priceless, some of the positive health effects of pet ownership are measurable. "Higher survival rates, fewer heart attacks, less loneliness, better blood pressure, better psychological well-being, lower rates of depression and stress levels, fewer doctor visits, increased self esteem, better sleep, and more physical activity" are just a few of the benefits, according to psychologist Harold Herzog. In an interview with CNN, he added: "Studies have shown repeatedly that people's good mood increases and bad mood decreases around pets."

Related: 13 Cheap Pets That Are Easy to Take Care Of

Close up Elderly hand plugging into electrical outlet

Unplugging Appliances

Vampire energy — the power that certain electronics use while in standby mode — may sound scary, but it doesn't have a huge impact on your utility bill, experts say. That's because manufacturers have vastly cut standby power consumption, with reductions as high as 90%. If you're still concerned about the environment or your bill, consider using a power strip instead of unplugging individual devices.

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Always Buying Off-Brand Products

Toilet paper, paper towels, chocolate, ketchup ... these are just a few of the items that thrifty Redditors won't skimp on, even if it means buying a brand-name product. Dawn dish soap, for example, continually receives praise on r/Frugal for its effectiveness. "Dawn works, every time, without crazy amounts of elbow grease and requiring only a small quantity of soap," one Redditor writes in a different thread.

Related: 7 Everyday Items You Should Never Skimp On

Ready soap bars

Making Your Own Everything

If you're one of those people who picked up 15 do-it-yourself hobbies during the pandemic, you may consider yourself a DIY expert. But however fun it may be to watch your sourdough starter grow or create your own soap, it likely isn't saving you money, Redditors argue. This is especially true when it comes to DIY laundry soap, which could wreck your washer. "My roommate murdered our washer by gunking it up with her laundry soap," one comment reads. "The repair guy that came out to fix our washer said that DIY laundry soap kills washers left and right."

Shot of a young woman shopping for groceries in a supermarket

Shopping at Multiple Grocery Stores

Sure, you may save a couple bucks on a few products if you shop around, but is it really worth the time and suffering? Redditors say no. "I have two small children and going into any store is literal torture," a commenter writes. 

Warehouse store

Always Buying in Bulk

It may seem like buying in bulk is always cheaper, but shoppers should ask themselves two questions. Will you finish the product before it goes bad? And is the product really cheaper when you consider the unit price? "I used to buy a lot of stuff in bulk because it’s 'cheaper per unit,' only to find that I couldn’t finish it in time and would throw some of it out," one user shares. Their new rule of thumb: If you end up tossing a bulk product, then it probably wasn't worth the savings.