Redditors Share Money-Saving Choices That Have 'Backfired'

Low income man checking his home finances and looking worried


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Low income man checking his home finances and looking worried

When Hindsight Is 20/20

It's possible to be so tightfisted, so committed to pinching every last penny, that the whole strategy can backfire. We're not talking about folks who continue to wear their socks after their toes poke through. While that may be austere, the negative consequences are few (stinky feet?). The excessive frugality we're talking about can have life-changing effects that will cost hundreds— if not thousands — of dollars in the long-term. Thrifty Redditors recently shared their experiences with frugal decisions that backfired in a 500-plus comment thread.

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Modern dental drills and empty chair in the dentist's office

Skipping Preventive Care

Multiple Redditors regretted skipping preventive dental and healthcare. "Had I paid for that annual care and dealt with cavities, even when I didn’t have insurance, it would have saved me a lot of pain and money in the end," one Redditor shared. However, it's worth noting that the uniquely high-cost of healthcare is to blame, not overly frugal patients. In England, a basic dental checkup costs just £24, or $29, thanks to publicly funded single-payer healthcare. In the U.S., about 40% of adults say they have skipped or delayed medical care because of the cost; the consequences can be deadly.

Related: The Secret to Negotiating a Lower Medical Bill

RV Camping adventures

Living in a Recreational Vehicle

One Redditor's attempt to go Walden-mode and escape to an off-grid property in an RV went terribly, terribly wrong. "I had no earthly idea what I was doing," they wrote before sharing a nine-point list of unpleasant, unforeseen problems, from dealing with bees in their refrigerator to living without proper sewage. "I was so grateful to sell that RV — someone else's problem now," they added.

Related: RV Nightmares: From Annoying to Messy to Costly

Vintage refrigerator detail

Buying a Vintage Freezer

Think twice before buying a second-hand vintage freezer. One Redditor shared that they'd bought a retro freezer for $20 at the same time that they moved into a new place. "Over the course of the next several months our power bill at the new place was horrendous, but I always assumed it was the house," they wrote. But when the freezer broke, their power bill went down by $125. It was the freezer all along.

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Everything eventually returns to the earth
Adene Sanchez/istockphoto

Starting a Garden

Another ambitious project gone awry: a frugal Redditor spent $150 on gardening supplies and seeds, only to completely fail to harvest any produce. In the comments, green thumbs recommended buying seedlings from a greenhouse instead of starting with seeds. "It is much, much easier," a commenter explained.

Related: 22 Tips to Keep Gardening Dirt Cheap

Waiting for a night flight in airport

Cutting Corners While Travelling

If you're willing to make multiple stops, endure long layovers, and rely on public transit, you can travel on a shoestring budget. But multiple Redditors said that roughing it might not be worth the trouble. Another tip: don't cheap out on a suitcase. If it explodes while traveling and you lose your electric toothbrush, as one Redditor did, it isn't worth the savings.

Related: Are You Too Cheap? Here Are the Tell-Tale Signs

Handyman fixing the faucet of the bathroom with a wrench

Hiring an Acquaintance as a Handyperson

Stick to licensed professionals when it comes to handiwork, Redditors say. While hiring a friend of a friend might save you a lot upfront, shoddy work will require more repairs.

First person point of view of driving a car in traffic

Choosing Salary Over Commute

One Redditor regretted taking a higher-paying job because it extended their commute. In the end, they quit their new job, went back to their old company, and got promoted, making up for the pay increase — and then some.

Sport man boxing in VR headset training for kicking in virtual reality at home

Buying an Oculus for Workouts

While buying a $350 headset to workout at home hardly seems frugal, one Redditor says the goal was to save on gym fees and expensive equipment. But then they got carried away, purchasing more games, a subscription, a FitBit, sweatbands ... the list goes on. Might we suggest running? All you need is a pair of shoes.