You might think you're smart with money, but there are signs you're becoming less frugal. A frugal mindset saves money and helps you reach financial goals. Whether you're trying to pay off debt, build your emergency fund or save for a vacation, being smart and cautious with your money keeps your budget on track. But after a while, you might adopt a few bad habits. Here are seven obvious signs you're becoming less frugal with your money.
1. You Stop Using Coupons
If you've always been adamant about using coupons, and suddenly you're throwing away the Sunday circulars, this is one of several signs you're becoming less frugal. Maybe you feel clipping coupons is a tedious job, or maybe you don't have time to search for deals. Whatever the case, skipping coupons means you're paying full price for most items, which can slow down savings efforts.
2. You Stop Brewing Your Own Coffee
Getting coffee every morning can cost between a $1.50 and $4 depending on what you order. And as a frugal person, maybe you always brewed your own at home. But if you've developed a new habit of hitting the coffee house each morning, you might be becoming a less frugal person. Yes, your mornings are busy and hectic and it's probably easier to hit the Starbucks drive-through. But if you spend $3 a day on coffee, that $60 a month that could go into your savings account.
3. You Don't Bring Your Lunch Anymore
Bringing last night’s leftovers to work for lunch saves money, but if you've gotten into the habit of dining with your coworkers at lunch, you're probably spending $25 a week on lunch – at least. Do the math and you're probably spending about $100 a month.
4. You Replace Rather than Repair
There was probably a time when you would fix broken items in your house to save money. But if you’re quick to toss broken items and buy new ones rather then consider repairing as an option, you might be becoming a less frugal person. Obviously, some broken items have to be replaced. But electronics, appliances and damaged clothes are usually fixable and much cheaper than a replacement.
5. You Stop Comparing Prices
You might say, I don't have time to comparison-shop and drive from store to store. This might be true, but if you buy the first thing you see and don't compare prices, you might spend a ton unnecessarily. Understandably, comparison shopping can be tedious and takes time. But if you have a long-term savings goal in mind, this is the best way to hit your goals while getting the things you need.
6. You Don't Wait until Sales or Clarences
When are you most likely to buy items? Do you wait until sales and clearances, or do you buy items as soon as they hit the rack? Most people know that new inventory is overpriced and not worth the cost. And if they wait just a few weeks or months, retailers will start reducing prices. But if you're becoming less frugal, you may start to prefer instant gratification and buy new items as soon as they arrive in the store.
7. You Buy What You Want, Instead of What You Need
There's nothing wrong with treating yourself. If you want a new handbag, boots or an electronic device, you work hard and it's okay to enjoy the fruits of your labor. But if you're constantly buying things that you don't need, you'll not only go broke, you'll delay long-term savings goals.
Frugal fatigue is a real problem, and it typically strikes after months or years of depriving ourselves of fun and splurges. But don't let frugal burnout warp your mindset. Frugality is a plus and one of the best ways to keep your budget on track. What are other signs that you're becoming less frugal?