I know you’ve seen them: people that steal ketchup packets at restaurants and rolls of toilet paper from businesses, who shower with their clothes on so they “don’t have to pay to wash their clothes,” and those who split two-ply toilet paper in half to get more use from a single roll.
The answer to the question “can frugality go too far?” is a resounding yes.
There’s a fine line between frugality and being a cheapskate, and if you do or have done any of the above, then you might have already crossed that line.
Frugality in moderation is a good thing, and it can definitely help your finances.
You have to be careful that you’re not taking the frugality mindset too far, though.
If you’re making “frugal” decisions that are affecting your mental, physical, or emotional well-being, then you may want to take a step back and reassess your priorities.
So how far is too far when living a frugal lifestyle?
Here are 10 sure-fire ways to know you’ve crossed the line from frugal to money-hoarding fanatic.
1. You spend more time pinching pennies than earning money
Don’t spend 20 hours a week clipping coupons to save at best $200 each month (on products you probably won’t use).
If your frugality habits are equivalent to a part time job, then you’d be better off actually getting a part time job. You’ll make more money at a job than by being thrifty. Frugality and thriftiness aren’t always the best ways to save money.
2. Your motto is “there’s no such thing as being too frugal”
If you’ve admitted to yourself and others that there is nothing you wouldn’t do to save a dollar, then you’re most likely too frugal.
You have to have physical, mental, and emotional limits on what you’d be willing to do or not do to save money. If you set no restrictions on yourself, you might find yourself doing questionable things to save money (like stealing products from businesses).
3. You make excuses when you spend money on anything
People who are too frugal make excuses whenever they have to spend money. They start to feel guilty if they spend money at all, even on things they need for life or their well-being.
If you find yourself apologizing for buying a bag of apples “even though they’re not on sale this week,” you might be too frugal.
4. You deprive yourself of basic necessities
Not only do people who are too frugal apologize for any money spent, but they also deprive themselves of basic necessities in order to save money.
They’ll sleep on a yoga mat instead of buying a mattress. They won’t go to the doctor even if they’re sick. They also refuse to buy medicine to help themselves feel better because they don’t want to spend the money.
Don’t deprive yourself of basic necessities in order to save money. Don’t ever stop taking basic care of yourself in the name of hoarding your money, especially when your health depends on it.
5. You’re willing to compromise your health or safety
If you go dumpster diving for your groceries, use expired medicine instead of buying new, or are willing to eat expired food so it “doesn’t go to waste,” then you’re definitely too frugal.
Don’t put your basic health and safety at risk. It’s not worth it, and quite frankly, it’s gross. Remember, friends don’t let friends dumpster dive for food.
If not spending money on food is that important to you, start growing your own vegetables. There are better (and safer!) ways to get cheaper groceries.Do you walk the line between cheap and frugal? Here are 10 ways to tell Click To Tweet
6. You hoard items you won’t use
If you’re hoarding items you received through extreme couponing, you’re probably too frugal. I have never understood the people who are willing to live in a house packed to the brim with stuff they will never use, just because they got it for free.
7. You feel competitive about your frugality
If you find yourself feeling fiercely competitive about how frugal you are compared to your friends, then you might be too frugal. Your sister-in-law, next door neighbor, and friend of a friend on Facebook can all be frugal, too.
It’s ok; their frugality doesn’t affect your frugality. It’s not a war to see who can spend the least amount of money.
8. You’re miserable when you spend money
If you feel miserable whenever you spend money, you might be too frugal. You shouldn’t feel sick to your stomach when paying for things that you need or that make you happy.
Don’t feel guilty for treating yourself to the occasional cup of coffee from a store. You also should never feel guilty for buying anything that you need.
Prescription medicine, food, rent/mortgage payments, and clothing necessities are normal everyday expenditures that should have no effect on your willingness to spend money.
9. You feel isolated by your lifestyle choices
If you find yourself increasingly isolated because of your lifestyle choices, then you might be too frugal.
If you’re never willing to hang out with friends, bring a dish to share at a potluck, or take part in anything at all that costs the slightest bit of money, then you’ve probably distanced yourself from the people who once enjoyed spending time with you.
Frugality should never be so extreme that you end up all alone.
10. Frugality is your end, not the means
Remember, frugality is a means to an end, not the end itself. If you’re saving money not to spend money, then there’s no point. Frugality should be a means to help you achieve something else.
Want to coupon, scrimp, and save for a few months so that you can take an incredible vacation? Awesome! Go for it. Don’t coupon, scrimp, and save just to watch your money collect dust.
If you’re never out there living life or doing the things that make you happy for fear of spending money, then there’s no reason at all for your frugality. If you cross that line from frugal to cheap, you’re missing the point.
Do you know anyone who has crossed the line and become too frugal? Have you ever realized that you were too frugal?