3 Times NOT to Be Frugal
I recently wrote a post about one of the worst road trips we have ever taken. At one point on the trip, my husband and I were debating whether or not to buy a breast pump because our baby decided to stop nursing cold turkey while we were away from home for the weekend.
Ultimately, we didn’t make the purchase because of money but we both suffered because of it. We were on a tight budget and we didn’t want to spend money on something we already had at home, even though it would have saved a weekend of…awfulness.
We learned a valuable lesson – being frugal can cost too much.
That brother of mine is a smart guy.
I am all for being frugal. Living within your means is essential to good money management. Being frugal has forced me to do things I would never have on my own. I learned to sew because we couldn’t afford to buy curtains for one of our apartments. Beyond learning a new skill, being frugal teaches you to shop for a bargain and forgo instant gratification for long term happiness.
Frugality is awesome. Really.
Sometimes in the name of being frugal and saving a buck, you end up paying too high a price. Whether that price is in actual dollars or whether it is in misery, either way, you are being too thrifty. Here are three times that you need to put away your frugalness and pull out your money.
3 Times Being Frugal Costs Too Much
Anything Involving Vomit and Poop
For reals, if it involves vomit, all bets are off. Buy what you need to get through. Whether that is Dramamine for a long car trip with the kid that always gets car sick, or throwing out the outfit they just threw up all over, buy what you need to survive the vomit train.
I have my brother’s permission to share the following story with you that perfectly illustrates my point. While he was in vet school, his family was on a tight budget. One night, one of their kids threw up all over a down comforter. My sister-in-law wanted to throw the thing away and buy a new one the next day.
My brother, Mr. Frugal, did not want to spend money on something they already had. Instead, he got out a cooking spoon and started scooping the vomit off of the comforter into a bowl. On spoonful number three the smell hit his nostrils, he took a look at what he was doing, and ran to the bathroom to throw up. At that point, he agreed and they threw away the comforter.
Being frugal wasn’t worth it.
When my older children were potty training, I dutifully washed all of their soiled clothing after they had accidents. With child number four, I have to really like the outfit for me to bother trying to clean poop out of it. Underwear is a no brainer, I throw it out. The Wal-Mart underwear section and I are well acquainted.
Instead, be frugal while you are looking for the items to replace whatever got vomit or poop on it. You’ll save yourself a lot of work and, possibly, a trip to the bathroom to throw up.
You Will Get Zero Hours Sleep Without It
This is the lesson I learned the weekend of the breast pump. If you literally don’t have the money to spend, you don’t have the money to spend, but we could have done it. Our finances would not have been ruined had we made the purchase and everyone would have been happier.
Another example, some of our kids used to get terrible diaper rashes. It was so bad that blood was involved and I can tell you, it would lead to some sleepless nights. We tried the inexpensive diaper creams with no success. However, there is a diaper cream that it is like baby butt magic. It never fails to clear up a diaper rash. Ever. You may have to apply it for a few days but as soon as you start, the baby stops crying. We treated it like a pot of gold.
The catch, it is $30 for a 16-ounce tub, but IT IS WORTH IT.
There is a price for getting enough sleep and keeping your sanity. For me, it’s a tub of $30 diaper cream. That diaper cream bought me and my husband precious hours of sleep and saved our kids from tears.
Sometimes, spending the money is worth it because you save yourself in the long run.
The Cheap Knock Off Costs You More in the End
Buying the Fruit-O’s sounds like a good idea until you sit down to a soggy, mushy breakfast that no one will eat. You might as well have thrown your $5 in the garbage. Often you can buy a generic brand and there isn’t much of a difference between that and a name brand. Bread, for example, may be smaller but the quality isn’t that different. (I know some will argue this point but hear me out.)
The best example I can think of is diapers. There are some inexpensive diaper brands out there and in a pinch, yeah, they might be better than having your child wear nothing at all, but not much. I have tried the cheap diapers and every time my baby went to the bathroom, the diapers leaked. Which means I had to change my baby’s clothes, sometimes my clothes, and whatever else the diaper leaked on every time she went to the bathroom. We ended up going through more diapers and clothes, which, in the long run, definitely cost us more money.
There is something to be said for buying the name brand.
When you are on a tight budget, it can be hard to spend money on things you don’t want to buy. The vomited on comforter, the breast pump you already own that’s 300 hundred miles away, the stupid can opener that you forgot while camping. Part of being frugal is learning when to spend a little more money than you want at the moment, to save you money in the long run. Sometimes you’re saving money while other times you are saving sanity. Either way, don’t feel guilty, it’s worth it.
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