Last Updated October 27, 2020
Are you looking for every possible way to save more money? An important part of becoming financially free is being able to keep as much of the money you earn as possible. But what if trying to save money was actually costing you MORE? Find out the reasons why being a penny pincher might be hindering your chances of financial freedom, rather than getting you there faster.
What Does It Mean To Be A Penny Pincher?
A penny pincher is seen as someone who is super frugal. Penny pinchers have a scarcity mindset, and therefore they don’t like to spend their money or give it away. Although people think penny-pinching is good, because they save money, I personally think being super frugal is a bad trait that usually does more harm than good.
Let me explain why…
Sometimes You Lose More By Trying To Spend Less
I know a lot of us love looking for deals, cheaper options, or a DIY solution when trying to save money. But sometimes these things can cost you more in the long run. What penny pinchers don’t take into account when trying to save money is the value of their time.
For example, when I started my financial freedom journey, I desperately wanted to save more money and get out of debt. There were a lot of free resources online, so I decided to go that route in an effort to save money instead of investing in the tools I needed to speed up the learning process. I REALLY didn’t want to put that extra money towards something I thought I could figure out on my own.
Well, MONTHS passed and I was still in the same spot. I finally decided to invest in myself and get professional help instead of keep spinning my wheels trying to figure this thing out on my own. It was the BEST decision I made for my financial future.
I bought tools to make a budget that FINALLY worked for me. That lead to me being able to pay off my debt and save more money. I also paid to learn from financial experts about making a financial plan, how to invest my money, and grow my wealth. This lead to me being financially free in 6 short years!
Sometimes I wonder would I be where I am today if it didn’t invest in myself. I also wonder if I could’ve achieved my goals MUCH faster if I had decided to invest in myself from the beginning.
But I know I’m not the only one who chooses not to spend money on something that could change your life—like a fitness coach, more education, or an investment idea. We get so wrapped up in trying to penny-pinch that we forget about the big picture.
So, don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish.” Trying to save a few dollars can cost you thousands in the form of lost opportunity.
Think Like The Rich And Value Your Time
You THINK you’re saving money, but let’s be real, being frugal takes time. It takes time to clip coupons and search for deals online. It takes time trying to figure out a solution to a problem on your own instead of seeking expert advice. And of course, I’m not saying you should NEVER do these things, but understand that although you’re not paying in money, you’re paying in time.
You should always take into consideration the value of your time when trying to save money. For me, when I consider a DIY option, I always look at how much time and effort versus how much money it will cost me. Since I know I have to pay, either way, I usually choose to pay in money.
The reason why I pay in money is because money is a renewable resource, whereas my time and effort I can NEVER get back.
If you think about rich people, they control how they pay, and they normally pay with money. They pay someone to clean their house, cook their meals, and drive their car—not because they’re lazy, but because their time is so valuable. They use that time to make WAY more money than what they pay their cleaner, chef, or driver.
So if you want to be rich, you need to think like the rich. Why spend months trying to figure out a solution to a problem on your own rather than pay a professional? Why spend hours cleaning your house when you can use that time to go out and make more money than what you pay your cleaner?
I never understood people who would spend HOURS couponing and trying to find the best deals all to save a few dollars or having an 8-hour layover to save $100 on a flight. When the REAL solution is they should put more energy into earning more.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good deal and think it’s important to not overpay if you don’t have to (otherwise I wouldn’t have written so many money-saving articles here on Dollars Plus Sense). But an hour of my time is not worth saving a few dollars. If it takes me only a few extra minutes to save more money then I will certainly do that.
For example, I use cashback websites such as Ebates.com (aka rakuten.com), Drop, or Fetch because it literally takes seconds. Or services like BillShark to negotiate lower prices on my monthly bills because it saves me time, money, and hassle.
So the next time you think about being super frugal, ask yourself “how much is this actually costing me?” You HAVE to factor in the cost of your time, because your time IS worth money (it’s actually worth MORE than money because you can never get it back).
If doing something doesn’t take up too much time, or you actually enjoy doing it to save money then, by all means, keep doing it! But if you’re spending hours hunting for deals and only saving a few dollars, or you’re frustrating yourself trying to figure out how to do something, then it’s time to throw some money at the problem.
There are so many ways to save money, but there are also many ways to increase your income.
Focus On Making More Money
Instead of being obsessed with penny-pinching and saving more money, you should focus on building wealth by earning more money. There are many ways to earn more money, and I give you a few examples in my detailed article “5 Easy Ways To Increase Your Income Streams.”
There’s only so much money you can save by being frugal, but sky’s the limit when it comes to earning money.
Another way to build REAL wealth is to invest in yourself. My favorite quote from the most successful investor of all time, Warren Buffett, is “the most important investment you can make is in yourself.”
Instead of taking the time to clip coupons and DIY everything, learn how to invest and manage your money better. Learn from a professional who has accomplished the goals you want to reach in life. I guarantee that investment of time will give you a higher return than penny-pinching.
So instead of spending time trying to save a few dollars, focus on learning how to invest your money and growing wealth. I promise you’ll never become rich from being super frugal and clipping coupons.
Learn The Difference Between Sacrifices And Deprivation
Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to save money. For example, when I was on my financial freedom journey I moved into a cheaper apartment and gave up my BMW (that I LOVED) in an effort to save more money. However, I did it knowing this sacrifice would only be temporary.
As soon as I reached financial freedom, the plan was to get my BMW back and move to a more expensive neighborhood that I love. Financial freedom isn’t about depriving yourself and cutting everything out of your life that you love because it costs money. It’s about making temporary sacrifices so that you can have the things that are most important to you.
Even during my financial freedom journey, there were things that were “non-negotiable” to me (such as traveling). So in order to afford to travel and still enjoy the things I love, I got rid of the things that were not as important at the time.
In short, it’s okay to make temporary sacrifices, but don’t deprive yourself of the things you love in life. If you deprive yourself, you’re going to feel like you’re on a strict financial diet and will make you hate budgeting. If you hate budgeting, you’re simply not going to do it and quit.
This will certainly make it hard for you to stay on the right financial track.
Being frugal is certainly necessary at times, but only to a certain extent. I’ve definitely made many sacrifices in my life to accomplish my financial dreams, but I don’t think that should be a way of life—it should only be for a limited amount of time until you achieve your financial goals.
Remember, penny-pinching should never be more important than earning, investing, and growing wealth. The rich don’t have a scarcity mindset—they focus the bulk of their energy on investing and earning more. So this year, I challenge you to consider the TRUE cost of being a penny pincher.
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