Confessions of Frugal Failures

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I’m a frugal, competitive person.  I want to win, always.  I want to find the best deals, always.  I want to be in the know of everything going on, always.  BUT, here’s my secret…I’m a failure at most of these things.  Sometimes, I fail at these things daily.  And I’m okay with that. The odds are still in my favor of being successful more times than not, but I’ve realized that I enjoy the “hunt” of the deal more than actually acquiring the deal.  Weird, right?  I feel a rush at finding a product at 90% off, but then am hesitant at purchasing it.  Seriously, I can’t get out of my own head sometimes.

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However, there are times when I made the choice to buy something…and that something turned out to be a dud.  a zonk.  a big fat nada of a deal.  A waste (gasp!) of our time and money.  100%.  So, have no fear, we are all human in this savings game…and while we all have our great stories of frugal success, I’m here to share my failures.

Failure #1:  Buying veggies and fruit in bulk.

STOP.  Just STOP.  Why do I do this?  Every single time.  I see a deal on apples, and I think “Oh, my family can eat 27 lbs. of apples of 3 days, no worries.”  Then, suddenly, my children decide for that week, and for that week only, that they no longer like apples and those 27 lbs. of apples become my curse.  I start thinking…what can I make with apples?  Apple cinnamon muffins?  Check.  Apple butter?  Sure, why not.  So…that then leaves 25 lbs. of apples for me to consume.  Game on.  (Did I mention I’m competitive…!)  But really, STOP buying fruits and veggies in bulk.  I’ve wasted so much more money than saved on this.

Failure #2:  Planting a Garden.

Now, this is MY failure only. Please understand that.  I know that there are some people who can plant a garden and it can grow enough to feed a small army.  Me?  I plant, and plant….and plant, and NOTHING grows.  As a matter of fact, and this is a true-to-honest story, I did NOT plant a garden this year and this year I have had my most successful garden EVER.  Seriously.  (Yes, insert laughter here because it’s quite comical.) We have like a million cherry tomatoes, and I DID NOT plant tomatoes.  So, hat’s off to that…but in the 3 years past, we’ve wasted a ton of money planting seeds to grow food to save money (ironic, right?)…and it’s all gone to waste.

Failure #3: Driving 5 miles to save .05 cents.

Am I the only one guilty of this?  I just can’t stop.  I know the sale ads in all the stores…and I will drive to each and every one of them to save a few cents.  Seriously, what the heck is wrong with me?  Not only am I spending more money in gas…it’s a waste of my TIME!  Stop it Thena, just stop it!

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Failure #4:  Over-purchasing Sale Items.

If it’s on sale, I need it!  If it’s a good deal, I want it!  I’m really bad about this at the grocery store….if a product that my family has NEVER tried is on clearance, and there is only 10 of them left, I’ll buy all 10.  Why?  BC it’s a good deal!  BUT, what usually happens is that my family then doesn’t like it…so, I’m left with 9 1/2 boxes of  “whatever” that we won’t eat and my suddenly great deal cost us a lot of money!

Failure #5:  Buying a used car based on emotions.

Yep, been there, done that.  We needed a second car…we found one we liked from a private party…We met the nicest elderly gentleman, we listened to his stories, he drew us in to his life, his struggles, yadda yadda yadda…the car was low mileage, and so well taken care of, so what did we do next logically?  We bought the car.  And guess what?  It was a lemon.  A sour, rotten lemon.  (Maybe it was low mileage bc he couldn’t get it to run to move it either, who knows) That car, beautiful as it was, spent more time sitting than driving and cost us a lot in terms of money, stress and emotions.  Curse our sensitivity and hearts for buying this car, as our emotions outweighed the sense of this purchase.

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Why am I sharing my frugal failures with you?  Because we are human.  We all make mistakes.  We all learn from these mistakes, but I think it’s important to share those mistakes with each other  to know we aren’t alone.  My failures may not be your failures, but I hope that you can learn from mine, and laugh with me.

Do you have any frugal failures?  Share the love! 🙂


214 thoughts on “Confessions of Frugal Failures

  1. Kyla Matton Osborne says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I have probably done 4/5 of these. more times than I can count. I keep plugging away and trying to improve my strategies. Each year we learn a little more and apply what we’ve learned when we try again.

    And yay for your cherry tomatoes! Sounds like you were blessed with some prolific volunteers. Nice! I have friends who regularly get volunteers in their gardens due to tomatoes self-seeding.
    Kyla Matton Osborne recently posted…Does Science Prove Alton Brown Right: Should You Stop Storing Tomatoes in the Fridge Forever?My Profile

  2. Emily says:

    Haha I’m guilty of the gardening but I do love seeing flowers and basil sprout like crazy! 🙂 But you’re right, some vegetables, unless you have a massive plot of land, are much easier and cost effective to buy straight from the store. I do love growing herbs though because nothing sucks more than buying a whole thing of basil for $4 when you just really need a few leaves!

  3. Sierra Annastasia says:

    Ha! This is soooo relatable! Failure #1 is so, so true. I make a lot of smoothies, so I have that problem more than I’d like to admit. You’d think that, after making smoothies and buying produce for so long, I’d have a better handle on not letting things go bad! Such a great post 🙂

  4. katherine says:

    I loved reading this! Often when we have our own failures we forget that other people have theirs too! So to have that sudden realisation that you are not the only one makes you feel a lot better!

  5. Anna says:

    I’m totally guilty of buying too many veggies and fruit in bulk. One trick I’ve learned is to just go to the grocery store more frequently, so I don’t end up wasting food. I’m still working on this though.

  6. Kelly Jefferson says:

    I am laughing because each time I read a new line, I’m saying to myself, “yep, yep, that’s me.” It’s good to laugh at ourselves sometimes. My frugal failure is that it’s really hard for me to resist a really good sale where I buy a bunch of “staple” pieces that I think I have really been wanting but then never wear. Happens every shopping trip. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – great post!

  7. Cole Nemeth Lifestyle Blogger says:

    Oh man buying fresh food in bulk is a failture for me, too! We only have a family of three, so anything in bulk won’t get eaten up fast enough. Also, I kill all my plants! I try and try to have herbs or veggies and they just die. My husband, however, has a green thumb and that helps.

  8. Angela Tolsma says:

    I have been so worried about the garden one. I am terrible with plants and the ones I do have I have very tightly scheduled. A garden is so variable. That’s hilarious that you didn’t plant and got tomatoes!
    I get my veggies delieverd so I don’t over buy. It’s a little more pricer but there’s so much less waste!
    Totally sucks that the car was a lemon. My failures usually involve impulse shopping like books, clothes or shoes!

  9. Carol Cassara says:

    I would never drive long to get to a sale that’s definitely going to take a toll on my gas! I am guilty of buying fruits and veggies in bulk though! That’s totally a wrong decision!

  10. Jamie says:

    I do the “oh it’s on sale let’s buy 10” fail all the time. And, I don’t know how much produce goes to waste at my house but it’s a lot…it’s almost made it hard to buy any because I know we won’t eat it! (Apples and bananas are the two exceptions to this rule). I feel ya on the car – we bought from a dealer but we’ve had nothing but trouble. New cars are so expensive though!! Great post- had me knodding my head a lot!

  11. Sara says:

    I definitely feel you when it comes to buying in bulk. My hubby and I can’t possible eat that much. So we only buy bulk on items that last a long time these days. Less worry about food waste 😊. Makes life easier! And that way I don’t feel inclined to find a way to eat 27lbs of apples either! 😅

  12. jin says:

    I know exactly how you feel! I used to penny pinch when I was really, really low on money. But after awhile, I had decided that it’s not worth saving pennies here and there. My husband is actually a fan of buying things in bulk – when in actuality, it’s way too much items for just the 2 of us and they end up rotting away!
    jin recently posted…COLOMBIA 2017My Profile

  13. Monique says:

    Loved this post so much. I feel like I’m guilty of doing everything here. It’s funny, you don’t realise you have a habit until you take a step back and you’re like “why am I doing that?”

  14. Joline says:

    I’m so guilty of buying everything in bulk! In my head I’m saving money but in reality, since it’s just the 2 of us (right??), buying in bulk is really silly.

  15. Ashleigh-Jayne O'Connell says:

    The ‘in bulk’ thing is one that always gets me. I either buy too much food or I make too much food with the aimt to eat the leftovers. More ofthen than not, we forget we have half a pie in the fridge and have to bye evtra dinner anyway!

  16. Shibani says:

    What a wonderful list!! Completely agree with 3rd and 4th point. We can’t expect to save money by going unnecessary extra 5miles. That sale deal is profiting the shop dealers more than us!! I have literally tons of clothes bought from sale – so-called *deal* but ended up not wearing them or maybe like once a loved your post.

  17. rochelle says:

    I laughed so hard at this! especially fruit in bulk. I live on my own and make this mistake every single week. my new thing of buying in bulk *cotton candy grapes* AHHHH-mazing! Except when you buy 5 punnets because they are on offer. forgetting to check the date, which is tomorrow by the way, and I have 2 more punnets to go. ughhh
    rochelle recently posted…Diary: Ditching the scalesMy Profile

  18. Nicole Flint says:

    I used to buy so much fruit in bulk and I live alone thinking I was going to eat it all and it has wasted me so much money! I have definitely learned that lesson LOL

  19. Debbie Savage says:

    This is very sound advice. I wish I had practiced this strategy a long time ago. A lot of food would not have gone to waste. Smaller packaging has been helpful for our family, even if it does cost more.

  20. Lois Alter Mark says:

    Oh, I can totally relate to this! I’ve bought so many things in bulk that turn out to be a waste. Fruits and vegetables are the worst because they spoil so quickly, making the ones we actually eat very expensive!

  21. Cynthia says:

    That was a fun read! I am guilty of the first, and way too often. It’s like if I don’t buy that box of pineapples now, I will never eat pineapple again, and then… to waste; I have yet to try to plant a garden, but since every plant in my household dies… I don’t think I’d be successful at that either!
    Cynthia recently posted…15 One Pot Easy Meals – Weekly RoundupMy Profile

  22. Hannah says:

    Oh my life, this is so me! Literally every single one. I buy a ton of apples and then spend more money buying ingredients to make stuff with them, that I end up chucking a couple of months later when I need room in the freezer! So silly lol. One day we will learn!

  23. Christiana says:

    What an interesting and informative read. I also a lot like you have written here always trying to get everything perfectly done but every time I am reminded that I am only human.

  24. Candy Rachelle says:

    Your apple story is absolutely hilarious! Of course they wouldn’t like apples that week!!! I’ve never been a ‘frugal’ type person. So thank goodness none of these I’ve done. I have thought about starting a small herb garden. Maybe…

  25. Lindy says:

    I have to admit to chuckling a few times. I can definitely relate to the beginning where you said it’s more the thrill of the bargain. I love finding a bargain but then never buy it because I end up talking myself out of it, then when it’s full price again I must have it, ha ha. I’m my own worst enemy.

  26. Angela Milnes says:

    We have bought loads of veg trying to be frugal and it’s gone to waste. We are working on it because being frugal is so important to me. I now chop things up and freeze them and try to use just a small amount as and when I need it. Great post!

  27. Pammy says:

    I can relate to this as I feel that kind of failure as well at times but I really have to improve my decision making! I love reading this!

    Pammy –

  28. Jill says:

    I LOVED this post, girl!! Definitely trying to be more frugal in my everyday life…but it’s definitely a challenge! This post is so relatable so THANK YOU for that.

  29. Joanna says:

    I am guilty of buying fruits and vegetables in bulk as well. I don’t like shopping so trying to go to the supermarket only once a week, I end up with a ton of fruits and vegetables that by midweek are already going bad and end up in the bin. I should do better…

  30. Betty says:

    Oh, I’m the worst at bulk buying, especially produce. I once ordered a case of white gravy mix from the manufacturer. It was so good, and so easy, but how many times per year does a family make biscuits and gravy?! It “expired” a couple of months ago, but can’t bring myself to throw it away. Or use it. #FAIL Gardening? Don’t get me started- did you know you have to water it every day? I’m out.

  31. Rebecca says:

    Amen to gardening and driving too far to save too little! Of course, gardening is my husband’s hobby so I don’t guess it’s really a waste of money. But I have to bite my tongue when he wants to grow potatoes and I’m looking at the sales paper and potatoes only cost $2.99 for 5 pounds. It makes him happy so I put my cost/benefit analyzer on the shelf 🙂

  32. Ingrid says:

    This post is really funny. I am also one to look for deals especially in clothes. When I make a good deal I feel like I am ahead of the competition. However I must say I pick quality clothes. Also you shared that t you would drive 5 miles to save fifty cents, I would do similarly but my my husband would say to me “you have to put a price on your effort”. So are we really saving on these frugal exploits?

  33. ChrissyAdventures says:

    I have been a penny pincher and obsessed with saving since the kids were very young and we couldn’t make it from paycheck to paycheck. Back in the day, I would get so excited when I would spend only about $35 for a week’s worth of groceries for all 4 of us. As the years rolled on by and $$ was not as tight, I stopped doing the things that were really a waste of time and effort – much like you did. Buying too much in bulk and driving out of the way to save only $0.50! We all live and learn 😉

  34. Aireona says:

    I have many frugal failures, particularly when I get really stressed out. I either feel the need to start eating out a bunch or buy a few things for myself. I really don’t know how to solve that, because stress is something that I will always have to deal with.

  35. Lisa says:

    Oh my gosh this made me laugh, so many of us think we are saving by doing these very same things but really we are NOT! I so needed to have a good laugh today, thanks for your great writing and honesty!

  36. Kathryne says:

    Yeah, I can totally relate. I buy fruits and vegetables on a weeekly basis although it’s quite a hassle but eating fresh is important! I suck at gardening too. I have always wanted to plant my own vegetables and herbs but I don’t have green thumb. One crazy thing I want to add is to buy unnecessary things to avail free shipping!

  37. Ithfifi says:

    This is a very honest and brilliant post, I think we are all guilty of doing at least one of the things you’ve listed. I think I like the chase of a deal too, I always over research and see how cheap I can get what I’m looking for and then right at the end..right when I’ve found that sweet price I’m willing to part with I decide that item isn’t for me at all!
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  38. Linda says:

    Purchasing items on sale, buying veggies in bulk, emotional shopping, planting a failing garden; girl who’s your mama! Are we sisters? I couldn’t help but think about my life as I read this. It’s crazy how much alike we are. Oh, I bought ice cream today while it was raining because there was an offer, I never let offers go. I think it’s an obsession

  39. Diana says:

    Definitely guilty of #4, now I avoid buying bulk on sale food items, but will bulk up on paper towels or toilet paper if I ever see a great clearance deal! Now if it’s really good like 10 cents canned food, then I bulk up anyway and donate what we don’t like.

  40. lindsay says:

    UUG I FEEL THIS ON SO MANY LEVELS. Especially buying the veggies and fruits in bulk! I feel like it took me waaay too long to figure out that I could chop things up and freeze them if I really needed to. Especially since most of my veggies and fruits went to juicing and smoothies. Being frugal is so hard. You try to be conscientious of everything, and sometimes you just have to remember you are a normal human who makes mistakes too. lol

  41. Cia Black says:

    Planting a garden was an epic failure for me. It was so pathetically hilarious. I laugh so hard everytime I looked over at it. But I do by fruits and veggies in bulk, I freeze them or can them which always works out best during the summer because the farmers stands always have the best prices.

  42. Amy says:

    My frugal failures are always Costco related. It’s just me and my husband, but I can’t resist buying in bulk. I have to stop myself from buying food there!

  43. Lexie Mary says:

    Lovely post to read, its really cool to know that we always try to be frugal in every single thing as we wanted to minimize our expenses but as expected, buying too much will always bring us into fail 🙂 thanks for this beautiful content

  44. Dona says:

    I’m guilty. I’ve failed a lot at being frugal and yet I continue on my mission. I’ve bought too many fruits and vegetables thinking that it would fill the bellies in my home only to have to throw them out later. What’s funny is I usually make the purchase based on the eating habits that I noticed before they’ve gone on sale. I’ve never planted a garden but I have grown way too many herbs. LOL. I wait until I need enough items from a store far away from home before I travel there.

  45. Tina Grant says:

    I can certainly relate to the buying veggies in bulk mistake. I have done this many times, I love fresh fruit and veggies and tell myself I will eat them all every time, but after a few days I am burned out on my 10lbs of apples after eating 2- 3 a day but I just can’t resist a good deal. Turns out it wasn’t such a good deal when I’m throwing half of them away. But yet I keep doing it grr
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  46. Sylvie Anne Hanes says:

    Ah yes, we have all some “buy failures” in our daily lives. When COSTCO arrived in our area, it seemed like a fabulous store, and it is… but not for everything. I am convinced that COSTCO and their foods are aimed at families with 6 kids and more!
    I still shop there but only for known things that I will not be adding to my trashcan or feverishly bake in strange recipes! Items such as toilet paper, dish and laundry soaps, etc. Things that have a forever shelf life. Gone are the days of the 25 lbs apple bags – been there, done that too!
    Fun article, and know, that YOU are not alone!
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  47. Brandy says:

    Being honest matters and knowing where you failed so to speak, you can work to be better at next time. That’s how I see it, glad you shared this as it will help others and it was a little funny too 🙂

  48. Tee says:

    lol, this is soo funny! I can relate – especially with the over purchasing fruit items. For some reason when we buy them in bulk we don’t eat much. But when we have a few at home, we seem to eat more. lol.

  49. Medha says:

    Haha i am sure most people are guilty of either some or all of the above! I often buy fruits and veggies in bulk and later curse myself for doing it. And over purchasing sale items – of course, so many times !!

  50. Odette says:

    Over purchasing sale items is probably my biggest frugal fail. Especially with fresh fruit and veggies. I always buy too much because it’s on sale and I end up not being able to use it all before they expire.

  51. Laura says:

    I love this post! I think my biggest frugal failure has to be buying fruits and veggies in bulk. I get into major trouble at farmer’s markets because it is all just so pretty, and oh, I’ve never heard of this vegetable before but I am going to make an awesome recipe with it! Yeah, never happens. Ugh. Fun, comical post!

  52. Anjali Chawla says:

    Interesting post! My score is 4/5 🙂 Biggest frugal failure would be buying fruits and vegetables in bulk. But what to do!? Fresh fruits and vegetables in farmers market tempt me 🙁 But reading your post and some of the responses to it made me realize that I’m not the only one. Haha…
    Anjali Chawla recently posted…Comment on Satisfy your Gastronomic Desires at Ottawa’s East India Company by Neha KulshresthaMy Profile

  53. Lavanda Mixhelle says:

    My best friend is the most frugal person I know and i see these mishaps in your actions. She has learned a lot over the past year and now she has not wanted as much time and money as she did in the past. I’m sharing with her, because we just recently celebrated her and I know she will get a kick out of this post.

  54. Lucrezia says:

    I’m guilty of most of those! So really relatable post, but also quite refreshing in this jungle of look how I saved money with this, this is how you should spend your money, buy this and all your financial problems will be gone… lol and just to make my comment even more non-sensical look what my latest post is about! lol

  55. David Elliott says:

    I can sympathize with you trying to purchase used cars and not making sure that what you had was a well-running vehicle. It can be so frustrating when cars to turn out to be lemons. And the bulk fruit made me laugh. I struggle as a single parent knowing the right amount of anything to have because if it’s just me I don’t eat enough of what they sell or if it’s me and my daughter I might not either. It’s all frustrating shopping for food that way.
    David Elliott recently posted…70 Days Of Thankfulness – Week TwoMy Profile

  56. Hannah Vu says:

    These mistakes sound familiar cuz they happen to almost of us. Love your sense of humor, you turn these mistakes into a funny post and you’re succeed in making people recognize and learn from their mistakes. Thanks for this post anw!

  57. Hoan Chau says:

    I’m always making those mistakes, but thank god not the last one. I am addicted to online shopping and sale-off. Whenever it comes to things with cheaper prices, I just want to put them all in the basket (I sometimes purchase useless items unconsciously). Anyway, it is fun to find someone who has similar characteristic with me 😄 pls share more about your story

  58. Ching says:

    I was destined to become frugal;your post described my mom to a T! She would buy things on sale just because they were on sale haha. But she always use to tell me “be frugal now and when you’re older,you’ll be thankful because you have money saved away”. She came home with some lemons too 🙂

  59. Elizabeth O says:

    I agreed on some many levels. But you have strong personalities to share having the courage to share something like this admitting your mistakes and learning from them.

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