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! 🙂


162 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?

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