There are some money hacks that people have sworn by for generations, but nowadays, not so much. The benefits that they once provided are now insignificant and even outdated. Some money hacks have become quasi-useless for one reason or another. As the economy changes, so does the financial wisdom that came before it.
1. Buying In Bulk
The idea of buying in bulk, which used to be a classic frugal hack, has faced some challenges. With the current cost of food, there are better ways to save money. Prices on bulk items have become less appealing in some cases, and only some have the storage space for large quantities of goods. Plus, buying in bulk may lead to food waste regarding perishable items.
2. Knitting and Crocheting
These crafts can be more expensive than anticipated due to rising yarn prices. While the idea was to create homemade items affordably, the cost of quality yarn has increased. Additionally, unraveling old clothes for yarn, while cost-effective, requires time and effort. So, what was once seen as a budget-friendly pastime has become a more nuanced choice for frugal individuals.
3. Cutting Cable
Switching from cable used to be a popular way to reduce your monthly bills, but currently, streaming services can be just as expensive or more. You may end up paying for multiple subscriptions that you don't watch or miss out on some shows exclusive to cable. At this point, you pick your poison.
4. Using Coupons
In certain areas, couponing yields little savings anymore. This shift is attributed to stores discontinuing practices like doubling coupons or allowing multiple coupons to stack on the same item. Furthermore, the nature of coupons has changed, with many offering minimal discounts, making couponing less rewarding. So, what was once a reliable way to cut costs has become less effective in specific locations and situations.
5. Making Your Coffee at Home
Brewing your coffee at home can save you money compared to buying it at a coffee shop, but it can also cost you more than you think. You may buy expensive coffee beans, machines, filters, syrups, and other accessories that can add up over time.
6. Driving an Old Car
Keeping an old car may seem like a frugal choice, but it can also cost you more in maintenance, repairs, gas, and insurance. An old car is less safe, reliable, and comfortable than a newer one. Many people feel better off buying a newer, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Also, finding a decent car at anything lower than $3500 is nearly impossible.
7. Skipping Breakfast
While skipping breakfast is often recommended to cut food expenses, some people find that skipping breakfast leads to increased hunger later in the day, resulting in overeating during subsequent meals or costly snacks. Additionally, breakfast can be essential to maintaining energy levels and productivity for those with busy schedules, which could outweigh the perceived savings.
8. Staying In Hostels When Traveling
Hostels aren't as economical as they once were. Factors like the rising popularity of hostels and increased demand have led to higher prices in specific locations. Additionally, some travelers now prioritize privacy and comfort over the cost savings offered by hostels, leading to a reevaluation of this classic frugal option in the ever-changing world of travel.
9. Not Using Credit Cards
In today's digital age, not using credit cards can lead to missed opportunities for cashback rewards and building a solid credit history. Responsible credit card use can also provide consumer protection and enhance financial flexibility. The new rule seems not to follow the trend of staying away from credit cards but more so using them responsibly.
10. Shopping Around for Gas
The time and effort might only sometimes justify the savings, mainly if one drives long distances to find cheaper gas. The rising volatility of gas prices also means that what's affordable today might not be tomorrow, making this classic frugal tip more complex.
11. Sewing Your Clothes
Although sewing clothes can be a creative and cost-effective hobby, the rising prices of quality fabrics and the limited availability of fabric stores have made sewing more expensive. It's no longer just about saving money; it's also about pursuing a unique craft.
12. Waiting To Buy Things on Black Friday
Black Friday deals are not as enticing as they once were, with some retailers spreading promotions throughout the year. Additionally, the rush and overcrowding associated with Black Friday shopping can detract from the overall savings experience. So, while it's still a valid approach for some, it's no longer the definitive money-saving event it used to be.
13. Calling Long Distance After 9 PM for Reduced Rates
This strategy may be less relevant, thanks to the widespread availability of unlimited talk and text plans. Modern communication plans often offer flat-rate pricing regardless of the time of day, making it less necessary to wait until evening hours for reduced rates.
14. Having Canned Soup as a Backup Meal
The cost of canned soup has risen, and with a greater emphasis on healthier eating, individuals might seek fresher and more nutritious alternatives. So, while canned soup remains a convenient option, it's no longer the unbeatable standby it once was.
15. Not Spending More Than ⅓ of Your Take Home Pay
If one lives in a high-cost area, adhering to this rule can be challenging, if even possible. Housing costs have surged in some regions, so the one-third rule may only be feasible for some. This underscores the importance of adapting financial advice to individual circumstances and geographic locations.