10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

Winking woman with money
Alliance Images / Shutterstock.com

Those of us who are frugal know deep in our bones that there are things we would never, ever pay for.

Ever.

If you have the tightwad gene, you can probably feel your skin crawl at the mere thought of plunking down hard-earned cash on certain items. Following are some items sensible spenders avoid buying at all costs.

1. Books

Young man with stack of books.
Aaron Amat / Shutterstock.com

Some people — even frugal folks — love new books. The romance of cracking open a new book and smelling the pages sends them into bibliophilic ecstasy.

But this is where you can separate merely cautious spenders from the true hardcore tightwads. The latter will only buy a book as a last resort. The library is king for truly frugal readers. We’ll even resort to interlibrary loans if we must.

For more about the great values that you can find at our favorite “home away from home,” check out “Don’t Pay for These 10 Things: They Are Free With a Library Card.”

2. Bottled water

Woman drinking bottled water
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

Bottled water is the scourge of cheapskates everywhere. Why on earth would anyone pay for something that is available for nearly free? You might as well charge us for the air we breathe.

Of course, there are times when you need your H2O to go. But a small investment in a good reusable water bottle more than pays off over the years.

3. The latest technology

People waiting in line for an iPhone
nyker / Shutterstock.com

Frugal people never buy the latest and greatest of anything. Catch a supposedly careful shopper in one of those long lines to purchase the newest iPhone, and you can officially revoke his or her “cheapskate license.”

Patience is a hallmark of the frugal life. Wait to purchase that iPhone until the price comes way down, and you’ll enjoy it as much as those cutting-edge folks — just a little later, and at a big savings.

4. Lottery tickets

Surprised lottery winner holding cash
Wpadington / Shutterstock.com

Get real: No one with an ounce of frugality coursing through their veins is ever going to buy a ticket to the greatest scam this side of a Vegas casino.

We reported that the odds of winning one recent Mega Millions lottery drawing were in 1 in 303 million. How bad is that? Well, you have much better odds of:

  • Being struck by lightning
  • Dying in a shark attack
  • Becoming a millionaire

Have the jones to gamble? Invest money in stocks. Your odds of success are infinitely better. For more, check out “7 Keys to Stress-Free Retirement Investing.”

5. A brand-new car

AboutLife / Shutterstock.com

In some ways, this is the ultimate sin in the eyes of economically minded folks. You could skip buying every other wasteful thing on this list, yet still blow your budget to smithereens simply by succumbing to the lure of a shiny new set of wheels.

Our mantra at Money Talks News is to never buy a brand-new car. We’re afraid to even look at them. Instead, we avoid the siren song of the latest models by plugging our ears and heading straight for the “gently used” area of the dealer lot.

For more tips on getting a good deal on a car, even during a pandemic, read “This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car.”

6. $5 coffee

Woman sipping coffee
ARENA Creative / Shutterstock.com

Ah, the latte factor. Countless financial experts insist you can slowly get rich simply by skipping that expensive daily trip to the coffee shop.

This tip is lost on true frugalistas, however, because the very notion of darkening the door of our local Starbucks is a nonstarter anyway. We’ll make our coffee at home, thanks — and save a bundle.

7. Cable TV

Unhappy woman watching TV
Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock.com

This is another item that separates the truly frugal souls from the wannabes. A 2020 analysis by DecisionData.org found that the average household cable package costs $217.42 per month.

If you’re a cheapskate, we’ll wait a minute while you pick yourself up off the floor.

Fortunately, you have plenty of options for cheaper — even free — entertainment. Budget-friendly streaming alternatives to cable include:

  • Sling TV: Offers two plans — Sling Orange and Sling Blue — each priced at $35 monthly.
  • Philo: Offers more than 60 channels for $20 a month.
  • Hulu: Offers access to thousands of shows and movies beginning at $5.99 a month.

Or, if you can be happy with a more restrictive library of movies and shows, consider “15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home.”

8. Brand names when generics are available

Generic and brand-name items
Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock.com

You walk into the grocery store and see two 16-ounce boxes of spaghetti. The Barilla costs $1.25 and the store brand costs 88 cents. You grab the Barilla and toss it into your cart.

Why? For the love of all that is good and holy, why?

Thrifty shoppers will almost always choose the generic over any brand name, unless the latter is on sale. Some might even be accused of occasionally sacrificing a bit of quality simply to save a buck. (And they’d be right.)

In many cases, a generic is almost indistinguishable from the brand-name product, and most of the time it is less expensive. So, find a spot in your heart for those store brands. To get started, check out “32 Products You Should Always Buy Generic.”

9. Dry-clean-only clothes

Dry cleaner worker
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

They say clothes make the person, but they can also destroy the wallet.

Clothes that must be dry-cleaned not only require you to pay for the service, but also to waste gas — and that most precious of commodities, time — getting your clothes serviced.

Dry cleaning uses chemical solvents — instead of soap and water — to clean your clothes. Some people say you can hand-wash those clothes at home instead. We say you should stick to machine-washable garments.

10. Fancy vacations

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

We get it: It’s been a long, ugly year. As soon as the pandemic is history, you plan to book a trip to that lovely five-star resort in Barbados.

And that’s fine. It’s just not the sort of thing frugal people do.

Every dollar you save now gets you a little bit closer to financial independence. When you are just starting the process of saving, a $5,000 vacation can be a wealth-buster. Later on, when you have money to burn, spending several thousand dollars to pamper yourself will hardly put a dent in your overall budget.

Spend now and regret it later, or save now and enjoy it later. The choice is yours. Happy saving!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 9 Best Home Insurers for Customer Satisfaction
The 9 Best Home Insurers for Customer Satisfaction

These are the only homeowners insurance companies to earn above-average scores for customer satisfaction.

21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On
21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On

With some items, it makes sense to pay a little more rather than hopping on the lowest price.

9 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less Than $50
9 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less Than $50

These products will instantly improve your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank.

The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate
The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate

Some types of traffic violations can drive your car insurance rate dramatically higher.

70% of Older Adults Botch This Basic Retirement Question
70% of Older Adults Botch This Basic Retirement Question

Can you answer this fundamental retirement income question?

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

Why Your Next Stimulus Check Might Be Bigger Than You Expect
Why Your Next Stimulus Check Might Be Bigger Than You Expect

Your third coronavirus payment will be the biggest yet — and possibly even bigger than you realize.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.