Personal finance sites are full of advice about how to save money and make the most of your disposable income, yet even in the world of frugality there is such a thing as going too far. Here are ten giveaway signs that let you know if you need to cut back on cutting back…


10 – You tell everyone how much you paid for things.

If someone compliments you on your new jacket, do you say things like “Thanks, it was only $9.99 on sale!”? Unless someone asks you what you paid for it, it’s really not necessary to tell them. It’s a dead giveaway that you’re watching your pennies a little too closely.

9 – Online Banking is your favorite social network.

Logging onto your bank account to check your savings is fine once in a while, but when you start to check your balance more often than your email, it’s a sure sign that you’re becoming a savings obsessive. Try to only check it once a week, you might start enjoying your money a little more.

8 – You stop getting invited out.

While a good friend will understand if you’re counting the cents, even your BFF will start to lose patience if you keep conveniently going to the bathroom when it’s your turn to buy the drinks.

When you start getting out of the shared taxi early to avoid paying your half of the fare, it’s time to decide which is more important – good friends or a few extra dollars?

7 – You smell.

Deodorants and soaps don’t cost the earth, so if there’s ever an area you shouldn’t cut back in, it’s personal hygiene. Yes you can do the simpler things like press several old slivers of soap together to make a bigger one, but for the sake of everyone around you, don’t go too far!

6 – Your house resembles a jumble sale.

It’s all; very well keeping hold of something that could prove useful in the next month or two, but when you have lonely socks and last year’s newspapers littering your home, it’s time for a clear-out.

You really won’t miss that old broken telephone or the collection of dead batteries!

5 – There’s more penicillin in your fridge than in the local pharmacy.

When you can’t tell the difference between the Cheddar and the Stilton in your refrigerator, it may be time to think about spending some of that hard-saved cash and going a bit of grocery shopping.

Eating mold isn’t good for you, and even cutting it off won’t be totally safe as it can get deeper than the surface of the food.

4 – You have no idea who your doctor is.

Healthcare can be costly, but if you don’t seek medical advice when you need it because you didn’t want to pay for health insurance, you’re really taking the frugality thing too far.

3 – The word ‘credit’ makes you break into a cold sweat.

Without a credit history it’s difficult to get accepted for utility services, rentals and a lot of other things. It’s worth taking out a credit card and using it sparingly as it’s a quick way to build up a good credit score.

If you can get a card with a 0% balance transfer fee you can avoid paying interest for months, so you’re still saving money!

2 – Charity begins – and ends – at home.

When you see a charity collector on the street, what do you do? It won’t hurt your savings balance if you drop a few cents into a collecting tin once in a while.

It will also help you to remember that there are people worse off than you, so it’s OK to enjoy your money sometimes.

1 – Your life revolves around your wallet.

What’s a regular weekend activity for you? Spending time with the kids on days out, or cutting out coupons by candlelight to save money on groceries and electricity?

Let your wallet see the light of day occasionally and treat your loved ones (and yourself). You deserve it after all your cutting back!

Louise Tillotson is a financial writer for UK comparison site Moneysupermarket.com. Follow her on Twitter: @louisetillotson.

14 Comments

  1. Amanda L Grossman Reply

    Cute article!

    I am guilty of # 9 and # 10…:). The good news is that I have a great friend who enjoys doing the same! Hahahaha–we actually have bragging sessions at work where we whip out our receipts (oh dear…am I showing my extreme frugality here?:)

  2. Squirrelers Reply

    Funny list here.

    For me, I think I’m not violating any of these 10. That’s good!

    For #3, there’s a fine line between detesting debt (like I do) and avioding use of credit cards. Personally, I do use credit cards regularly for many of my daily purchases. However, I pay off in full every month. If one has the discipline to do that, then credit cards can be a convenient vehicle for expenditures.

  3. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter Reply

    This post made me laugh. I am not sure if I am guilty of any of them but I definitely know some people who are. Thanks for the inspiring and humourous post.

  4. krantcents Reply

    I would add one more, Are you always talking about money in all its various shapes and iterations.

  5. I’m SO guilty of #10, especially if someone is complementing jewelry that I got at a yard sale..my instinctive response is “yard sale – $1.”

    I think my husband tempers some of the others.

  6. Wow, I really thought I would violate most in your list.

    Surprisingly, I only violate #3 a little bit. And that was because my old doctor’s office manager rubbed me the wrong way one day.

    • @Money Reasons -That’s funny. But yes, sometimes I freak out when it comes to using my credit card – but not as often as I used to. 😉

  7. oh dear. 60% on a test is still failing, right? i’m not obsessive, right? (10,9,8,4,2,1) :<

    i do hate wasting food, but i know that in advance and only buy what i need (or get it on sale and freeze the rest mwahaha)

  8. @SillySimple – I’ve seen that as well, especially when I pay for gas using my debit card – it takes days to post!

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