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Discount Diva: Readers share their frugal follies

Last week, I shared a few of my frugal follies: times I thought I was being frugal, but wound up costing myself money instead.

I had plenty of examples to choose from, because I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I didn’t even mention the time I bought ungodly amounts of ribbon, elastic and other embellishments, thinking I would save money by making hairbows for my daughters instead of buying them. Too bad I have zero craft skills and every single one I made looked like it was made by my 4-year-old, with her eyes closed and one arm tied behind her back.

There was also that time I bought a jar of tahini (for $7!) and five cans of garbanzo beans, thinking I would make my own hummus cheaper than store brand.

We’ve established that I’m not crafty, but apparently I’m a terrible cook, too. My hummus tasted awful. It was so bad I couldn’t even force myself to finish the small batch I had made. Now I’ve got a jar of unused, expensive tahini, several cans of garbanzo beans (they won’t go away!) and I’m still paying for store-made hummus.

Apparently you guys have made your share of well-intentioned mistakes, too – which makes me love you even more.

Many of you shared your frugal follies with me via email, Facebook and Twitter, and they were a joy to read.

I don’t have room for them all, unfortunately, but check these out:

• Christopher B: “That time I bought cheap house paint at Family Dollar to paint the trim around my windows. I had to repaint in less than a year.”

• @RadicalRed: “The time I bought duct tape at Dollar Tree and it wouldn’t stick. To anything.”

• Nancy C: “I got HBO free for three months (despite repeatedly telling the sales rep I didn’t want it, even for FREE), then paid for it for two months because I forgot to call and tell them to discontinue it.”

• Amy R: “My classic one is Kohl’s. Their rewards are awesome and for the clothes I’ve bought I’ve saved a ton, but I’ve definitely done more shopping than I would without them!
Also, we switched over to an alternative utility provider once (partly because it was supposed to be a better deal and partly because the sales rep was family). That turned into an epic disaster when their “guaranteed rate” plan ended and they never told us. Fortunately we were able to recoup all that we were overcharged, but it was a rough road for a while.”

• Ruth H: “When I moved out of my house in Lockport, all of the closets in the house were packed solidly with my clothes, mainly from when I was working. As I started to pull them out, I was horrified. So many clearance rack finds that didn’t quite fit or that I didn’t really like or that I didn’t have anything to wear with – many still with the tags.
“Since I had retired by that time, there was no way that I was ever going to wear this stuff. It occurred to me that if I had had the money I had dumped on all these clothes, I could have bought a few things at Talbot’s or at J. Jill that I actually liked and would have worn. And I could have paid regular price for them, too! Lesson learned.”

• Becky A: “The car wash deal at Delta Sonic where you pay more for three washes (six washes because you go back for the free wash) and it’s good for a couple of months. I never make it back for the third wash, so now I’ve paid more for the two washes I did make it to than if I had just paid for two washes. Now when they ask if I want this deal, I say, ‘No thanks. I never make it back for the third wash.’ I know me.”

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