I felt like a fraud. Here I am writing about spending $7 a month on breakfast and paying down over $50,000 in debt in two years, and all of a sudden, I’m playing eeny meeny miny moe on my Instagram story with two pairs of $99 Michael Kors flats. (Confession: I ordered four. I’m only keeping one. Scout’s honor.) Even though I price matched them to score the pair for $74.25, that is still a hefty chunk of change. Especially for someone who is trying to be frugal, right?
What a Frugal Fail Is
There are lots of ways to fail at frugality. I should know. I pretty much wrote the book.
You could save half of every paycheck you earn in high school and then spend the rest on designer purses. Sounds like a quality decision, young Penny. You’d be right save for the fact that they were plastered with rainbow color Dooney and Burke logos, basically guaranteeing that they would fall out of vogue shortly into the new millennium much like frosted lip gloss, butterfly clips, or Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears in their matching all-denim outfits.
Then, there’s the clearance rack at Target. Saving 70% on a pair of shoes is a good deal. Buying the shoes in every color, not so much. But the frosted lip gloss on the cake is the fact that I only wore one pair one time because that cute little strap? Practically severed my pinky toe after 20 minutes. Selling them all for a loss on Poshmark was more than a little humbling.
Or you could overcorrect to the point that you refuse to spend any money because you are going to be frugal with a capital F. Then, you basically have the worst spring break of your life. It turns out, there’s no point in saving money if it means passing on plans with family and friends and moping around your house for a week.
What a Frugal Fail Isn’t
For some reason, frugality has become synonymous with buying inexpensive things. Screamin’ deals, brags, hauls. Frugality on the internet has become a contest for who can come away with the most things for the least amount of money. Anyone who has ever couponed for something they didn’t need (guilty!) or bought the cheapest diapers money can buy regardless of their…um…structural integrity (lock me away!) knows that these aren’t frugal wins. They amount to wasted money, wasted space, and a whole lot more laundry than you can possibly imagine.
Sometimes frugality does mean a great deal. But I contend that frugality also falls in the vein of buying something right once and not buying it again. As is the case of these Michael Kors beauties. While a high price tag doesn’t guarantee quality all the time, there’s nothing wrong with investing in something when you know the quality is there. Trust me, your pinky toes will thank you.
So Tell Me…What’s your most expensive frugal win?