Frugal People Are Sharing Which Money-Saving Tips Actually Work And Which Are A Complete Waste Of Time

I'm all about trying to save money, especially now. So one of my favorite places to hang out online is r/Frugal, where money-conscious people share their best (and worst) tips for keeping spending down.

I'm being thrifty

Recently, I spotted a pair of interesting threads and had to round up the top replies. First, u/wrecklesslyfinancial asked people to share the frugal tips that they've found to be a complete waste of time. Then, u/jenzie36 asked people to share the frugal choices that are absolutely worth it. Here's what people had to say:

1.Worth It: "Packing my lunch every day. My colleagues spend $10–15 a day purchasing lunch. I bring leftovers in a microwave dish with some snacks like Greek yogurt, hummus and crackers, and fruit. It's sooo much cheaper."

A brown bag

2.Waste of Time: "Switching out cat litter. Went from a good brand that also came with a higher price tag to the one at Costco. Deep cleaning the litter boxes became a weekly chore because of how much that cheap litter got stuck everywhere. Went back to the original litter and never again will I switch."

person scooping out the litter box

3.Worth It: "Buying thick curtains. One time purchase for long-term savings energy bill-wise. AC and heat are very expensive these days."

woman closing her curtains

4.Waste of Time: "My wife and I drove two states over to pick up a brand new stove and microwave (that we found on Facebook Marketplace) for what seemed like a good deal. Of course, neither one of us had a truck big enough, so we had to rent a U-haul. And pay for the gas. And lose a day. When we arrived, it wasn't quite the model we were expecting from the listing, but we had come too far at this point. Literally. So we took it. Later, I found that exact model on eBay. It would've cost about the same to have it delivered."

U Haul driving on a highway

5.Worth It: "Meal planning and making a shopping list full of cheap ingredients that are flexible and last for a while like potatoes and celery."

woman making a grocery list

6.Waste of Time: "Making homemade laundry detergent. I saved a dollar, but I spent 15 minutes hand-grating a Fels Naptha bar into tiny pieces. My laundry felt slimy and smelled funny."

person adding a scoop of detergent to a load of laundry in the machine

7.Worth It: "Learning to fix my own car."

woman looking under the hood of her car

8.Waste of Time: "Coupon clipping. I spend less money when not shopping with coupons. The thing was, even if I had the coupon, there was always a cheaper option so I didn't use them anyway. I stopped bothering with coupons a long time ago."

person cutting coupons

9.Worth It: "Making bread. We have a bread machine, and our bread tastes better, is astronomically less expensive, doesn't have questionable ingredients, and is easy with the machine. Absolute win."

person kneading bread dough

10.Waste of Time: "Driving to a gas station that is far away just to save 15 cents a gallon."

gas station at sunset

11.Worth It: "Unplugging my electric dryer during this heatwave from hell. Putting up a rotary clothesline I had in storage. My clothes dry outside anywhere from 40 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes. Should have started this midwinter (it never really got cold). I’m not heating up my house with the dryer, thus making the air conditioner work harder. My electric bill is lower, and I get a bit of exercise."

clothes hanging on a line in the sun

12.Waste of Time: "Trying to save money on moving. Hiring professional movers is always the right choice for me. The stress of family, tempers, and fatigue is too much."

movers loading boxes and furniture into a truck

13.Worth It: "Buying Christmas and birthday gifts year-round. I shop clearance everywhere I go and have a covered bin in the attic for all things gift. This has also helped for last-minute invites to birthday parties or special occasions."

person wrapping a present

14.Waste of Time: "Driving 10 hours each way instead of flying. It'd make sense if it were more than one person, but I only saved, like, $100, and it was stressful."

traffic jam on the highway

15.Worth It: "Getting a nicer vacuum sealer and a chest freezer were very helpful choices. We got the sealer as a Christmas gift and the freezer was left by my BIL when he moved. Both have gotten us through a couple months of little-to-no income when they were fully stocked with discount foods."

person vacuum sealing a bag of meat

16.Waste of Time: "I bought an electric bike, but it was too dangerous to ride one in my city, so now I just have an electric bike with a flat tire. I spent hundreds on Ubers until I could afford a used car."

ebike in a park

17.Worth It: "I got a bidet. Feel way cleaner, and toilet paper use is reduced by 90%!"

toilet with a bidet attached

18.Waste of Time: "Cheap toilet paper. I can use the good Charmin I love that does the job with much less, or I can use two to three times as much cheap toilet paper."

last square of toilet paper dangling off the roll

19.Worth It: "Creating an Amazon wishlist. Before Amazon discontinued their browser plugin to bookmark from any site, I saved so much money adding things to a list that I thought I needed or wanted to buy. I would eventually go through the list, and a huge amount of things weren’t even available anymore because I had forgotten about them for so long. I’ve since created a Google Doc with the same purpose. It's been so helpful in saving money and realizing I truly don’t need a lot. Impulse spending has been drastically cut."

wish list written in a notebook

20.Waste of Time: "I heated my house with a wood burning stove for two years. Spent a ton of time making firewood, managed to tear my shoulder up chopping wood. Now I have an injury. I have to do special exercises to keep my shoulder normal. My roof got dirty as hell with all the soot combining with water or fog and landing on the roof. Ended up buying a hydraulic splitter after the injury, so waste of money there. It was cool having $80 electric bills in winter, and I didn't mind the exercise or getting as much heat as I wanted. It was nice converting the random wood from around my property into something useful. It was just all in all a waste of time, money, and compounded problems/injuries."

person putting a log in a wood burning stove

21.Worth It: "Buying meat in bulk and breaking it down into smaller packages at home. The cost difference is staggering. Most small packages of meat are only a small amount less than the cost of the larger uncut meat. Like hamburger. I can buy 12 pounds for the same cost as 5 pounds in small packages."

woman shopping for meat at the supermarket

22.Waste of Time: "Man oh man, did I spend money on rainwater barrels that I never set up and became a home for mosquitos."

person filling up a watering can from the rainwater barrel

23.Worth It: "Reusable menstruation products. It’s kind of a pain and time suck to hand wash my pads, BUT I’m saving at least $10 every period. My reusable products have paid for themselves many times over."

woman holding a menstrual cup

24.Waste of Time: "I tried to groom my dog myself, cut her, and ended up at the vet getting stitches. Tried to save $60 and ended up spending $150."

groomer cutting a dog's toenail

25.Worth It: "I’ve gotten quite good at sewing and crafts, and have learned to do so quite cheaply. Everyone gets handmade gifts from me, and they love them."

woman crocheting a gift

26.Waste of Time: "Making homemade butter from heavy cream in my mixer. I found I still needed to use store-bought butter in my baking and some main dish recipes. It tasted great, but it didn't save any on the grocery bill."

stick of butter in paper wrapping

27.Worth It: "Always buy the cheap store brand grocery products if they exist for the product. Can often save between 20–60% on these items."

woman pushing a shopping cart down a grocery aisle

28.Waste of Time: "I absolutely hated grinding my own coffee beans. I hated cleaning the grinder. So I went back to ground beans for my cold brew and noticed only positive improvements."

person pouring milk into their homemade cold brew

29.Worth It: "ALWAYS paying off the credit card bills in full every month. Knowing the credit card company is floating me money and not making a dime off me in interest is extremely satisfying."

person holding a credit card

30.Waste of Time: "DIY projects usually end up costing more than if I bought the dang thing."

couple covered in paint after an attempted DIY project

31.Worth It: "Taking public transportation to and from work."

person swiping their metrocard to get on the subway

32.Waste of Time: "Cord cutting. I spend more on subscriptions now."

woman streaming tv on a tablet

33.Worth It: "I use washcloths and rags in place of paper towels. I think my system works better, especially because my space is small and has little storage. They are more absorbent, and if you just use it to soak up water, you can wait for it to dry and use it again. If clothing is too worn/stained/damaged to be donated, I just cut it up and use that, too."

person buying three packages of paper towels

Do you agree with these peoples' opinions, or do you have another tip to add to the list? Tell me what you think in the comments.