It occurred to me on this morning’s drive to work over an icy patch in the road that living too frugal could actually be harmful to your health. Yes, it’s true, there are side effects of frugality.
Sometimes people tend to confuse absolute necessities with wants and desires. In other words, the champion of frugality may eat unhealthy food, drive an unsafe car, etc. Sure, he is spending less money, but that is not really the ultimate object of frugality, is it?
Tires and Food: Two Examples Where Cheap Gets You In Trouble
Good tires are an absolute necessity, especially in the winter. This is a case where I need to take my own advice. I drive a 16 year-old vehicle with bad tires. This is becoming a concern. Last night I noticed that metal is actually beginning to show through the tire tread. For the last several months we have been throwing a significant portion of our income at debt repayment and building emergency funds. It is important to remember that these regular maintenance items should be budgeted before they come an emergency.
Cheap foods are good for the wallet, but rarely are they good for our health. I am a huge advocate of cheap foods, using coupons, and hunting down deals in the grocery store. However, I also recognize that cheaper foods are typically processed and filled with enough sodium to start a salt water aquarium in your bathtub.
Diets high in sodium can be a killer in those with conditions such as high blood pressure. The best approach to keep food costs low, and your health in tact, is to combine coupons and sales on individual ingredients and prepare your foods at home.
The other night our local Kroger ran a special on chicken breasts, soups and pasta. We stocked up and plan to make several batches of chicken and dumplings, grilled chicken salads, and chicken parmesan. Similar meals in a can or a frozen entree would be extremely high in saturated fats and sodium.
So when calculating your frugal scores, don’t forget to include the side effects of your frugality. Sometimes they aren’t worth the frugal treatment!