5 money saving “tips” that don’t work

Saving money should be a priority if you have important plans for your future. Often times though, we struggle with certain money saving tips that don’t work!

Money saving advice is accessible for everyone, it’s one of the best advantages of living in the era of information. However, getting carried away with tips & tricks can sometimes lead to more damage than savings.

It’s not uncommon to “fall victim” to one of these 5 money saving “tips” that don’t work. 

There are many more money saving traps that aren’t easy to notice. These 5 though are the ones I find most obvious.

5 money saving “tips” that don’t work

Saving money should be a priority if you have important plans for the future. But often times, we struggle with certain money saving tips that don't work!


Buying items in installments

Often times, we’re tempted to buy large purchases in installments.

Washing machines, furniture, kitchen appliances sometimes cost an arm and a leg.

Paying a big lump sum once might seem like a financial trauma for your budget. So sellers often push their installment system to “help” consumers out, especially those who don’t have a credit card or want to use one to make a large purchase.

However, paying for an item in installments could turn out to be more expensive than making one big fat payment.

Interest feels, late payment penalties, forgetting to actually make a payment one month can lead to serious money consequences.

Instead of saving money, you could end up losing them in the long run.

Related article: Consequences of a bad credit history

Using all available coupons

Using coupons to buy items at a discounted price is awesome!

Food, clothing, everything can be bought at a smaller price if you know how to take advantage of couponing.

However, trying to use all your available coupons might not be a good idea.

Just think about it for a second: if you didn’t have that coupon for a 30% discount on shoes, would you have bought them anyway?

In the end, going to great lengths to use all your coupons might be a reason for you to become broke, instead of saving on your purchases.

Personally, I either ask around if anyone might need my coupon or just throw them away if I know I don’t actually need the discounted item.

Related article: 5 extremely cheapskate things I wouldn’t do to save money

Shopping at multiple stores to take advantage of discounts

Speaking on not saving on purchases, shopping at multiple stores just to take advantage of their discounts is often a reason for you to actually spend more money than save!

Seeing something on sale here, something on sale there doesn’t mean you should drive around the whole day to buy these items where they cost less.

Time is money. And if that’s not enough, gas is money.

Related article: 10 money saving tips to grocery shop smart

Relying on discount magazines

Discount magazines can either be your best friend or your worst budget enemy.

I often find discount mags in our mailbox. They’re great to remind me of stores I haven’t been to in a while or help me create a grocery shopping list based on items that are on sale over the next few days.

However, relying on discount magazines only to purchase items you need often leads to spending more.

Being reminded to buy certain items is great! But don’t rely on the ads alone.

See if you can find the same item at a lower price, by buying generic or by shopping around either in the same store or similar locations.

Related article: 10 examples of poor financial money management

Budgeting too strict

Saving the best for last: a budget too strict usually backfires.

Budgeting is great! It helps keep track of your finances and helps you manage your money effectively.

However, budgeting too strict leads to many frustrations.

Maybe you see a nice shirt but your budget says you can’t afford. it. Maybe you’re in the mood to eat out, but your budget says you cant afford it.

It’s not just teenagers who rebel, adults do it too.

Not being able to afford anything, ever, can get on your nerves.

Instead of saving, the risk here is you’ll end up spending too much one day, to compensate for all the times you had to say ‘no’ to yourself.

Related article: Learn how to budget money in 5 easy steps

These are my top 5 money saving traps I try to avoid at all costs (pun intended).

Do you know of any other money saving “tips” that don’t work?
How do you manage to avoid them?



I'm Adriana, a passionate SEO expert with a knack for budgeting. As an SEO whiz, I help businesses reach their goals. In my personal life, I care about empowering myself and others to make the most of every cent.


  1. Hmmm I have to disagree with shopping at different stores as NOT being a way to save money. We got to two grocery stores each week and I think it has definitely saved us a lot over the past few years. We stick to our list and sometimes the cost for the same item is significantly less at one store than the other (i.e. strawberries at $2/pound versus $3.50/pound). Not saying everyone would save money going to multiple stores but a few minutes of planning could potentially make it worth it.

    • I should have elaborated on that a bit..

      You’re right, that’s not always a disadvantage (I actually just came from a quick shopping spree at one of the stores I rarely go to).

      However, I’ve met people who do their shopping in multiple locations. But they drive there! The cost of gas, in this case, isn’t worth it if they’re only going to buy 2 pounds of strawberries. And return next week for another 2 pounds. Then drive to yet another store because the meat is cheaper. But they only buy enough to last 1 week.

      This is what I meant by wasting money by shopping at different stores. I get wanting to buy strawberries at $2/pound instead of spending $3.50, but in certain cases it isn’t worth the trouble.

      The time wasted adds up as well.

      • I hear you. It does depend on how close they are. I am all for time hacking and prioritizing that, but sometimes those small amounts do add up. I think there should be a threshold i.e. if you can save $10 or more and the stores aren’t, you know, 30 miles apart haha, then it may be worth it.

  2. These are all really good tips. I think people often fall into the trap of hoarding coupons for the discounts rather than thinking about whether they even need that item.

    I’m so against paying for things in instalments too! If you can’t afford it straight up, you should probably be looking for something in a lower price bracket in my opinion.

    One that I might add is all those ‘DIY’ home decor hacks you see on Pinterest – while they look beautiful online, unless you’ve got the skills to complete those projects you’ll end up shelling more money out on crafts and equipment than you would just buying a complete item!

    • Good point about the DIY hacks 🙂
      I’ve rarely tried any myself. Mostly because I’m afraid I’l only end up making a mess of things, instead of something beautiful and frugal.

  3. Nice spin on the usual list of tips that do work. The coupon thing and Black Friday type shopping has always amazed me. People will spend thousands and then brag about how much they saved ignoring how much the spent. If you were going to buy it anyway then by all means get it on sale but if you are only buying it because it is a “great deal” then you are still spending.

    I would say getting a financial adviser would be a money tip that doesn’t work. For the most part they are just a massive drag on your portfolio while offering little to no benefit. It just isn’t that hard to self manage or use a robo adviser. I think they can be great but need to be paid on an as needed basis not a constant percentage.

    • Interesting point!
      I’ve never used a financial adviser’s services before, nor do I plan to for the near future. But then again, I might not be their target customer either, our financial situation isn’t all that complicated for the moment 🙂

  4. Great tips! Really hit home to advice my grandmother always gave, if you weren’t going to buy it in the first place, that coupon is of no value.

  5. Good points. Coupons can be tempting but you really have to ask yourself whether you’re buying it solely because of that discount. Shopping at multiple stores might have been something I did before kids, but nowadays I don’t have time for that!

    • I totally understand not having the same available time for shopping after kids 🙂
      I also agree with the coupons. Extreme couponing can’t be healthy for your finances and in some cases is even linked to shopping at multiple stores 😀 haha.

  6. I had a friend that would drive 10 extra miles to save $0.10 on gas. I could never convince him the 20 miles that he was going out of his way was eating into his supposed savings. Sometimes you just can’t convince people 🙂

    • I hear you. I still have friends who do that, without realizing how backwards it is 😀
      Lucky for us, we found a gas station with cheaper gas right near where my boyfriend works! The downside is they only offer the lower price on weekends, but that’s OK, it’s not far away so that’s a big plus!

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