Frugal living is a smart choice. However, like all things, frugality can be taken to the extreme. The following seventeen signs may be a sign that you will want to reassess your reasons for being frugal.

  1. You spend many, many hours a week on frugality. Whether it’s clipping coupons or re-working your household budget, frugality takes time. If you’re spending more time on being frugal than enjoying your family, you may want to re-evaluate the situation. Remember that your time is worth money! If you feel too busy and don’t have time to do the things that you want to do in life, you may be spending too much time on living frugally.
  2. You go without things that you need. Frugal living isn’t meant to make your life uncomfortable. If you don’t have what you need, you’ve gone beyond just being frugal.
  3. You feel isolated. When frugal choices prevent you from living a social, active life, something has gone wrong. Learn more about frugality and isolation.
  4. You hoard items just because you get a good deal on them. This isn’t being frugal. It’s not a good deal if you buy something that you don’t need and won’t use. Nobody needs five hundred toothbrushes, even if they do cost only a penny each.
  5. You can’t let things go because you might need them someday. This is another example of how frugality can be related to hoarding. You think that you’re being frugal by saving money on some future item that you may or may not need, but what you’re really doing is cluttering up your life today.
  6. You hate being frugal but feel like you have to. If you resent the activities that you’re engaging in to be frugal, you’re not living a high quality of life. Consider making other frugal choices that you do enjoy. There are many different ways to be frugal; it should be something that you enjoy doing.
  7. You compromise your safety. Choosing to eat expired foods without knowing if they’re safe because you don’t want the money to be wasted is an example of dangerous frugality.
  8. You are in competition with others about how frugal you can be. Although it’s nice to compare notes and tips on frugality, you shouldn’t feel like you have to one-up the people that you know by saving more than they do. Frugal living can be community-minded and based on sharing. (Check out the concept of collaborative consumption.)
  9. You never treat yourself to something indulgent. It’s important to spoil ourselves now and then. You shouldn’t constantly go without because you want to be frugal. Of course, your indulgences should be few and far between and worked into a smart budget, but they should definitely still be a part of your life.
  10. People frequently tell you that you’re being stingy. Others sometimes have a better grasp than we do on when our good habits have gotten out of control and have become bad habits!
  11. You compromise your values and ethics just to save a buck. Is that really how you want to live?
  12. You ask people for more than you give them. For example, you host a potluck party but don’t contribute a dish of your own, or you invite someone on a date and expect them to pay.
  13. Your home lacks really basic items. For example, you don’t have a bed because you sold it and sleep on the floor to save money. If your home doesn’t have the basic things that most homes have, you’ve gone too far with being frugal. If you no longer have a home, things are really out of control!
  14. It stresses you out to spend money. If even making normal payments causes you stress, you may have a problem.
  15. You’d rather save money than earn money. An income is crucial if you’re going to have financial stability. If you’re spending valuable time saving money when you could be using that time to earn money, things may be out of control.
  16. Money is all that you talk about. If you can’t have conversations about other interests in life, it’s possible that frugality has become an obsession instead of just a tool to improve your life.
  17. You don’t think there’s such a thing as being “too frugal”. Clearly, you no longer know what the line is and that means that you’ve probably crossed it.

If you notice these signs in your own life, stop and ask yourself whether or not your frugal choices are allowing you to live the life that you truly want to lead. There are many different options for living frugally, and you should choose the ones that enhance your life rather than taking away from it.


San Francisco based blogger for businesses and writer for the web. 10+ years of professional writing experience across a diverse range of different interests.