When I was a young mom, I had a friend whom I admired for her frugality. I learned a lot from her about saving money, couponing, batch cooking, and all sorts of other things. But that admiration turned a bit sour after a few years. Frugality is a great trait to have. But what about those folks who take it to extremes?

You know what I mean — the type of person who will drive 50 miles to save 25 cents. There are times when we all fall into the trap of trying to save money, only to spend more in the process. Watch out for these signs that you're being too frugal:

  1. You go out of your way to get groceries
  2. You spend too much time (and money) making your own clothes
  3. You buy items just because they're on sale
  4. You snatch things up just because they're cheap

Start Managing Your Finances — Download the Personal Finance App Here >>

1. Traveling Far for Groceries

It isn’t a good idea for most of us to drive to every grocery store in town, trying to buy the cheapest items on sale. When you factor in the time, gas, and extra mileage on your car, you’d probably be better off just picking the best store in your area and sticking with that one.

2. Getting Too Crafty With Clothing

My mom made all my clothes when I was a little girl. She was an accomplished seamstress, and I was proud to wear the cute outfits she made for me. So when I had a little girl of my own, I thought I would also give it a try. What a shock!

Patterns can cost over $10 each. Then you need to buy a few yards of fabric at $6 dollars a yard, plus buttons, zippers, thread, and any other supplies. And that doesn’t even account for the time it would take me to make the clothes. I was nowhere even near being frugal. Especially when I could go to the clearance rack of any upscale department store and buy a dress for less than it costs to make it. Crafting is often the same way.

If you can buy it at Walmart for $1, but it'll cost you $5 to make it, are you really being frugal?

Of course, we all do crafts and projects for the simple joy of making things ourselves, and that’s a worthy endeavor. Just make sure it’s worth it to you.

Get Help With Budgeting Today — Download the Personal Finance App Here >>

3. Buying Items Because They're on Sale

This is probably the one I’m most guilty of. I see something on clearance that's a great deal, so I snap it up. Chances are that I’m never going to use it because I didn’t need it in the first place. Clearance and sale items are great if they’re things that you need or that you regularly buy. If not, skip it. It isn’t a deal if you don’t need it.

4. Buying Items Because They're Cheap

How many times did I go for the $3 polo from Walmart for my son when he was little? More times than I care to admit. I guess it just takes a while for me to learn. Of course, cheap clothing rarely lasts, and you end up having to replace things more often. My son was super hard on clothing, so spending a little more for quality items really did make a difference.

Quality also matters when it comes to items that you use in the kitchen. A cheap knife is a great way to cut yourself or generally hack your food up.

Start Managing Your Finances — Download the Personal Finance App Here >>

Are You Being Too Frugal? The Bottom Line

There’s always a balance between being frugal in a way that gets you what you want or need and wearing yourself out to save a buck here and there.

And the friend I mentioned in the beginning? It got to the point that if she found out you went to Starbucks, she would give you a lecture on how much better it would be to save that money than spend it on coffee. If it came up that you didn’t drive to three different grocery stores that week to take advantage of all the sales? Another lecture! Not exactly what most of us look for in a friendship. You know, because I already have a mom.

So look for deals, save money, and have a great time doing it. Just don’t act too frugal and lose all of your friends along the way!