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4 Items Frugal People Wait Forever To Replace

Halfpoint / iStock.com

Halfpoint / iStock.com

If you’re on the fence about replacing something that isn’t quite dead yet, either because you’re bored with it, a new upgrade is available or you can afford a shiny new one, you’re probably not applying a frugal mindset to your spending habits.

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There are certain things that thrifty people won’t replace until those things have breathed their very last breath. If you’ve spent money on a new version of one of the following items while the old one was still working, you could probably be pinching your pennies a little more tightly.

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Major Appliances

Appliances are a prime example of why it’s a mistake to confuse frugal with cheap. Like many other things, thrifty people will spend a little more to buy a good washer, dryer, dishwasher or boiler once to avoid spending a lot to buy a cheap one twice — and once it’s their’s, they make  it last.

“Many frugal people know you can save money by purchasing higher quality items and keeping them longer,” said Laura Adams, MBA, an award-winning personal finance author and expert with Finder. “For instance, you might spend more upfront on energy-efficient appliances but save money if they last longer and cut your power consumption over the long run.”

Budget-minded people are famous for squeezing every hour of life from big-ticket items like major appliances — and you can, too.

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A Little TLC Can Buy You More Than a Decade

According to Home Alliance, here’s how to extend the life of the machines that make your household run:

  • Use them correctly and operate them only according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Follow the manual’s instructions for cleaning and maintaining them regularly.

  • Perform DIYable basic maintenance like lubricating moving parts, cleaning vents, inspecting seals and gaskets and replacing filters.

  • Schedule regular proactive service visits — don’t wait until something breaks to have a tech inspect your appliances.

  • Keep appliances on level ground and never overload them, overuse them or subject them to undue stress.


One of the telltale signs of frugality is the ability to keep an old car running and on the road, seemingly long past its expiration date, whether the owner can afford to buy a new one or not.

“Frugal people do not replace cars until they absolutely must,” said wealth coach Georgia Wright-Lane, founder of Lane Legacy Financial Group.

The key to automotive longevity is cautious driving and regularly scheduled maintenance — but you have to know when to throw in the towel. When you take frugality too far, your commitment to penny-pinching can have the opposite effect.

“In some instances, they will spend more money on auto repairs than they realize,” said Wright-Lane. “As the saying goes, penny wise but pound foolish.”

Frugal to a Flaw — Don’t Spend a New Car’s Worth of Cash To Repair an Old One

When your pride in keeping a dying car alive makes you overlook the ongoing cost of vehicular life support, you become an accidental spendthrift.

“At a certain point, you’ll spend more money repairing your vehicle than you would on a new or new-to-you model,” said Melanie Musson, an insurance and financial expert with AutoInsurance.org. “But until you reach that point, it’s much more cost-effective to continue driving an older car than to buy a newer one.”

And even when they own their cars free and clear, frugal people never stop making payments — they just make the payments to themselves after they stop making them to the bank.

“Keeping cars after you pay them off is a wise strategy for saving money,” said Adams. “Investing the exact amount that you used to pay for a car loan can help you build significant wealth over time.”

Things With Trend-Based Expiration Dates

Trends are at the heart of consumer throwaway culture. It’s not unusual for people to get rid of perfectly good things just because they appear dated or have fallen out of fashion — but not those with frugal mindsets.

“The items that frugal people tend not to replace until they absolutely have to are those that are trend-led in nature,” said Marc Mezzacca, consumer savings expert at CouponFollow. “If they can save money by not buying the newest model and still get everything they need out of that product, they’ll wait until it breaks or is past use to upgrade.”

Expensive consumer electronics are a primary example.

“Frugal people don’t replace their phones until they have to,” said Musson. “Some people get the new iPhone every time one is released. Others will keep using a flip phone until it no longer functions. Most frugal individuals won’t go to the extreme of still using a flip phone, but they’ll use a smartphone for over five years.”

But the refusal to trend-spend isn’t limited to things that beep.

“This also accounts for things like makeup,” said Mezzacca. “Although makeup goes out of date after a certain amount of time, frugal people often hold onto it if it still works well.”

Furniture and Homeware

To you, that raggedy old ottoman or loveseat needs replacing. To the frugal-minded, it just needs an imaginative makeover.

“Frugal individuals often exhibit a practical approach to home decor, avoiding frequent updates and finding cost-effective solutions,” said Baruch Silvermann, CEO of The Smart Investor. “They may repurpose existing items, shop secondhand, or undertake DIY projects instead of splurging on new decor. For example, a frugal person might creatively refurbish old furniture, giving it a fresh look with a coat of paint or new upholstery.”

In some cases, shuffling things around is enough to do the trick.

“They may strategically rearrange and repurpose decorative items to refresh the ambiance without spending money,” said Silvermann. “By embracing a mindset of resourcefulness, frugal individuals can maintain a stylish and inviting living space without succumbing to the pressure of constant, expensive home decor upgrades.”

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