26 Times People Tried So Hard To Save Money But Accidentally Wasted A Bunch Of Cash Instead

    "All told, he spent almost $700 trying to save $500 and wound up with nothing to show for it."

    Recently, u/wide-management5808 asked people on Reddit to share their tales of people "tripping over dollars to save a dime." For example, they shared, "My wife went to the expensive grocery store because milk was on sale. Bought everything else regular (expensive) priced."

    Person shopping, holding a bottle of milk from a refrigerator in a grocery store

    In response, people chimed in with stories of when trying to save money turned into a giant waste of cash. Here's what they had to say:

    1. "Went to Las Vegas because the flight was basically free 💸."


    2. "My mom wanted to renovate our roof but did not think professional contractors were worth the money, so she hired some guy from a local church and paid him under the table. A storm came the following weekend, and it rained inside our house. It cost more to replace everything than it would have to have gotten a professional roof installation."

    Miniature model of a flooded kitchen with floating debris, illustrating potential home damage

    3. "Driving around for cheap gas."


    "I had an uncle who, every Saturday, would go down to a gas station about 35 miles away because the gas was 10 cents per gallon cheaper. He drove a Chevy pickup with a V8 that held 21 gallons, so total savings for a tank of gas was $2.10, and he wound up using probably four gallons to do it."


    4. "Constantly having to get new hires and train them, but they leave after around a year because you don't pay them well. So you never have loyal or skilled employees. Well-paid employees are more loyal, and long-term employees are more skilled."


    "I worked at a place that did this. The boss was screaming that there were three times more people working on something, and it's still taking longer. They had fired basically anyone who worked there for longer than a year a week prior — after saying how much money they made in a meeting."


    5. "A friend briefly lived with a guy who burned candles at night to cut the electric bill. My friend moved out after the dope managed to set fire to the coffee table, and he still wanted to keep using the candles all night."

    Five lit candles of varying heights on a surface near a window with a view of distant hills

    6. "I know a guy who built a house in the country. To save $2K, he got a small septic tank instead of the large one. Well, now he has to get the thing emptied twice a year at the same price as the larger one that needs to be emptied every three to five years."


    7. "My father-in-law drives all over creation to save $0.04 on bananas or $0.49 on noodles. He spends more on gas by far than he saves on anything else. I understand being alert about sales, using coupons, price matching, etc., but this approach has always seemed unwise to me."


    8. "I used to manage a bar and grill. One time, we had a mandatory meeting that brought all the employees in during off hours, and the bar owner spent half an hour telling us to try to get the pens back from the patrons who had borrowed them. We were paying our employees about $100 to talk about pens that I could get at the office store for about $5."

    Ballpoint pen

    9. "Spending a ton of time to do something yourself instead of paying for a service or good that could do it easily or instantaneously. I know it's technically saving money to do the thing yourself, but time has value, and some frugal people forget that."


    10. "People who don't understand the progressive tax system and turn down raises because 'it'll put me in a higher tax bracket.'"


    "So many people don't understand that if you go up to the next tax bracket, only the portion of your income that surpasses the previous bracket is taxed at the higher rate."


    11. "Adding more things to your cart to hit the free shipping minimum."

    Delivery person with clipboard by a van with parcels, one package fallen over

    12. "Our very large company decided to 'save money' by letting go of the cleaning people (paid $25/hour) because each staff member (paid 30-250/hour) could do the work for each of their own offices (trash removal, etc)."


    13. "Last week, I decided to grill and invite the family. While buying the food supplies, I decided to skip getting sliced cheese; my logic being to instead slice the muenster cheese block we already had. My dear wife decided to help. Distracted by the guests, she sliced her hand open. We excused ourselves and told our family to make themselves at home. We spent six hours at the ER. My greed and hubris cost me. Should’ve paid for the damn sliced cheese."


    14. "That guy who unplugged his fridge for a two-week vacay. All his food went bad, and his fridge was full of mold and got ruined, all to save like a dollar in electricity."

    broken fridge and washing machine in a grass lot

    15. "I was an eyebrow microblading model for a student so I could get what is usually a service that can cost up to $1,000 for free. Welp. She fucked me up."


    16. "I stayed at a hotel further away from Disneyland, and ended up paying more than the difference in Uber fares."


    17. "If you're living alone, it makes no sense to buy the bigger version just because it's cheaper per ounce/pound/liter/ml whatever than the smaller one if it is going to go bad before you use it all!! Because then you've wasted $5 instead of using $3 effectively."

    A shopping cart filled with various bulk sized household supplies and groceries inside a supermarket aisle

    18. "My dad is a mechanic. When his car has an issue, he runs it until it causes more problems. Every time his car needs brakes, he doesn't change them until the calipers are frozen. He also gets upset at the cost of the maintenance he delayed... So he trades the car in. Of course, he never has much of a down payment. So, he pays high interest as well. He also, frequently borrows from his 401(k)."


    19. "My former employer had a policy that you had to take the cheapest flight available. We'd put hourly employees on flights with two stops and save $200 — then pay them time and a half to sit in airports all day. It cost more, but the people who accounted for travel kept costs down on their metrics; payroll was on different books."


    20. "I had a neighbor offer to pay me $200 to clean his apartment when he moved out so he could get his $150 deposit back."

    Empty room with unpacked boxes, highlighting moving into a new apartment

    21. "My ex's dad wanted a truck bed cover. He wasn't internet savvy, so he asked me to look into it. They don't make 'em for that truck, but I found a website that would do it custom for about $500. He said no, that's too much. So he went out and bought a $300 cover for another truck and $100 in paint and other materials. Tried to cut it and reshape it so it would fit, but he couldn't make it work. Scrapped that project and built another out of wood and some type of heavy-duty canvas. That one cost around $250, and he ended up scrapping it too, because it was way too heavy. All told, he spent almost $700 trying to save $500 and wound up with nothing to show for it."


    22. "A relative ignored a small upstairs bathroom leak rather than paying a plumber. Then years later, she had to pay to replace the entire bathroom floor AND a major section of her kitchen ceiling before she could sell her house."


    23. "I saw some lady on TikTok saying that groceries were getting too expensive, so she started making instant mashed potatoes at home. Buying whole potatoes, cooking them, flaking them, drying them... A box of instant mashed potatoes is less than $2. I can't imagine having that much time to blow on something like that."

    Person peeling a potato over a wooden cutting board

    24. "My brother was house shopping in 2021. Couldn't buy a house, so he and his wife decided they'd buy an expensive new car instead. Six months later, he got a new job and could now afford a house. But because of the car payment, they could only afford a house a few towns away. He tells me that it’s good they got the new car, though, because it saves on gas and maintenance. So he bought a car to save on driving… but because of that, he got a house that was far away and required way more driving."


    25. "A family member who owned a company declined workman's compensation coverage on himself to save a few grand due to a loophole of being owner/operator. Ended up having a major, major accident on the job. Lost practically everything he had, and the company folded in two months."


    26. And finally, "When I was in my early 20s and didn't know about things like frozen pipes, I turned the heat off when we left for the weekend. We returned to water all over the floor, a washer destroyed, and, well... A major life lesson learned."

    A frozen faucet with icicles hanging, depicting extreme cold affecting plumbing

    Do you have a story about tripping over dollars to save a dime? Tell us what happened in the comments!