I was so proud of myself. I spend so much time researching and planning a grocery shopping trip. Organic macaroni and cheese was supposed to be $1 a box, a $0.55 coupon would double, making it free. So awesome! I found the mac and cheese in the organic section and checked and double checked that I was buying the correct box. Imagine my surprise when I got home and discovered I bought the wrong thing. I bought the gluten-free at $2.99 by mistake ($1.89 after coupon). It was right next to the correct stuff with the tag kind of between the two rows. I felt like such a frugal failure. Instead of getting a free product, I spent more than I ever would on that product.
Have you ever done that? I’m not sure I want to admit how often this has happened to me. It almost always happens when I’m distracted. Taking kids shopping can be a huge distraction. It’s hard not to feel like you completely failed when something like that happens. Especially if you are in a super tight budget and every $1 counts.
But you didn’t completely fail. You made a simple (but annoying) mistake. Whether it’s a forgotten coupon or purchasing the wrong item, it was just a mistake. It might feel like it but it’s not the end of the world. Instead of getting discouraged or feeling like a frugal failure, use this instance as a lesson.
A Lesson, Not a Discouragement
If you forgot a coupon at home, use it as a lesson to double check before you leave home. If you picked up the wrong item at the store, use it as a reminder to double check the shelf and pay attention at the register. You thought DIY’ing something was going to be cheaper but it ended up costing a lot more. Now you know for next time. That same shopping trip I bought the wrong mac and cheese, I also bought 2 boxes of regular mac and cheese for $0.69/box. I got home only to discover one of the boxes had been sliced open (it was not a good mac and cheese shopping trip). That was a reminder to me to pay closer attention to the box when I buy it. I normally do but was in a hurry.
When you’re on a tight budget and working so hard to get the most for your money, spending extra or wasting money can be so discouraging. Not much is going to change that feeling. It is discouraging to know you spent money poorly, even if just a few cents. However, to help get over the feeling of discouragement, use it as a reminder to do better next time.