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When being cheap isn't worth it

A customer pushes his shopping cart through a Costco store in San Francisco, Calif. Costco hopes getting a mortgage through the big box retailer will bring more customers into the store for the things they'll need to furnish those homes.

TLC's reality show ,"Extreme Cheapskates," showcases people who go to, well, extremes to save money. There's the woman who refuses to spend money doing laundry, so she uses a free sample of detergent and  her time in the shower to give her clothes a cleaning of sorts. And then, there's the couple who, as self-described cheapskates, decided to bestow a crib found in a dumpster unto their unborn daughter. 

There is quite a difference between cheap and frugal, according to Daryl Paranada, a reporter for MyBankTracker.com, the differences are pretty clear. 

"Frugality means you're conscious about how you use and spend your hard-earned money," Paranada says. "Being cheap means you want to spend the least amount of money possible, no matter what. And that's not always the best approach to spending money. There are times when being cheap just isn't smart."

Many people try to save money when making home improvements by doing it themselves,  but Paranada says that when undertaking home improvement projects, going the cheap route is not the way to go. 

"Before you take out the hammers and you start a DIY project for your house, you should ask yourself three questions," he says. "First, do I know what I'm doing? Could I hurt myself or my house? And finally, is it worth my time?" 

Paranada also says that there are some things that are worth the money you pay for them. 

"If you think about it, you spend half your time in a mattress and half your time in shoes. A good mattress might cost you about $1000, but it's worth it because in the end it's all about value. What kind of things do you value? What kinds of things might improve your quality of life ," he says. 

For more tips on how to save money without being a miser, see Daryl Paranada's article, "13 Instances When Being Cheap Doesn't Pay Off."

About the author

Candace Manriquez is a freelance producer for Marketplace.

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