Saving money is something most people want to do. Frugality is a fantastic way to achieve that goal. However, some people like to take those money-saving efforts to an extreme, and often for minuscule gains. In a recent online discussion, commenters shared over the top frugality stories that offered little reward. Here are our top ten.
1. Saving the Color on the TV
According to one contributor, their grandparents turned down the color until it was almost black and white on their first color TV because they wanted to make it last. You can see how that sounds logical, but in reality, it’s just laughable.
2. Dumpster Diving for Coupons
One penny pincher searched every college dumpster for coupons from newspapers so he could get free sandwiches. According to his ex-girlfriend, he got free sandwiches for a year. That’s one way to save on expenses while in school.
A coupon app is much easier, and they don’t require you to dumpster dive.
3. Using Reusable Greeting Cards
Are you constantly wondering when it’s okay to throw out greeting cards and sometimes feel they waste resources? According to one individual, their family writes on post-it notes so the receiver can reuse the card as they like.
4. Taped up the Light Switches
One of the most misguided things on the forum was people attempting to prolong the life of things, such as taping up light switches and getting people to twist in the light bulbs by hand so that the buttons wouldn’t need to be replaced. Surely, this is dangerous.
5. Frugal Husband
This story appears in several forms on the forum — tales of someone who refused to pay for repairs and instead made his wife’s life harder.
For seven years, one poster’s great-grandma had to wash dishes in a tub and throw the dishwater out the back door because her husband refused to pay to fix the kitchen sink. They added, “Then she had it all repaired for $80 two weeks after he died.”
6. Plastic on the Couch
This was a common practice amongst older people. However, the idea of not enjoying the couch to make it last longer seems like an odd practice today.
7. Washing Ziplock Bags
Yes, we should all do our bit to save the environment but washing out ziplock bags might be going a bit far — depending on what’s in them. Perhaps reusable containers might be a better option.
8. Leaving Everything Unplugged
It’s common knowledge that leaving items you don’t use unplugged is a way to slightly reduce your electricity usage. But, it has a limited impact.
Some take that to an extreme. One commenter explains, saying “Nothing is plugged in at my parents’ house unless there’s a manufacturer warning to leave plugged in or it’s being used. He said he saw a significant amount of electricity being saved every month from this. I saw the bills of before and after, and it looks like he saves about $2 a month. So yeah, big win.”
That seems like an awful lot of effort for a very minor win.
9. Taking Condiments from Restaurants
My ex-father-in-law and his partner used to do this. As a result, her purse was always filled with sugar packets and ketchup, etc. And I see I’m not the only one with relatives like this. According to one person, their grandfather would take condiments home from the local diner.
Seeking to save money on groceries is one thing, theft is another.
10. Drying Used Paper Towels
This one is possibly the grossest on this list. The idea of rinsing out a dirty paper towel and drying it out for reuse is frugality at its best. One poster says, “I hang my paper towels to dry if I use them to dry my hands.” So where do the bacteria go?
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This thread inspired this post.