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From Saving Bread Bags to Reusing Tinfoil: 16 Bizarre Frugal Habits We Inherited From Our Parents

Frugal habits can be significant for achieving financial stability and independence. By being mindful of your spending and making conscious choices about where and how to spend your money, you can save more and ultimately reach your financial goals more quickly.

Additionally, frugal habits can help you live a more fulfilling life by allowing you to focus on the things that truly matter to you rather than getting caught up in the trap of consumerism and materialism. However, sometimes we do something because that’s how we grew up or saw our parents doing. 

Recently, someone on Reddit asked the community, “What bizarre or archaic frugal habit have you inherited from your parents you just can’t shake off?” The answers are relatable. 

Here is what people shared: 

1. Shutting Lights Off Compulsively 

Asian child girl resting on the bed,turning off the light switch before bedtime to sleep in the bedroom at night,turn off lights when not in use,hand turning off lamp,energy power saving , save money

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Since childhood, my parents encouraged me to switch off lights when not in use. It is definitely an old habit and hard to shake off. 

I am compulsively shutting off lights when not in use; even with today’s LED bulbs, the energy consumption is so minuscule it doesn’t even register on any modern voltage meter, nor will it make any dent on my energy bill. ( ya, I checked that).” shared a user.


2. Saving Plastic Bags And Ziplocks

Frozen food, frozen salad. Storing food in a bag in the freezer. Ready meal

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Saving plastic bags (the grocery store checkout kind). For as long as I’ve been alive, I have had a plastic bag, under the sink or in my pantry, filled with other plastic bags. There is no way I will ever use them all. Yet I continue to save every plastic bag that makes its way into my home.” shared someone.


3. Reusing Tinfoil 

Raw mackerel and vegetables on aluminum foil

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

I fold up the aluminum foil for later use.” said one and got 43 people upvoting it. That means there are tonnes of people who do save aluminum foil for later. 

Related: 25 People Share The Most Desperate Thing They Did For Money


4. Putting Water To Get Last Bit Of The Sauce

squeezing sauce to save money

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

How about putting a little water in the ketchup bottle (or any condiment) to get every last bit? Thanks, depression-era parents!” said one. 

Me…I also put a little water in the tomato sauce/gravy jars to get every last bit out.” said another, and “I also do that with washing-up liquids, shampoos/conditioners, face cleansers,” added yet another.

Definitely, a frugal habit that we all got from our parents.

Related: 10 Tips That Go Against All Frugal Advice, But Is Still Frugal For Some


5. Collecting Buttons From Old Clothes

Multicolored buttons and spools of thread on light blue background - sewing concept

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

My mom would cut the buttons off clothes when she finally decided to get rid of them. She has multiple cookie tins full of buttons just in case someone needs a button.” shared a user.

“I sew a lot, and when my grandma died, my family sent all her sewing stuff to me; in it was two 2kg peanut butter jars full of buttons and a box of old elastics saved from clothing. All the elastic went to the garbage as most were not good anymore, and I sorted through all the buttons and managed to find quite a lot of identical and some nice ones. I kept those; maybe a mug full; the rest went to the garbage.” shared another. 


6. Saving Wood Scrap

close up of a pile of wood chips, shallow dof

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Saving wood scraps from every project. My workroom is full of odd shapes of wood, big and small, thick and thin, different types – all in the hope that “someday” I will need a particular piece of wood and I will have it handy.” shared a user.

Related: Wood Crafts That Sell Well In Flea Market


7. Saving All Nuts And Screws

screws in a jar

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Saving screws, nuts, bolts, etc., in case I need them someday.” said someone. 

My father is like that, trying to stop since I have boxes of new screws and live within walking distance from a big hardware store. They still come in hand though.” said another.


8. Cutting Sponge

Pretty red-haired woman posing while cleaning a cutting board in the kitchen in her appartment

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

A user shared, “I cut kitchen sponges in thirds. They get ruined immediately, so there is less waste. They move from countertop cleaning to sink, then when really ruined, use on the toilet and then thrown away. My son automatically does this too, now.


9. Outside Clothes vs. Home Clothes

Beautiful girl thinking what to dress in walk-in closet

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Always changing from outside clothes into home clothes as soon as I get home. Outside clothes are clothes that are in good shape, don’t have stains, etc.

What are home clothes? They are comfortable and retired ex-outside clothes. They have either been stained or stretched out of shape or have colors washed out. This isn’t changing just for a cleaning routine, a cook that I know will be messy or strictly comfortable. This is to preserve the life of the outside clothes for as long as possible, despite being able to afford new lounging comfortable clothes whenever.” shared a Redditor


10. Save Napkins From Everywhere Else

Tissue paper rolls and green leaves on white background.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

A user shared, “My car’s glove compartment is entirely off all those extra napkins you get at the drive-through because you never know when you’ll need one for a spill or an emergency tissue.

The funny thing is, it’s been a year since I’ve actually been through a drive. I still have some tissues in there and a couple spare doggie poop bags that you pick up “just in case it’s a two-bagger walk” and don’t end up using.

Both have come in convenient several times.


11. Saving Bows From Presents

reusing bows from presents to be frugal

Man with worn out socks relaxing in kitchen

Saving bows and such from wrapped presents.” shared someone.


12. Wearing Pants Until It Has Holes

Man with worn out socks relaxing in kitchen

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

A user shared, “I wear underwear and socks until they are covered in holes. It gets to the point where they’re not worth wearing, but I always make excuses. I have 3 toes sticking out on my right foot? All good. No one gonna see it in the shoe.”

In our personal opinion, this might just be borderline cheapstake. 


13. Squeezing Toothpaste

Close up of attractive young bearded man is brushing his teeth. He is standing and smiling. The man is squeezing tooth-paste into tooth-brush. Focus on cleaning tools

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Squeezing the last drop of toothpaste,” said one. “I use my toothbrush handle to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom up in the tube.” said another.

We hope you enjoyed the Reddit discussion on bizzare frugal habits that you can’t shake off. These bizarre or archaic frugal habit that these people inherited from their parents may seem strange or outdated to some. Still, it has become an ingrained part of their personal financial philosophy. Despite the challenges and inconvenience it may cause, this habit has helped them save money and live a more mindful and intentional life.

It is a reminder to be mindful of our spending and prioritize values and goals over instant gratification.  


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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.