Skip to Content

10 Extreme Ways Parents Saved Money That Are on the Edge of Cheapskatery

While financial prudence is undoubtedly a virtue, some parents take frugality to such extremes that their habits have become the subject of online amusement and ridicule. From reusing teabags to washing and reusing disposable cutlery, these practices, though seemingly comical, can border on the cringe-worthy.

The stories shared by the children of such parents are not only amusing but also offer a lighthearted perspective on thriftiness.

A user asked on a forum,”children of cheapskates, what are some of the ridiculous things your parent/s have done to save a couple of bucks?” and here are some of the weird answers:

1. The Freebie Obsession

Portrait of young businesswoman. She sneaking out with big suitcase. Isolated on white background

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

From clipping coupons to shopping sales, everyone loves a good discount. But what happens when saving money becomes an obsession? 

“When my dad moved into his house, he had a guy come over for a free demonstration for a water filter that goes under a sink. The guy used a soap bar for his demonstration and left it when he was done. My dad called at least four other companies for a free demonstration to keep the free bar of soap, and he never intended to have a water filter installed. He does things like this, which worsens as he ages. But I just let him do his thing.” a Redditor said.

2. Her Mother’s Failed Attempt At Scoring Discounted Bus Tickets

Happy and funny cool old lady with fashionable clothes portrait on colored background - Youthful grandmother with extravagant style, concepts about lifestyle, seniority and elderly people

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Some parents will go to ridiculous lengths when it comes to saving money. One woman’s attempt to pass off her teenage sons as young children for a bus ticket discount hilariously backfired.

“My mother tried to convince the ticket seller that I was six years old (actually 12) and my brother 12 years old (actually 19) to save six bucks for a hop in hop off bus ticket. My mother did not get the reduced price, especially because my brother was smoking a cigarette.” said one.

Read: Debunked: 19 Frugal Myths That Don’t Actually Save Money

3. The Art Of Regifting


Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

For some families, regifting is an art form. From missing jackets reappearing as Christmas presents to receiving childhood gifts as an adult, one man shares his family’s hilarious tradition of reusing presents.

“I’ve been getting regifted presents for Christmas since I was a kid. And not like presents from other people that were then given to me. No. We’re talking about my favorite jacket going missing for six months only to be found under the tree as one of my presents. Just had my 30th birthday- gifted a Swiss Army knife I had when I was a kid.” a user shared.

“This reminds me of my brother. For my 18th birthday, he stole the parcel my boyfriend sent me and tried to pass it off as a gift that he got me, still in the package marked from my boyfriend.” another added.

4. When Reusing Goes Too Far In Home Refurbishment


Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

When it comes to saving money, every nail counts. One man’s obsession with reusing nails during home refurbishment led to painful consequences for anyone using his workshop years later.

“When my parents had the family home refurbished, Pa would carefully extract the nails from the ripped-out woodwork with a claw hammer, hammer them straight again, and put them in tins for reuse and new nails. For years afterward, every third or fourth nail you used from his workshop would bend like a banana on the first wallop from a hammer, and you’d hit your thumb.” said one.

Read: From Frugal To Cheapskate: 10 Things People Do That Are Borderline Disgusting!

5. Driving For Pennies

Portrait of Young girl driving cabriolet at sunset.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

“My father would drive across town, several miles out of the way, to save 2 or 3 cents per gallon of gas. He would also drive 60 miles to the casinos for a “free” meal but be too cheap to go a restaurant and buy one.” a user added.

6. Penny Pinching Parenting

Closeup portrait greedy banker executive CEO boss, corporate employee funny looking man holding dollar banknotes scared to loose money, suspicious isolated grey background. Human face expression

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

These anecdotes showcase the extremes some people will go to save money, including buying used underwear and reselling gifts for their children. Frugality can have its drawbacks.

“My mum used to buy my underwear from second-hand stores then my parents would spend money on cigarettes/alcohol. I must have been the only 13-year-old who went to school in a small used maternity bra.” said one.

“Ex-wife was a frugal spender and always tried to save or make extra money where she could. After our divorce, my family would still gift our children clothes on the holidays and their birthdays, until I found her selling the clothes on Craigslist and then go to the goodwill to get cheaper clothes for them.” another added.

7. Using Relationships For Holiday Gifts

Crafty blonde woman want to marry rich sugar daddy to get his money. Difference of ages concept. Couple of younger woman and elder man isolated at orange background

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Some people will go to great lengths to save money during the holiday season, and for one person’s mother, that included dating wealthy men solely to receive lavish gifts for her children to open on Christmas morning. This extreme frugality has left a lasting impact on the family.

“Mom would date richer guys around the holidays so we could have Christmas presents to open.” a user added.

Read: Frugal Favorites: 10 Low-Cost To 0 Money Hobbies For Every Day

8. When Birthday Gifts and Gaming Dreams Fall Short

Angry prisoner standing behind bars isolated on white background

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

“My brother and I used our own money we saved up together to buy the ps2 when it came out along with Red Faction for a game. Our dad said it didn’t look any different graphics-wise to our ps1, so he took it back and pocketed the money.” said one.

“My dad returned a video game I got on my bday so he could buy it cheaper from the middle east (there was an Arabic language option). So after playing a little bit on my birthday, I had to wait another week until it was delivered.” another said.

9. Eating Ant-Infested Cereal

Young boy eating cereal in living room smiling

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

The experience of eating ant-infested cereal serves as a poignant reminder of the financial struggles experienced during childhood. It reflects the lengths parents may go to provide for their children.

“I used to get ants in my cereal boxes, and my mom still made me eat it. They don’t do that anymore, but it made me realize how financially stressed my parents were until ten years ago.” said one.

Read: Frugal Alert: 10 Simple Frugal Tips To Save Thousands Of Dollars

10. Sunday Starvation

Portrait of young depressed girl with eating disorder

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

“My dad wouldn’t let us eat on Sundays; we had to fill up on free samples from Sam’s Club. It wasn’t very comfortable. He isn’t even hurting for money; he’s just selfish with it and spends hundreds on himself (computer parts, games, in-game purchasing etc.).” said one.

We hope you enjoyed reading the frugal folly of cheapskate parents.

12 Fast Food Chains Where You Can Still Eat Cheap

Beautiful girl eating hamburger food

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Fast food can be a quick and affordable meal option, but knowing where to go to get the most bang for your buck is essential. Read here.

16 Things That Are Legal in the U.S. but Are Actually Pretty Messed Up

1. proud american

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

In the United States, there are a number of things that are legal but should not be. These things can range from harmful practices to others. Read here.

13 Inventions That Were Supposed to Change the World… But Didn’t

african american girl in the street with surprised expression

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Though there are both good and bad inventions, it’s fascinating to learn about those that once promised to revolutionize the world, but are now forgotten. Read more.

15 Costco Products That Are a Total Rip-Off

Young beautiful African American afro woman with curly hair wearing yellow casual sweater Crazy and scared with hands on head, afraid and surprised of shock with open mouth

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Costco is known for its great deals on bulk items, but only some things at the warehouse club are a good value. Read more.

Did You Know? These 18 Everyday Sayings Are Actually False

Annoyed African-American young man in red casual shirt showing thumb down, expresses disagreement with grimace on the face, latin guy left bad review, dislike gesture

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Language is a powerful tool, but it can also be misleading. Overused sayings and clichés are often taken for granted as truths. Read more.

This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.