Being frugal doesn’t have to be anyone else’s business. Some frugal people don’t have like-minded friends and family, so they keep their frugality to themselves. But even if you enjoy talking about your money-saving ways with others, there’s probably at least one thing that you don’t care to share. Maybe you use hankies, save food from your plates for leftovers or pick up cans to recycle when out for a walk.
Here are a few more frugal habits that are commonly kept under wraps.
DUMPSTER DIVING: Some people don’t want to admit that they rummage through Dumpsters or shop the curbside mall (even checking neighborhood recycle bins for coupon inserts) for frugal treasures to rescue. It’s amazing the number of items that get tossed out because they’re considered imperfect. Check your local area ordinances. Most areas consider trash public domain. Be sure to check that it is not a breach of privacy in your area, too. Do not dive in fenced-area Dumpsters or where any do not trespass signs are posted.
REGIFTING: It takes a well-organized person to pull it off, but many frugal people regift. It was given to you as a gift. That permits you to do with it as you wish. The idea of regifting isn’t merely to unload your unwanted items. Take time and consider who might appreciate your unwanted gift. Keep notes on who gave you which gift to avoid an embarrassing situation. Look over each gift and make sure there aren’t any price tags, rips in packaging, personalized notes or writing, or anything that reflects that the gift is outdated or used.
REUSE TOWELS: A lot of people use their bath towels more than once before washing them. Oftentimes, they’ll use the same towel for the entire week. Some families share a towel, too.
NO TELEVISION: Some people start by simply challenging themselves not to watch television during the summer months and then discover they don’t miss it at all, so they keep it disconnected long-term. Another reader, Sarah from Massachusetts, shares: “We don’t have a TV set. And while I generally don’t volunteer it, I will if someone tells me that I HAVE to watch something that’s on tonight. But if someone asks me if I watched something that was on last night, I’ll usually just say, ‘No, I didn’t.’”
CUTTING OPEN CONTAINERS: It might be slitting open a toothpaste tube so you can scoop out a few more portions from the last little bit near the cap or cutting up a lotion bottle to get product that sticks to the sides.
DON’T BUY TRASH BAGS: Many people reuse plastic grocery bags and cut down on the amount of trash bags they buy. Simply hang a bag from a doorknob or use to line small waste baskets.
DAY OLD BREAD: Maybe you buy day-old bread from sub shops or the grocery store. It’s perfectly good but not something you’d broadcast to the world. Another reader, Karen from Kansas, shares: “Heating day-old bread to a temperature of 120 F will re-gelatinize the starches, which temporarily reverses the staling process. For one slice of bread, spritz water on it with a fine mist spritzer and warm the slices in a toaster or toaster oven for a moment or two. For an entire loaf, wrap it in foil and bake it for 10 to 20 minutes at 300 F 350 F. Re-gelatinization is only good one time. Don’t try this two or three times on the same loaf of bread.” It can also be used for homemade croutons, breadcrumbs or stuffing.
WATER CONSERVATION: Maybe you’re watchful of your water usage and don’t flush the toilet after every use or you catch water from the faucet or shower head while waiting for it to heat up to use it to water plants. It’s not for everyone, but what you do within your own four walls is your business.
photo by Taylor Flannagan