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Lifestyles of the smart and frugal

By on February 4, 2010

ceiling fan
photo by bdjsb7

Frugal people have quirks. We can’t help ourselves. We know that our frugal habits make a difference. Often, these little frugal ways can drive our families crazy. But we all know who is right in the thermostat wars. Ha! You deserve some validation. What frugal things do you do that make your family roll their eyes?

LIGHTS OFF: They turn the lights on, leave the room, and leave the lights on. You walk around shutting them all off. No need for a pedometer. You know you’ve made plenty of steps each night. You can fix their wagon. Try the Lights Out AutoSwitch by Black & Decker. It turns on the lights when someone enters a room and then automatically turns them off one to 30 minutes after the room is empty. But this doesn’t mean you have to stop having only one light on in the ceiling fan.

UNPLUGGED: They probably think something is broken or there was an overloaded circuit. No, you unplugged it to save electricity.

CUTTING IT OUT: You might clip coupons or cut out the bad parts on fruit or a block of cheese. These things can drive family members up the wall. Somehow, they’ll survive the grocery checkout and mealtimes. Keep track of your savings, and share it. Milissa in Georgia writes: “My family can’t stand it when they want to buy something and I make them wait until Saturday afternoon when I can get the Sunday paper and check next week’s coupons and sales! Many times, I have saved us plenty by holding out until Saturday afternoons. My husband bought me a picture frame. In it is my “best savings yet” grocery shopping receipt. Whenever I outdo myself, he smirks as I sing and do a little dance in the car on the way home, knowing that I’m going straight to the picture frame in the den.”

TOWN CRIER: It’s fun to announce how much things cost. You can’t help it and just blurt it out. Like that cereal? Regular price: $4. I paid 50 cents! Reminding family how much you paid for something as they’re using it will sink in eventually. They can roll their eyes only for so long before it starts to rub off.

EVERY LAST DROP: You cut open tubes to scrape the last bit out or tip bottles upside down to get every little bit of product. M.H. in Texas shares: “I always add a little water to the last of everything if I’m the last one to use it (ketchup, salad dressing, shampoo). It’s not enough to give it that watery consistency but just enough needed to get the leftovers from inside of the bottle. My family hates me. Ha ha.”

I’LL TAKE THAT: You rescue items before they hit the trash, and not just your own trash.

STOCKPILE: You like to have a stocked pantry so you don’t pay full price or pay more later. You’re covered in case of an emergency, unplanned extra expenses, bad weather or lean times, too. They might make fun of you, but they’re happy when they run out of something and you have what they want or need, right?


  1. youngandthrifty

    2/4/2010 at 3:22 am

    LOL! I completely sympathize with all these points.

    At last year’s Christmas party, I offered to take the gift bag of another friend’s gift as it was going in the garbage anyway. (hey, I’m recycling AND saving- two birds with one stone).
    .-= youngandthrifty´s last blog ..TFSA (Tax Free Savings Accounts) Basics =-.

  2. Forest

    2/4/2010 at 10:08 am

    Becoming a price announcer is something I try and steer clear of as it’s something that annoys me…. however I secretly enjoy knowing how much I saved :)…

    .-= Forest´s last blog ..9 Ideas To Stay At Home On Saturday Night =-.

  3. Lauren

    2/4/2010 at 5:41 pm

    I identify with most of these and have a few more.

    Running water: If someone leaves the sink with the water running full blast I’ll sprint over and shut it off.

    Paper towel math: I use only half of a paper towel and save the other half for later. It’s a habit.

    Bread bag tags: I save those little plastic teeth from bread bags. Not sure why.. it’s not like the next bag of bread won’t come with its own plastic teeth.

    Like you said, they’re quirks!

  4. Sara Noel

    2/5/2010 at 1:36 am

    Youngandthrifty, I would have done the same thing!

    Forest, I see your point. Whether an item is cheap or expensive, announcing the price can be annoying. But I have to admit, I do like sharing some deals with my husband. For example, I buy my kids a lot of secondhand books. They run anywhere from 10-50 cents at the thrift store. When they’re cheaper, I mention it. haha I’m just way too happy not to. And yes, I know I could swap or go to the library for free. 😀 But still.

    Lauren, I try to save the twist ties. As for the tabs, they are great little scrapers for counters, floors and dishes. Use as bookmarks or to hold rubber bands. Or attach one to a roll of tape so it doesn’t fold over. They’re perfect for closing open plastic bags, such as rice or confectioners’ sugar.

  5. kitty sparkle

    2/5/2010 at 1:17 pm

    I use those plastic “teeth” from storebought bags of food to use to close my homemade bread into bags I get from the grocery store, too. I clean the bags first, of course. If those little tabs are good enough for grocery stores they are good enough to close up my bread in bags.

  6. youngandthrifty

    2/6/2010 at 1:19 pm

    Okay good– I’m not alone! Re-using gift bags is “in” again! =)
    .-= youngandthrifty´s last blog ..Wondering if Pet Insurance Claim will be Approved =-.

  7. Tiffany

    2/6/2010 at 4:14 pm

    LOL….I do all of the above. I grew up not having ‘the choice’ to do some quirky things like…opening up the toothpaste tube or cutting open the hair gel container to get out the last little bit. I guess those things just stick with you, lol. My hubby used to make fun of me but NOW he will ask if I have a ‘coupin’!! He’s been converted (but he still won’t cut the toothpaste tube). BTW…love this website…so many great tips!

  8. [email protected] Tights

    2/6/2010 at 6:05 pm

    haha, I am so that person! My family is definitely irritated by my little frugal quirks. I always turn off the computer if someone is away from it for more than 30 min or so. I son always comes back in and yells “Ma! Stop turning off the computer!” haha
    .-= [email protected] Tights´s last blog ..Plus Size Maternity Clothes =-.

  9. Jordan

    2/6/2010 at 6:34 pm

    Viva la frugality! I am like the most frugal person ever and my family is indeed annoyed by it, bu it’s that extra money that let’s us enjoy the small things! 🙂

  10. JNUrbanski

    2/8/2010 at 10:03 am

    A neighbour was throwing out all his tile samples and I collected them, ripped them off the cardboard, stuck them down to some cork mats and turned them into table coasters for my dinner table. The cardboard went in my wood burning stove!

    The colour scheme is a bit interesting!

  11. Lisa

    8/5/2010 at 4:04 pm

    I just wince any time I am at a party and they are throwing out tissue paper and those people probably go home and toss out the gift bags too. Is there a nice way to ask for them without looking like you are collecting “junk” or “garbage” when the person opening stuff obviously thinks of it as such?

  12. K.

    8/25/2010 at 3:10 pm

    I consider myself a frugal person (I try to save electricity, buy clothes on sale, clip coupons, and eat out only once or twice a week but my in-laws really annoy me with the things they do. They scrutinize the things we buy and think it’s a waste to buy healthier items just because they’re more expensive. They’re always talking about how much things cost too. They all use the toilet before flushing it too instead of flushing after every use. Gross!!

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