Did you grow up in a frugal family? Not necessarily poor, but able to stretch a dollar until it cried for mercy? People who were raised by frugal parents can spot each other a mile away.
I’ve compiled a list of some of the quirky habits and experiences I grew up with – and some I continue to this day. I’m not the only one; I know there are others out there.
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Do you remember some of these frugal tricks?
1. Smuggling snacks into the Saturday matinee?
2. Having a “clean out the fridge” meal once a week to use up all the leftovers?
3. Being a member of the “Clean Plate Club” because you didn’t want to feel guilty about all the starving children in Africa?
4. Your mother mixing powdered milk with fresh milk and swearing you couldn’t tell the difference?
5. Having a garden and picking, and then canning or freezing bushels of vegetables each fall?
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6. Having a huge freezer stocked with the above-mentioned produce, as well as 20 chickens and a side of beef from the local Hutterite farm?
7. Buying clothes at least one size too big, – “You’ll grow into it in no time!” And then wearing them until the seams started splitting, – “I can’t believe how fast you’ve grown!”? If shoes were too big you were told to put on an extra pair of socks.
8. Let down hems, patches sewn on the knees of your jeans and darned socks?
9. Being told to put on a sweater if you were cold instead of being allowed to turn up the thermostat in the winter?
10. Hand-me-down clothes passed down not only from older siblings, but cousins, other relatives and children of friends?
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11. Hanging wet laundry on the outside clothesline – even in the dead of winter and bringing in the clothes frozen solid – because they smell fresher than being tossed in the dryer?
12. Having a fridge or cupboard full of little packets of ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, jam and peanut butter?
13. The can or jar of saved bacon grease in the kitchen cabinet that was used to fry other stuff?
14. Your mom making every meal from scratch and your dad knowing how to fix almost anything in the house?
15. Almost never going out to eat in a restaurant or getting takeout?
Related: Tips To Save Money – Meal Planning
Do you still to this day?
16. Wash and re-use tin foil, plastic wrap and Ziploc bags?
17. Save elastic bands and twist ties?
18. Consider empty plastic margarine and yogurt containers for storage rather than trash recycling?
19. Rinse out shampoo and detergent bottles and cut open toothpaste tubes to suck out the last bit of product?
20. Have a stash of used, neatly folded gift-wrap and bags, and bits of ribbon and bows from previous presents?
21. Know how to change the oil in your car (even if you don’t do it yourself)?
22. Have at least a couple of hotel soaps and bottles of shampoo in your bathroom?
23. Use much less than the recommended quantity of most products?
24. Consider that a little mold on cheese won’t make you immediately think about tossing it out. “It won’t hurt you. Just cut that piece off.”
25. Collect slivers of soap in a jar of water to meld them together into a new bar or to fill the liquid soap dispenser?
26. Whenever you want to make a purchase, you wait for a sale – or at least a coupon?
27. When going on a road trip, pack sandwiches and snacks to take with you?
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28. Think that the terms “use by” and “best before” stickers are really just suggestions? You use the sniff test.
29. Spit on a tissue to wipe your child’s dirty face? Who needs expensive wipes?
30. Find it amazing that people actually pay for water?
Frugal lessons from mom and dad
Some people who were raised by frugal parents ended up rebelling throughout the rest of their lives – spending lavishly, getting into credit card debt and being wasteful.
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Now, however, there seems to be a rise in wanting to live simply and find more meaning in family, friends and worthwhile activities rather than in buying more things that we don’t need anyway.
As much as we don’t often like to admit it, we learned a lot of money lessons from our parents.