Making Mealtime Meaningful: See How We’re Giving Back with the New 12 Tomatoes Cares Program →

You may have grown up with the phrases, “We don’t spend money just to spend it” and near-constant mandates by your parents to close the refrigerator door. But, frugal as some of us are there are people who really take the concept of “a penny saved” and run with it. These people are not likely to view anything as “single use” and have done some things that even the cheapskate inside me cringes at. Here are 13 crazy things that have people have done to save any amount of money.

spilled change jar on white background
Via: Michael Longmire/ Unsplash

13) Of Course It’s Reusable!

Reusing everything from construction nails to other people’s hair extensions takes a lot of dedication to being cheap and a very good grasp of risk management. We have to hope that no one got hurt or sick by doing this.

rusty nails sticking out of wood
Via: locomotive8/ Flickr

12) Hollow Halloween Candy

Some people actually give out restaurant peppermints and fortune cookies at Halloween instead of Snickers and Twix. I guess you have to hand it to them for not just turning the lights and pretending to not be home.

fortune cookie sitting on a pile of money
Via: Images Money/ Flickr

11) Wrapping Paper Is for Chumps

There are stories of folks who use (washed) potato chip bags as wrapping paper. Now, I don’t love this idea, but I do have to admit that wrapping paper does seem like scam. I’ve taken to wrapping small gifts in lovely tea towels or placing them inside reusable cloth drawstring bags and the wrapping becomes part of the gift. I guess whatever works, eh?

rolls of wrapping paper
Via: Hello Sunday/ Unsplash

10) Toilet Paper Is a Rip Off

When you don’t want to buy toilet paper, you can save takeout napkins for use at home as toilet paper. I mean, we’ve all been put into some hard situations that required the use of napkins (ahem), but planning to use napkins instead of toilet paper is some next level cheapery.

dispenser of paper napkins
Via: Steve Snodgrass/ Flickr

9) Wait Til We Get Home

We all know it’s more comfortable to use the toilet at home than out in public, but some folks try to not use the toilet at all at home, instead using the bathroom only at work. We can’t imagine this is a huge money saver and could actually be very bad for your health. I don’t recommend anyone ever try this – not even for one day.

roll of toilet paper
Via: Jeena Paradies/ Flickr

8) Only Cold Showers

Imagine no more hot showers or baths. It gives me the chills just thinking about it. But, there are frugalistas out there who only ever take cold showers. They say it means they spend less time in the shower and in addition to saving water and heating and that it really wakes them up on a cold winter’s morning. I can already feel my teeth chattering.

bar of soap in the shower
Via: Anne Nygård/ Unsplash

7) One at a Time, Please

I’m good about turning the lights off when I leave a room (thanks, Mom), but there are people who take the concept even further by using a single light bulb at a time and taking it from room to room and screwing into each socket or lamp as they go. I suppose this prevents anyone from turning the lights on and then leaving the room, but at some point you’d probably burn yourself on the bulb so that’s a hard “no” for me on this one.

light bulb in a socket
Via: russellstreet/ Flickr

6) But, It’s Free!

There are plenty of people who will take things they don’t need or use simply because they are free. This of course applies to random things on free groups online like jars of mismatched buttons (who needs just 2 buttons of every color?). We have heard of people who are lactose intolerant taking home those little shelf-stable tubs of half and half from restaurants. You can’t get cheaper than stealing things you can never use!

restaurant creamers
Via: Ryan Steele/ Flickr

5) They’re Still Good

Have you ever met anyone who washed and then hung out to dry their used paper towels? Again, there is a certain amount of risk calculation involved in living the cheap life.

paper towel roll on wooden holder
Via: Scott W. Vincent/ Flickr

4) The Kids Are Real Customers, I Swear

When there is a store or restaurant coupon that is “one per customer” some parents will have their school age children make separate purchases with the same coupons so that one family gets to use the coupon 2 or 3 or 4 times in one trip. Of course it’s all going to the same household, but technically it’s not breaking the store rules. Reading about this one brought back some childhood memories I didn’t know I had. But, that’s par for the course when your grow up with frugal parents I guess.

large pile of coupons
Via: Carol Pyles/ Flickr

3) “Dressing Up” Pizza

Ok, I’ll be honest, until today I thought this was a normal thing and not a cheapskate thing. But, you can save a lot of money and avoid paying for pizza delivery by simply buying a frozen pizza and “dressing it up” before baking. Often times it just needs a little more seasoning and some extra cheese to “bring it to life” so to speak. Oh, and make sure the oven is exactly the right temperature before baking so that the crust has a chance to bake perfectly just like from a pizza parlor. Ok, it might not be exactly the same as ordering pizza from a restaurant, but it really does save a lot of money.

frozen pizza
Via: Collin Anderson/ Flickr

2) Homeless Road Trips

Even cheapsters on vacation don’t give up on their values just because they have time off from work. We’ve seen lots of stories about people sleeping in their cars in parking lots and rest stops while taking road trip vacations. But, there are those who do this even when traveling abroad. Imagine spending all that money on the airfare only to “camp” in a rental car for a week or more. It doesn’t sound like much of a vacation, but everyone is different.

two people in sleeping bags in the back of a car
Via: Lucas Favre/ Flickr

1) Is Bath Water Really That dirty?

But, none of these can match the man who not only brews his coffee through an old sock to avoid paying for coffee filters (to save less $5/month at best), he saves his used bath water to wash his dishes (once a week) and only does his laundry once a month. Some people are really are that frugal.

metal bucket
Via: Starshyne09/ Flickr