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S/o. What super tightwad things have you heard of that surprised you


Ausmumof3
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This is a spin off from the sugar thread.  What tightwad things have you heard of or do that just seem over the top?

Ill go first.  Someone I knew worked as a medical receptionist.  One of the drs in the office who was on over $300k per year used to cut baby wipes in half and only use half a wipe unless the mess was really big.

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The secretary at my school said that when her husband went in to get an endoscopy and colonoscopy, she asked the doctor if it would be cheaper to use the same scope for both.

 

She was joking........I think......(if you knew her, you would know why I am adding the "I think!")

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4 minutes ago, DawnM said:

The secretary at my school said that when her husband went in to get an endoscopy and colonoscopy, she asked the doctor if it would be cheaper to use the same scope for both.

 

She was joking........I think......(if you knew her, you would know why I am adding the "I think!")

The medical receptionist was in exactly that job.  They used to get variations of that joke all the time and of course have to pretend to still find it funny even if it was the 3rd patient that day to use it.  I guess it’s just one of those situations where people feel awkward and uncomfortable so they are trying to make things feel better.

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My MIL used to be famously frugal back when she was in control of such things. In most cases, I agreed with her choices, but one time, she legit took a half a celery stalk out of the trashcan where my SIL had just tossed it. This SIL is the anti-frugal and her basic M.O. is, “I used the amount of celery I needed and threw the rest away.” But my MIL would never do that in a million years and it clearly galled her to watch such wastefulness. 

I’m pretty frugal but a lot of the Tightwad Gazette things are too far for me. 

 

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There had been one that surprised me, but in a good way.  I was This Close to having a meltdown about picking the Right Sippy cup for DD (my only).   I am normally so far away from any meltdown that people have commented on it. But if I didn't pick the right sippy cup her mouth development would be delayed, and then she'd be academically delayed, and then ...   (I think hormones were involved)    I took a break to read my Tightwad Gazette book, which I was rereading for the kid sections.   She talked about how her kids never had sippy cups.   They went from the breast to regular cups.  Since sippy cups weren't an option, they drank from cups rather early.   It was a pleasant surprise.   I got sippy cups, but it was with the realization that it was for my carpet not DD.  

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We're planning a Disney trip, and DH was reading the "Disney on a Budget" forums (not the real name, and I have no idea where he was actually reading...) -- one of the suggestions for doing Disney on the cheap, since they let you bring snacks/food, was to bring your own hamburger buns and order a double burger then split it for your party (or order 2 doubles for 4 people, then create 4 burgers using the buns you brought from home...). We found that a little too much for our taste (although certainly thrifty....). 

There were a few things even more drastic, but that's the one that sticks out in my mind.

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Reusing aluminum foil. This person would meticulously flatten out foil, wash it, then spread it out to dry on dish racks. It was so time consuming. I don’t get it. 

A friend washed out ziploc baggies and always had them hanging up to dry. I didn’t quite understand why they weren’t finding reusable containers instead. 

I know someone who reused greeting and birthday cards. They would cut one up and use pictures and scraps of that card to cover the names and the message in another card. Then they would write in new names and messages and find a new envelope. I got a lot of recycled cards. I liked peeling back the “collage” to see who the card was originally to and from. 

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54 minutes ago, Quill said:

My MIL used to be famously frugal back when she was in control of such things. In most cases, I agreed with her choices, but one time, she legit took a half a celery stalk out of the trashcan where my SIL had just tossed it. This SIL is the anti-frugal and her basic M.O. is, “I used the amount of celery I needed and threw the rest away.” But my MIL would never do that in a million years and it clearly galled her to watch such wastefulness. 

I’m pretty frugal but a lot of the Tightwad Gazette things are too far for me. 

 

 

My mother has taken things out of my trash before.   

She grew up in post-war Germany, and she just can't waste anything. 

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Dh's grandma really does wash and reuse ziploc bags and bread bags until they get a hole in them. I know I read about doing that in the Tightwad Gazette years ago but I'd never seen anyone actually do it until I met her. I'll reuse a bag now and then if what it had in it didn't get it dirty but I refuse to wash out a disposable baggie.

Before we insisted on trash service and volunteered to pay for it (we share a property with her) , she would also empty her trash from the bags into her burn barrel so she could reuse trash bags. Luckily, the trash service will not take loose trash or I would imagine she would still just empty the bags into the collection bin so she could reuse the bags. If something nasty gets on the bag, she takes a water hose to it and puts it on the clothes line to dry. SMH

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Reportedly my great-grandmother would iron white tissue wrapping paper for reuse.  This was back in the days when irons were slugs of iron heated on the wood/coal stove, so that was quite an undertaking.

My grandmother was not quite as bad, but she could wrap packages absolutely beautifully without using any tape, so the wrapping paper was always reusable.  She would complain about wasting beautiful paper whenever she ran across a piece of tape on a present to her.  

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So my dh is this kind of a person. It makes him absurdly happy when we have pigs each winter. Because not a scrap of food is wasted. He fussed the other day because someone put a plate with a few crumbs on it in the sink. “Don’t you know that we have pigs now? And we can’t be wasting food like this! We have to scrape everything into the pig bucket.” He will even rinse the plates over the pig bucket so even any grease or whatever goes to the pigs. 

Love the man to pieces but his waste quirk annoys me. 

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11 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

So my dh is this kind of a person. It makes him absurdly happy when we have pigs each winter. Because not a scrap of food is wasted. He fussed the other day because someone put a plate with a few crumbs on it in the sink. “Don’t you know that we have pigs now? And we can’t be wasting food like this! We have to scrape everything into the pig bucket.” He will even rinse the plates over the pig bucket so even any grease or whatever goes to the pigs. 

Love the man to pieces but his waste quirk annoys me. 

My oldest is forever rescuing "recycling" from the trash can and switching it to the recycling bin....some of it is questionable, and I've told him so, but he hates to waste. Drives me batty. 

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I can't think of any that surprise me. My mother was a Depression baby. My grandparents were parents of young children during the Depression. They did tightwad things and I grew up watching them. I don't do those same things though I do think I learned frugality from them (plus my mother was a single parent who had to stretch every penny). Anyway, I've seen saved aluminum foil, paper towels, baggies, twist ties, etc. Old worn out tee shirts were torn into pieces to become rags. T same goes for worn out sheets though sometimes they were cut down and the non-worn parts became pillow cases. Plastic was left on the  lampshades and the furniture to make it last longer before it got dirty. Stuff was reused and recycled before reuse and recycle was trendy. 

As I said, I don't do the tightwad things my mother and grandparents did but none of it shocks me. I think I've seen most, if not all crazy tightwad things. 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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1 minute ago, DesertBlossom said:

My grandfather died while visiting family in another state. My relative boasted about how much money he saved by only paying for a cardboard box to have his body sent home in vs whatever the other option was. While the practical part of me is fine with that, hearing him tell the story over and over was a bit ick.

Okay wait. I take it back. I haven't seen all the tightwads things possible. That one wins the thread!

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25 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

 grandmother was not quite as bad, but she could wrap packages absolutely beautifully without using any tape, so the wrapping paper was always reusable.  She would complain about wasting beautiful paper whenever she ran across a piece of tape on a present to her.  

That's how I grew up. Only ribbon on packages,  never tape, so paper could be reused for years because it was scarce. It's environmentally friendly, so we still do that. I never understood the wasteful throwing away of wrapping paper after a single use.

Edited by regentrude
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1 hour ago, shawthorne44 said:

There had been one that surprised me, but in a good way.  I was This Close to having a meltdown about picking the Right Sippy cup for DD (my only).   I am normally so far away from any meltdown that people have commented on it. But if I didn't pick the right sippy cup her mouth development would be delayed, and then she'd be academically delayed, and then ...   (I think hormones were involved)    I took a break to read my Tightwad Gazette book, which I was rereading for the kid sections.   She talked about how her kids never had sippy cups.   They went from the breast to regular cups.  Since sippy cups weren't an option, they drank from cups rather early.   It was a pleasant surprise.   I got sippy cups, but it was with the realization that it was for my carpet not DD.  

I quit buying sippy cups because we were always losing them or losing parts or finding them growing mold under the couch. My last baby has never used one and started drinking out of a cup at 1yo. A while back a friend was genuinely shocked that at 2 1/2 he could drink out of a regular cup. Sometimes I think baby companies fool us into thinking we "need" all these things.

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3 minutes ago, regentrude said:

That's how I grew up. Only ribbon on packages,  never tape, so paper could be reused for years because it was scarce. It's environmentally friendly, so we still do that. I never understood the wasteful throwing away of wrapping paper after a single use.

When gift bags first started becoming popular I didn't like them. I thought they took away the fun of opening a wrapped present. Kids today think of gift bags as normal, and the bags do lend themselves to reuse more easily than wrapping paper does.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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54 minutes ago, lexi said:

Reusing aluminum foil. This person would meticulously flatten out foil, wash it, then spread it out to dry on dish racks. It was so time consuming. I don’t get it. 

Aluminum is extremely energy intensive to produce, so reusing makes a lot of environmental sense. (Of course, not using any would be even better.)

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One of my old coworkers ate food wayyy past when it seemed healthy to do so.  She had constant GI issues so I think it wasn't just an ick factor on my part, but she truely ate some bad food.

Like making a salmon (not smoked) sandwich with salmon that was cooked 5 day later.  She ate it as a sandwich to hide the off flavor.  Same person would go through a fast food restaurant every morning for coffee and breakfast food on their way to work, so she wasn't a super penny pincher but just didn't like to throw away food.

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1 hour ago, TheReader said:

We're planning a Disney trip, and DH was reading the "Disney on a Budget" forums (not the real name, and I have no idea where he was actually reading...) -- one of the suggestions for doing Disney on the cheap, since they let you bring snacks/food, was to bring your own hamburger buns and order a double burger then split it for your party (or order 2 doubles for 4 people, then create 4 burgers using the buns you brought from home...). We found that a little too much for our taste (although certainly thrifty....). 

There were a few things even more drastic, but that's the one that sticks out in my mind.

I know that forum you are talking about.  Wait until you get to the part about using the coffee pot to cook hot dogs and stuff in the room. No wonder Disney hotels( not villas)  have single cup machines now.  Some suggestions on there are just out of this solar system.

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6 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

I know that forum you are talking about.  Wait until you get to the part about using the coffee pot to cook hot dogs and stuff in the room. No wonder Disney hotels( not villas)  have single cup machines now.  Some suggestions on there are just out of this solar system.

 

This needs a barf emoji.

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I am not Tightwad Gazette frugal in most of my life, but I do rip dryer sheets in half and only use half a one per load. 

We don't spend money on things like cable TV (we cut it even before streaming was a thing). My grandpa and grandma who are some of the most frugal people on the planet asked me if we did it because we couldn't afford it and were baffled that we just didn't want to watch that much TV. I'm thinking, "Grandpa, you've been wearing the same jacket for 40 years and you want to know why I don't want to spend $70/month on crap TV???"

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3 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

You have no idea.  One suggestion on how to use only 1 carry-on for a family was to use that coffee pot to boil/clean undergarments.  

And is it any wonder why I bring cleaning wipes on vacation.

 OMG. This is beyond what I can even handle knowing. Pass the brain bleach.

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Well some of these are funny, but I don't think I'd better post, because some people consider a number of my choices to fit this category.  😛

I think it happens when you grew up poor and now you are moving in a different circle.

I'll give you an example - I rip paper towels into ~4/4 squares AND re-use them until they can't be re-used any more.  First use is as a dinner napkin, then once visibly soiled, they can be used to clean up messes before being thrown into the garbage.

I do agree with the sippy cup thing above - sippy cups were not really a thing when I was little.  For my tots, I let them practice eating shirtless so they would notice dribbles and theoretically learn to eat neatly (with mixed results).  I didn't cut baby wipes, but I used grown-up small flushable wipes rather than big baby wipes.  Mostly I made my kids use the potty (once they could sit), and if the diaper was not nasty, it went back on.  (FTR neither of my kids ever had a diaper rash or bladder infection.)  I could go on all day as this sort of thing was almost a hobby for me for many years.

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6 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

You have no idea.  One suggestion on how to use only 1 carry-on for a family was to use that coffee pot to boil/clean undergarments.  

 

I'm not sure I'll ever feel comfortable using a hotel coffee pot again! I usually don't anyway because the coffee they provide is awful, but now I won't even be tempted. I'll just head down to the restaurant or call up room service for my coffee.

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13 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

You have no idea.  One suggestion on how to use only 1 carry-on for a family was to use that coffee pot to boil/clean undergarments.  

And is it any wonder why I bring cleaning wipes on vacation.

See, these people have just saved me a fortune.

 

Because I am never going anywhere again.

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3 minutes ago, SKL said:

 

 sippy cups were not really a thing when I was little.  

My baby brother was born in 1960 and he had a Tommee Tippee cup. Those are the original sippy cups and have been around forever. I probably had one too only I don't remember. 

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=tommee+tippee+cups+1960s&qpvt=tommy+tippee+cups+1960s&FORM=IGRE

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I don't think the sippy cup thing is extreme at all. My great-grandmother wrote that one of her twins bit their last bottle nipple and ruined it, and she couldn't afford another, so she taught them both to drink from a cup. I think they were around 8 months. And when DS showed an interest in "real" cups (not much older than that), I'd give him like an ounce of water at the bottom of a cup, and he'd do fine with it. He looked very pleased with himself, in fact.

We don't normally have cups anywhere but the table, though. I think sippy cups have gotten popular just because they are more convenient for other locations in or out of the house.

Edited by whitehawk
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5 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

My baby brother was born in 1960 and he had a Tommee Tippee cup. Those are the original sippy cups and have been around forever. I probably had one too only I don't remember. 

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=tommee+tippee+cups+1960s&qpvt=tommy+tippee+cups+1960s&FORM=IGRE

 

I knew what it was from your description but clicked on the link anyway. I had one, though I was born after your brother. This is a tough week for me as my mother died on TG Day. I looked at that link and those images and started bawling. 

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9 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

My baby brother was born in 1960 and he had a Tommee Tippee cup. Those are the original sippy cups and have been around forever. I probably had one too only I don't remember. 

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=tommee+tippee+cups+1960s&qpvt=tommy+tippee+cups+1960s&FORM=IGRE

Yes I know they existed, but like microwaves and ataris, not everyone had them and the working class family with the pile of kids was the last to spend money on that sort of thing.  It is not necessary.

My younger sister had a two-handled "baby cup," but never used the lid part (if we ever had the lid).

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45 minutes ago, Jyhwkmama said:

I saw a lady on some tightwad TV show cook a casserole in the top rack of her dishwasher while she washed her dished.  So disgusting.

The Tightwad FB group was just talking about this and it brings up an interesting point. Anything you see on a TV show about what extreme tightwads supposedly do is a heaping pile of store-brand, expired baloney. The shows (obviously) try to feature the nuttiest squirrel poo they can find... and then they add to it.

Like, riding a bike is a frugal measure many people take, besides being enviro-positive, which many frugal people also are. But it doesn’t make fascinating TV to show a perfectly normal Jack bike to the store on a perfectly normal bike. So TV producers make it ridiculous. Now Jack supposedly rides a weird DIY bike he cobbled together using dumpster-dived parts, his niece’s tricycle wheels and a piece of cardboard for the “seat.” And they will make Jack look like a lunatic who got dressed in the dark besides. 

I hate those shows. They are idiotic. 

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One of my grandmas would swish vinegar around in a ketchup bottle when it was almost empty, to get every last bit out.

On the other side of the family, which had ten kids, they wore bread bags over their shoes if they couldn't afford boots that year.

Those things were done out of poverty and/or real fear of being unable to provide for one's family, so it's hard to laugh at those. But for humor's sake, here's a doozy: I had a pair of twin housemates who were nightmarishly tightwad. They had been raised to save a penny to the point of stealing - like always "forgetting" to bring money when going out with friends, whining about how much they wanted that drink or food till someone else paid for it, then always "forgetting" to pay back. B!tches arrived at the house before I did on move-in day and stole my room, even though we had carefully split up rent based on the size of rooms and who was or wasn't sharing, then tried to twist it so they'd pay significantly less. The worst was when they made up a new rule, without consulting anyone, that anyone could do someone else's chores immediately and without notice, then the person who was assigned that chore would have to pay the person who had stolen the chore. So if your chore was to bring the trash to the curb on Monday morning before the garbage truck came, and they woke up early and did it instead of you, without your knowledge, you'd have to pay them. Yeah, no. They claimed that it was SOP at their former place. Whatever. They kept inventing minor infractions that you had to pay for, which would lower everyone else's rent - like if someone forgot to remove lint after using the dryer. I couldn't sublet fast enough. And of course at the end of the year they wouldn't refund the money I had put in for the emergency fund, because I hadn't been living there. Even though I could prove through bank statements that I had paid! They kept insisting those were for an early bill. I finally decided that $30 was a fair price to be rid of them forever. 

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2 hours ago, lexi said:

 

A friend washed out ziploc baggies and always had them hanging up to dry. I didn’t quite understand why they weren’t finding reusable containers instead.

I did that when we first married, but just with bags that had held things like bread. Reusable containers weren't around, then, though. I only stopped because I got lazy. Ziplock bags are amazingly durable, I don't know if it would have worked as well with a cheaper bag.

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51 minutes ago, EmseB said:

I am not Tightwad Gazette frugal in most of my life, but I do rip dryer sheets in half and only use half a one per load. 

We don't spend money on things like cable TV (we cut it even before streaming was a thing). My grandpa and grandma who are some of the most frugal people on the planet asked me if we did it because we couldn't afford it and were baffled that we just didn't want to watch that much TV. I'm thinking, "Grandpa, you've been wearing the same jacket for 40 years and you want to know why I don't want to spend $70/month on crap TV???"

Hell, I cut them in four pieces. I only use a whole or half sheet when I have a winter load of fleece or flannel! 

Also, I have tried several strategies to eliminate dryer sheets (more because of trash than thrift). But I have never found an alternative that eliminates static on winter loads of fuzzy fabrics. 

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1 hour ago, Lady Florida. said:

I can't think of any that surprise me. My mother was a Depression baby. My grandparents were parents of young children during the Depression. They did tightwad things and I grew up watching them. I don't do those same things though I do think I learned frugality from them (plus my mother was a single parent who had to stretch every penny). Anyway, I've seen saved aluminum foil, paper towels, baggies, twist ties, etc. Old worn out tee shirts were torn into pieces to become rags. T same goes for worn out sheets though sometimes they were cut down and the non-worn parts became pillow cases. Plastic was left on the  lampshades and the furniture to make it last longer before it got dirty. Stuff was reused and recycled before reuse and recycle was trendy. 

As I said, I don't do the tightwad things my mother and grandparents did but none of it shocks me. I think I've seen most, if not all crazy tightwad things. 

That’s what I think. I think I have done almost all the “garden variety” tightwad stuff and I consider myself much more free-spending than either my mom or MIL ever were. 

All reusing of non-gross things is totally normal to me and many of them I still practice. I reuse gift tissue paper and gift bags (although I do have some lines I draw surrounding this concept). When I do buy gift wrap, I buy wrap that applies to multiple ocassions, so a particular roll might become baby shower wrap, mother’s day wrap, birthday party wrap, etc. 

I have washed out uncountable Ziploc bags; I only won’t reuse for meat/animal products or messy things. If I buy a meal from Costco, like the salmon, that comes in a foil baking dish, I wash them and keep them for a period of time. Sometimes I bake additional fish in them. Sometimes I use them if I am giving someone leftovers to take away. 

One of the times my family went to Disney, we kept a cooler in the car filled with sandwiches, drinks and goodies. We simply exited the park for meals and ate in the parking lot. NBD. My kids also had little fanny packs in the parks for a drink box and a granola bar or two. Much cheaper than endless impulses to buy an ice cream, buy a lemonade, stc., etc. We did eat some meals in restaurants, but not the majority. I personally think most Disney counter service food is highly medicre at best and quite expensive. So I would much rather eat sub sandwiches we brought. 

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5 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I was floored the first time I heard of "family cloth" and "mama cloth".  I had heard of cloth diapers and they weirded me out at first, but they didn't suprise me the way I was like......"wait....so what do you do with cloth TP?!?!?!?"

I do not use cloth TP - it does cross a line for me - but I am not above the idea of having cloth wipes for liquids only that I would use in my own potty. Even presently, it is almost only me who uses my bathroom toilet, and it is a WC “room” of its own, so having my own personal reusable liquid only wipe in there doesnt seem wild to me. I do sometimes use a peri bottle in there if things are messy and I want to ensure cleanliness. 

I did use cloth lady things for certain low-flow days of the month. I found them quite a bit more pleasant than plastic. 

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1 hour ago, Lady Florida. said:

When gift bags first started becoming popular I didn't like them. I thought they took away the fun of opening a wrapped present. Kids today think of gift bags as normal, and the bags do lend themselves to reuse more easily than wrapping paper does.

Last year we had a gift bag at our family Christmas that said "to Phillip from Grandma"...........Phillip was a foster baby I had 20 years ago......the gift bag is still going strong.

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I used to wash baggies when I had time for that.  Now I use washable plastic stuff.

I use certain cloth personal products for comfort reasons more than anything else.  (The ones I use are now about 12 years, old so they did work out to be economical too.)  On the other hand, when I travel I use disposable underwear rather than fill up my suitcase with cloth ones.

I don't impose many of my frugal rules on my kids.  So I buy them the personal products they want (within reason of course).  I guess I'm just glad they use them at all, LOL.  I'm sure they will learn to economize when I hand over the purchasing responsibility to them.

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2 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

Last year we had a gift bag at our family Christmas that said "to Phillip from Grandma"...........Phillip was a foster baby I had 20 years ago......the gift bag is still going strong.

See, I love this! Lol! 

Within family, I do reuse gift bags over and over and over. Sometimes I put a sticker over a name from before. Sometimes I use a bag for the same person whose name was already on there. 

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1 hour ago, EmseB said:

I am not Tightwad Gazette frugal in most of my life, but I do rip dryer sheets in half and only use half a one per load. 

I cut dryer sheets in half, but again . . . not for frugality. It's more for environmental reasons and because a half of one works just fine and I don't want any more wax/chemicals/whatever on our clothes than necessary. Like Quill, I'd like to do away with them entirely. But I do much prefer the way the clothes feel, lack of static, etc.

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Accodring to some people in my family, I am a tightwad. I learned from my grandmas and mom. 

I reuse everything that can be reused. My grandma washed plasticware, ziplock baggies, used bags from the store for garbage. My other grandma fills her bucket for cleaning dishes for the day, then she waters the plants with it. 

My winter coat is 20 years old, the zipper needed repair this year. So I got a new zipper instead of a new coat. I wear my jeans until a whole in the rear, then patch and wear some more. Yep, I have had some moments when pants have ripped. 

I cut my own hair. 

My dh won't let me use cloth instead of toilet paper. Although I really would like to save money. 

I make everything I can. 

I basically don't want chemicals, and want to save all the money I can. 

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1 hour ago, Angie in VA said:

 

I knew what it was from your description but clicked on the link anyway. I had one, though I was born after your brother. This is a tough week for me as my mother died on TG Day. I looked at that link and those images and started bawling. 

(((hugs))) 

1 hour ago, SKL said:

Yes I know they existed, but like microwaves and ataris, not everyone had them and the working class family with the pile of kids was the last to spend money on that sort of thing.  It is not necessary.

My younger sister had a two-handled "baby cup," but never used the lid part (if we ever had the lid).

We were the working poor and yet had them. I don't think they were expensive or maybe his was a baby gift. I have no idea where it came from. 

1 hour ago, StellaM said:

We didn't have sippy cups. Kids went from breast to sipping from an ordinary cup @ around 6 months.

My mother was from a time when breast feeding was looked down on. With me, they gave her the shot to dry up her milk (I have no idea what it was called) and with my brother they told her that because he was born c-section she wouldn't be able to nurse him. Those were standard practices at the time. She always said that not breast feeding us was one of her big regrets and told me that barring any issues I should nurse ds (I was planning to anyway but it was nice to hear someone from her generation encourage breastfeeding).

18 minutes ago, SKL said:

I used to wash baggies when I had time for that.  Now I use washable plastic stuff.

 

Same here. I only reused ones that didn't have meat or anything greasy in them. I did it for environmental reasons but now I try not to use bags in the first place. My mother and grandmother did it for economic reasons. 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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