Extreme Frugal Confessions

Extreme Frugalness. Tight, cheap, stingy? You know what I’m talking about and personally, I love it.

– Practicing or marked by economy, as in the expenditure of money or the use of material resources.

– Most remote in any direction; outermost or farthest: the extreme edge of the field.
– Being in or attaining the greatest or highest degree; very intense:

Okay, so you know you have a confession to make. To what extremes have you gone to save a buck this week or in the past?

I’ll start.

When I was younger, way back in the day before I even know what it meant to be frugal. I was frugal by complete accident. When I was a young lassie living at home, when I would run out of toothpaste, instead of buying more, I would cut the tube in half and “scoop” out the toothpaste on the inside with my toothbrush.

Now that I look back, germs were probably having a crazy party in that tube of toothpaste. It does still make practical sense as you know there is always quite a bit of toothpaste still left in the tube. Probably enough for a trial size tube. Currently, I have quite a stockpile of toothpaste so it isn’t necessary but I may start that one back up again.

Now it’s your turn.

Link up or leave a comment. Leave it anonymously if you want – we won’t tell!


  1. 29

    Jeanne says

    I cut open my lotion bottles and scrape the last dregs of it into a ceramic dispenser I keep by my kitchen sink. Then I recycle the plastic bottle.

    I throw my recycling in a lined bin inside, and then empty it into the outside bin and reuse that plastic bag in my inside bin over and over.

    I never buy ketchup or hot sauce because there are always leftover packets from the fast food. I save them in a container marked with the date, so I know it's not 5 years old.

    I have even opened up the extra salt packets and poured them into my salt shaker before.

    I ask my neighbors if they want the free papers that pile up in some yards. If they don't and they are just trash to them, I offer to keep them picked up on my walks. Then I get lots of duplicate coupon packs! The ones I need, I cut and keep. The ones I don't, I pass on to the ladies in my aunt's low income apt. complex. I recycle all the spare newspaper and extra plastic bags.

    I keep all our old coats that would normally have been donated, in the trunk of my car. They keep the groceries from rolling around, and have been truly handy when we all got caught out of the house when a cold front hit in the middle of the day.

    I also offer them to other folks I see who were also caught off guard by the cold, standing at the bus stop (compassionate without the risk of offering them a ride), or friends of my kids at school, who would otherwise be walking in the cold without a proper coat.

    Most of the time, it's my own family that ends up using them though, since I don't always check the weather report before I head out.

    I plan to stock up on those compact umbrellas for the same reason, next time I find a super good deal on them.

  2. 30

    IndyMom says

    Ayenbe- I also try to stretch out our families meat (it seems to be the most costly part of the meal and you never really get coupons for fresh meat) I only use half as much meat as the recipe calls for sometimes. If the box says us 1 lb… I use 1/2lb or less and then make up for it by adding an exra veggie…. spend $0.79 in veggies but save about $1.50-$2.50 in meat.

  3. 31

    IndyMom says

    I save whenever we go out to eat. We only go out to places that kids eat free or fast food restaraunts that I have coupons for (usually my hubby buys a combo meal and we get something for me free) When we go to fast food places I don’t order a drink and I don’t get one for my child either. Since dad”s sitting there with a large soda with unlimited free refills it just seem silly for all of us to pay for a soda. I usually have something healthy in my purse for my child so I can buy something small off the $1.00 menu to round out her plate.

  4. 32

    ayenbe says

    Where to begin… I make my own laundry detergent (I do buy it when it’s free or they pay me to take it), I make a whole chicken last 3 meals (rotisserie one night, boil it down and pick meat off for chicken salad for the next day’s lunch, then can the stock to use for stuffing mix, soup/stew base, etc.), buy apples when they are .33/lb and dehydrate them for snacking or premake pie filling and can/freeze (we’re talking 27lb at a time), water down the kids’ juice to 30% juice to 70% water, and the biggest one: only buy it (whateveritis) on sale, with a coupon and preferably with a promotion or rebate as well!

  5. 33


    I love this post! Such a great idea! :-)

    I am still learning to be more frugal (it does not come naturally to me) but something that I do that is similar to your toothpaste story is to cut my lotion bottles when the pump will no longer get the lotion out of the bottle. I actually try to avoid the pumps b/c of this, but if I find a great deal I’ll buy it.

  6. 34

    Ginny says

    I used to hang all our laundry to dry on clotheslines in the basement. Drove DH nuts until he saw the difference in the electric bill!

    • 35

      Lauren says

      My mum always hangs her laundry! So much so that when they were selling their previous house about 11 or 12 years ago, they hadn’t had the dryer hooked up for so long they figured they should make sure it worked before they agreed to include a dryer in the house sale! She’ll use it a bit now if she has large items to finish drying.
      My husband on the other hand is not used to the practice and I get sooo much whining about it, just silly! We’d been using it more this year because the whether here was WAY wetter than I was used to and I didn’t have a larger outdoor rack, just my small ones. Now that the furnace is on I hang downstairs to dry :D Hoping to see an improvement in electricity this month as I’ve done it for over a month now. I’d like to point out the difference :D

  7. 36

    Tricia says

    Years ago I was to cheap to buy plants and a friend asked me to go shopping. I went and they showed me what they were looking for but wasn’t going to buy it because it was sooo expensive. I in all my wisdom used my finger nail to snip a leaf off and took it home to root it for them. I think till this day they are still mad at me. Oh well life goes on.

  8. 37

    Linda B says

    My son says he only likes one brand of ketchup….well, I have been filling it with the cheaper brand for years! What kind of mother am I?

    • 38

      Lauren says

      Hahahah! That is fantastic!
      Any idea on what to substitute for Dial Bodywash? It is the only one that my husband will use and I can never get it as cheap as many of the others!

  9. 39

    Lauren says

    Frugal tea maker – the problem is US tea is terrible! We’re from Canada and I can’t get good tea off the shelf here ;) The regular tetley tea back home (which I can’t find here) makes two cups EASY!

    Maria, keep reading this blog and others, it helps :D

    My husband thinks I’m nuts, but these are practical :D I reuse baggies, ziplocs, they’re not free you know! (okay, sometimes they are!) Back home milk you can get in plastic bags, 3 bags for 4 liters of milk, they’re very strong and you put them in a jug style, cut open and pour, they’re great bags for LOTS of things, cut open and use once you’re done. Drove my husband nuts :D

    • 40

      heather says

      Lauren~ Have you tried Tetleys British Blend? It is a wee bit more expensive, but I can usually get at least 2-3 cups per tea bag. You have to watch the first cup b/c it can be quite strong if you leave it in too long.

      • 41

        Lauren says

        Thanks for the reply :D This is the only thing close to what I was used to by Tetley that I can find locally and only the decaf version. Decaf is fine by me, but it is still a pretty weak flavoured tea compared to the Tetley Orange Pekoe that we are used to buying as a regular everyday tea. So one time when my husband was back in Canada I asked him to pick up a box, he picked up two of the huge sized ones, haha! I think I’ve concluded I need to buy just flavoured teas or from a tea place here for the most part :D And it cracks me up that when your are at a restaurant here you have to specify ‘hot tea’ rather than just ‘tea’. Funny the differences between countries :D

  10. 42

    Maria says

    Is there a way to make me frugal? I have a HUGE money spender and have nothing saved! My husband used to be this way…I remember we would go out and he would pay his way for everything while I had to pay for myself. I was okay with it until I told him, you need to pamper me. Women love to be pampered! BIGGEST mistake I have ever made! Now it seems as though he spends more than I do.

    HELP! I’ve got a problem and I know it. Anyway I can become frugal???

    • 43

      Briana Carter says

      Maria – there are many blogs out there (including mine) that can help steer you in the right direction! You can def still pamper yourself but cheaper! :)

      • 44

        Maria says

        how? i don’t know where to begin. and you know what the saddest part of it all, i use money that is supposed to be to pay a bill so i am always paying my bills late because i spend it else where when i shouldn’t be. :'(

        • 45

          Beth@In Good Cents says

          Maria, read Briana’s “Basics” section. She has a wonderful series – The 15 Days of Couponing and it can help you figure out how to start cutting your grocery budget. Maybe you and cut that back and start using the money you save to get back on track financially.

        • 47

          Lauren says

          If keeping track of it is a problem, I’ve heard great suggestions of setting up another account and having some of your money deposited there from work, or have it automatically transferred over. All the standard money from bills can go in there and then it isn’t easily accessible and can’t be used for anything else but the bills and it is out of your regular account and so therefore not visible.

          And pick one or two things at a time to reduce costs from. If it is from eating lunch out everyday, start by taking a brown bag lunch a couple days a week. If it is eating out, order in or make another meal a week. Buying pre-prepared or even ordering in is less than eating out. If you do it slowly then it doesn’t come as a huge shock :D

  11. 48


    This post makes me smile!

    My poor kids are going to get a big wake-up call when they realize what non-watered down juice tastes like! LOL!

    One other thing I do… (blush!) is that before I leave someone’s house or a store, etc., I use the bathroom…. let someone else pay for the toilet paper, soap, water, etc. :-)

    • 50

      Beth@In Good Cents says

      Christina, I didn’t water down my juice one time and my daughters both said, “Mom, there’s something wrong with this. It tastes too strong.” So, I added some water. I guess if you start it from birth, they get used to it, LOL :)

    • 52

      ayenbe says

      My daughter asks me “is this strong juice, Mommy” when they get juice at other people’s houses. And I hate juice box things (cost being the main reason) because I CAN’T dilute it!

  12. 53

    jamie says

    @ FRUGAL TEA MAKER- I do the same thing. I usually only use it myself though. I will end up making 2 cups of tea w/ the same bag. Which sounds good right now (I’m sick) but i”m out of honey. Oh,well. An excuse to hit Jewel tomorrw…….

  13. 54

    Denise says

    Once a month I take my 3 kids to the discount movie theater in town. The first showing is $1 a person. I’ll buy a large tub of popcorn for $6.50 and when we get in the theater I carefully distribute the popcorn into 3 brown paper lunch bags for each of them. Then I go get my free refill of popcorn. With a couple of pouch drinks I smuggle in my purse the whole trip cost $11.50. My extremely frugal mom would be proud!

    • 55

      Briana Carter says

      I like the idea of the brown paper bags because it is usually a better deal to buy the popcorn in the big tubs…but the kids always fight b/c they want their own container! I will have to remember that one! :)

    • 56

      Beth@In Good Cents says

      Sadly, I’m worse! We have free movies in this area. I pop microwave popcorn at home and divide it up into baggies. Sometimes I add some candy or something. Then I pack it up with drinks in the diaper bag and head to the movies. I’m sure the theaters love me!

  14. 57

    Frugal tea maker says

    When I was a young single gal, I brought some hot tea bags to work. I was raised to reuse a tea bag for at least two cups, so I would offer my work friends tea and use one tea bag to make both our cups. Apparently, they thought that I was being stingy. I had no idea until it was pointed out to me.

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