Signs Your Frugality Has Gone Too Far

signs your frugality has gone too far

 During the past four years of dealing with financial problems and fighting to pay off debt, I have become quite the frugal person.

I clip coupons and shop deals as much as possible. I have a small stockpile of non-perishable items (space is at a premium in my small apartment) and take advantage of programs like CVS ExtraCare Bucks and buying gift cards at the grocery store to earn more fuel rewards. I also cook from scratch, focus on frugal meals and rarely dine out.

I talk with my kids about saving moneyinvesting in their future and even about the dangers of debt.

Apparently, I talk to them a little too much about saving money and frugality.

Recently my son spilled some water in the kitchen and started to tear up. When I went to help him clean it up, I asked why he was so upset. His reply left me feeling more guilt than I thought possible.

“I’m so sorry that I spilled water. I didn’t mean to waste money,” he cried.

Apparently in my quest to teach my children how to be responsible consumers and considerate to both my wallet and the environment, I went overboard. I must have stressed conserving water a bit too much. This hit home even more because it wasn’t too long ago that he also worried (read: began to freak out) that I would get upset about him not eating all of his dinner.

Somewhere along the way I skipped over “be mindful but don’t stress” and ran right into “don’t waste A SINGLE THING, EVER!”

And boy do I feel guilty.

This got me thinking, what other ways can frugality go bad? Here’s a list that I came up with:

1. You pull apart the 2-ply toilet paper rolls to make 2 separate rolls of toilet paper.

2. You pee outside to avoid flushing the toilet.

3. You use dirty bath water to flush your toilet. 

4. You save all used aluminum foil, wash it and then reuse it. 

5. You use cloth toilet paper. (I just can’t with this one!)

6. You make all your furniture with pallets

7. You reuse your dental floss.

 8. You use your coffee grounds, tea bags and filters more than once.

 9. You open up the ends of your toothpaste tube (or do this) to get every last drop of toothpaste out.

10. You write on paper with pencil so you can erase it and use it again.

I’ve decided that I need to ease up on the kids just a tad. Maybe not worry so much about every little penny that is wasted. They are kids and they shouldn’t have the same worries that we adults have.

What do you think?

What other methods of extreme frugality have you heard of? Would you do any of these to save a few bucks? 


Image Credit: Chris Potter on Flickr

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7 comments for “Signs Your Frugality Has Gone Too Far

  1. August 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Once my parents went to visit my brother in Brooklyn. When they arrived, my brother gave each of them a single paper towel and told them “This is your one paper towel for the weekend.” o_O Dude.


    • August 12, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      Whoa! That is a bit strict.

      I hope the next time your parents went to visit they brought an entire roll of PTs. Each!


  2. August 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I’m pretty frugal but I don’t do any of the items listed. I think I have a good line.


    • August 12, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      I THOUGHT I had a good line too. But I may be a bit too anxious with the boys. This was an eye opener for me, I won’t be so strict with them from now on. I use to spend hours playing with the water hose as a kid. Now? There’s no way I’d let my boys do that.


  3. August 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I still am grossed out from the ‘extreme frugals’ tv series — one of the women advocated sewing her own cloth toilet squares.
    Yuck….I still shudder at the thought of washing these…
    This is certainly one time when ‘wasting’ toilet paper is much better! recently posted..Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Sunny Daziness


    • August 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      I’m thankful that I don’t have cable and missed that show. Let me guess, TLC?

      I used cloth diapers and I try to equate cloth toilet paper with that but I have a hard time. There’s just something different about newborn baby poo and teenage boy/adult poo that skeeves me out.

      I think I’ll stick to “wasting” money on TP for now myself.


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