10 Old-School Frugal Habits That Are Totally Outdated

Frugality has always been a popular topic, and for a good reason – who doesn’t want to save some money? However, some frugal habits might seem bizarre or outdated to modern-day consumers who think these frugal habits are outdated or archaic.

Bizarre or Archaic Frugal Habits People Still Practice

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Surprisingly, people still practice these habits, and they could save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

While browsing my favorite frugal community, I stumbled upon a fun question, “What bizarre or archaic frugal habit have you got from your parents that you can’t shake off?” Here are the top-voted responses.

Turning Lights Off

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It’s still a wonder to some why anyone would leave a light on in a room that wasn’t occupied. And yet, some people don’t have it embedded into their heads to stop wasting energy.

But with today’s LED bulbs, do we use that much energy leaving a single bulb burning all day? Someone suggested, “It doesn’t even register on any modern voltage meter, nor will it make any dent in my energy bill.”

Grocery Bags

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Even with reusable grocery bags, many of us still have a bag filled with bags from the grocery store. We may need them to line small trash cans, transport our lunches, or clean up waste from a pet.

One noted, “There is no way I will ever use them all. Yet I continue saving every plastic bag in my home.” Although, the collection constantly grows. Recycling is best so you don’t become overrun with bags.

Cutting Sponges

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Sponges can get gross pretty fast. But why throw out a sponge with a little more life when you could use it when it’s too gross to use on a surface you don’t put food on until it officially dies?


One user shared, “I cut kitchen sponges in thirds. They get pretty gross immediately, so there is less waste. They move from countertop cleaning to sink when gross, use on the toilet, then thrown away.”


Fast Food Napkin Hoarding

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There are two types of people—those who save the extra unused napkins from fast food restaurants and those who don’t. “My car’s glove compartment is full of all those extra napkins you get at the drive-thru because you never know when you’ll need one for a spill or an emergency tissue,” reported one.


Many in the thread agreed when you are a napkin hoarder, whether it be for filling your glove box just in case you need them in your car or stashing them in a junk drawer in the kitchen for meal usage, it’s hard to understand why anyone would toss them.

Shopping the Sale Just for the Sale

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Buying in bulk can sometimes mean you’re saving money. Still, you’re not saving money if you don’t use all of it. That buy-one-get-one at a percentage-off deal seems too good to pass up, but then the “free” one goes bad, and you lose money.


One confessed, “It took me ages to realize that just because the cost per ounce on a gallon of milk was less than the half gallon if I used less than half a gallon before it went bad, the half gallon was the better deal, then I would have saved buying the half gallon.”

Finishing Your Plate

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Being told to finish your plate as a child comes with some consequences. We were taught there were starving children, so don’t waste our food, so now, we don’t.


But when you’re full, you should stop. Sometimes it’s so engraved in your head to finish the plate that you do, even after you are full. One user explained, “It’s been a detriment to my weight.”

Hoarding Reusable Items

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When we find an item we can reuse, we tend not to throw any of them away, from bread clips and corks to plastic cutlery. Instead, we hoard these items because we may use them. The problem is, yes, we will one day use some, but most likely, we will acquire more than we can ever use.

For example, one shared, “I save every twist tie, bread clip, and cork that ever enters our home. Also, ketchup packs, soy sauce packs, and almost every squeezy pack out there. Also, the plastic cutlery set in a bag, we’ve got hundreds.”


Saving Cereal Boxes for Crafts

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In the day and age of Pinterest, it’s hard not to save odd things. It is because so much can be used in a new craft or DIY project. But we must ask ourselves if we will do that project or if we will be stuck with garbage.

One user admitted, “Saving cereal boxes. My mom is a preschool teacher so having spare cardboard for crafts makes sense. However, I am an office drone, so I have no idea why I need 30+ flattened Cheerio boxes.”

Saving Leftover Hardware

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All those ready-to-assemble pieces seem to have leftover screws, nuts, and bolts. Some people toss them. After all, they were meant for this project and will only fit in the places it was intended.


Other people save them. They might need that odd ball-sized screw someday. One user confessed, “I have boxes of new screws and live within walking distance from a big hardware store. And I still save every leftover hardware piece.”

Reusing Tea Bags

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Finally, one confessed, “The stupid tea bag. My parents were Depression kids and always reused tea bags, sometimes more than once. And I grew up poor, so I did it too. Not poor anymore, and tea is still relatively inexpensive. It takes a conscious effort to throw it away after only one use.”

7 So-Called “Frugal” Habits That Are Actually A Waste Of Time And Money

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Not everything is frugal! I am sure you have read articles and tips that promote frugal living and give some ideas that are just not frugal! These frugal myths float around and sometimes even cost people a lot of money!

7 So-Called “Frugal” Habits That Are Actually a Waste of Time and Money

The 20 Things People Used To Cheap Out On, But Now They Swear By The Expensive Versions

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When budgeting and saving money, trying to cut corners wherever possible is tempting. However, some items are worth investing in due to their better durability or quality compared to their cheaper counterparts.

The 20 Things People Used To Cheap Out On, but Now They Swear by the Expensive Versions

Frugal Living Tips From The Great Depression That Are Relevant Today

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How frugal were people during The Great Depression? It was a time of hardship and uncertainty and a time when people were forced to be extremely frugal.

Money-Saving Secrets from the Great Depression: Frugal Living Tips from the Great Depression That Are Relevant Today


Sorry Millennials, These 20 Skills From The 90s Are No Longer Relevant

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The 90s saw a tremendous shift in technology, and many skills that were once essential have become irrelevant in today’s world.

Sorry Millennials, These 20 Skills From the 90s Are No Longer Relevant

Eye Rolling Intensifies: 28 Boomer Comments Gen Z and Millennials Can’t Stand

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Older generations love giving advice and telling younger people things. While there are plenty of life lessons to learn from older people, young people are tired of hearing some of what boomers have to say.

From OK Boomer To Eye Roll: Gen Z and Millennials Are Sick and Tired of These 28 Boomer Comments


This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved.



Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.