Growing up in a frugal homestead is an experience in itself. Depending on the extent, it could positively or negatively affect the person.
One person wanted to know what kind of experiences people had growing up frugal. OP’s parents had a weird rule: they never wanted him to put too much ice in his drinks as they considered this wasteful. The OP could not understand this rule because they had free water and could make the ice from the ice cube trays in their freezer.
He was curious to know what experiences other people had when growing up frugal. Here are some of the best responses from this conversation.
Saving Aluminum Foils
Would you reuse your aluminum foil as one user did? “I remember relatives washing, flattening, and saving aluminum foil.”
One user still does it, “I still do that sometimes. It doesn’t make sense to me to only use it once if it’s still useable.”
Another user offers an experience about growing up with parents who recycled everything, “My parents were kids during the Depression, so that experience gave them pretty valuable habits: No waste cooking, using utilities sparingly, and fix & repair it skills and fortunately that affected me. The only thing that was iffy was borderline hoarding. It was hard for them to throw anything away. Big rubberband balls, Quaker Oats containers (because they’re good to put things in, LOL). I mitigate this tendency by robust recycling.”
Another user said their mother restricted their consumption of olives to 6 per person, “My mom had so many rules. My favorite, though, is you can’t eat more than 6 olives, or you’ll get sick. As an adult, I proved her wrong… over time, you realize it’s because, with 8 people in the family, she counted out the olives and knew if anyone ate more than 6, then there weren’t enough olives in the jar for everyone to have 6 and it would cause a fight…and olives were a treat, it was something we had to buy vs. pickles which we grew and canned.”
Turning Lights off Even When Using a Room
According to another user, their parents insisted they keep lights turned off even when using a room to save on costs, “My parents’ weird frugal rule was about lights. We had to have them turned off all the time. Not just turning the lights off when you leave a room, but also having them off when we were using the room, since we could just use the light that came through the windows. But, since I’m in the South, we couldn’t open the curtains or blinds because it let too much heat in. So we sat in the dark most of the time.”
Absolutely No Electronic Items
Some parents hated technology so much they never bought any electronic device; as one user notes, “They refused to buy me anything electronic because they “made it without technology” and it’s “all overpriced.” My middle school teacher had to give me a calculator that I hid from my parents all through high school.”
Absolutely No Wastage of Water
Other parents were strict on water use and abhorred wastage, “My frugal parents had a phobia about wasting water. We had to conserve water while washing the dishes and especially while bathing or showering. In the shower, we had to get wet, turn the water off while we soap up, turn the water back on to rinse off. I still think of it every time I get in the shower.”
Digging Through Trash To Save Plastic Cutlery
One user said her mother forced her to dig through trash to get plastic cutlery for reuse at the next party, “My mom would always save the plastic cutlery from parties. She would dig through the trash herself and make me help. She would wash the plastic cutlery, and it would be saved for the next party….”
Going on a Crud Patrol
Why use a vacuum cleaner when the kids can pick off the bits from the carpet? “My dad made me go on “crud patrol.” Picking up bits of “crud” out of the carpet rather than run the vacuum cleaner,” says another user.
Turning Down the TV Color
Another user grew up with grandparents who believed they were saving by watching the TV in black and white, “My stepbrother’s grandparents used to turn down the color on their TV and watch it in black and white so they wouldn’t wear out the color.”
Hiding Cereal From the Kids
After complaining about how much the kids ate, one user’s parents decided to hide cereals from the kids in the bedroom, “When my mom and I had a house with her boyfriend and his kids, they always talked about how much we ate, and maybe I was wrong but I really didn’t think it was that much more than growing kids needed, but one weird thing they did was keep our cereal in their bedroom, we had to ask for it in the morning.”
Being Forced To Walk to School To Save Pennies
Another user complained that her abusive parents forced her to walk to school so that they could save pennies on public transport, “My parents made me walk to and fro school( 3 miles away) to save on public transit cos, which was super subsidized for students – 2 pennies each way of converted to today’s rates, adjusted for inflation.”
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