Bizarre, Gross, and Illegal: 11 'Extreme' Money-Saving Habits and Hacks

Man suffers from diarrhea holds toilet paper roll


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Man suffers from diarrhea holds toilet paper roll

Frugal Fanatics

On r/Frugal, like-minded cheapskates band together to confront inflation, discuss little-known thrifty tips, and complain about the rising costs of living. It’s an invaluable resource. But sometimes the community’s Redditors are so close-fisted, so hell-bent on saving every last cent, that they adopt some pretty bizarre and inadvisable habits. We’ve gathered some of the wildest, most extreme money-saving r/Frugal hacks from the past eight years (some of which you shouldn’t try at home).

Litter all around

Drinking Leftover Beers

Ah, college. It’s the only time in your life when it’s socially acceptable to live like a slob, in part because most people are thousands of dollars in debt. Even so, this frugal Redditor took the college lifestyle a little too far when they decided to take advantage of “free drinks” at parties, aka half-empty cups on the ground. “I would pick up their cup and drink all night for free,” they shared, admitting that it’s “kinda gross looking back.”

Neighborhood district of Pimlico Street, businessman man walking with briefcase and backpack before or after work

Commuting an Hour on Foot

In the U.S., public transportation is poor (if it exists at all), sidewalks are in disrepair, and cars rule the streets. And yet, one Redditor says they commute to work on foot for an hour every day, adding that “it takes the same time on the bus anyway.”

Young woman taking out toilet papers from shopping bag at home

Stealing Toilet Paper

While studying in graduate school, one enterprising Redditor says that they “tore off” the toilet paper they needed while on campus. But since most people might find it odd to use torn up scraps of stolen TP, they purchased a single pack to avoid seeming “completely mental” when guests were over.

Sweet gift box heart shape on table for wedding day.

Returning Wedding Presents

One Redditor admits to returning “every wedding present” they received, only to repurchase the items with a 20% off coupon. The commenter realizes that this is “cheap” behavior that they shouldn't be proud of. But hey, the couple did make around $400 in two hours.

Related: 7 Things Americans Waste Their Money On, According to Thrifty Redditors

Fresh vegetables
Asian young woman customer talking with owner and mechanic worker at car repair service and auto store shop.
Solitary carton of milk in a white fridge

Watering Down Milk

Low on milk and cash? Just add water, and you’ve got another full carton, one Redditor says. “In particularly bad times, do it again.

Related: How to Save Big at the Grocery Store

Man washes his hair in the shower at home.

Bathing … Without Soap

Frugality is on a spectrum. On one end, there are people who shop at Trader Joe’s or Costco. Maybe they even live car-free. And on the other, there are folks who decide that bathing with soap just isn’t worth the cost. One commenter writes, “I don't use shampoo or soap when bathing; the natural flora and oils are healthy anyway."

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A fully loaded washing machine
Aslan Alphan/istockphoto

Making Homemade Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent isn’t expensive, especially if you buy it in bulk. But some frugal do-it-your-selfers insist on making it themselves for “pennies a gallon.”

Assorted nuts in plastic containers on a counter in a bright modern kitchen

Reusing Ziplocs

While they aren’t sustainable or cheap, plastic sandwich baggies make food prep easy. But rather than pay a premium for convenience, one Redditor washes, dries, and reuses each Ziploc. They write, “After 25 years of practice, it takes me about 25 seconds/baggy. Am I going overboard on frugalness?” Maybe. Ever heard of reusable bags and food containers?

A bottle of  dish detergent sitting on a kitchen sink
Robin Gentry /istockphoto