Are You Too Thrifty?
Mark Herreid/shutterstock
Are You Too Thrifty?
Mark Herreid/shutterstock

A TOUCH TOO THRIFTY

No one wants to end up short on funds in their golden years and forced to scrimp and save, but sometimes being frugal errs on the side of being ... well, let's just say, a bit obsessive. You've likely seen these over-the-top, penny-saving practices in action and perhaps have a few in your own repertoire. In reality, they do not save a fortune, so we gently suggest that sometimes the tiniest "splurge" is worth it.

Plastic Bags Can Only Take So Much
schab/shutterstock

YOU REUSE BAGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN

Do you reuse free plastic grocery bags as lunch sacks until they have holes (and your bought-on-sale fruit slides right out)? So much for savings. Buy a lunch sack during back-to-school sales. It'll last all year and you'll arrive to work with your food intact.

Invest in a Fan
tommaso79/shutterstock

TURNING ON AIR CONDITIONING IS AGONIZING

So, you keep the AC off — or don't have it — and instead stock up on dollar-store hand fans to survive the heat. Pretty and retro, right? This only gets more dangerous over time. Be smart about how you use your thermostat instead.

A Side for a Meal
StockphotoVideo/shutterstock

YOU HOARD SIDE DISHES INTO FULL MEALS

Your bargain meal at that great local sandwich shop comes with a free coleslaw or cookie. You don't think "Ah, what a treat" but instead see those add-ons as your next meal — your entire next meal. Just enjoy the side dish or dessert for what it is.

You'll Wear Out Your Entire Wardrobe
Maridav/shutterstock

YOU WEAR OUT YOUR ENTIRE WARDROBE

Big shoulder pads looked of-the-moment on Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl," but you're still holding onto — and wearing — your power suit. Sure, fashion trends come and go, but the snickers behind your back never die. Sorry to say, but it's time to embrace the world of separates — and 21st-century styles.

You Always Read the News at the Library
Diego Cervo/shutterstock

YOU NEVER PAY A DIME FOR NEWS

You won't pay what they want for the newspaper. You won't even pay to access the digital version. Nope, you head to the library — day in and day out, rain, snow or severe heat — to read that passed-about copy for free. Fine for once in a while, but every day?

You Wash Disposable Silverware
Kent Sievers/shutterstock

YOU WASH DISPOSABLE SILVERWARE

You have guests over for a backyard barbecue, stocking up on cheap plastic utensils in bulk. All's going well. People are enjoying the food. Then you tell them not to throw out the plastic silverware. No, you're not recycling ... you're washing and reusing. You can almost hear your guests' stomachs turning at the thought. Consider buying new party supplies on sale.

You Reuse Paper Towels
MaraZe/shutterstock

YOU TREAT PAPER TOWELS LIKE THEY'RE TOWELS

Paper towels can be expensive, but you've found a way to beat the racket. The only problem is your entire kitchen has become filled with perches — dish rack, blender, fridge handle — for drying the towels you rinse and use again.

You'll Only Do Laundry as a Last Resort
Africa Studio/shutterstock

YOU DO LAUNDRY ONLY AS A LAST RESORT

Doing your laundry as infrequently as possible might cut the water bill — or save some quarters at the laundromat. But when you find out you don't have any clean skivvies before wash day ... well, your thrifty ways have really put you in a pickle.

Wearing a Worn Out Sweatshirt?
Tanyapatch/shutterstock

YOU DON'T KNOW WHEN TO DITCH A SWEATSHIRT

Everyone knows your go-to sweatshirt, especially since you boast about the money you save by not buying a fancy designer replacement. The problem: Yours is a virtual "Hall of Stains" tour, from the spilled nachos from Super Bowl XXX to the beers sloshed during your 25th-high-school-reunion picnic. It might be time to retire that legend.

You Ration Light Bulbs
martiapunts/shutterstock

YOU RATION LIGHT BULBS

You not only turn off the light every time you leave the room but refuse to "waste money" on light bulbs when one blows out. The result: You have a very dim life — literally — and may soon need not only new lights but eyeglasses to boot.

You Can't Be Trusted at a Buffet
JGA/shutterstock

YOU CAN'T BE TRUSTED AT A BUFFET

The words "all you can eat" are music to your ears. You arrive at the buffet the moment the doors open and make not only a meal but a day of it, with plate after plate after plate. Enough! Indulge if you will, but set a time limit. Your stomach — and the restaurant — will thank you.

You Have No Tolerance for Coupon Limits
cjmacer/shutterstock

YOU HAVE NO TOLERANCE FOR COUPON LIMITS

You've read the sale circular. You know the grocery store limits you to a certain number of items per visit. Well, you'll show them — you shop different branches, different days, and different cashiers until you can't even store all that toilet tissue you've amassed. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to save at the grocery store without going overboard.

You Give Tea Bags Multiple Lives
Antonsov85/shutterstock

YOU GIVE TEA BAGS MULTIPLE LIVES

You squeeze every last drip of tea from your teabag, using it multiple times. Bad enough your family has to watch the madness, but lately you've taken to carrying the used teabag with you — asking counter people and servers to simply bring you a cup of boiling water.

You're Not Springing for Water
aastock/shutterstock

YOU NEVER SPRING FOR WATER

You pride yourself on not buying throwaway bottles of water, or even a pricey reusable container. No, you bought a plastic bottle at the store — once — and have been "washing" it out and refilling it with tap ever since. Yes, it's a bit worn and cloudy but, um, you showed them?

Your Socks are Barely There
Spectral-Design/shutterstock

YOUR SOCKS ARE BARELY THERE

Why buy a pair of socks when a few stitches can extend the life of the ones you already have? Sure, it's easy to repair a hole, but when one hole becomes two and then three, your feet suddenly look like Frankenstein's monster — and you suffer embarrassment when asked to take off your shoes while visiting someone's home.

You're a Champion of Self-Haircuts
sanneberg/shutterstock

YOU'RE A CHAMPION OF SELF-HAIRCUTS

Most everyone has horrid memories of a money-saving mom who chopped their hair at home. Bowl haircuts and uneven edges were a given. But you still do that? And have to go to work? Fine for you, but for goodness' sake, don't subject your partner or kids to those extreme measures.

You Are Using Used Birthday Candles
Masterchief_Productions/shutterstock

YOU BELIEVE EVEN BIRTHDAYS ARE NO TIME TO SPLURGE

It's time to light the candles on the birthday cake and sing the festive song. But imagine the real surprise on people's faces as you pull out used candles of varying heights. A box of birthday candles is cheap, and try to remember: This is a special occasion.

Condiment Packets
Elena Elisseeva/shutterstock

YOU COLLECT CONDIMENTS

You never hit a fast-food restaurant that doesn't up your condiment quota, so you haven't bought salt, pepper, ketchup, or mustard for the family in years. But when it's needed for a recipe, even you will be cursing as you open a dozen packets to get a half-cup of something.

Going for Too Many Dinner Rolls
Marcelo_Krelling/shutterstock

YOU ABUSE RESTAURANT FREEBIES

There's nothing like a basket of warm rolls to start a dinner on a night out. And that's when you pull out the plastic container. Waiters react with shock that your small party could go through so much so quickly. You just laugh as you pull them out for lunch the next day. But is a cold, stale roll really worth the stealth maneuver?

You Are Taking DIY Cleaning Too Far
Ahanov Michael/shutterstock

YOU GO TOO FAR WITH DIY CLEANING

It's an age-old household trick: cutting up old sheets or shirts to use as rags. But when your family members suddenly realize their favorite shirts are missing and see you wiping windows with them, does it still seem like such a good idea? There are plenty of other DIY tricks for cleaning the house that won't annoy your family.

You Can't Succumb to Taking a Proper Vacation
pabmap/shutterstock

YOU CAN'T SUCCUMB TO TAKING A PROPER VACATION

You sneer at people who brag about money-saving staycations filled with hometown restaurant deals, free-admission museums, and bargain movies. You do them one better: Your staycation is just staying home. Literally. DVDs, watching the birds fly by ... yep, your family will sure have unforgettable "vacation memories."

Going for Water At a Bar
Syda Productions/shutterstock

YOU NEVER LOOK AT A COCKTAIL LIST

You absolutely refuse to order a drink outside the house. "No, thanks, water's fine" is your mantra. We're not pushing cocktails necessarily — but every once in a while, it's nice to join in a toast with something besides tap water on ice.

You Stretch Menus Beyond Their Limits
Joshua Resnick/shutterstock

YOU STRETCH MENUS BEYOND THEIR LIMITS

You take sharing to new levels making your family of four dine on one appetizer, two entrees, and one dessert. Sure, you can boast about dining for less than $25, but did anyone actually enjoy the "meal" or go home satisfied?

You Could Never Pay for a Carwash
Alex_Po/shutterstock

YOU COULD NEVER PAY FOR A CAR WASH

Car wash costs can add up — but you won't fall prey to those soapy thieves. Nope, you will wash your own. Who cares that you don't have a hose, right? But after about 10 trips in and out of the kitchen with buckets of water, don't you start having second thoughts? Something else to consider: Many car washes have water reclamation technology that lets them recycle the water they use.