24 Signs You Are Too Frugal
No one wants to end up short on funds in their golden years and forced to scrimp and save, but sometimes, practicality errs on the side of ... well, let's just say, a bit obsessive. You've likely seen these penny-saving, over-the-top frugal practices in action -- and perhaps have a few in your own repertoire. But in reality, these are not save-a-fortune actions, so we gently suggest that sometimes the tiniest "splurge" is worth it.
Do you re-use free plastic grocery bags as lunch sacks until they have holes (and your bought-on-sale banana slides right out)? So much for savings. Buy a lunch sack during back-to-school sales. It'll last you all year -- and you'll arrive to work with your food intact.
So, you keep the A/C off – or don't have one – and instead stock up on dollar-store hand fans to survive the heat. Pretty and retro, right? But attempt to get through one steamy summer night without an electric fan, even one purchased on sale, and you'll realize life really should be a breeze.
Your bargain meal at that great local sandwich shop comes with a free cole slaw or cookie. You don't think "Ah, what a treat" but instead see that little cup of cabbage or single cookie as your next meal -- your entire next meal. Just enjoy the side dish or dessert for what it is.
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 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 awhile, but every day?
You have guests over for a backyard barbecue, stocking up on cheap plastic utensils in bulk. All's going well. People are enjoying. Then... you tell them not to throw them out. No, you're not recycling... you're re-washing them. You can almost hear your guests' stomachs turning at the thought. Consider buying new party supplies on sale.
Paper towels can be ridiculously expensive, but you've found a way to beat the racket. The only problem is your entire kitchen -- dish rack, blender and fridge handle -- has become filled with perches to dry the towels you rinse and use again.
Doing your laundry as infrequently as possible might cut down on the water bill -- or save you some quarters at the Laundromat. But when you find out you don't have any clean skivvies and wash day's still not here, well, then your thrifty ways have really put you in a pickle.
Everyone knows your go-to sweatshirt, especially since you boast about the money you save 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 not only turn off the light every time you leave the room to save "big bucks" 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.
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. The restaurant -- and your stomach -- will thank you.
You've read the sale circular. You know the grocery store limits you to four of an item 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.
A cup of tea. Not for you -- 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 waiters to simply bring you a cup of boiling water.
And speaking of water, you pride yourself on not purchasing countless throwaway bottles -- or a pricey re-usable 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?
Why buy a new pair of socks when a few stitches can extend the life of what 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 extreme embarrassment when asked to take off your shoes visiting someone's home.
Baby bangs anyone? 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 husband/wife or kids to those extreme measures.
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. Why start fresh... well, because a box of birthday candles is cheap -- but then you're already familiar with that word.
Packets, pockets... your favorite combination? You never hit a fast-food restaurant that doesn't up your condiment quota. You haven't bought salt, pepper, ketchup or mustard for your family in years. But need it for a recipe and even you are probably cursing under your breath as you have to open a dozen packets to get a half-cup of something.
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?
It's an age-old household trick -- cutting up old sheets or shirts to use as rags. But when your family suddenly realizes 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 sneer at those who brag about money-saving staycations filled with hometown restaurant deals, free-admission museums and bargain movies. You do them one better -- your staycation entails staying home. Literally. DVDs, watching the birds fly by... yep, your family will sure have unforgettable "vacation memories."
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 awhile, it's nice to join in the toast with something besides tap water on ice.
You take sharing to new levels. A family of four dines on one appetizer, two entrees and one dessert. Sure, you can boast about feeding a family of four for less than $25... but did anyone actually enjoy the "meal" -- or go home satisfied?
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 ten trips in and out of the kitchen with buckets of water, don't you start having second thoughts? Thought so.