As a parent, you want to save as much money as possible to give your children everything they deserve, and then some. However, when your babies grow out of clothes every few months and your children need new shoes every six months, it’s hard to be cheap and pinch pennies. But your kids don’t understand costs and what they might lose out on in the future if you spend all your money now.
Teens get embarrassed easily so everything parents do can be annoying. However, there are some parents who go too far when it comes to saving money. From cheap dates to free dinners, these parents are extreme to the point of going from being thrifty to just plain cheap.
40. Washing Paper Towels
Paper towels are beneficial because they’re very absorbent, and you can toss them away after use. But this story is questionable; this person admits that their parents actually reused paper towels. Once they used one, they would wash it in the sink to reuse it again later.
When you get meals from a fast-food restaurant, they often give you too many ketchup packets. You can also get salt and pepper in tiny packs to sprinkle on your food. So when this person called out their own family for asking for salt and pepper when buying their fast food, it’s not that bad of a story. They’re free after all, right? So why not take advantage of it?
Everyone usually enjoys their mother’s cooking. It brings them peace, especially on bad days. For this person, they loved this one dish their mother would make that she only called “stuff.” But what they thought was a typical casserole ended up being literally stuff: whatever she found in the cupboards was thrown together into a pan, with flour and oil and then cooked together.
On many foods, expiration dates exist for a reason. They’re a benchmark to indicate when food may start to go bad so that you can throw it out. While some foods are still safe to consume after this date, this isn’t a hard and fast rule for all food. Unfortunately, this parent adopted this rule with everything. Instead of buying a new bag of bread when one got moldy, they would simply cut off the moldy parts of the bread. It’s a wonder their children didn’t end up sick all the time.
Keeping your home clean is a weekly chore most people don’t enjoy. Dusting, vacuuming, laundry…it gets tedious having to do them all the time. But there’s no getting around changing a vacuum bag when it gets full, except for this parent. They would go the extra mile to clean out the clumps stuck in the inlet hole and pull out the dust bunnies so they wouldn’t have to change the bag.
Everyone’s a little guilty of stealing the neighbor’s wi-fi when yours isn’t working. It’s easy to do when they don’t password-protect their internet, making it easy for anyone just to hop on. This one family went the extra mile of all hovering in one corner of the home where their neighbor’s wi-fi signal was the strongest. Not a bad way to get work done without having to pay for the Internet, but it’s really the neighbor’s fault.
In recent years, stores have started banning plastic bags and have either switched to paper or have encouraged their customers to bring their own reusable bags. Apparently, this mother took “reusable” to mean something else. Instead of those cloth bags, she used her stash of plastic bags she already had at home and brought them to the store. It’s not a bad idea, honestly, since those bags were going to end up in the garbage in the end.
Air conditioners are known for using a lot of electricity because they need power to keep the home cool. They’re also not that great for the environment. But what are you supposed to do when it’s 90 degrees outside? This dad had the perfect answer: absolutely nothing. Even when it got to sweltering temperatures during the summer, he refused to turn the AC on because he didn’t want to have to pay an expensive electricity bill at the end of the month.
When something breaks in your home, you want to be prepared to fix it and spend as little money as possible. That’s because most repairs are expensive if you hire someone else to get the job done. This dad thought he was skirting the issue by starting an extensive collection of nails. However, some of these nails were so old that they just broke when someone used them. It didn’t save them any money in the long run.
Everyone wants to get the best deal possible. Some compare all of the prices on the shelves to get the best value for their dollar, even comparing the unit cost price to see which item is actually the cheapest. But this father took things a step too far. He spends at least 10 minutes comparing each brand of egg cartons to see which one is worth the price. This would be less of a hassle, of course, if he didn’t end up choosing the same brand of eggs every single time.
During holiday weekends, firing up a grill and getting some burgers and hot dogs going is the best way to round out the day. That’s where this dad steps in. He chips in by helping to operate the grill at a cookout for a large group of people and ends up snagging free food for him and the rest of his family. Clever, but oh so cheap. And then, when he’s done with his share of one family’s barbecue, he looks for another group to make food for.
At one time, people used to get free promo codes on CDs in the mail. It would grant you limited access to some kind of product for a limited time. Some companies even gave away free promo codes that would provide free Internet for a limited period. For the next 10 years or so, they would change the settings on their computer every month so that the code thought that it was a new computer entirely. That meant that they got access to the Internet without having to pay a thing.
Trick or treating is a tradition that every kid enjoys because they get as much free candy as they want. However, you don’t want to get there late or you might end up with lousy candy. This parent didn’t care. They knew that no one wanted to keep their Halloween candy after the holidays were over, so she would take their children at the end of the night and get a massive haul of all the candy neighbors no longer wanted.
When you order any burger at McDonald’s, the costs go up when you ask for anything with cheese. So this mother decided to play them at their own game. She would buy a bag of regular burgers for her kids, drive home, and then take the sliced cheese from her fridge to put on the burgers. It saved her a little on cash, and her kids could put as much as they wanted on their burgers.
Sometimes, restaurants provide questionnaires to their customers asking how their service was. Usually, there are perks associated with submitting your surveys, such as a discount on your next order or a chance for a prize. But this one mother figured out a way to exploit the system. She would use the feedback code on one slip and then keep it, saying it was for her tax records. Then when she had enough receipts, she would take the receipts in again to get free meals.
When the pandemic hit, everyone was buying out toilet paper and hoarding it for themselves. It seemed like a genius idea at the time and this family definitely had the right idea going on. It begs the question: how did they ensure the rest of the family stuck to this plan? Are they going in and counting how many squares of toilet paper are left on each roll? Not questions people really want to know the answers to but still beg to be asked anyway.
It’s tempting to grab an entire tray when they’re handing out free samples at the grocery store. But instead of going out of your way to get free samples, you can get company brands to send you free samples. All you have to do is write the companies asking for products that you want to sample. Technically, they’re obligated to send you some if you ask nicely enough as a way to develop loyal customers. This parent wrote so many companies that they now have a closet filled with samples from over the years.
When something breaks in your home, it can be a devastating experience. It means that you’ll have to try and figure out how to fix it yourself or shell out money to have someone else fix it for you. However, this family decided to take matters into their own hands. Their solution for every broken thing is duct tape. Exposed wire in the kitchen? Cover it in tape. Minivan falling apart? Hold it all together with tape.
People often view regifting as rude. Someone went out of their way to get you something nice, and instead of showing gratitude, you give it away to another person. Saving money is one thing but doing so at the expense of someone else’s feeling is a little despicable. So it’s understandably frustrating when a daughter-in-law kept getting back the same gift that she’d gotten for her mother-in-law the previous year.
It’s a benefit to have someone working in the food industry. You can get discounts or even free stuff, and this mother seemed to exploit that to her advantage. She would take her children out to restaurants and ask the waiters when her husband would be done with his shift so that he could eat with them. Only she had no husband who worked for any of these restaurants. Her ploy would get her some discounts now and again, but if not, she would explain that he was the one responsible for their money, meaning that she sometimes got meals for free.
It’s common knowledge that holiday candy is always cheaper after the holiday has passed. It’s a great incentive to get your favorite sweets at a much lower price. This family saw no problems with it, even if it did cause some confusion. They would buy Christmas and Valentine’s candy after the holiday came and gone and then give it out at Halloween to trick-or-treaters.
Instead of writing e-mails for free samples, there’s always the option of asking for free demos of products. That means that someone comes to your home and shows off the product, how it works, and how much it costs. So when this father discovered that he could get free soap from asking for water filters for sinks, he exploited that to no end. He called several different water filter companies, asking for free demos, and ended up with a ton of soap.
Usually, some places will let you have free drinks or free refills on beverages when you eat out. Costco is one of those places, allowing you to fill up your cup as many times as you want. However, you have to buy that initial cup. So how do you get around that? This family discovered the secret of saving their cups from last time and bringing them with them the next time they went to Costco to get never-ending drinks for free.
Ziploc bags last quite a long time. They keep your food fresh in the fridge or your purse and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Ziploc bags are pretty cheap too, and many people just throw them away after one use. But this mother went the extra mile and starting washing and reusing her Ziploc bags. It’s not a bad idea, and it not only saves her money but also saves the environment from having extra plastic floating around.
When you work for a major theme park, you’re usually allowed to bring your family in for free. That means free vacations for the rest of your family while you work. Fortunately for this mother, she still had her staff ID and uniform before leaving her last job at one of these parks. She would put it on and walk up to the gate so that she and her family could get free admission. Then once they were deep inside the park, she would change back into her regular clothes. Talk about a free trip.
Everyone has seen the small jar of pennies by cash registers when they’re checking out of their stores. It’s a way to have exact change when you don’t have any on you: take a penny, leave a penny. One father decided to take this a little too far. Instead of taking a single penny, he would dump the entire jar of change into his hand and then put it in his pocket. When asked why he did that, he would say that he was saving up for his kids’ college fund.
Children can be picky eaters. They don’t want to try new foods that they’re not familiar with. So that means sometimes you have food left over that your kids don’t want to eat. That’s when you turn the tables on them. Instead of throwing away pizza crusts, this mother decided she would reuse them in other dishes, such as croutons, breadcrumbs in meatloaf, and cinnamon sugar sticks for dessert.
According to one person, their father is why their local restaurant doesn’t leave out spices and condiments on the tables anymore. He would go in and take all of their packets of Parmesan and chili flakes to use at home. Of course, he would ask first if they’re free, but that shouldn’t give him a reason to take all of them. It would be fine if he stopped there. However, he would also go so far as to take whole cheese graters and salt & pepper shakers as well, so that didn’t earn him any friends in the restaurant.
Here isn’t a story most people can relate to since it involves London’s subway station practices. We’re not even sure if this is still going on today, but for the public toilets in the subway station, you have to pay a few pennies to use them. This mother figured out a way to get around this, using the size of her own daughter to skirt the rules. She was small enough to squeeze through the barriers, and then she would unlock the gate on the other side.
Water is the cheapest drink you can get at a restaurant. But kids want sugary drinks to get them through a meal. This family found the best way to handle that without having to pay for a thing. They would ask for pitchers of water, one after another, and remove all of the lemon wedges until they had enough to squeeze into their water. Then they would add some sugar they’d brought from home, and they had lemonade everyone could sip on.
Have you ever wondered how you could get an entire meal for free? This family figured out the perfect way to complete that task without anyone noticing. They would head out to a fast food restaurant and order burgers with every topping on them, including lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and cheese. Whatever you could think up. Then they would put all these toppings in a separate bag and then complain to the restaurant that they never got anything they ordered and then make a salad when they got home.
There’s nothing more annoying for cheap moms and dads than kids letting food go to waste. You don’t want to end up throwing away the money you spent. But this father kind of took things a little too far when it comes to chicken. After consumption, this person’s father would gather up everyone’s meal and continue stripping every ounce of meat leftover with his teeth to ensure none of it went to waste.
When you go on vacation, you want to look your best, especially for photos. However, it can be expensive to spend that much money on new clothes for the entire family. This mother decided to “splurge” on some new outfits to save money but told everyone to keep the tags on. That way, they could look nice for their vacation. Then this family returned the clothes to the store with the receipt so they could get a full refund.
People use both clingwrap and foil to keep food fresh. Clingwrap is usually suitable for foods with weird shapes, while the foil keeps food warmer for longer. But this dad was such a penny pincher. He hated wasting foil to the point that he threw a fit when he saw someone wrapping a piece of cake in foil. He wanted plastic instead.
Children below a certain age are allowed to ride for free, or their fare is at least a bit cheaper. This mother decided to use that to convince the bus driver that she had two young children. She told them that her 19-year old was actually 12 and that her 12-year old was 6. Her story didn’t work at all.
With the way fast food places are giving up ketchup, is there really a reason to buy a bottle of it at the store? It’s a way to save money, but some families take these packets and use them to refill the ketchup bottle they have at home. This family ends up saving all of their extra ketchup packets and keeping them in a box in the kitchen.
Some people go the extra mile when they try to save money, but rarely does it involve breaking the law. This father had no problem with it, however. He would rent movies from the store and then have a second VCR to record them to have his own copy of the film at home to watch whenever he wanted.
Here is another case of lying about your children’s ages. There are plenty of restaurants that let children eat for free if they’re under a certain age. It seems like a good deal, but it invites people like this family to get their kids to act younger than they really are, just to get a free meal. It makes you wonder how often they got away with it.
You’ve seen those mechanical horses outside of stores. It costs 25 cents for a 30-second ride. But this dad didn’t want to waste the money, so he would end up just standing behind the horse and rocking it back and forth himself for as long as his kid wanted. More money is in his pocket, and his kid was happy.
Some people take the penny pinching to extremes. This person’s father had their garage demolished, and instead of carting it all away, he made his kids clean every single cement-covered brick with a pickax so that he could use them in the future. It took them almost a year to get it done, and the father only saved about $500. Talk about a cheapskate.