Extreme Money-Saving Habits of Seriously Frugal People (and the Thrifty Tips You’ll Actually Use)

(Image credit: Sonja Lekovic/Stocksy)

If frugality is a continuum, some people fall very far on one end (let’s call it the “saving used aluminum foil in a drawer” end). They’ll go to great (really great) lengths to save a few dollars (or even pennies) here and there. Some of their habits—while totally clever!—might be extreme, but maybe there’s something you can learn from them. Here are a few seriously frugal habits along with some toned-down thrifty tips you can try instead…

The Ultra-Frugal Habit:

Rotate batteries from high-powered items (like kids’ toys) to lower-powered items, like your TV remote.

The Thrifty Alternative:

You could rotate your batteries, OR, you could just switch to rechargeable batteries and save yourself the trouble.


The Ultra-Frugal Habit:

Keep a basket by your printer or inside your desk to save every piece of paper you’ve already printed on for potential re-use.

The Thrifty Alternative:

Use smaller fonts, thin margins, and print on both sides of the page whenever possible. (And if you do this partly because you’re worried about the environment, switch to recycled paper.)


The Ultra-Frugal Habit:

Save the wrappers from sticks of butter for later and use them to grease pans when you’re cooking.

The Thrifty Alternative:

Buy butter in bulk when it’s on sale and freeze it—it can keep for a year or more, so you don’t have to worry about it going bad.


The Ultra-Frugal Habit:

Avoid taking left-hand turns when you’re driving (at least, that’s what UPS does to save on fuel costs!).

The Thrifty Alternative:

Avoid idling and overusing the air conditioning, but more than anything, don’t wait until your gas tank is almost empty to fill it up, when you’ll have to just settle for the closest gas station—instead, keep an eye out for the lowest price near you.


The Ultra-Frugal Habit:

Wash out plastic sandwich bags after you use them for re-use.

The Thrifty Alternative:

Invest in mason jars and other reusable food containers that take less effort to clean and dry, and that you’ll use again and again.


The Ultra-Frugal Habit:

Cut (and color, if applicable) your own hair at home.

The Thrifty Alternative:

If you actually know what you’re doing, by all means, go for it—but if you’re thinking about giving your bangs a trim based on a YouTube tutorial, for example, maybe skip the DIY and head to a cosmetology school for a deeply discounted haircut from a stylist-in-training.


The Ultra-Frugal Habit:

Lower the temperature on your water heater a few degrees to keep energy costs down.

The Thrifty Alternative:

Shave a few extra minutes off your shower time, and switch to washing your laundry in cold water—it’ll still get your clothes clean, but it won’t use as much energy.

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