Did you grow up within an extremely frugal household that bordered on cheapskate? Have these experiences affected the way you think of money? Many parents will do things to save money. Here are 12 signs your parent is a cheapskate.
1. Reuses Paper Towels
Paper towels are known for being absorbent and used just once. Otherwise, you would buy cloth towels and save money. As you can see, some people's parents may go to the extreme and reuse their paper towels. One poster mentioned, “my stepdad reuses paper towels by hanging them out to dry in my mom's front yard.”
2. Uses Free Tires off of Totaled Cars
Totaled cars have no actual use anymore, but using their tires for your tires is thinking outside of the box. Some people may think it is a sign of a cheapskate, and others may see it as a frugal tip. If you let your tires go down to the less tread and wait for totaled cars, you risk danger and would be considered a cheapskate.
3. Uses Wash Clothes as Toilet Paper
Most people use toilet paper when going to the bathroom. In some countries, they use their hand, but we are talking about those in the U.S. It seems pretty cheap to use just washed clothes as toilet paper, as one poster mentioned.
4. Only Flushes After Pooping
Most people flush after every time using the toilet. As one poster mentioned, her dad only flushes after pooping. That is the only time. He lets anything else sit there for a while. That is cheap. It is more sanitary.
5. Refuses to Use A/C at Anytime
Using the A/C is a great way to stay cool in the summertime in a hot climate. It makes sense for those in temperate climates not to have A/C or to use one. The poster mentioned, “my dad refuses to use A.C. at anytime while living in South Florida.” That is extremely cheap. South Florida is a hot place, and keeping cool and getting good sleep relies on using the A/C.
6. Refuses to Purchase Gifts for Anyone
Not buying gifts for people could be a sign of stinginess. It can also be a sign of super cheapness. One poster said her dad “refuses to purchase gifts for anyone unless they were procured at a garage sale (meaning he often leaves my mom and his kids high and dry for birthdays/holidays/anniversaries).” Not purchasing gifts could be a high sign of being a cheapskate.
7. Dumpster Dives
Dumpster diving can be alright. Many large communities could have places where they throw out furniture that has been used or other items that could work for a home. If you clean those things up, they could be some great finds. As a parent, this also may make you look like a cheapskate. One poster mentioned her dad would dumpster dive, “his favorite finds are a pair of tempur pedic slippers (ew!) and a wooden futon which I'm afraid to be in the same room with.”
8. Hangs up a Shower Curtain as a Door
Fixing your house and keeping it safe is a necessity for parents. Sometimes not having suitable materials means you may improvise. It can look cheap if you are unwilling to pay for a new door; instead, use a shower curtain as your door. One poster recalled her dad using a shower curtain as a door, “when a door hinge broke in one of my siblings rooms 5 years ago, he refused to pay for a replacement and instead hung up a shower curtain (still there to this day).”
9. Sneaks Home Food from Buffets
Buffets are all you can eat usually. Once you have eaten your fill, there is no need for more. It may be cheap to sneak food into pockets when going home. A poster said her dad “tries to sneak home food from buffets, after paying for his meal with a coupon.”
10. Asking for Leftovers at Restaurants from Others
Eating food at restaurants should be a pleasant experience. It seems odd if someone from another table asks you for your leftovers. It is a super cheapskate move. One poster shared about her dad, “asking patrons at a restaurant if they're finished with their food mid-meal so he can take home the leftovers.”
11. Electricity use was Strictly Budgeted.
Electricity is used in everything from refrigerators, lights, and computers for doing work. One poster mentioned that her dad strictly budgeted their electricity, “electricity use was strictly budgeted and if I went over the budget, it was subtracted from my budget in the future.” Wow, imagine living in that household.
12. No lights On
Frugal parents mentioned shutting off lights all the time to help save money. One poster said her father's actions, “No lights at all unless I was studying.” that is not the biggest deal, but if you go to the extreme and ban all lights, it will be on the cheapskate side.
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If you want to find more parental cheapskate items, you can find them in this thread.
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.