5 Things We Refuse To Do To Save Money

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Being a frugal person and growing up in a low-income  family, I’ve done and seen my family do all sorts of things to save money.

It ranges from cutting up the toothpaste tube to salvage 2-3 days worth of toothpaste to “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.”

Besides all the illegal and unethical activities such as stealing and cheating, there are 5 things we will NOT to do save money.

Please note that these are all personal preferences, so don’t get offended if you do any of the things mentioned below.

1. Use toilet cloth wipes

I first learned about this concept while watching “Extreme Cheapskates” on TLC. Apparently, a lot of YouTubers use toilet cloth wipes as well.

I wonder if the water and electricity needed for each wash really costs less than buying toilet paper in bulk.

Instead of using toilet cloth wipes, I can think of two other ways to save on toilet paper:

Install a bathroom handheld bidet. It’s very common in Asia. When I go back to Vietnam, my family barely has any toilet paper. It does take me sometime to adjust given that toilet paper seems to be the norm in America. Then my mom would complain about how much toilet paper I use every day (sigh).

Use old free newspapers. Before using it, you might want to crumple them up to make it easier on the skin. In fact, I know many people in Vietnam do this, especially those in rural areas without a modern toilet. You can discard the used crumpled newspapers in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the trash.

2. Wear underwear, tops, or socks more than one day

I apologize if this is too much personal-hygiene-related stuff, but I just need to put it out there since I know some people who do this. They’re mostly males, but some females do it as well.

I don’t think other people would like to stand next to me or talk to me if I wore underwear, tops, or socks for days without changing.

However, I do wear sweaters, pants, gloves, scarves and other winter clothing items more than once. Otherwise, it’d be too much laundry for a week.

Fun fact: Before Mr. FAF and I got married, he would wear a t-shirt I gave him for days even if he took a shower. At first, I thought, “He must really like that t-shirt. He seems to wear it a lot. It must be a pain to wash it so often.” Well, as the story goes, he didn’t wash it for a week.

Now he knows it’s not ok to do that, at least in the FAF household.

3. Not use shampoo/soap

I once tried using vinegar mixed with baking soda in search of natural products and to save money. I read on various websites that it’s healthier and better for the hair since it doesn’t contain any chemicals harmful to the body and the environment.

After day 1, it wasn’t too bad. I thought my hair would just need some time to adjust. After day 3, my hair felt coarse and dry like straws. It started to smell like what was used to clean it: vinegar.

Needless to say, I switched back to my Herbal Essence shampoo and never tried that method again. Sometimes I just can’t believe what I’ve tried to do to save money. At least, now I know it doesn’t work for me.

4. Not return others’ favor

Some of my colleagues have taken me out to lunch. A lot of my friends have given me gifts or cash on my weddings and for Baby FAF. Sometimes they would just give me a cupcake or some kind of treat for no reason.

Every time that happens, I’d remember it and make sure to return the favor at least in the same value given to me. I’d take them out to restaurants, cook at home (only sometimes since my cooking is not very good), or buy them a clutch or a dress.

I wouldn’t spend a fortune, but if someone has gone out of their way to get me something nice, I just don’t feel good giving them something less than what I think they deserve. Mr. FAF and I both agree on this.

I got these Au Bon Pain beauties from my colleagues.

5. Intentionally forget to return borrowed money

We did borrow money from family to help with the mortgage. But we plan to return them the principal and interest as soon as we can.

Mr. FAF and I have never borrowed money from friends. One reason why we’re so frugal is because we want to be financially independent. I don’t feel comfortable asking friends for money although I don’t mind lending my close friends money (with no interest rate) if they’re in need.

Our philosophy: Mr. FAF and I usually don’t lend other people money. But if we do, we have to be ok with them not returning it or borrowing it for an extended period of time.

It’s usually friends who have helped us when we were in difficult times. We’re grateful to them. If we can’t help them by lending a hand, we’re ok with returning the favor in monetary value.

However, the unreturned money will happen only once since we won’t lend it to them a second time. It has more to do with trust than anything else.


I realized that most of the things mentioned above have to do with personal hygiene and how we treat people around us. We like money and what it can bring us. But we just won’t be blindly frugal.

For us, family and good friends are valuable and have no price tags attached to them.


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5 thoughts on “5 Things We Refuse To Do To Save Money”

  • It’s funny….I typically wear my shirts for two days before I wash them, and to the best of my knowledge, I don’t smell. (I’m pretty certain my Mom would tell me if I did!) Maybe it’s because I live in Canada where it’s never particularly hot? Or because I change shirts when I get home from work?

    (Interestingly…this is the second time today I’ve had this discussion with someone.)

    I agree totally with the toilet paper though. There’s just no way I would give it up.

  • Love the insight! I share the same sentiment with you on all of those things. I’d like to add that I also won’t skimp on my car maintenance. You can be frugal without being cheap. Keep these awesome articles coming!

  • Yep! There are definitely some things that go too far in an attempt to be frugal! I can relate to wearing clothes a couple times before washing them. I definitely do that for outer wear.

    We tried to go without paper towels and just use hand towels or rags, but with dogs, there are too many times that a good old rag doesn’t work well and will be disgusting to wash.

    Great post! Keep me coming!

  • I agree frugality for frugality’s sake is unnecessary. It should be about identifying what brings you value, and not just in terms of monetary value. Those things that make us truly happy are the number one thing we should be pursuing, and they are what we should be aligning our spending with.

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