5 Things We Refuse To Do To Save Money

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

  • Wow #4 and #5 are horrible things to do to a person! It’s so cheap it borders on stealing!

    I didn’t even know toilet cloths existed…or the newspaper tip… o 3 o won’t the ink…leak and rub on your skin? Lolol, no Ms. Faf you don’t have to answer that xD

    My husband used the vinegar and baking soda method too! He has curly, messy hair so natural methods work for him. Asian hair isn’t the best for vinegar and baking soda. We have low maintenance hair anyways. I splurge on SLS free hair products though and they make a difference in how often I have to wash it.

    • LOL I actually wondered the same thing about the ink. I guess if doesn’t matter if no one sees it ^.^

      My Asian hair doesn’t like vinegar >_< I have to wash my hair every day because I have oily hair and I sweat a lot. You hair looks amazing!

  • Intentionally forget to return things that you borrow is a big no no. Especially if you borrow money. My view is that if the person is nice enough to lend you their stuff and allows you to use it for free, you should at least have the courtesy to return it when you are done.

    Whenever I assess a trade off, I would ask myself, what’s the benefit for this trade off and the associated risks. If the benefits are not that much greater than the risk, this is no reason to take such risk just to gain a little benefit.

  • I like your standards Mrs. FAF! Sometimes I think about how much less I could spend on food if I just ate whatever junk I could find coupons for. But I think it is worth it to spend more money for healthy food. And toilet paper too!

    • Thank you for your kind comment! I sometimes tend to eat junk food or whatever inexpensive food I can get to save money. But you’re right. It might not be the best option for our health. 😉

  • 4 and 5 🙁 Unfortunate that people do that!

    On the topic of shampoo…I still use shampoo, but I just cut back a lot on how much I actually wash my hair. I used to wash it every day. Now I’m on a twice-a-week schedule (Saturdays and Wednesdays most of the time) and it’s been good. Less shampoo used so that saves some money, quicker during the week to shower (except Wednesdays), and my hair actually looks better too.

    I like the list! 🙂

    • Thanks, Dave! I’m glad you like it ^.^ Some of my friends don’t wash their hair often either because their hair tends to get dry and break. My hair, on the other hand, is super oily. I’m pretty sure other people will notice it if I don’t wash my hair every day >_<

  • Yes!! I think we all have to have a point we won’t go past. Because then frugality loses it’s purpose in my life. It’s supposed to make us spend less and I also think it makes us use better what we have. But when you start doing all the crazy things to “save” money, you end up spending too much time and effort to save $ .05. So not worth it.

  • mhmm #5 is just wrong! With the shampoo, it’s very well documented that it’s not healthy to wash it every day. For most guys, I wouldn’t wash but every other day. It’s different if you workout every day, you don’t want to stink! Also, most people use wayyyyyy to much shampoo (like they do laundry detergent) so cutting down the amount you use is a huge money saver!

  • I… definitely wear tops more than once. In my defense, I won’t wear something four days in a row or if it smells bad/is dirty. I also only shampoo my hair 2-3x a week (you must think I’m a smelly ball of dirt and grease!). I think #4 and #5 are pretty good non-negotiables, though.

    • I thought that too…like yuck!!! Keeping cloth wipes around. But I never think it’s crazy when people use cloth diapers to save money when they have infants…I find that normal, frugal, and environmentally friendly. It’s the same thing. It’s just a matter of perception. IMO a bidet is cleaner and cuts down on waste. I never thought of it but it’s a good idea!

  • Great list! I have heard of the cloth toilet wipes but have never even considered using them. The concept kind of grosses me out! And we don’t need any more laundry to do… #4 and #5 are just awful. For #4, you don’t need to be constantly keeping score, but you want to make sure the balance of thoughtfulness and friendship is relatively even over time.

  • #4 and #5 are the worst! I’m the same way with returning people’s favors – if someone does something nice for me, there’s no way I’m not going to do something in return. #5 sounds like something only a complete jerk would do, but it’s common, unfortunately.

  • Hi Ms FAF,

    I agree with you on all the above except that I can wear my tops for more than once. I don’t sweat much at all 😊.

    I watch the Extreme Cheapstake show sometimes, and I definitely learn what NOT to do 😀😀😀

    By the way I have tried to subscribe a few times today, and it’s not working.

    • Hi Ms99to1percent, thank you so much for your feedback and for letting me know about the subscription box! I think it’s great that you can wear your top more than once. I sweat A LOT, so it doesn’t really work for me >_< I just added a new subscription box below each post, and it seems to be not working. I had no idea until you told me @_@. I will look into this issue tonight. In the meantime, please feel free to use the box on the top right of the page. Thank you! ^.^

  • Another awesome post as usual mrs.faf. I must tell you, your blog is like a breath of fresh air among all the negative news, celebrity gossip and sponsored posts for useless stuff that i find as soon as i go online. Today my head was literally aching after reading the newspaper, and then i checked my mail and saw a new post from you. It instantly put a smile on my face. The way you write is so simple, honest, normal and uncomplicated. I am loving it, thank you.
    I agree wholeheartedly with all the above points, and follow them myself only i can wear my tops a few times without washing. I don’t sweat much at all too, even in peak summer, and i prefer wearing delicate tops so i don’t find the need to wash them so often.

    • Aww thank you, Pooja! Your comment brought a smile to my face too. You made me so happy! I like that I can just be myself on my blog and share my stories with you and others. It’s like a daily conversation I used to have with myself, but now I can share that with you as well. ^.^

  • Their should be line drawn when it comes to being frugal and being comfortable in your own skin. You can take frugality so far but their comes a point where trying to saving money isn’t worth it in some situations . The first three you mentioned are exactly that especially with shampoo. You can use alternatives to shampoo if you feel it’s okay with you and your hair but if not just keep using shampoo.

  • I’m with you on all 5 things.
    The underwear – I heard you can flip it for an extra day… 🙂
    Personally, I’d rather go commando than wearing dirty underwear.
    All rules are thrown out when we go camping, though.

    • Haha thanks for sharing your honest feedback. I can’t stop chuckling. I think Mr. FAF would agree with you on everything you just mentioned. I hear you on the camping scenario :p

  • I feel like 4 and 5 are just evil things to do.

    Also, very wise that you don’t lend others money unless you’re OK with them never returning it. I’ve seen families ripped apart over that one…

  • Well, the last one is simply rude! Being blessed with people who can help you out and repaying them by “forgetting” about it is downright rude. We would also never do that, especially since we were lucky to have close friends help up out when times were tough a few years ago. We used to feel guilty for borrowing $5 and not return it the second we promised we would, let alone forget about our debt completely.

  • My pet peeve is not returning a favor when someone does you a favor. It absolutely makes me crazy if someone has done something really nice for me and I fee like I haven’t done anything in return. The newspaper…. ugh. Haha! Thanks for the laughs! 😂

  • Can’t even begin to consider potentially using cloth wipes. No way! The first time I heard about them on FB, I was horrified. I’m getting an asian style bidet installed in later this month – big investment and it would take lots and lots of toilet paper to break even, but that’s not even a problem. Bidets are also healthier for you apparently – we’ll see!

  • Yes not doing 4/5 would mean the person is cheap, not frugal!

    I’ve tried a bidet before in Japan, the can be pretty pricey I think, it would be interesting to do a cost analysis of toilet paper money saved vs the cost of bidets and maintenance. 😉

    I don’t know about using newspaper to wipe the bottom. My luxury is having more than 1-ply toilet paper. My mother in law uses 1 ply toilet paper at her home (don’t tell her I told you) and I like my soft Charmin quilted thick toilet paper and refuse to compromise LOL.

  • I was wondering what toilet clothes were. It’s weird and interesting at the same time lol. Actually, this whole list is interesting and I can believe that some people will do this. I know actually know a few people that will ask to borrow money and never pay back.

  • All of these are no brainers to me! Love that you are stubborn with these philosophies. #4 is important to me because it is a courtesy. Someone took some time to make you a treat or decided to monetarily treat you to something. They didn’t do it because they were expecting something back, but you should at least consider returning the favor (in my opinion). #5 – would never intentionally not pay someone. That’s just not cool haha


  • These are all great points. We have actually discussed installing a bidet attachment to the toilet since that’s more common in Europe (where I’m from originally). As far as #3, I definitely agree that the baking soda and vinegar is not for everyone. One thing I do wash my hair less often. It’s better for it, it’s less drying and it saves on shampoo.

    I can’t believe people who do #5 can live with themselves. That’s just wrong.

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