Finding ways to cut corners can be a great way to save every month. After all, the little things add up, especially when you have kids.
But the parents in this Reddit thread took penny-pinching to a whole new level. While they may have saved a few dollars and cents, they managed to seriously embarrass their kids along the way.
Comments have been edited for grammar and clarity.
1. Priceless paper towels
My dad hoards his paper towels.
To this day he still expects me ask permission to use them (I'm 21) because he doesn't want me "wasting them."
I remember growing up thinking that it was a $100 bucks for a roll because he was so concerned about preserving them.
While my girlfriend and I were at his house, I dropped a gallon of milk and it went everywhere. She immediately grabbed paper towels and began using the whole roll to soak up the mess.
The look on my dad's face when he found out we used a whole roll was priceless. I knew he wouldn't yell at my girlfriend, but, he was visibly holding back his pain, anger and heartbreak over the "wasted" roll.
2. Bargaining over bus fare
My mother tried to convince ticket seller that I was 6 years old (I was actually 12) and that my brother was 12 years old (he was actually 19) to save $6 on bus tickets.
My brother was 6’6, had a beard and was smoking a cigarette.
Needless to say my mother did not get the reduced price.
3. Riding in style
The exterior of our family minivan must have been 70% duct tape by the time it was retired.
My father was a terrible driver, but refused to pay for new paint.
It was a running joke that we'd put fresh patches on before a big event like a wedding or prom.
4. Scrooge-y stepmother
My ex stepmother was like every evil Disney stepmother ever.
She was loaded but was super stingy. When we all stayed at her house, she made my dad bring our own food every time.
One time we forgot, so she fed us 65 cent tinned tomatoes.
5. Lousy leftovers
My parents once went out to dinner, and when they came back they had two full doggy bags of food.
I hadn’t eaten all day, so I asked if I could have some of my stepmother’s leftovers.
She said, “Sure!”
After I ate she said, “I paid $20 for my meal, and that was roughly half of it, so you owe me…”
No, I’m not kidding.
6. How thoughtful
I've been getting re-gifted presents for Christmas since I was a kid. And not like presents from other people that were then given to me. No.
My favorite jacket would go missing for six months, only to be “found” under the tree as one of my presents.
Just had my 30th birthday — I was gifted a Swiss Army knife I had when I was a kid.
7. Bare threads
My parents would give our children clothing as Christmas and birthday presents.
After our divorce, I found out my ex-wife was taking the new clothes and selling them on Craigslist, and then would buy cheaper clothes from Goodwill.
Now my family makes sure I get the clothes.
When I visit, I have to always make sure they come back with the same clothes they were wearing when they left.
8. Hammers and nails
When my parents had the family home refurbished, my father would carefully extract the nails from the ripped-out woodwork with a claw hammer.
He would then hammer them straight again and put them in tins for re-use along with unused nails.
For years afterwards, every third or fourth nail you used from his workshop would bend on the first wallop from a hammer. You'd hit your thumb every time.
9. Like talking to a brick wall
When we demolished our brick garage, my dad made us clean every cement-coated brick with a pickaxe for future use. It took nearly a year. He saved only about $500.
Some of his more extreme cheapskate tendencies?
He saves candy wrappers because "they may be useful."
Most of our furniture is stuff people threw out on the street.
We use soap for shaving cream and shampoo.
There are many more examples. He doesn't understand the value of time over pennies.
10. Grandma kept receipts
When my grandmother and grandfather got married they did their gift registry with Sears.
That was back in the late 1940s, when Sears had a “lifetime guarantee” on almost everything they sold.
My Grandmother has moved almost ten times, but she's kept every single flattened box and warranty for every appliance she got when she was married.
About two years ago I drove her to Sears to get her iron replaced, and she brought all of the boxing and paperwork from 70 years ago.
They actually honored the "lifetime guarantee" and gave her a new iron!
I think it's hilarious, but she literally hasn't had to pay for a new appliance in over 60 years because she's so cheap. She's a Ukrainian immigrant, and she always insists that, "Lifetime guarantee means lifetime guarantee."
11. Dollars for duct tape
When I was in middle school, a few friends and I built a fort in my backyard.
We used mostly cardboard but also tarps and whatever else we could find. We held it all together with duct tape.
My dad thought it was great, but when we were done and it was time to take down the fort, my dad said, "Make sure you save all the tape that's still sticky."
He seriously had me make a roll of used duct tape that he suggested I "use first" before using any new duct tape.
Not too long after that, the battery cover to my cell phone broke. I made it stay on using used duct tape.
12. Language barrier
My dad returned a video game I got on my birthday because he said he "could get it cheaper from the Middle East."
So after playing a little bit on my birthday, I had to wait another week until the new copy was delivered.
Wouldn't you know it — the entire game was in Arabic.
13. Father Christmas
My mom would date richer guys around the holidays so we could have Christmas presents to open.
14. PlayStation got played
Me and my brother used our own money we saved up together to buy a PlayStation 2, as well as Red Faction for a game.
Our dad took it back to the store because, apparently, the graphics “don’t look any different than the PlayStation 1.”
He pocketed the money.
15. Being cheap is expensive
My parents don't understand the concept of investing a few more dollars for a much better quality product.
They've always bought cheap stuff that needed to be replaced all the time.
When I was in high school and they bought me clothing, they'd get me a $20 pair of jeans that would fall apart after a few washes.
They'd buy one pair of $5 shoes from Kmart because they were the cheapest, but they were also the most uncomfortable.
They'd wear out in a month.
I'm in my early 20s now and teaching myself to buy for quality items.
I bought myself a pair of Dr. Martens in 2015. I've worn them practically every single day since I bought them, and they're still solid and in good shape.
16. Stingy soap
When my dad moved into his house, he had a guy come over to do a free demonstration for a water filter that goes under the sink.
The guy used a bar of soap for his demonstration and left it when he was done.
My dad couldn't help himself — he called at least four other companies for a "free demonstration" just to keep the free bar of soap, and never intended to have a water filter installed.
He does things like this, and it's gotten worse as he's gotten older. Seems like a lot of effort just for small freebies. But I just let him do his thing.
17. Grabby granny
When I was a little kid I used to spend summers at my grandparents' house, and one of my chores was to set the table before dinner every night.
Whenever we were having company over for dinner, I was instructed to use "the good napkins." That meant the napkins that didn't have restaurant logos printed on them.
My grandmother had an enormous purse, and whenever we went out to eat she would stuff it full of napkins and food from the buffet. She didn't see much point in going to any restaurant that didn't at least have a salad bar.
One year, when my mother and I offered to take her to dinner for her birthday, we ended up having to drive over an hour to get to a Sizzler she hadn't been banned from.
18. Permission to launch
My stepfather keeps all the toilet paper in his room.
We have two bathrooms and every time the toilet paper runs out in my bathroom, I have to ask for a new roll, which then devolves into a 20 minute lecture about "not wasting paper."
I feel like I have to apologize for just going to the bathroom.
19. Multiuse paper towels
My grandma uses the same paper towel over and over again.
She'll wash it and hang it up to dry.
So whenever my family and I visit my grandma, we always make sure to throw it out.
She buys new groceries and other toiletries but for some reason she thinks that throwing away paper towels is extremely wasteful.
20. No flaws in that plan, Grandma
I was renting a house from my grandmother and my door got kicked in.
The deadbolt lock was bent about twenty degrees. Instead of replacing it, she wanted my dad to just hammer it straight and reuse it.
When someone moves out of one of her rental houses instead of replacing the lock, she'll swap it with a lock on another house.
She says that whoever lived there may have had a key, but now they won't know where the lock is.
This might work if all of her houses weren't in a row.
21. Getting licked on postage
My grandmother found out that the late fee on her water bill was less than the cost of a stamp.
For years and years she would skip every other water bill and just pay both bills at once, saving maybe 30 cents each month.
It wasn't that she didn't have the money. But, once she found out about the slight difference, her cheapness took over.
22. Father dearest (and cheapest)
My dad was cheap, bordering on kleptomania.
I once wanted a volleyball, so he went to Sears and put a Mikasa pro ball inside the box of a cheaper brand so he would get the good one for less.
Another time, he bought some materials to fix up the house, and slipped a little jar of spackle into his shopping bag when he thought the cashier wasn't looking.
The cashier realized the jar was in the bag and asked if he was going to pay for that too.
He then blamed me and reamed me out for "stealing." I was nine years old.
He always did that sort of thing and, much to our embarrassment. He's still cheap, but not to that extent anymore.
23. Getting his money’s worth
My dad was getting a hip replacement and the day before the operation, I came home to find him writhing in pain as he mowed the lawn with a push mower.
When I asked him what the heck he was doing he replied, "Using the old one up before getting a new one."
24. Parking lot pennies
My grandmother goes for walks and picks up change when she sees it.
She also looks for change in parking lots when she parks.
Once she found that a nickel was cemented into the parking lot, and spent half an hour on her hands and knees trying to extract it.
She now has an ice axe in her trunk in case she has that problem again.
25. A real packet-rat
My dad eats ramen noodles but seasons it with other things, so he keeps the flavor packets in an overflowing reusable baggie.
I swear we have 100 of those things. It does come in handy though when you run out of your favorite flavor of ramen, but I feel like we have enough to outlive us both.
My dad also saves every sauce packet we get from fast food places. It gets embarrassing because when we go to a fast food place, he'll shovel in tons of ketchup, vinegar, salt and pepper packets.
There's a bag of them in the fridge and we do actually use them on occasion, but they've got to be getting pretty old by now.
26. The almighty dollar
My father is pathologically cheap.
He only looks at dollar amount. Literally nothing else. If he sees a six pack of toilet paper for $5 and a twelve pack of toilet paper for $7, he'll buy the $5 pack, every time, guaranteed.
You can already imagine how any major purchase goes with him. When I was about eight, he decided to buy a house.
Back then, you could buy something relatively decent in my area for $110,000. We're talking newer cabinets, newer floors, interior appointments like trim, newer doors and windows.
He ended up buying a dilapidated house for $89,000. It had been built in 1947.
The guy who built the place was just as cheap as my dad. All of the windows and doors were original. It still had its original asbestos siding. No interior doors except the bathroom door, which itself had no knob. No kitchen cabinets or counters.
The living room floor was bare plywood, the ground floor bedroom had linoleum haphazardly unrolled onto it.
So essentially, he "saved" $21,000 when buying the house, but has had to put way, way more than that into it over the years.
27. Towel racket
My father was in the restroom at the mall one day and noticed that the janitor came in and replaced a roll of paper towels even though they were still 75% new.
Turns out it was cheaper to replace them every time than it was to have someone check on them more often.
So, my father strikes up a conversation with the guy and is able to talk him into getting all the partially used (and very rough, 1-ply) paper towels. And that's how my family didn't pay for paper towels for four years.
Growing up as a child — bath time. Fill the tub up a few inches with cold water, and then add a pot full of boiling water from the free wood stove, which is the only thing we used to heat our house.
Is it summer? Time to shower outside, using the free hot water that we get from the solar panels my dad installed to heat the pool.
29. Costco effective
My father took insane advantage of Costco's generous return policy. He returned an outdoor furniture set we'd had for about eight years. It was weather-worn and a couple pieces were broken.
They actually took it back, and he used the money to pay for most of a new patio set.
30. A match made in cheapskate heaven
My parents split everything.
My mom had her shampoo, my dad had his.
They had their own toothpaste, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, food, drinks and so on.
One day, my dad was sick and needed some Pepto Bismol.
He didn't have any, but my mom did.
My mom measured out 15 ml, then divided that by the cost and my dad paid her the 23 cents.