25 Signs You Might Be a Frugal Living Rock Star

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Do you enjoy saving a buck more than most people?  Do you have a black belt in frugality? Are you a frugal living rock star?

Here are 25 surefire signs that you are embracing your cheap side.

How many things on this list apply to you?

  1. You take it as a personal challenge to see how long you can go without spending money. The game is even better if you have a spouse or friend with whom you can compete.
  2. You don’t let food go to waste. You have an ice cream tub in your freezer nearly full of odd bits of leftovers, awaiting their reincarnation into “leftover casserole” or “leftover soup”.
  3. It’s physically impossible for you to drive past an interesting-looking garbage pile at the curb during somebody else’s spring cleaning frenzy, much to the dismay of your children. (Although there’s always that one kid who’s excited to dig through the pile with you!)
  4. Your first stop at the grocery store is the “last day of sale” rack in each department. When you get home with your stash, you immediately set to freezing, dehydrating, or canning your inexpensive score.
  5. Your kid looks at a necklace or pair of earrings at the “cool” store and scoffs, “We could make this.”  Then she puts it back and asks you to take her to the thrift store for items to disassemble for the supplies to make her own accessories.
  6. You don’t have cable. Your viewing, if you watch television at all, is done via an internet subscription service or even a rabbit ear antenna on top of the TV.
  7. A day of yard-saling is planned out like a rock concert world tour. You have a mapped route of at least a half dozen sales, a thermos full of coffee, a wallet full of small bills, and a list including measurements of all empty spaces in your home that need to be filled, kitchen items you are seeking, books your daughter wants to read, and upcoming birthdays.  Your alarm is set the night before, a homemade blueberry muffin is wrapped up and ready to go on the counter, and your comfy clothes are laid out.
  8. Furthermore, you go to yard sales and estate sales on the last day so that you can get the “I don’t want to move this junk back inside” price.
  9. Before throwing anything in the garbage you take a few seconds to ponder how it might be reused. Then, you either compost it, put it aside for a re-purpose, or turn it into a homemade “log” for your fire.
  10. If something breaks, you try to fix it. If it must be replaced or purchased, you always look for a used version first before doling out the money for a new one.
  11. You have a frugal repair survival kit with duct tape and all manner of thrifty fixes.
  12. Instead of spending money on Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers, you have an assortment of sour cream tubs and empty spaghetti sauce jars for storing food. Your kids know to mismatch the lids to indicate the container holds something other than its original contents.
  13. You know how to darn socks….and you do it.
  14. You have a special super-skinny rubber spatula earmarked just for getting the very last bit of whatever out of jars and bottles in the kitchen.
  15. You wash and re-use sandwich baggies, and you’ve even rigged up a little drying rack for them beside your sink.
  16. You are outraged at the idea of spending $18 on a jug of laundry detergent because you could make a year’s supply for that amount of money.
  17. You save up for things instead of buying them on credit.
  18. You have recently advised your child to cut off that teeny bit of mold on the brick of cheese because the other side is just fine.
  19. You don’t carve the Jack-o-Lanterns until the day before Halloween so that you can cook, puree, and can the pumpkin the day after Halloween.
  20. You have (and use) a clothesline.  Year-round. In fact, you know from personal experience that laundry dries even if it freezes first.
  21. You know how to repair a plastic clothes hamper by “welding it” with a bread tag and a hot glue gun.
  22. The dish soap beside your sink is actually 50% dish soap and 50% water. As is the hand soap, the shampoo, and the body wash in the bathroom.
  23. You can’t really understand how other moms spend hundreds of dollars on scrapbooking supplies when your scrapbooks filled with reclaimed do-dads look just as awesome for mere pennies.
  24. The concept of spending money on a meal kit with all your food pre-chopped up for you is as foreign to you as the concept of riding an ostrich around your yard.
  25. When you need to buy something, your first stop is always the thrift store before you head off to Walmart or Target.

Does the list above make you say, “It’s like Daisy knows me!!!”? What are some other signs that you might be a frugal living rock star? We’ll do a reader’s choice version soon!

Resources to help you get your “cheap” on:

25 Signs You Might Be a Frugal Living Rock Star
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of TheOrganicPrepper.com, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

28 thoughts on “25 Signs You Might Be a Frugal Living Rock Star”

  1. Oh boy…I’m guilty of half of these. Although, full disclosure…I still buy brand name detergent to use on our clothes, and use homemade stuff on sheets, towels, and other household laundry. I’ve also been diluting our Dawn dish detergent for the last couple of years. Doing this has helped me make one of those big jugs last longer.

  2. I got a good, solid, 15. A couple of the others were maybes, mostly, because I don’t do yardsales. I am subscribed to half a dozen FB yardsale sites and most of my furniture comes from places, like that. 🙂

  3. This is me. Thank you for your posts. I live where everyone goes to the goodwill store because there are no department stores within walking distance.

  4. Retail is always a last resort and even then I see if Amazon has one used. With the grocery store, I search the BOGOS and the sales.

    And the clotheslines; well I have been using one for years. I dont miss it.

  5. You know how to use throwaway sliding glass doors to build a slant top passive solar water distiller per the Sharon Buydens book (titled “DIY: How to Build a Solar Water Distiller: Do It Yourself – Make a Solar Still to Purify H20 Without Electricity or Water) on Amazon.

    You know how to use a side cutting (aka “safe” cutting) can opener and a “church key” to make tin cans into reusable containers (with smooth-edged reusable lids) into not only other food containers but also hobo stoves, flip-over spacers for alcohol or esbit burners (to get the flame base to cookpot bottom distance optimal), and storage containers for an endless variety of things.

    You know that if you practice cooking on just one burner with stacking pots (boiling pot on bottom, steamer next, double boiler on top) and you can select the boiling pot that a magnet will stick to strongly, you can use that same cookware for camping, backpacking, cooking at home over any kind of burner, and even cooking on an induction burner (the magnet test is key here), you can get daily practice with the same gear that’s usable in a bug-out scenario. Oh, and if you size the boiling pot correctly you’ll have enough hot water left over to do dishes. And if you use some blueing compound or flat black paint on those pots, they can also be used in many solar panel cookers, solar box cookers, solar parabolic cookers or even Fresnel lens solar cookers.

    You know that on the rare occasions that you might use your neighborhood laundromat that in the last hour of each day, the manager typically cleans all the machines, and the lint from ALL those machines typically goes into the trash. If you volunteer to line his trash container with your large contractor size bag (for free), your chances of his saying yes to your request to take home all his day’s dryer lint (for fire starting) should be very good.

    You know that there are formulas for DIY making your own cold water compatible laundry detergent so you have a choice between machine (at home or laundromat) or hand washing most of your clothes for much less energy cost and longer clothes longevity. Here’s one of those DIY formulas (that also works in hot water):

    You know that if you dress more like an Indian in the summer time and more like an Eskimo in the winter that your energy costs go way down.

    You know that if you find a deal online — and use a credit card which you pay off before any interest charges run up — if there’s ever any identity theft problem you’ll probably have a much better chance of getting your money back than if you used a debit card (the legal protection is awful there) and you suffer no cost penalty for using that credit card. Frugality is more than just initial cost choices — it is very much about minimizing your risks of loss.


  6. Wow! You’re headed to the Frugal Rock Star Hall of Fame.

    Is it true that Nickleback became the very first Frugal Living Rock Stars when they sang “We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat?”

  7. I’m 1 1/2 hours away from yardsales and secondhand stores. Ebay and I are good friends. But I look at Craigslist and will drive to the city for the right price or free items.
    I’ve torn down decks and once a mobilehome to get materials. I’m still building things with the wood. But at 73 this greatgrandma may not do that do much deconstruction anymore.
    No freezer. But I can a lot. Leftovers make good soups, sauces, or things to eat over rice. I can with easy meals in mind. I cook that way too. I found one package of diced bonekess pork when shopping this week. $3 will make the two of us meat for three meals. Last night was pork in bbq sauce over rice with greenbeans. Tonight will be pork green chili stew made with onions and potatoes and home canned greenchili enchilada sauce. I bought a case of 24 boxes of cornbread mix for $6 so cornbread and stew is dinner tonight. Turkeys were $.50 lb so I bought a bigger one and a neighbor will roast it and send me back half. We’ll eat a few days and can the rest. I’ll boil the carcas for bone broth or soup if there is enough meat on it. Cranberries were 1/2 price so I’ll make more of my simple orange and crabberry sauce. That will go with the turkey then I’ll can any leftovers. It’s just as good raw or cooked.
    Yes I bargain shop and get a thrill at getting bargains.
    Our two conformable well made recliners were $40 and $30. Two wing back chairs had caught a quick rain shower before they could be covered. Seller looked at the water spots and gave me both of them. I soaked them with a hose and washed them with a brush and dawn dish soap. They sat on the deck till dry. Just two tiny water marks left and they look nice in my little living room with just the 4 chairs.
    Our home is a 4 year old. Mobilehome. I bought it a yearago. It was a repo that hadn’t been cleaned or repaired yet. I made a bid to the bank for for less than 1/2 book value. Dog poop allover the bedroom and livingroom carpet and a broken window. Bank took it. I paid some one $40 to pull and dispose of the living room carpet. I shampooed the bedroom carpet. I paid someone else to replace the window. $100. Then cash to a mover for move and set up. 16×56 home total cost was $26,340. Birch flooring for livingroon $0. Paint to get rid of all beige walls was $25, $0, $0. Paint for cabinets to brighten up kitchen, $18. It’s a well insulated(rated zone 2 for Akaska) and well built home. Built in storm windows. Front and back storm doors put on by previous owner. I added a gravity fed pellet burning rocket stove heater. The 16″ heat collector gets hot enough to cook or make coffee on. I’ve never used the propane furnace. We do use the propane water heater and propane cookstove. I own myown 350 gallon propane tank. Saves renting one. I didnt spend $9,000 to connect to electric so I’m buying parts to build my solar array. I still need a 4/1 junction box that just adds one more breaker as a safety feature, an mmpt charge controller, and an inverter. I have a pallet of 20, 270w panels, wires, connectors, and 6 100AmH batteries. I may put part here and get more parts to go with 8 panels to put power at my sons tiny home here on my land.
    For now I run a refrigerator, tv, and a lamp 2-3 hours a day on my 1400w generator (*free). 5 gallons of gas lasts most of 6 weeks. I open the fridge as little as possible.
    I garden, can, solar dry food, sew, recycle things here as much as possible into new uses or compost. We have chickens, ducks, and rabbits. Two good wells, one on commercial I power for now. The other the pump et was all stolen so I’m setting it up with a manual winch and I hope to order a well bucket soon.
    My water tests great and at 38° we are not worried about bacteria. I do filter drinking through sand and charcoal in a 5 gallon container as a precaution.
    I got 90 lbs of activated charcial free from craigslist. The container was marked down at Wal-Mart. It has the water dispenser on it. $4. A neighbor gave me a bag of new play sand. It was leftover from making a sandbox for his grandkids. If in in the city for Dr appointments or other business I look on craigslist for things I need or free stuff I might use. I picked up a well made cabinet with 10 drawers. It’s in a workshop. 15 premade drawers, a box of assorted drawer pulls, 100 sets of drawer glides, and a big box of assorted cabinet door hinges. Free from a cabinet shop gone out of business. Lots of left over wood from projects set on curbside with a free sign, several tables I’ve refinished and given away most of them. Free cabinets for the 2 shop buildings and a pantry i built in my “new” home. Many more but all free or real bargains. It keeps me busy and makes life interesting.

  8. CLERGYLADY’S mention of craigslist and eBay brought back some useful memories. There are ways to use either for cross-country deals that go way beyond any reasonable driving distance.

    You can search the entire country for deals listed on both craigslist AND eBay using this search website:


    So what do you do if the ad listing(s) says 1) local pickup only, and often 2) cash only — and your “find” is many states away from you? There is a way. Explore this website:


    You can find multiple shippers willing to bid on your business to do the local pickup, make payment, and ship the product back to you. I used them several years ago to handle an otherwise unobtainable estate sale bargain (many states away) that was stated as 1) local pickup only, and 2) cash only. When I explained to the seller that I could get cash to them, but that it would take about a week longer than if I used PayPal (this was an eBay listing). The seller changed her mind and OKed the PayPal approach since I was obviously a serious buyer.

    The result was that the winning uship bidder was able to pick up for me a mint condition hybrid (meaning it had both solar and electric capability) Tulsi solar box cooker (made in India, but without the camouflage paint on the ones issued to the Indian army) for a fraction of the original new price.

    The point is that uship is the missing piece to the puzzle of bargain hunting anywhere in the country.


  9. I find this article actually problematic. There is a hidden assumption here. I don’t do almost any of these. Not because I am not frugal. I can’t. Poor health over the years lead me, over the years, to do many of the “wasteful” things mentioned. Today I live in assisted living with a caregiver. Do you think I can dream of doing these? The closest I get is scouring online deals to get the best I can.

    1. Hana, hang in there. You are just as frugal in mindset as anyone else, and should be proud of your efforts. The whole idea, as I understand it, is to make do with the best of what you can rather than always defaulting to the expensive and easy option. If you’re finding online deals, then you’re being frugal with your resources. I think it’s just like prepping – some people have land where they can do everything suggested, and some of us live in tiny urban apartments and do what we can. We’re all in the same mindset. I think your reminder is valuable to all of us to remember it’s choosing to make do with a moderate amount of things and being creative about our lifestyle that makes us frugal. You may not have the material or physical ability of some others, but you just shared your wisdom for free on this site, and that’s a great reminder and a bargain on advice for all of us! God bless.

  10. 1.You take it as a personal challenge to see how long you can go without spending money…
    No. But it had better be actually saving me money I’d have to spend anyway.

    2.You don’t let food go to waste. True! Warm up, Remake, Can it, Sun dry it, or serve it over rice.

    3. It’s physically impossible for you to drive past an interesting-looking garbage pile. YUP, Pure gold without making the investment.

    4. Your first stop at any store is the “last day of sale” rack or clearance isle..

    5. Your kid looks at a necklace or pair of earrings …” you could make that.”

    6. Tv via roof mounted antenna.

    7. A day in the city means scanning Craigslist first.

    8. I only stop at an estate sale if it a last day afternoon.

    9. Before throwing anything in the garbage you take a few seconds to ponder how it might be reused..

    10. If something breaks, you try to fix it. Then look for a used one.

    11. You have a frugal repair survival kit with duct tape, E-600 glue, saved nails and screws, super glue, and hot glue. Yup!

    12. Instead of spending money on Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers, you have an assortment of food tubs and empty jars for storing food. You know it!

    13. You know how to darn socks….and you do it. Actually I do know and I have 2 antique darning eggs… but no I don’t actually darn my socks. It’s too slow for me. My time is better spent other ways.

    14. You have a special super-skinny rubber spatula… sure do.

    15. You wash and re-use sandwich baggies, and you’ve even rigged up a little drying rack.. husband made it.. 🙂

    16. $18 on a jug of laundry detergent.. I make myown thank you.

    17. You save up for things, by choice no credit.

    18. cut off that mold on the cheese.. yup

    19. You don’t carve Jack-o-Lanterns so that you can cook, puree, and can the pumpkin..

    20. I have (and use) 3 folding racks to dry laundry..

    21. Yes. I know how to repair a plastic clothes hamper.

    22. The dish soap beside your sink is actually 50% dish soap and 50% water. As is the hand soap, and the body wash. Shampoo is 1 or 2 tablespoons in 16 oz of warm water when I wash my hair.

    23. I can’t really understand how other moms spend hundreds of dollars on scrapbooking supplies. I don’t scrapbook. I garden, can, sew, build and otherwise stay busy. Photos are on computer and a rewritable CD. Family gets copies of the CD.

    24. The concept of spending money on a meal kit with all the food pre-chopped up is as foreign as the concept of riding an ostrich around the yard. I have knife skills. I love fresh food. That’s the point of gardening and canning.

    25. When I need to buy something, my first stop is always eBay or craigslist before Walmart.

    My frugal youngest son has a $80 per month storage unit to hold things he’s refinishing, will move home, will resell, or gift to family and friends. A city apartment would stop all that. It gives him a place to keep a work bench and tools. I store things here in sheds and have work areas set up. I have room and it’s worth some expense.

    *I even see Craigslist sellers selling out of a storage unit.

    My canning supplies and gardening supplies are stored in an outgrown tree house a neighbors kids had. He moved it over here on a pickup truck. I put shelves in it.

    My current projects are two bookcases being made in two deep drawers with cut up cabinet doors making the shelves and cleats. Two more drawers on a 2×4 frame with casters are being assembled as underbed storage. A pickup full of drawers, glides, pulls, and hinges were Craigslist free from a cabinet shop that had gone out of business.

  11. You cruise the neighborhoods with a lot of rental properties at the end of the month, looking for ‘goodies’ left on the curb for pickup. I got leftover cleaning supplies ,paper towels, the cleaning caddy, new shoes/boots in the box, new igloo cooler, books, bath rugs, new sheet set, canned goods, LED light ring. I put the boots and shoes on EBAY and keeping the rest.
    Another time was pavers and bricks ,PVC pipe, drywall, crown moulding, wooden shutters. Look at houses that were recently sold, because the new owners may be remodeling or replacing so you can find vintage cabinets,sinks,furniture,etc

  12. I love this article! I found the TightWad Gazette at a thrift shop for a dollar! I love that book. I’m sure I would enjoy yours as well. I am definitely a frugalite!

  13. #26. You pull the wax liner out of Cereal Boxes and cut it into squares to put over dishes of food being warmed up in the Microwave.
    #27. You own a “Drip-It” Funnel to get every last bit out of a bottle.

  14. Yard Sales! My husband and I are the parents to 14 children adopted from foster care. He is a blue collar worker and I am a full time stay at home mom/wife/family coordinator. We live debt free on his income.

    Our 21 year old daughter is a full time student as well as working three days a week in a corporate environment where dressing well is required/expected. 95% of her clothing comes from yard sales. People are always asking her where she shops because of the quality and style of her clothes.

    Our sons wear the same name brand, usually sports themed clothes, that seems to be so important to boys of this age. I buy them at yard sales for .50-1.00 each.

    For the baby I not only buy what she currently needs but stay on the lookout for the clothing she will need in the future. She is the best dressed baby around!

    Yes, yard-saling is rather hit or miss. . Sometimes I may stop at several sales before finding something we can use. But when I hit the jackpot, Eureka! Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes! I usually go for a few hours three or four times a year. I love it; not only for the great bargains but hey, it’s a treasure hunt! Give it a shot. You too might become addicted. Oh, and don’t forget to bargain on the prices. It’s part of the game.

  15. I found a bunch of plastic rain gutter down spout pipes. I used long threaded rods that I found a month earlier and built a raise garden bed.

    Turned a kid’s old plastic sandbox into a herb garden.

  16. Great list, but I rarely go to yard sales…I look at the Free section on Craigslist instead lol
    This is me to a tee!!

  17. I never go to garage sales, wash plastic baggies, or have a bucket in the basement (don’t have a basement) with food scraps for soups and stews. I really only got one out of the twenty five, which was the the meal kit thing. I am not in debt and have a credit card. But I landed on your site just in case I am in debt one day and have to cut back to the bare minimum. I do cook a lot of my own meals, though, and cut up my own vegetables. And I don’t watch cable–that’s my husband. Maybe I’ll just surf the urge to spend, and get skinny if I need to cut way back if this big crash they are predicting ever arrives.

  18. That’s me to a T! I’m so frugal I don’t turn my thermostat higher then 15C/59F in the dead of winter. My daughter is thinking of calling child services??

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