When Frugal is Stupid
I’m a huge fan of “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” when it is both practical and useful. There are thousands of uses for everyday household items that have outlived their primary purpose, and even more websites offering unique ways to bring new life to your old consumer goods. While these ideas can often be inspiring, I see many of them as cheap, tacky, and sometimes even unsafe. Here are those, that in my humble opinion, are the worst (and these really are listed all over the internet as legitimate uses.)
Credit Cards – The rough edges on a cut-up credit card make these ideas not too “sharp.”
Make a small notebook by punching holes and putting paper in between two.
Cut into pieces and string into a bracelet or necklace, or as charms.
Cover with sequins and cut into shapes; glue pin on back to make a brooch.
Punch holes and string to make a baby's mobile.
Cut into strips and put point on one end, round the other - instant collar stays.
Cut up to make guitar picks.
Hairspray – Because most of these ideas are aimed at the AquaNet crowd, the highly toxic nature of hairspray make them a no-no.
Ward off attackers - this stuff stings and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Use a little to groom your eyebrows.
Can be as a room freshener if scented.
Film Canisters – While I like the idea of storing small items like bolts and beads in them, these ideas are a little over the top.
Use them as candle molds. You can pour melted candles in with a wick.
Punch a hole in the bottom and thread a loop through. Decorate and use as a tree ornament.
Punch holes in the lids and use as salt and pepper shakers.
Fill with treats to give children for Halloween or other occasions.
Perhaps the most appalling idea I found while searching was this one for reusing plastic bags:
“Make a mask: cut BIG holes in a bag and place over your head - Parents, please supervise! Only for older kids because bags may cause suffocation.”
(Do I even need to go into why this one isn’t a winning concept?)
The lesson of the story is that cheap is not an excuse for stupid. Please use common sense when practicing frugality. And if you have questions about the validity of any money-saving claim, please contact any of our WiseBread authors. We would love to look into it for you!