New England frugality is not a myth. It's the real deal. I was raised that way by a Mid-Westerner whose roots originated in Revolutionary New England. This distinctive trait must explain why Dad liked to "recycle" before it was called that. He'd re-use large mailers by sticking a label over the old address with a new address & putting a postage label stamp over the old postage. If he could unstick a used stamp without USPS indicia, he'd reuse it.
In those days, soda came in 7 or 8 oz glass bottles. It was common practice to save the bottles and return to the store for a refund. Plastic, the seminal one word response about the future from "The Graduate", was not much of a presence in the 1960s.
We had a compost pile in the "way back" ( that area of back yard nobody could see as it was screened by tall bushes.) The compost pile began after incinerators were outlawed in the City of Los Angeles. He saved foil and reused. He collected rainwater under the dripping eaves of our home. No idea what he did with it. He saved stale bread to feed the birds. He wore ancient wool socks, preferring to have them darned over buying a new pair. My mother was NOT into that. He was tight as a tick. Thank goodness my mother oversaw the bills and the books. She was just the opposite which balanced things nicely for us kids. I'm becoming a chip off the old block. I won't get a smart phone, I find myself saving foil. I started a compost pile. I save my stale bread to make bread crumbs for cooking.
Do you think it's genetic?