My parents weren't cheap, they were frugal...back when that word had a higher meaning. It meant that you didn't waste the resources of the family. That every decision was discussed around a kitchen table or in the privacy of my parents bedroom and above all...you never, ever wasted food. Nowadays every American refrigerator has 18 salad dressing and seasonings bottles, bit's and pieces of 3 previous full course meals and the remnants of a variety of leftover take out foods. The bottom sliding drawers are normally filled on both sides with hundreds of small packets, condiments that folks dig through daily looking for anything left by Chick-Fil-a.
My Mom was a world class family cook and baker, every night was a home cooked meal on the table made from scratch and on the nights my father was home for dinner you would think you were sitting in a 3 star restaurant. Twice in my first 12 years of life I was invited over to dinner at a friends house. The first time they had pancakes for dinner and the second time they were eating lunch meat on white bread and Campbell's soup. I thought I lived in another world.
The reason there wasn't much in the fridge is that after dinner any leftovers would be divided up for lunches. If we had a roast, normally the popular and ever faithful "Eye" roast it would be cooled, thinly sliced and placed without condiments on bread, wrapped and stacked in the freezer. On school mornings it would be hauled out, swiped with mustard and placed in a paper bag with a napkin, piece of fruit and one of about 4 revolving notes from Mom basically disclosing that she loved us and to "be good".
It takes me about 2 hours to clean my refrigerators now once a month :-)