Friday, December 30, 2011

20 frugal Tips from Your Grandma

frugal tips from grandma
Frugal Tips from Grandma
As I was scraping butter off the paper and into the cookie batter I was reminded that everything I know about saving money I learned from either my grandmother, my mother or my aunt. They were the original experts on reducing, reusing and recycling (usually as an arts and crafts project but sometimes as a household item). Here is a list I have compiled, perhaps you will recognize a few. Does anyone remember the soap savers like the one pictured below?

#Money Saving Tip Number 1/Use a Spatula

Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Use a butter knife to scrape the butter or margarine off the paper; a spatula to clean batter from the bowl.

#Money Saving Tip Number 2/Use the Butter Container

Save your plastic butter containers. That butter container can double as "Tupperware" (my grandma had a cabinet full when she passed, kind of like the "Friends" episode with the Sweet & Low).  I can remember several gifts given to our family in the form of homemade strawberry jelly in a sealed glass pickle or mayo jar. Few people these days you can reuse those jars with a standard canning jar lid.

#Money Saving Tip Number 3/Use the Grocery Bag

Plastic grocery bags make great bathroom trashcan liners.

#Money Saving Tip Number 4/Use that Brown Box

My grandma didn't go to Target and buy plastic closet caddies, she made her own from used boxes and contact paper.

#Money Saving Tip Number 5/Can and Freeze

Every year my Aunt Clara planted a fruit and vegetable garden and all summer long she home canned enough jam, pickles and other essentials to feed her family and give wedding and holiday gifts to the rest of us.

#Money Saving Tip Number 6/Repurpose the T-Shirts

T-shirts and unmentionables with holes? Those make great cleaning clothes, quilt filling and rag rugs. In fact, white t-shirts are great on glass. We also used newspapers on glass for a streak free shine.

#Money Saving Tip Number 7/Turn Out the Lights

Don't turn the lights on until you need them. grandpa took this to extreme. It literally had to be dark outside before he would let you near the reading lamp, but I sure do miss him and it is good advice.

#Money Saving Tip Number 8/Eat at Home

Eat at home and cook with what you have in your cabinet (this is probably why I always keep powdered or canned milk on hand). Even if you only eat at home some of the week you will #save more money than eating out all week long.

#Money Saving Tip Number 9/Patch it, Paint it, Duct Tape it if you can

Fix it till it completely falls apart; patch it, paint it, duct tape it. This one is hard to do considering the quality of merchandise that we are left with these days, but the basic principle holds true. If your sofa is looking bare, slipcover it, if a book binding is falling apart tape it (packing tape and neutral duct tape work great for non-collectible books). I remember my parents and grandparents sanding and painting the same bedroom suits and dinning room tables over fifty years. They were satisfied to give it a new look rather than going shopping on credit.

#Money Saving Tip 10/Service is a Luxury

As long as you can bend over, paint your own toe nails, clean your own house and wash your own car. It is also highly recommended that you mow your own lawn unless you have a teenage son or daughter.

#Money Saving Tip 11/Sew it

If your clothes become too small or become torn, sew a patch on it. My grandma was noted for using lace (which was great for us girls and lol for the boys). Denim works just as good too.

#Money Saving Tip 12/Take Your Snacks with You

Make your own popcorn and take it to the movie theater in a bread bag. I have a great memory from when I was a teen visiting my older brother in CA. Although he had embraced the sunny California life, he still showed up at the movie theater to see Top Gun with a bread bag of popcorn and candy bars in his pocket.

#Money Saving tip 13/ Bake Your Own Cakes

Bake your own birthday cakes. This one is a little tough with all the beautiful character cakes in the stores but if you get your kids used to it when they are young they will look forward to it. In fact, my kids get into the planning and surf the web for great decorating ideas. If you are artistically challenged then an alternative is to pick up some inexpensive sprinkles and cake toppers at the party store. We also make our own party favor bags and we don't do a big party every year. It is a great way of teaching our kids to make choices.

#Money Saving Tip 14/Freeze Your Leftovers

If you aren't going to eat it before it expires freeze it. If it is a fresh vegetable, cook it and then freeze it or serve it for dinner.

#Money Saving Tip 15/Shred your own cheese.

If it is about to grow mold, shred it and freeze it.

#Money Saving Tip 16/ Buy on Sale

Wait for it to go on sale or even clearance. This one is so true with the holidays. Resist the temptation to go out and buy new decorations for a holiday, instead save your money and stock up the day after when they are 75% off. You will have new ones next year and more money in your pocket.

#Money Saving Tip 17/Pack a Lunch

Take your lunch to work. Invest in microwavable containers and take last nights leftovers. We take this a step further with our kids. When we are going to be out running errands all day, we #save money on fast food by packing a "snack bag."

#Money Saving Tip 18/ Use Less Meat

We buy our meat in bulk, divide it into just under a full pound servings and vacuum seal it for the deep freeze. We have done this for so long that when we use a full pound of ground beef in a recipe it just doesn't taste right. It's much healthier too, less fat and calories per serving.

#Money Saving Tip 19/Save Gas

Carpool, walk to work, plan your errands. Just think about how much gas your are using in general. My grandpa only filled his car once every two weeks.

#Money Saving Tip 20/ Use the Waste

Do you remember pie crust cookies? or if you were unlucky, leftover casserole on Saturday morning (I don't recommend this, it was pretty scary). See my post Love Affair with Leftovers for some better ideas.

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

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frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8