My great grandparents were the textbook definition of frugal. When gasoline surpassed nine cents a gallon, they brought the work horses back out of the barn, and stuck the international tractor in their place. Great Grandpa Melvin would chew the coffee grounds at the bottom of his mug so it wouldn’t be wasted, and Great Grandma Grace reused the same roll of aluminum foil from the late 70s, well into the mid 00s. They were well off financially, but they sure never acted like it. Truly, their hard work, dedication, and accomplishments were stunning and admirable. There’s so much we can learn from not only them, but that entire generation born in the late 1910s to early 1930s. They knew what hardship was, and they lived such frugal lives that they ensured they would never face it again.
Today I wanted to take some of my awe and inspiration for this generation and turn it into a money saving post for you guys. Without further ado, lets get into it!
Granny Money Hack #1- Make it Yourself
- Make your own toothpaste
- Make your own deodorant
- Make your own laundry detergent
- Make your own dish detergent
- Make your own dry shampoo
- Make your own all-purpose cleaner
- Make your own shaving cream
- Make your own body wash
- Make your own pest repellent
- Make your own makeup (foundation powder)
- Make your own mascara
- Make your own eye makeup remover
- Make your own nail polish remover
- Make your own ice packs
- Make your own glue
- Make your own dog food
- Make your own cat food
- Make your own cough syrup
- Make your own vaporub (like Vick’s!)
- Make your own grocery list, meal plan, a budget, keep track of your bills, and set some goals, using the same free printables that I use.
- Cook from scratch by making your own bread, jam, pudding, taco seasoning, croutons, salsa, potato chips, brownies, hamburger helper, peanut butter, bisquick, ranch dressing (that tastes way better with wayyyy fewer calories!), and pasta.
- Grow your own garden, even if you can only do that indoors
- Preserve your food. Freeze chicken eggs, can vegetables and sauces, freeze meats, and pickle cucumbers.
- Trade cokes, store made teas, and specialty coffees for homemade coffee, tea, and water.
- Actually, make almost all of your food and drink at home. It doesn’t have to be “gross” or “different”, look up imitation recipes for your favorite store or restaurant-made drinks and meals.
- Shred your own cheese, its much cheaper than buying pre-shredded, it tastes much better, and it’s therapeutic.
Granny Money Hack #2- Reuse it Again (and again!)
Empty product container? Reuse it! Butter/sour cream/cottage cheese/etc containers are nearly free tupperware containers. Empty glass jars, such as pickle jars, are cheap mason jar alternatives. And tin cans make great little planters for houseplants and starter garden seeds.
Do like Grandma Grace and wash your tin foil, plastic bags, and other “disposable” items. Tin foil can also be balled up and used as a scrub brush (like steel wool), or thrown in with your laundry in the dryer for up to 6 months as a dryer sheet replacement.
Compost. I have a large airtight container under my sink that I throw my eggshells, tea, and coffee grounds into. This is great for soil quality for my houseplants, and my garden (that I’ll be putting out this year). Outside, I have a compost bin for kitty litter, old kitchen grease, cardboard, paper, and any food that doesn’t get eaten (what a shame!). Coffee that doesn’t get drank is given to my plants once room temperature.
If you’re not a fan of simply reheating leftovers, try to make something new out of the leftovers. Monday’s leftover baked chicken could be Tuesday’s casserole or soup.
Buy secondhand clothes, kid’s toys, furniture (you can even buy mattresses that have been returned to the store), hobby items (kayaks, knitting supplies, show shoes, etc), tools, appliances, and more.
Disposable items have gotta go! Check out these reusable (money saving) items:
- this sophisticated (very affordable) razor
- this menstrual cup
- these reusable feminine pads
- these reusable cloth diapers (yes, those are still a thing, and they’re nothing like what your granny used!).
- these cloth napkins
- these washcloths
- these favorite plates of mine (they’re reusable, attractive, and super easy to clean)
- this adorable tote bag
Granny Money Hack #3- Take Care of What’s Yours
Wash your clothes less. Not only does it save you water, electricity, and detergent, but it also keeps your clothes in better condition. One of my favorite cleaning hacks is to throw clothes into the freezer overnight to kill bacteria and make them smell new again. I had a pair of gross (but so loved!) yoga pants that were perfect for jogging and CrossFit. But the sweat smell just never went away. For almost 3 years I put up with the stinkiness (EW!) until I finally tried this hack. Now there’s absolutely no smell to them!
Fix what’s broken. This applies to more than just mending clothes.
- Ugly dresser? Sand it down and repaint or restain.
- Saggy, torn, or otherwise gross couch? Reupholster it.
- Faded out clothes? Dye them back.
- Car making a funny sound? Check it out before it becomes an issue, or better yet, do regular checkups and maintenance.
Granny Money Hack #4- Find Entertainment Elsewhere
Granny didn’t have a big television with hundreds of channels and a DVR box. She didn’t have the internet to keep her company. She didn’t go to concerts (or heck, maybe she did if she was a cool Woodstock granny). When she was alone, she worked around the house (see Hack #3), she gardened, and she cooked, and cleaned. When company came over, she drank coffee or tea with them, or played board or card games. Conversation was the entertainment, and the fuel of those talks usually involved books, current events, ideas, and future plans. Granny didn’t need a source of “fun” entertainment, and neither do we.
Work on improvement, for your mind, your body, your home, your relationships, and your finances.
Granny Money Hack #5- Simplify
- Cut the cable
- Eat more foods that require very basic ingredients, such as beans, rice, soup, and pasta.
- Eat one ingredient foods, like vegetables
- Live in a smaller home
- Have a tiny wardrobe
- Get rid of your smartphone
- Stop mowing your lawn by replacing it with rocks, or a garden.
- Exercise by doing your chores- such as cleaning house, gardening, or walking your dog more often and longer
- Downsize your vehicles, because they’re more expensive that you think
- Use less electricity, propane, fuel, and wood for your heating, and more blanket, jackets, and socks
- Have more meatless meals
- Keep a box in your refrigerator, and put leftovers and soon-to-expire foods in it so you know to eat those first- less food waste
- Use fewer gadgets– you don’t need a bread maker, popcorn popper, or pizza maker if you have an oven with a stovetop
- For many people, myself included, vinegar works better than shampoo when it comes to hair washing
- Make friends with your neighbors. Take them meals occasionally, help them when they’re sick, and let it be known that you want to be friends. You can borrow ingredients, tools, and labor (like pet or babysitting) from one another- rather than buying, renting, or paying someone else.
- Have potluck dinners, rather than nights out in town, with your friends, family and new neighbor friends.
⁃ Did you have a homesteading granny?
⁃ How do you save money?
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