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Seven old-fashioned money-saving tips

Serena Cowdy
by Lovemoney Staff Serena Cowdy on 06 April 2010  |  Comments 4 comments

Think like grandma and save a fortune with these old-style money-saving tips!

It seems that a lot of good, common-sense thinking has passed my generation by. And when it comes to living frugally and within our means, our grandparents could really teach us a thing or two.

Here are seven money-saving tips from a more frugal age. As many Britons struggle in mires of our own debt, it seems that these financial remedies are becoming fashionable all over again!

1. Waste not want not

One of the fundamental tenets of frugal living, this can be applied to food, water, energy, clothing and practically every other everyday resource.

Did you know Britons throw away around 8.3 milion tonnes of food every year? LoveFoodHateWaste is a website packed with tips on how to avoid food waste, and it has a whole section dedicated to recipes for leftovers.

Small everyday steps can end up making a big difference. For example, use a rubber spatula to get the last remnants out of spread jars, and cut a corner off the bottom of your toothpaste tube to get to the bit you can’t quite reach.

For a cold glass of tap water, keep a bottle in the fridge instead of running the tap for ages. And turn the tap off when you clean your teeth!

Mend your existing clothes rather than buying new ones - read this article to find out how.

And make the most of the energy you use. For example, if you’re using the oven, try to cook a whole meal in there, rather than using the hob as well. Afterwards, leave the oven door open for a while and use it instead of the radiator to heat the room.

2. Natural solutions

Apparently, people really did get by before the invention of Mr Muscle, Jif/Cif and Cillit Bang. In fact, many natural cleaning products are much cheaper to use and do the job just as well.

White vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice are all must-have household items. You can find out how to use them all in The top seven stingiest money-saving tips. Kim and Aggie’s top 10 natural cleaning tips are also worth a look.

3. Back to basics

Are you acquainted with soap? I’m not suggesting you’re dirty… but I think millions of us are spending over the odds on over-packaged, over-hyped personal hygiene products.

In many cases, a simple bar of soap would work just as well as a pricy pink shower gel, or a posh pressurised shaving foam.

4. Community spirit

Remember when your front door was always open and neighbours used to look out for each other? Neither do I. I doubt leaving your front door unlocked is ever a good idea, but I do think Britain would benefit from a bit more community spirit.

Instead of spending money, use community freebie sites like Freegle and SnaffleUp to pick up free items other people don’t want. Just remember to give something back when you can. If you don’t, you’ve rather missed the point of community spirit.

And if you have a neighbour who lives alone, ask them round for dinner once in a while, or cook a little extra to take next door. This won’t save you money immediately, but what goes around, comes around - wouldn’t it be nice if someone helped you out when you were on your uppers?

5. The great outdoors

The ‘staycation’ wasn’t invented in the late noughties. Before cheap overseas breaks became the norm, most Britons’ holiday involved a journey within the UK and (if you were lucky) a trip to the seaside.

There are so many fantastic things to see and do in the UK, so check out the VisitBritain website, dodge the air strikes and save money at the same time.

If you want to experience the great outdoors even closer to home, dig for (financial) victory and have a go at growing your own fruit and vegetables. Read How to save and make money in the garden to find out more.

6. Invest in quality

In the old days, people better understood the concept of ‘value for money’. They tended to make certain, sensible investment purchases, which could then be used for years.

Cheap clothes and appliances are a false economy if they fall apart - or explode - within a few weeks. When you’re shopping around, think about longevity of use as well as the price tag, particularly if it’s an item that’s going to be in service on a daily basis.

7. Think ahead

Finally - budget and plan! Use a Statement of Affairs calculator to work out exactly where you stand, then draw up a realistic budget and stick to it. Use online banking to check all your bank statements and credit cards whenever you log in to lovemoney.com, so you can always know where you stand and can plan ahead effectively.

Similarly, plan your weekly menu in advance, and draw up a corresponding shopping list. This will help prevent both wastage and unnecessary impulse purchases.

If there’s a big item you want, resist the urge to stick it on a credit card and try to save up for it instead. This is an excellent habit to get into, and one (judging by the astronomic level of personal debt) that many of us have let slip.

Do you have any old-fashioned money saving tips to pass on? Leave a comment here and let us know.

Get help from lovemoney.com

If you need help saving money, you've come to the right place.

First, adopt this goal: Lower your household bills

Then, watch this video: Slash your supermarket spend

Finally, why not have a wander over to Q&A and ask other lovemoney.com members for hints and tips about what worked best for them?

More: The greatest money-saving tips since lovemoney.com began!

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Comments (4)

  • Chorlton1
    Love rating 61
    Chorlton1 said

    "A lot of potatoes are going to seed now, don't throw them away; plant them in the garden when it gets a little warmer."

    I had very good results growing in an incinerator bin last year just place a few potatoes in the bottom and cover with about 6 inches of soil. When the potatoes grow about 12 inches cover with another 6 inches of soil and the covered leaf joints should sprout more potatoes. Keep doing this until you have filled the bin with soil and wait. I think you are supposed to wait until they flower before digging them up. You can also use old tyres to create layers and the space required is very small so even if you only have a small yard it shouldn't be a problem to grow a healthy crop.

    Report on 06 April 2010  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • oldhenry
    Love rating 343
    oldhenry said

    I reckon a lot of people do have too muh money and care little how it is spent. Thay also get carried along with the British 'shopping culture' of buy , buy , buy rather than do without.

    Adverting plays a large part in this. People see 'happy' families ( two children boy and girl) and dream of being similar. If they buy the products advertised this will make them the same as the families portrayed.

    This does work, otherwise there would not be millions spent on TV and magazine adverts. I am utterly cycnical and have been for most of my life, but when young, i used to fall for adverts too.Sensibly , I brought my children up to be cynical from day 1.

    So what Britain needs is even more cynicism, but don't forget our forebears had time to clean- they were not watching TV or probably reading magazines bit the female would be cleaning the house - labourously. I don't wish to bring that back and we'll keep the vacuum clenaers thank.

    Report on 07 April 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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