Saving ideas

10 Money Saving Tips I Learned from My Grandma

Money-saving tips my grandmother practices daily: These tips should give readers ideas on how they can save money and work on a tight budget.

1. Wash your foil.

Yes, you read correctly. Wash your foil. This is my grandma’s advice and practice. Foil is easily reusable. If you wash it by hand, dry it, and fold it neatly, you can put it in the cabinet for a second, or third, use.

The same goes for plastic sandwich bags and any other items in your homes that can be washed and re-washed.

Using these items just once and then throwing them away leaves you running to the nearest retailer to purchase more, and it leaves fifty (or so) perfectly re-usable sandwich bags in a local landfill.

Such a waste in almost inexcusable, and is certainly costly. Before you throw items away, make sure you should not instead be washing and re-using them.

2. Coupons, used correctly, are your best friends.

My grandma’s advice: clip ALL the coupons that come with your Sunday newspaper. You never know when you’re going to find something on sale that you didn’t expect to find.

If you also have a coupon for the “surprise” item, you can wind up getting it for a few cents, or better yet, free.

Rebating falls under the category of coupons for Grandma, as she actively searches through drug store sale papers for rebate items. Rebate items are often coupon items.

3. Never pay full price.

Ask a lower price. Always. Whether you’re purchasing a new car or a pair of shoes, always plug for a break. Many times reasonable offers are not turned down.

Thrift stores carry clothing, furniture, books, glassware, and more. Frequent these places. Sometimes you will find “never-been-used” products complete with department store tags.

It’s a great way to pick up nice clothes for a low price.

The second part of the rule “never pay full price,” is never pay the “bargain” price for the crummy products. If it isn’t worth a dollar, don’t waste your dollar.

4. Go to garage/yard sales.

And ask for a lower price. People who are hosting garage/yard sales are doing so to get rid of items they no longer need or want, as well as to make a little money also.

If you offer a reasonable lower price for items you would like to purchase they are likely to say yes.

5. Recycle.

In some instances, you can receive money in exchange for recyclable items. Aluminum cans and other metals are a good example. In our area, aluminum can bring anywhere from $.35 to $.85 per pound.

This incentive puts a little jingle in your pocket in exchange for your recycling effort. Look for programs like this in your area.

6. Hang clothing out to dry, instead of using the dryer.

This especially makes sense during the summer months in the South. Living in North East Texas, we get to experience stifling heat and humidity June through September.

And since an indoor dryer produces heat, it leaves the dryer and the air conditioner fighting against one another. You’ll have to run the air conditioner more to account for the extra heat.

Another heat-producing appliance is the oven. In our area, it is always wise to avoid turning on the oven to cook meals in the summer. Use an outdoor grill, or prepare a quick meal stovetop.

7. Consolidate Trips.

Whether you live out in the country (as my grandma does) or in the middle of town, consolidating each and every trip will save gas, and therefore money.

Know ahead of time where you need to go and map out your stops so that you begin and end close to home. Learn the best paths to take so that you don’t find yourself doubling back to a previous area for a second stop.

8. Stock ahead.

This closely relates to coupons and rebates. Is an item you regularly use on sale at an outstanding price?

Buy enough of the product at sale price to the last several months. (This works best for non-perishables that can be stored for months without going bad. For example, toothpaste.)

Do this so that you don’t run out of the product and find yourself having to pay the full price for it. Plan ahead; be prepared.

9. Use things until they wear out.

My grandma has used the same Sunday school material since I was in her class twenty years ago. That material, yellowed with age, is still loved by the children she teaches to date.

And all of it was hand made by grandma from magazine pictures, saved boxes, pieces of salvaged cardboard, and the like.

She made use of every empty container, never once throwing away something that could be converted into a teaching aide.

After working on a shoe-string budget for many, many years, she has only recently begun to rework the oldest pieces, transferring the pictures to new pages and flipbooks.

10. Walk, don’t drive.

When possible, walk to your destination instead of driving. Not only will you save money on gas and added miles to your vehicle, but you’ll also get a little exercise.

Consider riding a bike to work for faster travel, and when you find you have to drive, look for opportunities to carpool.

You may find that you like the exercise, enjoy the company, or simply save enough money to make it all worthwhile.