I am the first woman on my mother’s side in four generations who wasn’t disowned for her choice in husband.
So far it’s gone like this: My great grandmother was a Barton who married a Bowles. She was his second wife, he was widowed, so already she was looked down on but to make matters worse he wasn’t entirely white. He was one of Chief Bowles’ sons. Needless to say in the early 1900’s in the US it wasn’t a good idea to marry outside of your race when even marrying outside your class was a no-no. She was disowned. That is until the Great Depression. Then all her relatives flocked to them. Why? Because they had a farm. By the end of the Depression they were sitting on a tidy sum of money.
My grandmother was disowned around WWII. Why? She married a sailor below her status. Worse he was one of the sailors who had the option of jail or service. While they lived moderately for many years he retired as a master electrician earning a very tidy sum in the civilian sector.
As you can guess my mom was disowned for her choice of husband as well. Then she went even further by divorcing him. My grandmother nearly had conniptions. Good Catholics don’t get divorced. My mom was far too much of a Modern Catholic for my grandmother’s tastes.
What does this brief history lesson have to do with saving money? I’ll tell you; when you’re disowned that means you’re cut off completely. No money but what you can earn yourself. And when you don’t have a lot of money you learn to make it count.
I never met my Great Grandmother Bowles so I don’t know how she was about saving money. I do know how my grandmother was though. As I said before she could teach Scrooge a thing or two. My father confessed to me last summer he still has nightmares of the few times he met her.
I’ve met many ‘rich’ people over the years. Most of them earned their wealth. Very few of my friends or family who have money inherited it. All of them while they enjoy the finer things value quality not quantity. I’ve yet to met someone who has money to burn that spends it frivolously. I have however met plenty of middle class who spend far too much of it trying to appear wealthier than they are. I myself live a debt free life and have since my husband and I got married in our teens. I’ve only ever had four loans; all short term. My wedding ring and three cars. All of which were paid off long before they drained our account and never more than two loans at once; the ring and a car.
Reusing Paper Towels: My grandmother was the only person I’ve ever seen do this. After using a paper towel she would stand over the sink brush the crumbs off of it and gently wash it with liquid soap if needed. Being careful not to tear it. Then she’d dry it so it was flat and reuse it.
One Cup Not Two: My son struggles with this one. Instead of a new plate or cup for every meal rinse it off or wash it with liquid soap and reuse the same one all day. Saves time by doing less dishes and saves money for less use of the dishwasher.
Saving Aluminum Foil: It’s cheap so why save it? Because the longer it lasts the longer you can go without buying more. Gently remove it without tearing if possible. Clean if necessary and flatten. You can also use the flat end of a butter knife to assist in this.
Pinching Pennies: Every penny counts. I mean that literally. We have a change jar that we use frequently. I take all my loose coins and dump them in there after every shopping trip. It adds up quickly. Use them for tips, allowance or take them into a store or bank to get them converted to bills.
Grow Everything: If it’s possible grow it. You’d be surprised at the amount of vegetables, fruit and herbs you can grow at home. If you have a yard convert about a 1/4th of it into a garden. If you don’t have a yard use containers. Tuck pots into corners, windows and even on top of things like dressers and TV cabinets. The more you can grow the less you have to buy.
Reuse: Look around your house and see what can be reused. Old hampers can be converted into pots. Chairs and sofas cost less when reupholstered than tossing them out and buying a new one. Before throwing anything away ask yourself, “Can I make something out of this?”. When shopping look for items with packaging that can be reused for something else.
Glass: If your community doesn’t recycle glass, mine doesn’t, reuse it. Glass jars are great for bottling homemade items but they also have tons of other uses. You can paint them and use them as candle holders for instance. My favorite is to store dry goods in them. In my opinion resealable bags never store as well as a good glass jar. So I dump things like rice, beans, homemade granola, ect into clean old jars. It saves space in my pantry and saves me money by keeping food fresher longer. If possible also take glass to recycling plants. Some will give cash for glass and other goods like aluminum or even paper.
Make it Yourself: If possible make it yourself. It’s normally cheaper to make it yourself then to buy it. You can find everything from dishwasher detergent to shampoo recipes online. When the zombie apocalypse happens you’ll be everyone’s best friend if you know how to make deodorant that works.
Water Saver: When you think about it paying for water is odd. I mean it’s free! It literally falls from the sky. If you live in a place that you can put out rain barrels, collect that water! Be careful though, some places actually limit the amount of water you can collect via rain. Seriously. So make sure you’re legal. Another way I save water makes my neighbors think I’m crazy. I put a dirty bowl, cup, what have you under the facet in my kitchen. It collects the water used for hand washing, rinsing vegetables, ect. When full I take it outback and dump it in the yard. I also drain the water used from boiling food into a dirty pot and dump that in the yard. It rinses out my dirty dish and saves water. We’re only allowed to water our yard two days a week so this keeps my lawn green longer.
Ziploc Bags: clean them, flip them inside out to dry, reuse them.
Spend Less and Save More: In the States at least, we have a mentality that we need to spend lots of money. We need to have things. We need to go places. It’s really annoying. First off break yourself of that habit. In order to have money you can’t spend money. Pick an amount that you can live off of comfortably and stick to it. When my husband was an E4 I allowed up only 3000$ a month to live off of. That paid bills and all extras. The rest went to savings. No, not at the next payday; when we got paid. The first thing I do every payday is deposit everything but that 1500$ into my savings. Then the second thing I do is forget I have a savings account. Now my husband is several ranks higher and about to be promoted. Guess what? I still make us live off that 3000$ a month. It saves a ton of money. I paid cash for my last car; new.
There are a ton more ways to save money; eating at home vs eating out, adjusting your thermostat so it doesn’t cut on all the time, using fans instead of AC. The list goes on. I hope that one or two of ideas helps you save money. In the long run someone who saves money on a routine basis worries less about money. Someone who doesn’t worry a lot about money is happier. Someone who is happy lives a longer better quality life.