How to Save Money Like Your Grandma: 15 Old-School Tips That Still Work

Our grandmas, some who grew up in the great depression, have the greatest money-saving tips. While we often learn new ways to save money from the internet, sometimes, it is always best to go back to the roots and learn from the best. 

If you want to upgrade your money-saving, adopt these tips that your grandma likely used. 

1. Grow Your Own Food

african american woman tending to kale in communal urban garden.
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Grandmas always had kitchen gardens where they grew their fruits and vegetables. It is not only an exciting thing to do but will save you tons of money. Besides, you can go completely organic and avoid using pesticides on your crops. 

Some of the things you can grow in your garden include leafy herbs, which typically cost a fortune in grocery stores; salad leaves and additions; fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers; climbing beans, berries, zucchini, garlic, celery, potatoes, and leafy greens such as kales. 

2. Cook From Scratch

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Buying pre-made ingredients such as mixtures or doughs will always be more expensive than cooking from scratch. 

While it may take longer, cooking from scratch is a grandma-saving tip you should consider. 

Some things you should start making from scratch include pancakes, pizza, sauces, peanut butter, yogurt, bread crumbs, rotisserie chicken, and fruit jams. 

3. Learn Tips To Preserve Food Well

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Many foods go to waste because of how badly they are preserved. 

Using old-fashioned tricks can help you keep your vegetables and fruits fresher for longer. 

For starters, most refrigerated fresh products stay fresher for longer when stored sealed. Have them stored in airtight containers or ziplock bags. 

Also, learn to differentiate fruits and vegetables that belong in the fridge and the kitchen counter. Some, like tomatoes, onions, peaches, bananas, and avocados, belong in a cool, dark, and dry place on your kitchen counter. 

4. Hand-me-Downs

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Before buying anything, you should ask your circle of friends and family if they have one they want to hand down. You can get one at very low prices or free if you are lucky. 

The best hand-downs include items such as baby stuff and clothes, kitchen tools, maternity clothes, books, jewelry, and furniture. 

You could also choose to borrow, use and give them back. For instance, if you want to try new recipes, you could ask your friends to lend you one instead of getting a new recipe book. This is also a great thing to try for children’s books

5. Mend and Repair

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Take your time and learn how to repair and mend items; it will save you so much money. 

You want to learn to do simple repairs for your car, air conditioner, furnace, washing machine, and other house equipment. 

Calling professionals to do simple repairs will always cost a lot of money, no matter how minor the issue is. 

6. Bartering and Trading

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Bartering and trading goods with people will allow you to access goods and services without touching or denting your budget. 

One example would be offering your plumbing or realtor services to your landlord for a discounted rent price. 

It does not just have to be services. You can trade in items you do not need for what you need. Find your town’s local bartering group and see if you find people interested in what you are offering. 

7. Invest in Reusable Containers

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Reusable kitchen containers will cost you more upfront but will save you much more in the future. 

Stop wrapping your leftovers or lunch in aluminum foil. Get reusable containers and cut down the cost of the foil. 

The same applies to cling films. Get reusable containers with lids or silicone dish covers. 

This as well goes for the disposable zip-lock bags you use to store food in your fridge. Instead, buy containers with airtight lids to cut down costs. 

This way, you will not only save money but also produce less waste. 

8. Start Line Drying Clothes

Baby clothes are drying on the street. Selective focus. nature.
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You could start an outdoor clothesline supported by wooden posts or find an alternative online. Tumble drying takes a considerable percentage of your electricity or gas bills. In case you are wondering how much it can save you, Project Line Laundry estimates that tumble drying your clothes takes 10-20% of your electricity bills

Their study also shows that you will be less likely to need bleach and fabric softeners if you air-dry your clothes. The sun will get this job done. 

9. Bulk Buying

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If you bulk buy items that you frequently use, you will save a lot of money per unit. It even works better if the item is on offer. 

Other than saving you money per unit, bulk buying can reduce the need to frequent grocery stores if done correctly. Constant trips to the grocery store sometimes result in impulse buying, which we are all trying to avoid. 

Just be wary, do not bulk buy perishables you do not use just because they are on offer. You will end up losing money instead of saving.  

10. Use Coupons and Discounts

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Do not be ashamed to claim those coupons and discounts. 

Take every opportunity to save a penny; they add up pretty decently. 

 Collect all coupons you come across, both online and offline, stack them well, and use them at your checkout point. 

Study your coupons well, and plan your shopping around them. An average family saves $5.20 to $9.60 per week using coupons, and so can you. 

11. Homemade Cleaning Products

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Some of the homemade cleaning products you can make include bleach, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, fabric softeners,  furniture sprays, and toilet cleaners. 

This could also go on to personal care products such as makeup removers. 

The trick all lies in learning how to do them. Once you learn, you will save so much money. 

A study shows that making DIY cleaning products will cut the amount you spend on cleaning products by up to 95%. 

You know how expensive cleaning products can be; who would not want to cut up to an impressive 95% of that? Besides, homemade cleaning products are safer for your household and the environment. 

12. Handwritten Budgets

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In this age where people spend tens of dollars on budgeting apps and pre-designed sheets, you could choose to stick to handwritten budgets. 

The most common budget apps cost $7-$12 per month. This is a cost that you could easily avoid. 

Once you create your handwritten budget, it becomes easy to update it month after month. 

You may have to do some manual balancing and calculations, but it will be worth it if you are saving money. 

13. Limited Use of Appliances

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Millennials and Gen Zs have always hated that the boomers and Gen X insisted on waiting to have a full load to run the washing machine or the dishwasher. But we have to agree; it was always for a good cause. 

Full loads mean using the machine fewer times, which translates to minimal wear and tear. This way, you will not have to worry about constant repairs or replacing your machine anytime soon. 

Doing full loads is also highly energy efficient as the machine uses the same energy, whether full or partial. You will also save money in terms of water and the products used. 

14. Rainwater Harvesting

Portrait Of Young Man Taking Cold Shower In Bathroom,
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Equipping your home with a rainwater harvesting system will save you anything between 40% to 50% of your water bills. 

You can use it to water your plants, clean the house, cook, do laundry, drink and clean the dishes.  

Besides being able to replace 50% of your water usage, rainwater is suitable for your tap systems. The pH is typically lower than 7 and has no chemicals added to neutralize it. This means that using it results in less mineral build-up. 

Additionally, using rainwater will help you save on cleaning products such as bleach, detergents, fabric softener, vinegar, and baking soda. This is because it lathers up more easily with cleaning products. 

15. Sewing and Knitting

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With the rise of fast fashion, buying good quality clothes is becoming more challenging. If you find anything good quality, it is almost always expensive. 

You can save yourself so much money if you start sewing. It could be sewing your clothes from scratch, repairing torn pieces, upcycling, or adjusting thrift clothes to your size. If you are a thrift shopper, you would know the pain of leaving behind great pieces just because they are not your size. If you learned to sew, this would not be a problem. 

 Learning how to knit can also be helpful, especially considering how expensive winter clothing is. You can also carry on the grandma tradition of knitting beanies and socks for newborns in the family instead of buying them new presents.

Save Money Like Your Grandma

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One thing about these old money-saving methods is that they are easy to adopt. It is nothing extreme; all you will need is simple easing in, and they could become part of your life. If you are having trouble saving money, you should consider returning to the drawing board and adopting these 15 money-saving tips your grandma likely used. 

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.