Monday, February 23, 2009

Saving Secrets From Grandma


My grandmother, Elaine Ibsen, is my frugal inspiration. She is forever urging me -- and everyone else -- to take advantage of deals, to make things last at home, etc. My grandfather will tell you that if it weren't for her, they'd be broke. Instead, as a Navy retiree and a homemaker, they have been comfortably retired for many years and don't have to worry about money at all.

Here are some of Grandma's hints, which she just emailed me:


  • Rub a hard stick of butter to butter your hot toast. Uses less and easy to store back in fridge. Good for diets. (P.S. from me: If you use Country Crock, read The Bloggess's hilarious post about pressing toaster waffles right into the tub.)

  • Fill dish detergent bottle half full of water and then fill with new soap to make last. The same for hand soap at the sink.Rinse out salad dressing bottles to be able to use every drop. Same with any soup cans or any canned product.

  • Cut up old worn p.j.s or soft tee shirts into dusting rags or for.. car or etc.

  • Buy windshield washer cleaner when on sale ... use instead of Windex or expensive cleaners. Makes a lot of sense, if it's good for your car windows why not for the house windows? Been doing this since year one. (P.S. from me: I haven wondered about this -- doesn't that car window stuff contain de-icer or something? Wonder if the fumes are really safe for indoor use. Anyone know? I've been meaning to mix up some homemade, safer cleaners but so far all I have gotten around to is fooling the cleaning lady by pouring vinegar and water into the almost-empty wood-floor cleaner bottle and thinning out the Windex with club soda and food coloring.)

  • Bring home leftovers from a restaurant meal. I have used tough steak for crock pot meal the next day. It made a wonderful meal. Just threw in some fresh veggies and a can of tomatoes.. yummm. Save any veggies left over in a zip lock bag for another meal , crockpot or soup.

  • Mix your own sugar and cinnamon for oatmeal or etc.

  • Grow herbs and save and dry for use all year. Can't wait to plant ... some come up on their own.

  • Save pieces of nylon net... a multitude of uses. Such as tying up plants, straining fluids, using as dish and pot scrubber.

  • Blouse shoulder pads for hot pads in the kitchen and when too worn, throw out as there are lots more where they came from. I am so selective now that I only save the really pretty print ones. (P.S. from me: I have not seen a shoulder pad in years!)

  • Use rubber band for top button when pants get too tight. Loop around the button hole and over the button. Works great for pregnant women and us fatties. Pull down your sweat shirt and no one knows. Figured this out in 1949 when pregnant with your mom and had to wear Grandpas navy jeans. Who had money for maternity clothes?? (P.S. from me: I am jealous of women who can wear their husband's pants when pregnant. My hubs is 6 inches taller than me and weighs at least 70 pounds more than I have ever topped out while pregnant, so you can imagine how his jeans fit me. I do wear his sweaters though.)

  • Get a cobbler apron when out playing with the kids. Saves many trips into the house for something. Loved those deep pockets.

  • Save on expensive shampoos -- buy baby shampoo. A hair stylist told me that years ago and I have been using ever since. Cheap enough and always on sale. Keeps my hair shiny and squeaky clean. (P.S. from me: Of course I have about 1,000 bottles of extra shampoo stashed away.)

  • Save slivers of soap and put them in a bag made of nylon from onions or veggies ... just knot both ends. Works wonders as a loofa. Taken on trips can be left behind. No big loss.

  • Nylon bags from veggies or garlic can be used as scrubs for shower walls or etc. Works great. Dries well and no mold.

  • Save crusts from bread or dried bread for crumbs to be used in cooking.

  • Put coffee grounds in the yard as worms like them and it is good for the soil as are the worms.

  • Make your own salad dressings. Nothing better than olive oil and vinegar. (P.S. from me: Have you ever noticed how much CORN SYRUP there is in prepared dressings?)

  • Save pantyhose for plant ties in the yard. (p.s. from me: If only I had any panty hose. I don't think I have bought a pair for 5 years or more. And I really need one for the laundry drain to keep the lint out of the sink!)

  • Save bread ties for a multitude of fixes. Once fixed my eye glasses as I lost the screw on the way to a Sunday picnic. Scraped the paper off and put the wire thru screw hole. Held good for the day and got fixed on Monday. (P.S. from me: I remember once in grade school I fixed mine with a big old paper clip. And walked around that way for a week or more. Nerd? Me?)

  • In a pinch use Elmer's glue to seal a cut.

  • I use aluminum foil to cover the back of my stove when frying -- keeps splatters off. I refold and use next time.

  • Use foil to cover crust of pie when baking ... now I use an aluminum pie tin that I cut out.

  • Use foil to make any size funnel you need while cooking. I make a funnel of foil wrapped around my finger to place in center hole of pie when I am afraid it will run over ... the juice has someplace to go. Works good. But always set these pies on a round cookie sheet to catch drippings in case.

  • And last but not least is buy a large jar of cow udder cream at Farm and Fleet. It is the best cream for most any need you would use cream and it is very healing. I always make sure I have plenty on hand. Remember if it heals the cow's teats it can heal your whatever. It's so cheap ... no need for the fancy store creams with their high prices. This cream is dirt cheap and lasts forever.


3 comments:

Helen said...

Well, windshield fluid is very poisonous for pets, so I wouldn't want to use it around children. Granted, most cleaners are poisonous, so it's up to you! I too am trying to switch to naturals. But over a year after being married we still have supplies from 'starter kits' my mom and his grandma both gave us, and some Walgreens deals.

Sara said...

Great ideas!!!

And I so totally wear Aaron's pants, especially now that even my maternity pants are getting a little tight. :-S

Annie's Antics :-) said...

I agree about the windshield fluid. I use white vinegar and water and wipe the mirrors/windows w/ newspaper - comes very clean and no streaks!

I love the tip about pantyhose as the washer drain thing! I've been buying those lint traps when they go on sale 10/$10 but there are sometimes deals for free pantyhose!

Thanks for sharing!