Old fashioned thrift?

 Hello Dear Reader,

What are the seemingly little things you do to save money? The most expensive way to make quilts is to buy precut fabric, for example, pre cut jelly rolls. You can take a step down and buy material by the metre or yard and cut it yourself. You can buy fabric reasonably from discount fabric warehouses, or places such as Trago Mills. You can save more money again, by last minute bidding on ebay fabric sales, and I have bought some stunning fabrics, or ends of bolts for under £5 a metre, that may have cost £15 a metre at full price. You can buy fabric in charity shops and I have bought vintage 60’s and 70’s bedding for a few pounds and have used that for backing or to cut up to make blocks. I also use, and this is the bulk of my fabric, use recycled cotton shirts. As much as possible, I unpick them, so not to waste the seams. I don’t unpick the button hole section as it’s just too fiddly but I don’t like to waste any of the shirt. I cut them down into ribbons and then use them to tie my fabric bundles.

It’s the little things that all add up. Here are some of the little things, which seem pointless as individual acts but add up. Here’s just a few of them
….break down pallets for kindling and firewood,buy green wood and season it ourselves, keep a bowl in the sink and flush the loo with the water we’ve washed our hands with, re-use foil, re-use bread bags, one tea bag makes two mugs of tea, we have timed showers, close the curtains in the winter, as soon as we get home, heat one room and not the whole house, go to bed early…………nothing better than close company to keep warm, put a jumper on and not the heating, measure one mug into the kettle, we don’t heat the water….just a kettle when we need any, don’t wash clothes unless they are actually dirty or smell, dry with the same towel over the bannister and use it all week, turn all the lights off except for the room we’re in, nothing on standby, plastic bottles full of frozen water in the freezer…..it helps keep it at frozen temp and saves energy, always take a packed lunch, always take our own coffee to work, menu plan, make a meal planned shopping list………………as I said, just a few.

Now I see this as simple old fashioned thrift, I don’t see this as penny pinching or being miserly, just being a careful steward of our resources and shared income. Over to you Dear Reader, what old fashioned thrifty things  do you do or would you like start doing really soon? They are little things on their own, but together, they all add up to substantial savings which can be: debt payments, mortgage capital reduction, saving for your children’s future or if you’ve done or you’re doing those things, then items such as a new car or annual holiday. What little things do you do, or will you do, that make a difference?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx


24 thoughts on “Old fashioned thrift?

  1. Some of the little things I do are washing and reusing zip lock bags for freezer items, and I pinch the inners out of the empty cereal boxes that people leave at work, to use to wrap cakes and pies in in the freezer (also use it in between meat slices)

    I collect scrap pallet wood at work for the fire, I keep all buttons off hubby's shirts when they are past wearing. Old tea shirts and towels become cleaning rags.

    Crusts off our home made bread are dried and crumbed and then added to the dog and cat food instead of bought mixer or for bread crumble toppings on pies or for making rissoles.

    I was given an old venetian blind and have cut all the slats into plant labels, glass jars make mini cloches, all sorts of containers are used for starting seeds and pots can be made out of newspapers (pinched out of the bin at work)

    Froogs, these are just some of the things that I do.



  2. Two tricks my Mother taught me. Keep unopened new bars of soap in the airing cupboard to harden off and last longer. Two, add water to an empty box of soap powder. Enough powder left in the box for another wash.

    Great blog.

    Dianne – Hereford.


  3. My husband wears shirts with double cuffs and I turn them when they start to fray or get marked along the crease line. I have also been known to turn collars. Then, when the shirt has really been worn out the buttons are removed and it is cut up and added to my fabric stash for quilting.


  4. Hi Froogs, I recycle old clothing for sewing projects. Some is our cast offs and some is thrifted, I know you do the same.
    I'm using a mans shirt in my current patchwork…It's an xl and has provided loads of quality fabric and 11 mother of purl buttons for £2.50 .
    I also love blogging and photography because they are free .
    Jacquie x


  5. Some little things I do, make my own kitchen cleaner just vinegar, water and a few drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle. I use cheap bubble bath in soap pump dispensers.
    I make my own spray starch and ironing water.
    I turn the worn collars of my husband's work shirts.
    I use glass jars to store all the buttons and zips off old clothing and prettify them with little fabric or knitted/crochet tops.
    I also use many of your tips too Froogs
    Kathy x


  6. I economise by never dying my hair. I have done it in the past and found it a ridiculous waste of resources. My hair colour will probably match my eyebrows and lashes throughout my lifetime, and from where I sit, it does its job well. I did not go to the hairdresser for 20 years when I had long hair, and trimmed the ends myself or had a family member do it. Hairdressing is a fine occupation and other people can use their services. I go to a hairdresser when I need it not when I wish or want.


  7. Ooo we do lots of stuff, here are some of our gardening/veg growing ones.
    Use the tops of 2 litre plastic bottles as cloches for new seedlings.
    Break up old pallets and make them into raised beds.
    Save seeds from flowers, tomatoes, peppers etc, dry them out and plant them !!
    Swap plants with my Mum and my fellow allotment holders.
    Use my lovely homegrown produce to make chutney, chilli jam and fruity jam and enjoy it during the Winter.
    My allotment costs me £12.50 a year, it is our bolt hole, we have made smashing friends up there, get lots of exercise and grow lovely things to eat on a budget. Very hard work but worth it.


  8. I grow vegetables and flowers from seeds–saves the cost of plants and I can give some away to a friend. I make my bread all the time, make soap, make laundry powder and I have just finished knitting up all the old spare wool I have had for years into small blankets for winter to use in the cooler areas of the house-and at the computer. I never throw away leftovers–most things can be made into something else just as good.


  9. I think that this might be like teaching my Grandmother to suck eggs. Anyway, I put almost empty shampoo and washing up liquid bottles upside down to get the last drops.

    Making stock from the bones from a chicken or other roast.

    Never buy cleaning clothes, use rags.


  10. I cut buttons off old shirts/blouses etc if old clothes going to be dusters or car clothes.

    An aunt of mine used to re-use tacking cotton but I think that's going a bit far, I'd probably lose it.

    I use the crusts of end of loaf to make a 'crumble' topping with cheese on macaroni cheese and cauliflower cheese. It makes it nice and crunchy.


  11. The thing about old-fashioned thrift is that people used to do it as a matter of course, not because they were cheap or trying to pay off loans or anything. It was habitual. I would love to see the tide turn back that way again – so much better for us and the earth.

    I get most of my fabric FREE by knowing good people who have more fabric than they know what to do with. One of my friends is a retired home ec. teacher who is trying to clear out her home.


  12. Hello Froogs
    i do a lot of what Babs does like the cereal packet innards for food. I had an aunt when I was young who was a young married woman during the war trying to raise a family on a VERY low income and rationing nothing was wasted she taught me to make seed pots out of newspaper elastic bands out of rubber gloves
    decorations out of Xmas card
    also gift tag, if you want the patters and the explanation on what she did please let me know as it quite lengthy but it involved using nothing but scrap and leftovers.
    she made closhes out of net curtains and old wire/wire hangers to save her cabbages.
    also in later years sh would take a large pop bottle cut off the base and remove the cap (saving it to male an Xmas candle decoration for the table)and would turn it neck side down place it in a largish plant container and fill with water/plant food so it would be slowly absorbed and water would not be wasted as “run off” I have used clear plastic containers that food/fruit come in to make mini green houses fro plants and my partner uses the plastic grape ones for his cross stitch silks.
    just a few ideas if any of you would like to exchange more I would be happy to do so. Have a wonderful day everyone


  13. I stand washing-up liquid, bubblebath, shampoo, ketchup, cooking oil and anything else that comes in bottle, when you get to the last bit stand upside down!

    Cook down chicken bones to make stock.

    half litre bottle filled with water screw top back on and drop into toilet cistern this saves water too. We're on a water meter
    Julie xxxxxxxxx


  14. Haha….I do most of the things listed in all the other comments.

    I grow virtually all my own veggies and fruit and one thing I really like to do each year is pick a crop, last year for example it was Red and Green Basil the year before lettuces. I sow the entire packet of seeds and then sell all the surplus at a car boot sale at a reasonable price to folk who can't grow their own, the proceeds cover the cost of ALL my seed packs for the year. Meaning we are in effect eating for free.

    A brilliant post, I'm sure we have all learnt something new.

    Sue xxx


  15. Brilliant blog, as usual, Froogs. You always get me thinking.

    What do I do that hasn't already een mentioned? I wash the clear yoghurt pots from Yeo Valley and they get recycled as “pint glasses” for parties and plant pots for the garden.

    My shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and “body wash” (currently cheap bubble bath) are decanted into recycled pump-action liquid soap bottles; portion control in one easy pump.

    We have a stash of plastic water bottles that we fill with diluted squash to take with us for drinks.

    I'm collecting DH's old jeans to make a patchwork quilt and his worn out shirts to make a rag rug. The style I have in mind for the quilt is “cathedral window”. I probably won't start it for a year or two.


  16. A lot of very good ideas both in the post and in the comments !
    I've been raised to be frugal and I never forgot it !
    I'm mortgage/debt free for almost 2 years now and our treat is an annual holiday with my family, this year we're going to Ireland (2 weeks in august), we rent a little cottage so I'll cook our meals and hopefully don't spend too much (with 5 of us it can add up quickly)


  17. We do most of these things too. I don't go the supermarket with meal plans but with the remaining contents of the fridge and cupboards as a list in my head. Then I look at what the best offers are and what has been yellow stickered. And only then do I make my meal plan. I also tend to cook enough for 2-3 or even more days at one go. We eat the meal that day and leave aside something for the next day or maybe the day after that and freeze the rest in portions. That way, I have heated the gas cooker once and then just microwave the meals to eat the next time. I'm desperate to reduce our energy bills and this helps.

    After leaving bottles and jars upside down to get the last bits, I rinse them out with a drop of water. There is often enough shampoo/whatever to do one more time. And the rinsed out jam/tomato ketchup/marmite/whatever usually ends up in a soup or sauce.

    I'm sure there are more things that we can all add to this list but I can't think of any more right now.

    I have been told recently at work by one colleague that eating out costs the same as eating in so why bother cooking. And by another that buying cakes at £5 a time (as a treat for the last lesson for the pupils leaving school) is so much cheaper than spending the money and time making them that it is not worth the effort. I smiled politely and didn't believe a word of it.


  18. We've just moved house last Friday and Thrift, an ever present member of the family, seems to have gone on holiday. However, when I find the sewing machine, and when I find a place to set it up, and when I find the time and energy to do it, I'm going to zigzag over the torn edges on our older bath towels and over the holes in our hand towels, rather than buy new.


  19. Dear Froogs
    your recycled shirts hold so many associations! My home town Belfast was all through the 20th centry a centre of the shirtmaking industry ( Derry as well!) The stitchers in the factories could buy a bag of offcuts and scraps for a shilling or two and use them to make quilts. When I was a child all my friends houses had at least one of these on the bed- cheaper than blankets. You can still pick shirt quilts up in charity shops around here. They're usually Thin Quilts- made with both sides patches and no wadding between.

    Ulster has a long old tradition of fancy and pieced quilts- but the old plain shirt quilts are the ones i love.


  20. I Make my own laundry liquid and cleaners ,clean windows with vinegar and newspapers as my mother did .
    If I have a bath I use the hot water to soak washing , then use the suds to wash the floor the next morning .
    I also find shampoo bars fantastic value – i manage to make one bar costing £5 last 6 months – not bad .
    Thanks for all your helpful tips – enjoy reading your blog each day – I look forward to it .


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