Our Top Thrifty Tips – How we Easily save over $1,000 a year!

Dec 04 2022
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My being innately thrifty has helped me out a lot over the years here at Grandma’s house but, most especially, when I was alone here! Back then I had no choice but to be as frugal as possible just to get my bills paid. Nowadays I may not be scraping by like I used to, but that hasn’t changed me and my thrifty ways at all. (Why would I choose to go back to spending more when I don’t need to?) Lodi and I share financial goals and every little bit of savings gets us closer to them. Having a real partner for the first time is pretty incredible!

Easy to make all purpose and surface spray recipe utilizing vinegar, water and essential oils, inexpensive, frugal and green living!

A huge thrifty tip remains that replacing any commercial cleaning solution with homemade will provide not only a healthier home (IMO) but also a lot of savings.

For the majority of our household cleaning we don’t use anything but white vinegar. We keep a spray bottle on hand in the kitchen that is a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water plus a splash of any essential oil we feel like our house to smell like.

We use it for just about everything:

  • Countertop Cleaner
  • Furniture Duster
  • Hardwood Floor cleaner
  • Glass & Windows
  • Toilet Cleaner
  • Tubs & Showers
  • Appliances

Our vinegar spray does the work of at least six other (much more expensive) commercial products. (Another point is that its hypoallergic which is awesome for me as commercial scents of any kind drive my poor nose nuts.)

Does it always work?

Of course not!

Sometimes we need something more aggressive HOWEVER, about 95% of the time its all we need.

Another thrifty tip is that we also use white vinegar in both our washing machine and in our dishwasher.

We have hard water and 1/4 cup of vinegar in the dishwasher means our dishes come out sparkling and clear.

When we do laundry we use vinegar as our liquid fabric softener. It works just as well as any commercial fabric softener, leaves no scent behind and has the added benefit of cleaning our machine every cycle too.

Homemade dishwasher detergent and how to beat hard water and white stuff on your dishes!

Speaking of our dishwasher and our washing machine.

I also make both “detergents” for them. Initially I was making a big mix of several products for our dishwasher but you know what I figured out recently? All we needed to clean our dishes beautifully was a tablespoon of citric acid besides the 1/4 cup of white vinegar for each cycle.

As for our washing machine I mix up equal parts oxi clean, baking soda and borax and use about 1/4 of a cup. Besides the vinegar as a clothes softener it works just as well as any commercial laundry detergent I’ve ever tried.

(MAJOR ADDED BENEFIT: I’m allergic to commercial fabric softeners and laundry detergents (think nasty red itchy rashy) and this doesn’t bother my skin at all I also think its a lot easier on our clothes too.)

They also take up a lot less room and create less mess as they’re in a powder form.

All in dishwasher detergent and washing machine detergent and softener would be costing us upwards of $500 a year at least. With what we do instead we’re saving well over $300 a year!

Homemade DIY foaming hand soap recipe using castile soap, castor oil and thyme, lavender and tangerine essential oils, frugal money saver

Another thrifty tip is saving on hand soap.

Purchase refillable foaming hand soap dispensers, buy liquid hand soap in bulk, mix 50/50 with water and give it a shake. Your household is now using at least half the soap that it used to use and you’re no longer ALSO buying the plastic dispenser every time just to throw it away.

(I just purchased the foaming pump “lids” that screw on to a jar because god knows we only have about 100 mason jars hanging out around here…)

That thrifty tip can be applied absolutely everywhere.

Need to buy honey? Just buy the cute little bear once lol. The next time you’re at the grocery store look at the cost comparison of the little bear compared to the big jug – its just dumb.

Another way we save along that same thought process is I buy all of our seasonings, herbs, salts, peppers etc. in bulk on Amazon and simply refill our spice jars as I need to.

The amount of waste both in cost to us (not to mention to our landfills) because of a stupid little plastic container that we literally buy just to throw away and replace every couple of months is just staggering…

One thing the thrifty in me absolutely can’t handle is buying something with the intention of throwing it away.

Case and point: Trash bags!

I know its a necessary evil but they’re expensive!

One way I combat it is I use grocery bags in every trash can that we have besides our BIG trash cans. It makes me feel better for when I forget to bring in my cloth bags to the store – at least I’m reusing the bags and saving us money too.

Trash bags brings me on to my Thrifty Amazon List.

Not everything is a savings on Amazon (obviously…) but one big one I found is plastic bags of every kind.

Here are the 30 gallon trash bags we use for our kitchen. That’s 50 trash bags for only $16 – unless buying a huge bulk amount there’s just no comparing that price to any other brand and they’re nice and heavy duty!

Here is my simple recipe for hypoallergenic homemade laundry detergent! Only $6 for 50 loads and you can make it in less than 5 minutes! Cheap Laundry Soap!

I hate purchasing anything I can’t reuse but in some cases there is no avoiding it. In our refrigerator I use storage containers but in our freezer its impossible to avoid freezer bags.

I freeze in glass when I can but (as you might guess) there’s always the chance of glass breaking and though that’s only happened to me once my heart broke over the four quarts of homemade chicken stock we lost.

Not to mention there’s no comparing bags to anything else when it comes to space savings especially in a freezer.

So, again, Amazon can’t be beat in cost for quart size freezer bags and gallon size freezer bags.

(Another household savings on Amazon is their incredible rates on batteries!)

Every single one of these thrifty tips seems like a drop in the bucket but I really did go through all of the numbers right down to the $18 a year we save on hand soap lol.

Just using those tips we’re saving over $1,000 a year!

A Gift of Body Butter for the Ladies! Green Hypoallergenic Recipe that's easily made with a hand held blender of a stand up mixer. Whips up in just minutes!

A big savings for us is also my adamant opposition of waste but, most especially, food waste.

I already posted on how I make all of our own homemade broths and stocks using kitchen waste – using literally what most people would just throw away!

But ever since we switched our dog out to a much healthier dog food I also make some of her food as well.

(Her dog food is amazing but its expensive. She just had her yearly checkup and the vet is thrilled with how much better she’s doing! She has another few pounds to lose but has lost 16 pounds in the last couple of years and is zooming around like a puppy again!)

Any extra cucumbers, peas, green beans, squash, beats and kalrabi out of our garden this year got chopped up and frozen just waiting for some tasty leftovers and a big pot to cook it all down for our dog.

This summer, she didn’t realize it, but she ate a substantial amount of leftover garden lettuce as well!

She thinks she’s getting spoiled lol meanwhile she’s eating all of her veggies, is healthier than ever and I’m practically down to ZERO kitchen waste!

In my opinion being “thrifty” is usually just choosing a different product, doing a little research or just thinking outside of the box!

Check out all of my household recipes!

Over the years here at Grandma's house I've gone through a lot of ups and downs financially so my being innately thrifty and frugal has helped

Hi guys! Chas and I are teaming up the first Sunday of every month for our DIY blog hop. Feel free to just join us by linky up but you can also share it!

This Month’s DIY Blop Hop: Thrifty! (Click here for our upcoming themes and more info on how to join us every month!)

Niki from Life as a LEO Wife - Christmas Porch Leaner with Free Designs (NO Cutting Machine Required!!)

Niki from Life as a LEO Wife – Christmas Porch Leaner with Free Designs (NO Cutting Machine Required!!)


  1. December 4, 2022 at 11:43 am

    Tarah, I love your newsletter. Your thrifty tips are great! Really useful information, not the fluff one sometimes sees called “tips”!

  2. December 4, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    Love these ideas. I tend to be on the thrifty side too, but you gave me some great ideas here. Thank you.

    • December 5, 2022 at 9:55 am

      Thank you for coming by Amy!

  3. Judy Sellers
    December 5, 2022 at 10:31 am

    Love all these tips .. I have added all the bags to my Amazon ‘wish list’ .. but I have a question about the citric acid/vinegar for the dishwasher .. when to do add it .. when you start the cycle or later .. thanks again for sharing all your tips ..

    • December 5, 2022 at 10:49 am

      Hi Judy I put a tablespoon of citric acid right where regular laundry “soap” or a pod would normally go. It seems to work great, thank you for coming by!

  4. December 7, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    Really awesome tips!!

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