Category: Scrimp & Save Ideas


  • Reuse envelopes from junk mail for new envelopes by adding sticky labels, or as shopping lists. Use blank back of A4 advertisements or handouts for print paper for the computer or staple them to make up your own note pads.
  • Charity shop for clothes and more crockery to fill up your dishwasher.
  • Keep your old clothes as probably better quality than modern ones and their fashion is sure to return eventually.
  • Some people steam off un-franked postage stamps. This is illegal.
  • Darn your socks and sew on buttons or just wear holey clothes doing dirty jobs or under non holey ones. If you cannot sew in a new zip pay to get it done to avoid having to buy a replacement.
  • Make rubber bands from old rubber gloves worn at the finger tips. Lay flat and cut horizontal strips.
  • Washed plastic bags inside cereal boxes make good freezer bags.

– Ideas generated from the Hornsey Pensioners Action Group meeting November 2013

Avoiding waste

  • imagesRecycle and encourage others to as this helps to keep the Council tax down.
  • Do we need window cleaners when we have the rain?
  • Use cheaper alternatives than expensive cleaning products:
    • Clean glasses and jewellery using hot water and a steradent tablet;
    • Clean inside windows with warm water and vinegar and then polish with newspaper.
  • Only use a pea size blob of foot cream as the skin cannot absorb more.
  • Do not use your mobile telephone when you can use your landline free.
  • Avoid dry cleaning or laundrette bills by:
    • Buying coats that are washable.
    • Using 2 lighter duvets that you can wash rather than one heavy one that you cannot.
  • Take home serviettes/salt/sugar packets where ever given out free.
  • No need to downsize your home. Rent out your spare room to someone who hopefully goes home at weekends.
  • Never throw food away unless really mouldy. Make breadcrumbs and bread and butter pudding from stale bread; curries and soups from old vegetables using the stalks too.
  • Scrape not peel or chop when preparing vegetables.

– Ideas generated from the Hornsey Pensioners Action Group meeting November 2013


  • images-1Get to know your shops and the products they sell more cheaply as “lost leaders”. Some cheaper supermarkets have won “blind taste” awards. Buy fruit and vegetables in the market as much cheaper than in the shops.
  • Get to know the time the prices go down for sell by dates- often there are 2 stages. Once in the freezer fresh products will keep well beyond the sell by date.
  • Share Buy 2 for One bargains with friends and neighbours or freeze but watch out that original prices have not been increased for this offer by the stores.
  • Plan your cooking ahead of your shopping- do not buy impetuously except on your birthday or unless it is a real bargain. Shop little and often to avoid waste.
  • For outside London trips buy advanced rail tickets from 3 months ahead and use Senior Rail Card or Disabled Rail Card (if you wear hearing aids) to get 1/3 off rail fares.

– Ideas generated from the Hornsey Pensioners Action Group meeting November 2013

Save water costs

  • images-5Bath with or after a friend.
  • Shower rather than bath. How many do you really need in a week?
  • Flush your toilet infrequently especially if only watered i.e. if it’s yellow –let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.
  • Get a water butt for the garden. Use dirty water for the garden from the kitchen and bath. Give your animals’ left over drinking water to your house plants.
  • Check dripping taps and have a spare washer handy.
  • If you can afford to buy a low energy dishwasher then make sure to use the low energy option and wait until the machine is full before running it. This is more economical in its use of hot water than washing the same by hand. Wipe the dishes rather than rinse under a running tap before putting into the dishwasher and try cutting the soap tablet in half.
  • Use a toothbrush cup. Do not run the tap for rinsing.
  • In small households switch to a water meter for cheaper bills.

– Ideas generated from the Hornsey Pensioners Action Group meeting November 2013

Keeping down your heating bills 

images-21. Insulate your home:

  • Draw your thermal lined curtains early
  • Draught-proof your windows and add curtains across draughty doors, use draught excluders at bottom of your doors.
  • Buy cheap plastic sheeting to secondary glaze your windows.
  • Build inner doors if you do not already have a porch.

2. Reduce your use-all elderly

  • Switch off radiators in rooms not used but always warm your living and bedrooms.
  • Get room thermometers from Age UK (or Hornsey Pensioners soon)
  • Keep your doors closed.
  • Use the cat or a water bottle to keep warmer when sitting.
  • There is no shame in wearing long cotton vests or thermal underwear. Use fingerless gloves, thick socks and even hats in the house.

Reduce your use

(for active elderly only. For the frail or elderly use these suggestions with caution)

  • Go out of the house as much as possible-shopping for bargains, use the heat of public buildings or others’ homes e.g. the library; become a volunteer; join Age UK activity groups and the Hornsey Pensioners Action group; a ½ hour walk every day will be warming.
  • Do not have the heating on when you are out of the house. Keep your coat on until it warms up.
  • Have heating timed to come on at set times. Do your exercises/ home dancing before the heating comes on. Plan your activities in the house so domestic chores especially cooking are done when the heating is off.
  • Use an open fire with wood picked up from local parks and old toilet rolls and egg boxes.

– Ideas generated from the Hornsey Pensioners Action Group meeting November 2013