How to save money or make a bit – a historic perspective

How to Save Money - Save Gas

How to save money or make a bit - a historic perspective.

 

During our school years in the Fifties, today's affluent society did not exist. It was the order of the day to save and cut corners. We did something's to save and others to make a penny or two.

Bus Tickets

When I first went to high school I was about 11 going on 12. I was a year or two younger than my classmates as I had "skipped" a standard.The high scool had classes from form 1 ( grade 7) to Form 5 (grade 12 or Matric) The high school was in Bezuidenhout Valley which was about 8km (or 5 miles) from Hillbrow where I lived.

This entailled a municipal bus ride to school. If one paid cash the ticket was a sixpence (6 South African pennies or 5c in the current currency) . If, however, one bought ticket coupons from the Municipal offices at a special scholar rate, they cost a "tickey" which is pennies or 2.5 cents (current currency). One book of 20 tickets for five shillings (50c current currency.).

Simple maths helped us work this one out..

After 4pm a scholar was not allowed to use a coupon unless it was officially stamped by the school. This was to prove that the scholar was engaged in legitimate school activity eg sport and thus was entitled to use the coupon.

Now my best friend and I (his name is Patrick) figured out that if we left home early enough in the morning, we could save one bus ticket for each time we walked to school.

Our respective parents would only dole out two tickets a day so that if we lost our tickets we would only lose that days value. Wise parents.

So now we each had a ticket which we could sell to other scholars. Other kids also had coupons but life being what it is, every now and so often, one would run out of tickets. The parents would give the sixpences each way for bus fare until the next book of coupons could be bought. Obviously if we could sell our tickets for four pence to one fo these kids they would have a net two cents to spend and we would have four.

Then if one did not have a stamped ticket after four pm. the cost was a ticket plus a sixpence.Normal cost a shilling (12 pennies) or 10c current currency.

So by stamping extra tickets we could sell these for a sixpence.and gain another tickey.

Sandwiches

In another venture, we did some "market research". We noted that our schoolhad a significant Jewish contingent. They used to bring fabulous sandwiches, lox on bagels, Rye pastrami and gherkins, cottage cheese and gherkins on rye (even sometimes pumpernickel).Us ordinary folk had peanut butter sandwiches, or cheese sandwiches and ogle these wonderful treats.

As we left for school so early (to walk to school), we used to persuade our parents to give us bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast. Now bacon was pork and pork was forbidden fruit for our Jewish pals. We did a roaring trade trading (swapping) our bacon and egg sarmies for the aforementioned delights. We then sold these sandwiches to other kids at school. We used the proceeds to buy sausage rolls or Jaffles (a kind of closed toasted sandwich).from the school tuckshop. Sometimes when the trading had been particularly good we could even afford hamburgers.

Bottles

I forgot to mention that another income source for us, when walking to and from school to save bus coupons, was the glass cool drink bottle (Soda bottle). Plastic did not really exist in the late fities and early sixties in South Africa,so the deposit refundable soda bottle was the order of the day. Each bottle commanded a refund of two pennies ( don't be lazy do the conversion to existing currency -ok ok 2c). So discarded bottles were collected and returned. Any retail outlet (Store) would gladly accept the bottles. On a good day we could collect 5 or 6 bottles.

Object Lesson.

Whilst the story above relates to a time long gone. The lessons learned can be applied today. Here are a few pointers:

  • Gas is much dearer than busses and feet, or bicycles are much cheaper still. So walk or cycle instead of driving to the store.
  • Make lists and only buy what is on your list.
  • Don't shop when you are hungry.
  • Don't make ad hoc trips to the store (add the missing item to your list and buy when doing your regular shop).
  • Have your own bags for the groceries to avoid the bag surcharge
  • Take a calculator to the store compare sizes and weights to value. The biggest pack is not always cheapest.
  • Look for bargains or sales.
  • Collect coupons and use them.
  • Pay cash rather than plastic. If you must use plastic pay all the outstanding payments every month.
  • Liquidate your debts and do not buy on credit. Rather save u and pay cash (normally for a substantial discount
  • Share meals at a restaurant. You normally get too much food anyway.

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Comments 19 comments

Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 8 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

Nice one Sixty a good balance with a retro aspect, makes it more interesting.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Thanks Rodney Your comments as always much apppreciated and valued


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

Glass pop bottles were ready cash when i was growing up.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Yes Bob I wonder if there are other returnables like milk crates or some such where you can get ready cash. Unfortunately in our society, metal manhole covers and copper cabling (for telecommunications) are fair game and are sold to the scrap metal dealers. The other day I noticed that steel stormwater grates on the highway were being ripped up!


spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

Sixty - Nicely done! I like that entrepreneurial spirit. :)

Nowadays, there seems to be a rash of theft regarding catalytic converters and car batteries in our area.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Wow what a good hub...I remember when we were walking home from school...and still hungry we would stop at the local market on a corner...you know where they still had a butcher...he would give us the ends he cut off the bologna and salami to munch on...for free.   Thanks for the reminders....G-Ma :o) hugs


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

lovely hub sixty. I used to do the whole bottle collecting thing too as a kid, only we used to get 5 p a time for a small bottle, and 10 p for a large one. It used to pay for my sweets :)


Lissie profile image

Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

Only one state still gives 5c on returns on bottles or cans, South Australia. We were stuck for 2 days at a remote road house (it rained) and got to know the people running it well. A roadhouse in Australia is a 1 stop shop: shop/gas station/accommodation/pub. It was around 800km one way to town for supplies: so when they went the truck was filled with bottles/cans: about $150 worth for what would have been an empty pickup on the way in for supplies!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Spryte Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Your input is valued as alwaya.

GMa interesting to se the memories that surface. Thanks for your input and praise.

Misty We come from a time where parents didn't' just give sweets and toys so we had to do our own thing

Lissie interesting to note the Australian scenario. We all have something in common.

Thanks all for stoppping by and giving of your valuable time.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Very nice hub, thank you.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

I enjoyed reading your hub. I loved the historic perspective. Nice job and thank you.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

earnestshub Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Thank you.

Dottie1 I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for stopping by and commenting


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Good tips, Sixty- I'm proud of me! I already do many of the things on your pointers list: Walk everywhere, shopping lists (and mostly stick to it), never shop when hungry, I have a bag made of recycled plastic (it was free in the mail!) and use my back-pack - but I do this to save on plastic use, check for bargains (and store brands) and coupons (sometimes), cash instead of plastic 90% of the time and never buy anything on credit.

However, I do not share meals at a restaurant - aside from "Wow, taste this." The rest of it's MINE!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Sixty: Reminds me of when I was in grade school, we discovered the market for candy at school. We would take our candy "stores" with us and sell all types of candy, bubble gum, etc., for a nice profit. Great hub!

I'm with CW on the restaurant thing. I never want to hear, "Oh, I'll just have some of yours." I say, "like hell you will! Order your own!"


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi CW and Christophe. In South Africa  (like the USA) the meal portions are just too much for one person. So you order one portion and an additional plate. Sme restaurants will even plate for you at a modest fee. Otherwise we (dearly beloved and I) end up with a "human bag" to take home. No pretenses about a "doggy bag" here which we use the next day for a bagged lunch.

BTW Another savings tip is to take a bagged lunch (proper healthy food, fruit etc) and avoid fast food (and the soda and twinky you did not really want!)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

I always enjoy you stories, but this one was very special. As kids and college students most of us do not have a lot of money, so we have to be resourceful and learn how to stretch our cash. Today even in California we have to pay California Redemption Value (CRV) when we buy plastic bottles of water or soda, which is a good incentive for recyling these bottles so you can get some money back. In Mexico they still make the old fashion Coke bottles in glass, which I noticed were on sale at a convenience store and many supermarkets. However, I am leery to try one because water in Mexico is not treated to the same standards as the US, so I just want to be safe. Many people save money by buying all their food imported from Mexico, but I try not to do that honestly. I feel safer buying local food and I discovered at the dollar store you can do this reasonably. However, we have to look at labels carefully because certain things are actually cheaper at the dollar store than the dollar store.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Sweetie Pie thanks for stopping by and adding your contribution. The glass bottles are amazing. I am sure the coke would be safe but it would be fun to have the bottles for olive oil, balsamic vinegar and other condiments in your kitchen. I really appreciate your warm comments.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

What an interesting peek at your introduction to economy.  As a child, I, too, collected glass bottles to turn in for cash, and even sold older comic books or the "Richie" series to other readers.  We also bartered and traded what we had with a person who had what we wanted.  I love bartering, even now. 

I loved how resourceful you learned to be!  You are probably a very wise businessman now because of those early encounters with cash/no cash.

I have probably made every mistake with all your tips; am trying now to make up for the unwise decisions on traveled roads of financial bloopers.  Your advice is solid and I hope people will follow your wisdom instead of re-inventing the wheel with personal goofs, like I tend to do.

It's good if kids can get an early start on financial management, saving, spending wisely, delaying wants, saving and thinking ahead.  I've found out that what you think the future holds, it will surprise you every time.  Our Karma tends to be cars that break down no matter what and always when you need it the most and expect it the least. 

I hope I will re-view your list from time to time, and reach the goal of going back to our roots in Oklahoma soon.  It's going to take $$, which is always scarce.  Great advice and story about life, Clive!!!   I like it when you reveal a bit of your life.  You could be the guy next door, I am getting to know you!  =))


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Marisue, I really appreciate your insightful comments.

As far as:

I like it when you reveal a bit of your life. You could be the guy next door, I am getting to know you! =))

You almost took the very words from my brain, as you can see in my response to you earlier on one the other hubs you visited recently. So the feeling is entirely mutual.

Thanks once again for stopping by and commenting.

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