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Saving The Change - That good old Fashioned Jam Jar

Updated on September 30, 2010

I think we all grew up with Jam Jars

My memories of a jam jar

Large family sized Apricot jam bottles would be carefully stuck away in the back reaches of the tallest cupboard.

Why? Because that is were firstly, my Mom, thought that we could not reach, to filtch the odd half penny or penny every once in a while, when that call for bubble gum, or an ice cream, was just to strong.

Secondly, as my Mom was fairly short, it was difficult for her to reach and therefore, the temptation to sneak a tickey from out of the jar for a packet of cigarettes, would have to be very strong indeed.

The pennies would, I must admit would only sometimes, be replaced when I received that princely tickey, which was my weekly pocket money.

Then if not for emergency cigarrettes or bubblegum, what indeed was that very large jam jar for. and how did the money get in there.

What and why was there a jam jar

It was one of those things, that was handed down from those people who grew up during the great depression, circa 1930 in South Africa.

The children that grew up during that period, in otherwords my parents as well as their contemparies, had tales of economy, or how to stretch every farthing and reuse practically every item of cloth and clothing in ways we cannot imagine.

This is where the jam jars came about.

Come Friday night, our Grandparents would sit around the table after the evening meal, the candles would be lit, and out would come the carefully labeled jam jars.

Firstly, all the familly members who were working, would place their weekly paypacket into the centre of the table. The money would then be broken up into piles a stack of farthings, hapennies, pennies, tickeys, sixpenses, shillings etc, would grow as would the few banknotes. This represented the weeks survival.

The contents from any of the labelled bottles that had any monies left in it would be emptied and those coins would then be transfered to that biggest jam jar, the one with no name.

Then the next task began, the rent bottle , would be fed with the correct money , and so to were all the various other bottles be fed, this included the jars with Dad , brothers and some sisters names on, as they had contributed to the pool, they also had expenses to meet in getting to work, so there jar would be filled with again the exact amount required to enable them to travel to work and back, as well as any sundry items that was essential for their personal grooming.

This completed, grandad would carefully count the contents of the unlabelled jar.

I was never a witness to this ritual in my fathers house, as this story was related to me by my Grandma, many many years ago.

The jar with no name, was the entire wealth, the fruit of their combined labour, this is what was carefully hoarded for those times when very dark thunderclouds would threatened the family.

We by and large did not experience that extreme

The lessons for frugality, and the need to not waste, are still firmly entrenched in our general upbringing. So we are a bit of spendthrifts every so often, how do we get back to being a bit more carefull, without scrimping and scraping?

Let us go back to the jam jars.

Collect all the large Jam Jars you think you want to fill.

Make some pretty labels, do not go and by any.

Labels, how to make.

Take an A4 sheet of paper, it can be one that was used on one side only.

Fold it into 1/2 across the length, now fold into half across width, tne fold into half again, unfold completely and cut the paper along all the crease marks.

Make a paste with a teaspoon of white flour and some water, not to runny and nit to firm, spread a little of the paste across the back of the cut paper pieces, then carefully apply the label to the bottle, let it dry.

You can now take the price of a sheet of paper if you have used a printed sheet, subtract the small amount for the flour that you used. Put that into one of those jam jars.

Now every time you use a sheet of A4 in your printer, and don't need to keep it, put that into a box and use the other side of it. Then take the price of that sheet of paper and put into the bottle.

You can label it trees, as you are saving the trees as well as money.

Reuse and Save

We are past masters and the King and Queens of waste, our landfills bear witness to that statement.

So let us think what we can do to save money and our environment at the same time.

We all most probably use those cute little sponge with an abrasive side for doing our dishes, not so!

Well to the majority it is the next best thing to sliced bread, if not better!

Well if you only use them about three or four times and then throw them away I agree!

Any more uses out of that and the hard abrasive layer starts to get soft, if you have a closer look, the grundge and fatty particles are now clogging the works and instead of cleaning you are now just shifting the grime around.

However if like us here in South Africa, your onions, oranges gem squashes all come in a plastic mesh type of bag, not so.

Well now once you have emptied the contents of the bag, they are now discarded. Boy you can fill up a kitchen labelled jar quite easily on this little "freebie".

Scrunch it up and use this to wash your dishes and pots, no grease build up and works longer than those expensive foam gootchies, feed your jar.

Another very useful, use for this item. If you have to take a cat anywhere, vet or relocate kittens etc., it is quite simply to hold your cat and carefully slip him into one that is long enough, only take care not to scrunch the ears. The cat can not get hurt, you simply hold him/her flat on your leg or lap, with your other hand or arm resting on his/her back for comfort.

As he/she can see they do not get too stressed out. I have successfully relocated two fairly excitable cats to new homes as well as sundry trips to the vet.

This jam jar can be labeled environment

Label it Vices

The next set of jam jars are easy, as we all havee vices, those little luxeries athat make being a Homo Sapiens so much more fulfilling.

Now when I was smoking, is it not amazing that we know we are wasting money, but when we stop, there is no extra money drifting around. Or is it that we do not monitor it and have frittled it away on other vises.

Now using the good old fashioned jam jar, we can now trap that cigarette money and actually watch see the money go up in the jar and not smoke.

On paydays, take the money that you would have spent on the smokes, place it in the jar marked smokes, do this for a year, you will see what you have spent/

This does not apply just for cigarettes.

This could also apply for when you just feel you are having a bit too much of your favourite vices.

Mine is coffee, so when I go out and do not have that additional Latte, this then would go into the bottle.

So choose your vices, be it for giving up, or just cutting back, then put your money in iit's jar.

Label it vices

Hey Hey we are here again
Hey Hey we are here again
As you can see
As you can see

Can we save and what for

Which jam Jars would you fill

See results

Thanks for the those Jam Jars Mom

We all need those jam jars, as they contain a wealth of memories.

What did my Mom use her jar for?

Every year the Saturday before Easter, she would take my brother and I to get a new outfit for each of us to wear to church on Easter Sunday. This outing would also include a lunch in a cafe', and then we would go to an afternoon matinee at the local bio-scope.

That is why Jam Jars are so important!


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