10 Things Jamaicans Do To Save Money

Jamaicans have always been able to find ingenious ways to save money in harsh economic times. Whether at the supermarket, at work or going about their everyday lives, they come up with their own methods to stretch every dollar and make almost everything last longer. Here are 10 Things Jamaicans Do To Save Money:

  1. Dilute soap – Even when the bottle doesn’t say concentrated, every Jamaican knows to pour the liquid soap into a smaller bottle and dilute it with water. Never mind that you may end up using twice as much because it’s too diluted. In your mind, it lasts longer and it’s your opinion that matters.
  2. Buying smaller portions – Bag cooking oil, half a bread, these are making a  comeback thanks to ingenious vendors who readily adjust their products to suit customers’ pockets.
  3. Stretching the pot – Times are tough and the salary remains the same. So instead of two pounds of meat, Jamaicans just buy one and ‘stretch’ the pot with potatoes, peas, even macaroni. You won’t even notice the difference.
  4. Sunday dinner last until Wednesday – Jamaicans are big on leftovers. Sunday dinner is plentiful but the whole family knows that it is not one day’s food.
  5. Reuse plastic bags – Jamaicans have been recycling for years even with no formal recycling program. Plastic bags from the supermarket later become garbage bags, and plastic bottles from the kitchen will store chemicals.
  6. Bridge light – Yes it’s illegal and yes you can get locked up and charged hefty fines but that’s not stopping some Jamaicans from stealing electricity to avoid having to pay a monthly bill.
  7. Fix it themselves –Rather than call a plumber or carpenter, Jamaicans will wrap everything in duct tape or glue until it literally shatters into too many pieces to be put back together.
  8. Call me back! – Prepaid mobile is still the way to go in Jamaica. The phone companies certainly knew what they were doing when they came up with the idea to allow customers to send each other credit. Now when you get the one ring and hang up, you automatically know it’s code for ‘call me back’ or send some credit.
  9. Chiney Shop – With Chinese haberdasheries springing up everywhere, Jamaicans are trying to save money by buying cheap goods imported from China.
  10. Bush remedies – Jamaicans know that there is a bush for every sickness under the sun, and now science is finally starting to prove that grandma was right about a lot of these remedies. Before we spend money at the doctor, we will boil every bush we can find until we can no longer bear the pain.


About the Author
Denise Clarke is a freelance journalist based in Kingston, Jamaica. She has written for print and online newspapers in Jamaica, Barbados, and the British Virgin Islands.

About the author

Denise Clarke