Frugal Living Tips Your Grandparents Used Everyday
Being frugal seems to be becoming more fashionable. We now have TV programmes about spending less but living well. But what about the traditional frugal living tips that can help us live a frugal life and save money?
These traditional skills were actually just the normal way of life for our grandparents. They didn’t have labour saving devices that you spent half a week’s wages on. Their wages were too low to buy convenience.
What they had was the knowledge of how to live frugally and what thrifty living was all about. These traditional skills are now seen as the latest frugal living tips yet were previously handed down from generation to generation.
Somehow many of us have lost these traditional skills and we are poorer as a result.
Poorer of knowledge because we don’t know these skills and poorer in money because we have to pay for something or someone else to do them instead.
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“Make Do And Mend”
We now live in a world where you can get a brand new t-shirt for a couple of quid and people think nothing of getting rid of clothes after a few wears in order to make room for the latest must have item.
Sewing your own clothes is an art and can be quite expensive these days as the price of fabric is not cheap. However mending what you already have is one of the fabulously frugal living tips to help you stretch your money and make your clothes last longer.
When DD1 first started school I was too lazy to sew her buttons back on if they came off. I knew how to do it having been taught in school just couldn’t get myself organised enough to put this frugal tip into practice. Shameful!
Now that I have embraced the frugal lifestyle I sew buttons on and take up trousers if necessary. I’ve even undertaken a sewing course to increase my mending knowledge.
Many mending jobs don’t even need a sewing machine, just a needle, thread and your willingness to get stuck in.
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Making do is at the very heart of how to live frugally . Yet I feel it is something many people have lost. Making do is about accepting what you have even if it isn’t as much as what others have.
It’s about knowing when you have enough. It’s about not always wanting the latest and best technology or chucking something out just because one corner needs fixing.
Our TV is 10 years old but we make do with it because it works, the picture is good and why not keep it? No it’s not HD or 3D or 60” but we like it, it does exactly what we need it to do so why would we spend hundreds of pounds on a replacement?
We can get bombarded with adverts for the latest must haves along with adverts on how to buy everything NOW by paying for it later. But this is not how to live frugally, it comes with a cost – paying interest and lack of savings.
I like my TV and I like the savings I have in the bank. Why would I get rid of both just because there is a bigger and ‘better’ TV out there?
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The older generations knew how to bake. Not just bread but cakes, biscuits, pies and crumbles. There really is no comparison between home baked bread and supermarket bread.
Making bread the traditional way is a multi step process including allowing your dough to rise, bashing it down again before allowing a 2nd rise. But the smell! Oh my, the smell of freshly baked bread is one of the best things about the frugal lifestyle.
There are also recipes for artisan and sour dough breads that do not take so long from start to finish. Indeed Mr2p makes 5 minute artisan bread which smells just as divine coming out of the oven.
Baking enables you to know exactly what ingredients are going into your food and keep the additives and preservatives to a minimum.
For families with allergies baking at home allows you to remove those allergens from your food and kitchen completely and have food that can otherwise be very difficult or expensive to buy.
Cooking From Scratch
I once worked with someone who never cooked. When I say never, I really do mean never! She bought microwave meals for her family of four for every night of the week including a roast dinner meal on Sundays.
I’m not the best cook in the world but if there is one frugal living tip I try my best to always follow it’s cooking from scratch.
Cooking your meals from the basic ingredients enables you to use what you have in the cupboards and stretch some items further than if you were buying it ready made.
For instance when I make lasagne I stretch the meat to make a very large dish of lasagne padding it out with fresh seasonal vegetables (think cheap).
Meat can be expensive when you are living on a budget so stretching it further helps you to be frugal with money. You can also use frugal recipes to make the most of foods that are in season saving you money on your groceries.
Bartering is an age old tradition and pretty much pre-dates actual money. It’s all about exchanging something of yours for something of someone else’s.
It could be your time, your skills or goods that you have produced. You might be a dab hand at fixing cars and could exchange time spent fixing your neighbours car for produce from their garden.
Perhaps you need a babysitter or the use of a leaf blower? Your friends might have invested in a leaf blower themselves but want to use your lawn mower. Bartering is alive and kicking in some communities but much less so in cities.
Frugal living tips such as bartering really can save you a ton of money. No need to buy every expensive tool you need as you can share what you have in exchange for what others have.
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Cooking from scratch combined with batch cooking are two of the most useful frugal living tips I can recommend to you. Batch cooking will provide you with a home cooked meal on a busy night within a few minutes.
Cook big batches of your favourite foods such as bolognese, chilli and casseroles and freeze in family size portions. You just need to pull the meal out from the freezer in the morning and reheat when you get home.
Batch cooking will save you time when you most need it.
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In times gone by credit cards hadn’t been invented, everyone got paid in cash and if you didn’t have the cash you couldn’t spend.
Now we have credit cards and contactless payments now so you can spend on your cards without ever seeing cash. Problem with that is your spending is hidden and you are much more likely to spend more.
When you are in debt or on a tight budget paying by cash is an excellent way to not overspend. If you want help in sticking to your budget each month then using the cash envelope system is something I highly recommend.
I still use it myself when I need to refocus my spending habits. There is something about having to hand over physical money that makes it that much harder to spend too much.
Foraging for blackberries is something I look forward to every year but did you know there are many other plants you can forage for? Wild garlic is lovely and abundant in woodlands in May.
Beech nuts are another favourite but you’ll have to fight the squirrels for them!
It has become quite the in thing to forage for herbs such as wild garlic and sorrel and they are used on trendy restaurant menus. More experienced, fabulously frugal folk forage for mushrooms but you really have to know what you are looking for.
So many mushrooms can look the same but are poisonous. I may love being frugal with money but I don’t know one fungi from another.
If you want to delve further into foraging why don’t you look into getting on a foraging course of some sort run by an expert? There’s nothing like having real life examples being shown to you rather than using a reference book.
One of the reasons I haven’t investigated foraging as much as perhaps I could is that we have an allotment and grow a lot of our own vegetables.
Even if you don’t have a large garden you can grow many vegetables in pots on a patio or balcony. Plants such as tomatoes, beans and potatoes all work well grown this way.
A large punnet of tomatoes will cost the same as one packet of tomato seeds. Yet that packet will provide you with hundreds of tomatoes over many weeks.
Growing your own garden would be one of my favourite frugal living tips. You get great food, moderate exercise and it’s an integral part of the frugal lifestyle. What’s not to love?
The art of preserving is an integral part of the homesteading movement. You preserve the food you have grown to use it during the winter months to feed your family.
But you don’t have to be a homesteader or a gardener to make preserving part of your frugal lifestyle. When you find a ton of produce reduce to clear you want to be able to buy and use it. Preserving is the frugal way to save money and turn that produce into food for your family.
Preserving takes many forms but the most common are:
- pickling & making jams
You don’t need any special equipment to freeze food or make pickles and jams. Although a jam pan and jam thermometer can make the process of jam making a little easier.
This is great frugal recipe to get you started if you’ve got green tomatoes that need using.
Keeping chickens/ducks/guinea fowl
We looked into keeping chickens and ducks recently with a view to getting some when we move to the Lake District. They require very little hands on work mainly keeping them safe from foxes. You need to shut them up at night and let them out during the day.
Keeping birds isn’t one of the best frugal living tips as the cost of the feed and pellets you need cancel out the savings you make from not paying for your eggs. But you do get the most wonderful eggs for almost free.
These days you cannot feed your chickens on kitchen scraps if you intend to sell or give away any excess eggs (UK rules). However if you are living on a budget and have the space then you’ll get the most delicious free range eggs at little or no cost from keeping birds.
Fishing (and maybe hunting?)
Did you know that fishing is the most popular sport in the UK? The sport of fishing does not include keeping the fish to eat but you can fish to eat in many places.
Mr2p loves sea fishing when he gets a chance and can bring home a few mackerel if we’re lucky. It’s his job to fillet the fish though – not my thing!
Hunting and fishing are traditional skills taking us right back to our ancestral times. Humans started out as hunter gatherers and it’s a skill you can use when you are living on a budget.
Meat and fish bought from the supermarket can be exceedingly expensive if you want something other than fish fingers or mince!
Frugal Living Tips For Today’s World
When you are wanting to learn about how to live frugally and save money, these traditional skills can help to supercharge your savings. Not all of them will suit you and your situation. Why not choose the ones that are the best fit and start saving money today?
What frugal living tips do you use? Do you have another tip to share?