Need to find ways to save money? These vintage frugal living tips are perfect for the challenges we are facing today. They will help your family to feel safer in these tough times.
Here in the US and around the world unemployment is reaching record levels and the world economies are crashing. These things have happened before but not usually worldwide and not usually with the unique health crisis happening at the same time.
Even reading over my frugal blog posts I often found tips that don’t really work right now. Either because we can’t go out or because the items needed just simply can’t be found.
Most of us need to be really frugal now though so we need those tips more than ever. Our brains are full of information so even if they are things we may have thought about in the past we need a refresher.
I decided to look through things I’ve written in the past and do research on other tough times like the Great Depression and WWII to find things that still work today to help us save money.
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful for you and your family during this tough time. We are all in this together!
Vintage Frugal Living Tips for Today
Avoid Food Waste
This one is huge and a big focus for me. I always wanted to reduce food waste because it’s good for the budget and the environment but right now there is an added reason. We don’t want to shop very often and store shelves often seem pretty bare these days.
The two things you really need to do to avoid food waste are to have a meal plan and use leftovers in a wise way. For example, I cooked up some sausage for biscuits and gravy but I didn’t need the whole pack for that meal, I’m going to use some to go with homemade waffles this week and freeze the rest to use in a casserole or more gravy later.
Casseroles are a really good way to use things you have small bits of. I had a bunch of broken pieces of lasagna noodles, those can now be a baked ziti. I have ends of bread in my freezer that will be bread crumbs for meatballs and also some bread pudding.
If you have things you aren’t sure how to use up hop on the internet and ask a friend or ask in the Retro Housewife Goes Green Community.
If there are parts of the food that isn’t edible composting can be a great way to use it. A lot of us are considering a garden this year and having your own compost is really helpful. You can use it in flower gardens as well.
Start a Garden
Lately having a vegetable garden is looking better and better. Thankfully for a lot of us in the US, we are just coming into the perfect time to start a garden.
Even if you have limited space there are options for growing some things in containers. That can even be an easier form of gardening if you aren’t terribly great at it.
A friend of mine that is amazing at all homesteading things, Victoria, has shared information on fast-growing vegetables so you can start harvesting very soon. She is my go-to source for all things gardening.
If you can’t get ahold of seeds right now reach out to friends. Often with small gardens, you don’t need the full package so you may be able to get some from friends in your area.
Trade and Borrow
Something we don’t do much anymore that used to be common is trading and borrowing. This is likely the time to bring that back. Now it will have to be done carefully with porch dropoffs and such but it can be done.
Think about skills you have that others may not like baking, sewing, etc… And then think about the things you aren’t great at and see if you can make a trade.
You may also be able to get some food in your area that someone nearby can’t get but they can get ahold of something else you need. That’s another good time to trade.
Borrowing is great for bigger things like maybe your lawnmower broke or your lawn company can no longer mow for you. See if a neighbor would mind letting you borrow theirs. Just be sure to disinfect and wash your hands.
Get creative and be a good neighbor, without risking your health and safety of course!
Cook From Scratch
Pre-packaged food takes up more space and per calorie is usually more expensive. Now is a great time to learn to make more things from scratch.
I feel so grateful right now that I can bake and cook most foods from scratch. Not only is it helping keep us fed no matter what food we find but it’s also allowing us to eat some favorite foods that we would normally get out. If you can make space in your budget for treats it can really boost your mood and is still likely cheaper than getting those same items from curbside or delivery.
If cooking is new to you start with learning the cooking basics. This is a good time to start learning and practicing.
Learn New Skills
Hiring people to do things for you is expensive but also not very safe right now. It’s a good time to learn how to do a lot of things on your own.
I was lucky to grow up around a dad and grandpa that can fix just about anything. I spent a lot of time watching and “helping” so I picked up a lot. So many tasks you can find directions for online, even on YouTube if you are visual.
Be careful of course but if you can safely fix something go for it! You will be grateful for these skills later as well. And fixing things instead of buying something new is always a great way to be frugal and eco-friendly.
More Frugal Living Resources
If you are looking for even more ideas for how to be frugal I have lots of posts for you to check out. Some of the tips will work now but of course, some won’t be practical.