I think the best way to learn about the frugal lifestyle is to look back at what past generations did. Especially those that lived through the Great Depression. You want to talk about being frugal by necessity, WOW! So when my Dad gave me the book Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish I was very intrigued. It is a non-fictional story about growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. It is a great read. Here are some of the frugal things they did that you may be able to institute in your life at some level and save money in the process.
~ Baking Soda – Not just for cooking. Mildred’s family also used baking soda for indigestion, teeth cleaning, silverware polish, glassware cleaner, and on bug bites. That is a pretty useful product, and saved them a lot of money.
~ Vinegar – This was another incredibly useful item. It was used for canning, cleaning furniture, scrubbing floors, and as a copper cleaner. The idea of spending money on a commercial cleaner was a completely foreign concept.
~ Learn To “Make Do” – Most families during the Great Depression had to make do with that they actually had. A concept lost on most Americans today. This meant that almost everything had to be recycled. Bottles, jars, tin cans, and paper bags all had a very long life-cycle and were reused time and time again.
~ The Key Is To Improvise – Egg whites were used to cleanse and beautify skin. Apple cider was used in place of conditioner to shine hair. Red beets were used to treat boils. They used what they had and rarely spent a dime at the local drug store.
Please feel free to add your own favorite frugal habit that you do or you know your ancestors did. Also, I would be curious to know if you do any of the things that Mildred did growing up. I wonder if they would be considered extreme frugality today. I look forward to your comments.