Frugal Living Tips From the Depression Era

Frugal tips to live by from grandma and grandpa|

My grandparents were born in 1912 and 1920. They didn’t have a lot growing up, but they made the most of what the had.  They were frugal with what they had and were able to stretch their resources to last long.  I have no idea who they were able to feed the entire family at the holidays. But they did and we never felt like we were missing out.  Frugal living can help you get the most from your money and learn to reuse to give you some financial independence.

Frugal Living Tips

Live off the land – My grandma’s family had a potato farm.  Sometimes all they had to eat was potatoes during the lean times (many wants to eat potatoes). Planting a garden and planting fruit trees and bushes, will allow you to freeze your food (in small portions) and take out what you need, when you need it.

Eat what you own – Raise animals for your own meat, eggs, milk, cheese (learn how to do these things).  P.S. don’t name your animals, your kids might not eat them.

Can, can, canCan what you grow so you can eat it year round.  Dehydrate food as well or fill your freezer with your garden.

Homemade meals – make your meals at home, instead of convenient take out. Eating food you grew yourself or purchased in the store, is going to be a lot cheaper than a restaurant.

Do It Yourself -Do your own repairs, build things you need.  There are lots of DIY sites to help guide you, but do what you can and know your limits.

Barter – Don’t use cash if you can use skills, food or other things to get what you need.  Trade a skilled person to help on your DIY Projects for things they want. Agree to this BEFORE you start the project.

Repair vs. Replace – It is cheaper (usually) to repair an item versus buying a new one (a vehicle for example). Searching online on how to repair usually gives good information as well.

Nothing goes to waste – Left over meals turn into another meal, until it’s turned into soup.  Anything left from there, is composted into the garden.

Be Resourceful

Reuse and re-purpose – don’t buy disposable, buy things you can reuse again and again instead of throwing away. And if you can’t use it again, can it be re-purposed to do something else?

Flush the toilet less – If it’s yellow, let it mellow.  If it’s brown flush it down.  I believe you know what this means.  Save water on this.  But if you have company, you might want to forgo them seeing your pee and make an extra flush.

Free Entertainment – find local things to do in your area, that are free.  It could be a concert, visiting the park, fishing (which could feed you).

Bake it all – Have a baking day, where you bake everything you need for the week(s) in one day.  This has your oven on one day, saving time on warming up time if you turned the oven on many times in a week.  Freeze what you don’t need now.

Dry it outside – While the weather permits, hang your clothes out to dry. You won’t be heating your house up with the dryer, saving on your electric bill.

Shop Second HandThrift stores are amazing ways to shop for school and work clothes. Great resource for finding a dress for special occasion and to make costumes. Find things to furnish your house/kitchen and to make over for DIY projects.

What are your frugal living tips?

Similar Posts


  1. I like to make sure that I don’t drive more than I have to and waste gas, so I plan trips to the store around the times when I already have to be in the area. I live about 20 min from the grocery store, but it’s near the kids school, so I typically grocery shop before picking them up in the afternoon. It saves me time and money, and it’s good for the environment.

    1. Thats a great idea Lauren. Driving less makes your more efficient of your time (hopefully) too!

Comments are closed.