97 thoughts on “Frugal Living Tips From the Great Depression

  1. When I get home from work (office job) I hang up my clothes and put on my comfy clothes for the evening. A pair of pants last me a week before washing, tops I usually wear twice at least.

  2. Ask for gift cards to Amazon or other stores you like to shop, It is a great way to buy things without charging to your credit card. Speaking of DIY, learn how to decorate birthday cakes to serve to your family and friends when they come to celebrate a birthday or a special occasion with you!

  3. I used to wash clothes daily and sometimes twice a day even when it was just my husband and I. Now I wear my work clothes 2 or 3 days straight before washing. I have been looking for ways to cut back on electric and water. Not doing as much laundry helps. I also try to only run my dishwasher every other day.

  4. I wanted to share that I reuse old jeans and shirts to make quilts.  I love the fact that they have stains, or crazy markings.   I have made a stain glass window quilt and many others with old jeans and clothes.  I cut up old towels and make face cloths.  I have a garden, you can plant Potatoes in fabric bags that cost a dollar, when harvesting, dump it on a tarp and find your potatoes.  Its so easy!

  5. I was born in 1960, in San Francisco and I’ve lived in California my entire life. I remember being shocked when our big grocery chain started accepting credit cards for groceries. Maybe it was in the 80s. Before then …it was cash or check (same thing) and what people spend now on a grocery trip is a whole lot more than it was when you paid cash/check.

  6. Hi I'm from the UK and we don't tend to 'air' clothes we've worn …….. I remember visiting a friend in the eighties in Germany and they had a covered patio over looking their garden and the mum would air musty clothes, jackets etc., on hangers from a rail to 'freshen them up'. I thought it was a great idea and have done it ever since. Amazing how 'fresh' they do become after a day or two outside……..
    We are obsessd with being clean and smelling sweet but it is so bad for the environment and pocket………….
    and the chemicals/perfume they use in powders etc., stink………..
    when you watch a film like the Revenant you realise what life used to be like not so long ago…………….
    Thanks as ever. Enjoy
    PS I'm going to go shopping for a fluffy robe!

  7. For an apron, I use an old short sleeve shirt from my husband.definitely do not wash every article of clothing after one wear. Of course, socks and underwear goes into the wash.

  8. My sister gets things for free like she furnished al her bedroom with free items from Craigslist except the mattress

  9. I've lived poor, for so long, that I don't know anyway else to live. I have a spending problem, in that I cannot spend the money I earn. In my 60's now, so there is no point saving anymore, but I just can't part with the money.

  10. Baking soda.
    Yep. Was diagnosed with psoriasis 3 years ago. Now is controlled. Have to be extremely careful with shampoos, shower gels and deodorants.
    After shower i just rub 1 teaspoon of baking soda on each armpit. It's extremely effective against bo.
    Can be use for cleaning with a bit of white vinegar.

  11. I used to like going to the library, but after I found someone else's hair in a book I was reading in my home, it really grossed me out. Some time after that I moved to an area that was outside of town where I was going to have to pay to use the library. At that point, I just started buying the books I read. I'm okay with that.

  12. Cara (Cara's Life on the Farm) has cows mostly now – there's a good option? lol Loved this so much – Lord knows I need to get more frugal….. thanks so much for sharing. x Mel

  13. I've done it all. It's common sense to be frugal. It's having a healthy respect for your money and how hard you have had to work to earn it. She's NOT talking about buying a t-shirt that will fall apart after the first wash. She's talking about getting what you need at the lowest price possible. And being aware of the resources at home or in your community that are a low-cost options. LOVED YOUR VIDEO, DANA!

  14. Number one, I don't agree with. Use your credit card like you are using cash. This means if you can't pay it off in full each and every month then you are spending too much and if you pay it off every month there is no interest. So go ahead use the card but use it wisely. Also I only buy new but I shop clearance sales. Used may have bedbugs, sorry but no deal. The rest of your tips are common sense(which not everyone has) lol

  15. We like leftovers a lot more when we have them two days later. So it's say pork loin; then the next day it's spaghetti and the next day it's the pork loin again. It just works so much better for us not eating the same thing two days in a row. Also, the second time around it might end up as a stir fry.

  16. I can't remember the last time I bought clothes new. I would get all my clothes (some still with store tags) at Goodwill. My best purchase was a Lands End winter jacket that was $300-$400 brand new and I bought it for $24.99! Our Goodwill closed last summer so I go to another preowned store now where I bought Brooks tennis shoes (new $160) for $12.00 and I left that store with many bags and only spent about $60!

  17. I have a good set of tools because I’m a DIY’er, but I often rent the tools that I don’t own. Also, some of the big stores will loan a tool for less $ for your project.

  18. One thing I've thought might be good to have to save money is repairable lightbulbs. You would be able to open up the light bulb, replace the lighting element when it went out, and seal it back up with some type of vacuum machine. I use to wash and clean the cars I owned and thought I would like to be able to make each car I've owned my forever vehicle (I've owned eight). But I've never had enough money to pay for repairs (like when the engine needs rebuilding) that can get too expensive. Electric cars should be able to last a very long time. And in that way in the long run be cheaper to own than gasoline powered vehicles. Some good ideas here. Some things you can figure out how to fix or send it to someone who can in the U.S. 🙂

  19. Re leftovers, I watched a video by Downshiftology yesterday. She talked about how we sometimes get into routines of eating typical foods at certain meals, like cereal/toast at breakfast, etc. If we shift that thinking, and start eating leftovers or whatever needs to be used up first, we would have less food waste. I have some leftover soup in the fridge that I'm trying to convince myself to eat for breakfast this morning instead of making toast… doesn't feel right, but it makes sense to eat it before it goes bad, plus it's healthier. I will eat the soup, I will eat the soup.. 🙂

  20. I actually like my home cooked meals better than eating out 😂 anytime I eat out I am dissapointed with the food 😋 I pretty much buy 99% of my clothes from the thrift store. I have a baby and buy her clothes all second hand as well. Babies grow out of clothes so fast!

  21. Thanks Dana….I like that u shared that old clip from the movie. I really liked that reminder! Motivated now again to pay cash for everything. Great video!

  22. Kind of cool that you mentioned the movie Misty.I live in Annapolis Md and have driven to and spent time in Chincoteague. It certainly was a summer getaway that had certain old school ''Summer of 42' 'charm to it,…however (to me) it has been ruined by fancy hotels, condos, and a new bridge that by-passes the old town downtown. Progress is good(not always).

  23. I live like this for so long…I dont know how to do modern living….well I use my library app for my audiobooks and its been a life changer for me….i live in a studio apt and I wear a uniform for work which I have wuite a few off so I really do laundry just once a month….I hardly wear regular clothes (the hang out part not really me i know 😊) so my minimalist wardrobe barely gets used…I am researching on a bidet toilet seat so lets see how that works along with diy cloth wipes….hey it works for babies why not adults right 😂
    This is a great video….I love history and seeing videos and learning about the Great Depression is always interesting to me…thank you for this 💚

  24. I love to walk especially on trails. I love to shop garage sales, thrift stores. I love to cook by scratch. I have cofty clothes I change into. We go to the library to rent movie and audio books. I use a scub board and a wringer and hang out my clothes on clothes line. We keep warm by a woodburning stove. I love to do crafts and sew and making quilts.

  25. If you haven't visited Chincoteague, you should since it's you love the movie. . I'm from the Eaatern Shore of VA. I grew up in a small town called Pungoteague.

  26. A favorite tip of mine is an online tip! It is to belong to a Buy Nothing group on Facebook. Google buy nothing and the area or city you live in and it will tell you what Buy Nothing group you would belong to. What I like about Buy Nothing is you can give things you don’t need/want to others. You can request something that someone is giving away. Or you can ask for something that you need or want from others (free only) before you go out and buy it. Also you can ask to borrow things. It’s a great way also to recycle things that are useful (useful is in the eyes of the beholder).

  27. Gardening is addictive and sooo empowering. There are some start up costs but a person can minimize them thinking outside the box. If you do get started, do your research first: it will help minimize your frustration and costly mistakes as well as maximize your harvest. I started with three different varieties and now I'm up to 78, yes, SEVENTY-EIGHT! What can I say: my taste buds like to get tickled =)LOL

  28. Thanks for the tips. I especially love the tip of spending time with people. It's so relaxing to just do a puzzle or talk or play a board game with family or friends rather than having to go out or out to eat and you save a lot of money. 😁

  29. Connecting two of your points: you can make an apron out of jeans that have holes in them. The back becomes the front and you cut off everything below the waistband on the old "front" of the pants. Boom. Apron.

  30. Wonderful tips..apply what fits your family🙂To me frugal is being a good steward of what you have often it is higher quality at a lower amount of money because you put your time,labor,skill&likely love❤ into it..i think of cheap as in poor quality sometimes at a lower cost but often at a higher cost..good content!Thank you!

  31. My home is paid for, cars are paid for. No debt. Trust me, no vacation will relax you more then knowing your good! No financial stress is a game changer. I'm still frugal by habit, not necessity.

  32. My Grandparents threw a fit when my Dad bought a house with a mortgage. They said if you need a place to live just build a house on our land and we will help you build it. They survived the great depression and they never used credit.

  33. right, … it's nice to have fresh new clothes, because they don't carry the vibes, experience and karma of the previous owner – you can buy good quality clothes at costco for reasonable prices – it's particularly important not to buy shoes worn by someone else – you can save a lot of money buying laundry detergent and kitchen item supplies at the dollar store

  34. I’ve always suspected that most people wear their clothes once and wash. I never understood that. Different cycles, sizes and temperatures… how can people wash each and every wearing? Whites, darks, permanent press, delicates… how could anyone run that all day? That’s mind boggling and wasteful.

  35. I use both credit and cash — my card is paid off every month — I get points towards hotels. I still don't buy a bunch of stuff, just what I know I need or will have a specific use for it. For me it's a numbers game — keep those numbers low! I don't indulge in retail therapy, just frugal therapy.

  36. Regarding housecoats. Mine is magnificent — I use it for it's intended purpose, also as an extra blanket on cold nights, or as an exercise mat. My Dad wasn't wearing it, so he gave it to me.

  37. Leftovers can be repurposed into new meals: chicken dinner one night, the leftovers morph into hot chicken and gravy sandwiches. Or chicken pasta salad. Or chicken soup.
    Pork can become useful in stirfry, or as soup base, or in a roll up. There's no reason to refuse leftovers if there is cooking creativity.
    As for doing things with people: we have game get -togethers such as playing cards, dominoes, etc.

  38. Totally of the same mind as you Dana, but I am surprised you're married, with 4 kids! That pic you have on your videos it eats your years up, I thought you were a cute teen chick, maybe 14 or 15 but hearing your voice you're more mature, pass us your recipe for staying young and beautiful, wouldn't be surprised to see your husband and think he's 15 or 16! lol…take care pretty Lady, greetings from a se Utah Hillbilly who adapted a frugal lifestyle since he was with his folks! 🙂

  39. Re: the difference between being frugal and being cheap: When I was growing up in the late 60’s/early 70’s, my Mom left her office job to raise us 3 kids. (It was less expensive than child care, and we got better care.) To compensate for the loss of income, she grew a huge garden, preserved a winter’s worth of food every year, baked all our bread, and sewed all our clothes. We spent weekends hiking and picnicking. Mom would take used clothes to a consignment store, and we’d get ice cream at a fun restaurant on the proceeds. We didn’t dare ask for toys in a department store, but we got our fill of books at the library every week. So…we had tailored clothes, artisanal bread, garden fresh food, fresh baked cookies after school, leisure time to enjoy, and all the books we could carry. We lived like kings.

    (Note: I am not saying this is women’s role or what all families should do. I am just saying that some kinds of frugality can actually increase your quality of life.)

  40. Here is a list of what was said.

    Your welcome!

    1. Pay cash for everything

    2. Cook all your meals at home

    3. Don't buy new, buy 2nd hand

    4. Don't turn up heat when colder, add layers in house

    5. Try to spend time with others

    6. Don't throw things away, jeans with holes make shorts, don't just throw away

    7. Plant a garden and grow your own food

    8. Stop disposable things, use aprons when cooking or cleaning

    9. Wear things twice

    10. Share things, get a library card and share digitally (download books online from library)

    11. Work extra jobs to get extra side hustle money, look for work or handyman or side-gig

    12. Dry your clothes on a clothes line, in Winter, hang clothes inside and help with humidity and save electricity

    13. DIY anything that you can fix without hiring others

  41. Nope. Im going to take the robin williams way out because people dont care therefore neither will i. Why try when so many want me to fail.

  42. I hang laundry outdoors 8 months of the year, and whenever it's over 32 degrees…FREE.

    I use my cast iron radiator to dry socks, towels, etc ….they dry so quickly, and the moisture helps the dry air.

    I haven't had a dryer since mine broke 10 years ago. I hang on hangers in the doorways down the halls where no one walks during the day anyway. FREE. Also makes clothing last longer!!!

    RE: wearing stuff more than once…I hang stuff outdoors after wearing stuff for short time, or even one day. I also use OLD teeshirts as the first layer of clothing in the winter. This keeps deodorant off my "good" outer layer of clothes, and the tee shirt is small enough to limit the amount of laundry you have to . My sweatshirts last FOREVER that way! The chemicals in deodorant stain….

    I have "inside" clothing outfits. Consists of simple clothes that I wear again and again and again. Some are old, all are comfortable, they are for inside only. Why use my "good" clothes to be IN the house?

    I cook all own meals, eat leftovers, use old teeshirts for dusting, shop at Aldi, drive a 10 year old car that I take good care of.

    I ALWAYS think about stuff I have before I buy new. It's amazing how many uses you can get out of stuff you already have!!

    Keep organized at home. Keep like things with like. That way you don't buy duplicates of stuff you already have.

    Dont' buy crap. And MOST of it is….CRAP.

    Don't listen to people who call you names such as frugal or cheap or penny pinching. Tell them to call you in a few years while YOU are retired and they are still in the yoke, drowning in debt to impress people they don't know and who don't care.

    I am a retired at 57 millionaire, don't "look" like one, and am happy living the "old" ways….These are some of the ways I made my money. Be frugal !!!!!

  43. Dana you have great ideas. I have lived with most of these things my entire life. My grandfather was born in 1901 and saved a lot of people with food during that time.

  44. I don't pay for anything with cash – I'd LOSE money paying cash. My American Express gives me 3% cash back on groceries, and I use a double cash back card for everything else. Amazon purchases are made with their credit card – 5% cash back.I made over $1000 in cash back last year, and I'm single with grown children so I can't imagine losing the cash back if you're buying for a family. The trick is of course to pay the bills in full every month so you aren't paying interest. If you have the discipline to do that – paying with cash is throwing money away. Make your purchases work for you!

  45. My husband and I have always been frugal but not cheap. We have no debt at all and pay credit card off every month. We have never had to have the latest and greatest but have everything we want

  46. We never use the drier. Never, well no hang on, I do use it to store a few towels so if we need a fresh towel in the bathroom we can just reach up and grab it. So I do use it but as a cupboard. (we are renting so it was here already)
    I have a rack we hang items on coat hangers…items that are normally hung on the coat hanger after they are dried and ironed… the rest go on the clothes horse. It's not difficult and items will dry over night most of the time.
    During warm weather I do the same thing but on the balcony. Our electricity bill is half the average of a household in the same area with two people living in it.

  47. My dishwasher went out.!..after a little online research and a visit to a local repair shop with the melted piece.  It cost me $8 wow, like wow I will always remember this lesson as I was shopping new dishwashers for sale…holy cow

  48. I save the large glass jars from pasta sauce and repurpose them for all sorts of things from storing food to planting herbs. Unfortunately living in our consumer society people think frugal= cheap. Well, I know that I am one of the lucky few who can easily pay cash in case I have a $400 emergency and have 6 months of living expenses saved up whereas my more image conscious friends would flip out if they lost their job since all their income is tied up in paying for things they don't own yet.

  49. I'm an older guy (61), and while I didn't grow up in the depression era of the 1930's, my parents did. Most of what you said in this video, I do, simply because of my upbringing. It's good to see younger people like yourself, appreciate how to live well, yet frugally.

  50. I'm kind of surprised that you didn't mention canning fruit and veggies when they are in season.
    Also, smoking meats for later.
    But…I've done most of these for years.

  51. Really good advice 😊
    I pretty much do all of that, except diapers (which we call nappies) as I don't have children. I also don't work (health issues) and need to wash my clothes after each wear, unfortunately.
    Both my partner and I are very frugal, him more than I – I do treat myself to an occasional latte and a magazine, and I have a fondness for fabric and yarn (second-hand) as I make lots of things for our house. We are not rich, but we're doing okay on one income, even with him paying maintenance (child support) for his daughter.

  52. You only pay interest on credit cards if you buy more than you can pay cash for. We use credit cards for convenience but pay them in full EVERY month. We also use a "cash back" card and get a little over $200 back each year. That's a free trip to the grocery store 😉
    I buy my work clothes at Goodwill. $9 for "nearly new" good jeans is a great deal.
    We often cook something that we know will provide leftovers for several days.
    When I last replaced my truck (12 years ago) I bought new because I didn't want someone else's beater problems and I knew I'd be keeping it a LONG time (19 years for the previous one – also bought new). My wife's vehicle sees more road miles and very little heavy work so it was purchased used.
    I'm writing this on a 16 year old laptop (Dell D620) because I like the keyboard and the screen for the books I write. If it dies, I can replace it for $100 or less.
    Books here: https://www.amazon.com/J-E-Carter/e/B01LVX00LP
    I replaced the vanity, sink and toilet in the basement bathroom last year. Also painted the walls and installed the peel and stick vinyl tile floor. Want to guess what Lowe's or HD would have asked?
    I don't care if someone calls me cheap. I've been retired/semi-retired for 20+ years and am trying to stretch my money to cover my years. The books I accidentally got into writing now cover our utilities each month. How can you accidentally get into writing books? I posted a long story on a PAW fiction forum and got lots of encouragement to publish it as a Kindle ebook. I did and discovered that I had a following (1700 copies sold in 3 years won't make the headlines but it's pretty good for an unknown author in a niche market). I've since published 6 more books and one of those accounts for 25% of the current sales (total monthly sales average about 3 books each day). I have another book in progress and will probably publish it in April, plus a number of ideas and pages of notes for future stories. And it's all because the characters in my head keep having interesting conversations 😉

  53. I looooove that you shared that clip from the movie where the man was ashamed of someone offering him credit. I LOOOOOOVE IT!

  54. I'm frugal but I still prefer to pay by credit card to earn rebates and points for grocery vouchers. Just make sure to clear the bill on time every month.

  55. Not eating leftovers?!?  I plan for leftovers.  Huge pot of chili, huge batch of meatballs, huge pan of lasagna…  If you don't like the word leftovers call it make ahead meals.  It's not much more work to make enough soup for 5 days than it is to make enough for 1 day.  Then those other 4 days, guess what, dinner is already ready! Fewer pots to wash, more time with the family.

  56. My grandmother provided lots of great frugal examples for me. She wrote very small to conserve paper (she also wrote on the backs of envelopes so as to not use good stationery for grocery lists), she reused foil and and baggies (after cleaning/washing them), she reused X-mas wrap (she'd unwrap her gift and then carefully fold the paper and put it away, as well as any wrapping on our gifts that was still salvageable), she had the same wool coat from when she was married to the day she died, and it STILL looked new, because she took care of it and hung it up the second she entered the house. Lots of other examples too, but she was just the best at always making a penny feel like a quarter. I miss her still <3

  57. Do you have a video that talks about your choice of reusable feminine pads? I recall you mentioning in a previous video that you have a favourite brand, and I am interested to know! I am a Diva Cup user, but I tend to use pads on the first couple of days of heavy flow as a backup in conjunction with the cup, but would love to use reuseable pads instead. 🙂

  58. I love leftovers. I’ve found my family won’t heat up leftovers and eat them on their own but if I heat them up and serve them, the get eaten.

  59. I live in Alaska, we keep our house at 60 in the winter. A beanie really helps because you lose a lot of heat from your head.

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