Do you ever think about all the frugal skills people had years ago? Back before credit cards were popular people spent more within their means. As a result, the majority of people knew a lot of handy frugal tips and tricks to help them get the most from their money, or to avoid spending money at all! But just because your grandma never told you stories of the frugal ways of “the olden days,” doesn’t mean you can’t still learn those tips! Here are 25 Handy Frugal Tips from Grandma!
If you have kids, make sure the next generation knows these vintage frugal skills, too! All of these ideas are easy enough for young kids to get the gist of, and some are downright fun (like making a garden to grow your own food). So as you implement these frugal tips in your life, make sure your kids are involved, too!
25 Handy Frugal Tips from Grandma
- Grow your own- Growing your own food is fun, relaxing, good exercise, and a wonderful way to save money on groceries! So I’m sure one of your grandma’s #1 frugal tips would have been to start a vegetable garden! If you’re new to gardening, check out my 15 resources for the beginner gardener.
- Make your own- Instead of buying pre-made seasoning mixes or store-baked bread, make your own! You’ll save a lot, plus what you create won’t contain any unnecessary additives!
- Fix your own- If your shirt tears, sew it. If your faucet’s dripping, look on YouTube for how to fix it yourself. The less often you call professionals to do things for you, the more you’ll save!
- Choose reusable- Disposable products are not only bad for the environment, they’re bad for your budget! So find out how to replace your paper towels, napkins, dryer sheets, and more with reusable versions.
- Save- We’re all too comfortable with the idea of spending paycheck to paycheck these days. Back in your grandma’s time, you’d avoid that as much as possible and would save any extra money you got.
- Avoid credit- The idea of credit has been around for ages, but did you know the first credit card only came out in 1950? In your grandma’s time, credit was something much harder to navigate than nowadays, and was avoided unless necessary. So if you asked your grandma for frugal tips, she’d probably say to think twice before maxing out a credit card or taking out a loan to buy a non-necessity.
- Go to the dollar store- Why pay more when what you want is available at the dollar store? You can shop for organizers, DIY supplies, and even food at the dollar store!
- Fill your pantry- A well-stocked pantry is key to living frugally! Your grandma probably agreed with one of the frugal tips from The Tightwad Gazette and used the “pantry principle.”
- Cook simply- Fancy recipes require expensive ingredients. So if you’re trying to live like your grandma did, you’ll want to just stick with simple, old-fashioned frugal recipes.
- Live simply- A good life doesn’t have to cost a lot. You just need to do as your grandma probably did, and live simply. With simple living, a little money goes a long way.
- Give DIY gifts- This is one of your grandma’s frugal tips you probably most enjoyed- her homemade presents! DIY presents can be a lot of fun to make and receive since they can be tailored exactly to the recipient. And of course, they tend to cost less than store-bought gifts!
- Brew your own coffee- You may not know this, but Starbucks first opened in 1971 and Dunkin’ Donuts began (under the name of “Open Kettle”) in 1948. But it’s only recently that we’ve become so dependent on these coffee shops for our coffee. Your grandma probably walked by one of the early Dunkin Donuts’, didn’t give it a second glance, then went home to make her own homemade flavored coffee.
- Use unconventional hacks- Did you know you can clean things with an onion? Try some old-fashioned cleaning hacks, and you can save a lot of money! Or try some newer ideas and learn what else you can do with Dawn dish soap, dryer sheets, and toothpaste!
- Use substitutions- Instead of having to buy bread flour, cake flour, and all-purpose flour, wouldn’t it be nice to only have to buy all-purpose flour? Well, you can! If you learn to use cooking substitutions you can reduce how much you buy (and how much you spend) at the grocery store! We have a handy ingredient substitutions chart printable that you can reference.
- Cut your own meat- Cut meat always costs more than whole because you have to pay for the labor involved to cut it. So one of your grandma’s frugal tips was likely to cut your own meat. It’s not hard, and can save you a lot! Here’s how to perfectly quarter a whole chicken.
- Skip the gadgets- Gadgets are fun, there’s no denying it. But they’re not always necessary. You don’t need a “smart home” or the latest smartphone. You could even be like your grandma and use a clothesline instead of a dryer! The less gadgets you use, the more you’ll save!
- Keep a price book- Sometimes your grandma had to go to more than one store so that she could save on groceries. You might have to do this too. Take the guesswork out of shopping in multiple stores by keeping a grocery price book so you’ll know where each ingredient is cheapest!
- Relax for less- You can relax or find fun entertainment even if you’re on a budget. Take a look at my 7 ways to treat yourself when you don’t have money to blow.
- Use simple cleaners- You don’t need a whole closet full of commercial cleaners to keep a clean home. Instead, learn how to make your own homemade cleaning products with simple ingredients like vinegar and hydrogen peroxide!
- Don’t waste food- Groceries use up a lot of most people’s budgets, so it’s always terrible when food is wasted unnecessarily. And you can bet it’s something your grandma never let happen. Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to store food so it doesn’t go bad (you might even want to learn how to can!), and there are some other handy tips you can learn that will stop you from letting food go to waste. Learn how to reduce food waste in your home and you’ll save money!
- Keep learning- One of your grandma’s more surprising frugal living tips would probably be to keep learning. Continual learning saves you money because it keeps you informed and gives you new ways of looking at things. Reading blogs like this counts, but I also like to read frugal living books. It’s never a bad thing to spend a little on a book if it can teach you how to save a lot!
- Use coupons- I’m certain one of your grandma’s top frugal tips would have been to use coupons! Of course, coupons have somewhat evolved, and nowadays coupons are really digital coupons found in stores’ apps, and after-purchase rebates from services like iBotta.
- Stay organized- Have you ever thought you didn’t have something, bought it, then found out that you had the thing in your home from the start? Being unorganized can cost you money! If you don’t know where things are, you’ll wind up spending money on them twice. So if you want to be frugal, get organized!
- Raise your children frugally- Raising kids will never be cheap, but it’s doesn’t have to be crazy expensive, either. There are ways to raise your children frugally (without them feeling deprived). For example, you can find out how to spend less on kids’ toys, or learn how to homeschool your kids for free!
- Don’t listen to impulses- Impulse shopping was a big no-no in your grandma’s time. If you struggle with impulse purchases, you could benefit from learning my frugal trick for making better spending decisions!
Did you grandma ever tell you any clever frugal living tips and tricks?
You might also be interested in: 100 Tips to Help You Live Within Your Means