20 Frugal Tips From the “Grandparents Generation” That Still Apply Today


Many of today’s grandparents had parents or grandparents who lived through the Great Depression. They adopted many of the frugal living tips they learned and passed them on to their own children. While some of that advice isn’t too relevant today, much of it still is. Here are some especially good examples:


Share High-Priced Equipment

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This is a great idea among friends or trustworthy neighbors. Maybe one person has a riding mower, another has a snowblower, and yet another has an RV, for example. You can share these things rather than everybody having to get their own.


Find a Tool Library

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A tool library is a physical location or a network where people can lend out tools on a temporary basis for free or low cost. If you don’t work with tools much, this can spare you from buying a tool kit you’ll rarely use.


Make Your Own Jellies, Jams, Etc.

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These are pretty easy to make, and for less cost than buying a jar at the store, you can make a whole lot more than that jar contains. Just make sure you have the storage space and materials before you get started.


Use It Up and Wear It Out

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This is the mindset of getting the most use possible out of what you own. As long as it’s usable and working well, keep it. Only replace when you absolutely have to.


Cook at Home

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Making your own meals is way less expensive than going out or ordering takeout most nights. You can also make several days’ worth of meals at a time to save time later on.


Preserve Fresh Foods

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A lot of food that doesn’t get eaten by its expiration date ends up in the trash, which is like throwing money away. Freezing, canning, jarring, smoking, and making jerky are examples of ways to preserve fresh foods so they don’t go to waste.


Mend Your Clothes

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A hole or tear doesn’t always mean you need to replace a clothing item. If you can mend it, you should. Even paying someone to do it for you will cost less than a replacement.


Save Your Butter Paper

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When you finish or unwrap a stick of butter, you can save the butter paper in the freezer. Then, you can use it to butter a pan in the future.


Make a Regular Menu

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Planning out meals in advance and sticking to a schedule helps you with budgeting and buying the right amounts of things. It also reduces the chances of engaging in wasteful, impulsive buying at the grocery store.


Repair As Much as Possible

Female Plumber Working To Fix Leaking Sink In Home Bathroom.
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If you can repair something, do it, especially if you can do it yourself. The point when this works against you is when the repairs cost more than a replacement. Then it’s time to get a new one.


Keep Appliances Simple

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When you buy appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, but basic models, they’re a lot cheaper, and they still get the job done. Also, since they’re simpler, there’s a better chance that someone other than an expensive technician can do repairs.


Only Wash What’s Stained, Smelly, or Wrinkled

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When they undress at night, most people toss everything they wore that day into the laundry bin. Except for underwear, this often isn’t necessary. Washing clothes less frequently will lower your bills and extend the life of your clothes.


Reuse Plastic Shopping Bags

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If they don’t have holes in them, plastic shopping bags are good for trash can liners, throwing away used cat litter, and future shopping trips. If you can’t reuse them, see if a local store has a collection bin for recycling them.


Reuse Durable Food Packaging

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You can also reuse some food packaging. For example, when you finish a package of deli meat that came in a plastic container, you can reuse the container for food storage.


Have a Side Job

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Build your budget around your regular income. For vacations, emergency expenses, down payments, and random spending, get a side job to fund them.


Walk or Ride a Bike When You Can

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When you drive for an errand, you use gas, which costs money, and you’re putting more wear and tear on your car. Walking or riding a bike instead avoids those things, and you get exercise and fresh air.


Seek Daycare from Family and Friends

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Daycare facilities are really expensive, and many have long waiting lists just to get in. If you have family or friends willing to provide daycare either free or at a much lower cost, you’ll save a lot of money and also know that your kids are with someone you know and trust.


Pick Up Change You Find on the Ground

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Don’t worry about being laughed at if you do this. That change adds up, and you can pay for things like a soda when you stop for gas or a snack from a vending machine. It can also help you make exact change when paying with cash so you don’t end up with more change.


Choose Free and Cheap Hobbies

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Hobbies don’t have to be niche or expensive. Reading, walking to parks, and doing puzzles are just a few of many examples of hobbies that cost little or nothing at all.


Use Coupons

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Some of us have laughed at elderly relatives who seem to be constantly on the lookout for coupons and pulling them out whenever they go shopping. Take a look at how much they’re saving overall, and maybe it won’t be so funny anymore!

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Author: Robert Sihler


Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.