Gardening was a staple of the Great Depression Era. If you had space, you were wise to have a garden. Money was tight so fresh produce from the market was out of reach for many. Gardening, on the other hand, was something you could start inexpensively. You could share seeds and plants with neighbors. If you produced too much of one vegetable, you could barter and trade with your neighbors for something else. Today, gardening is still a viable option for saving money. If you like eating organic produce, it is even more prudent to grow your own since the savings are massive. Did you know that one zucchini plant can produce 10 pounds of produce? Organic heirloom tomatoes are $6 a pound. The chart below shows how much it would cost from the grocery store to purchase the same amount of organic produce one plant produces. I often get my organic vegetable plants between $3-$6.50 each. By planting your own vegetable garden, you can save around $185 with these three crops alone! Starting plants from seed is even more economical. Short on space? It’s a myth that you must have a vast patch of land in order to make home gardening worthwhile. A small container garden will still produce savings. I have underground utilities running through my backyard so I use raised bed gardens to work around not being able to dig down.
On the same note as above, having an herb garden is another money saver. Fresh herbs taste better but can sometimes be too costly. A few leaves of basil can run $2. Forget about making fresh pesto that requires cups of basil! Luckily, herbs can be grown indoors by a sunny window despite a lack of a green thumb. Indoor growing also has the advantage of producing herbs the winter when nothing is growing outside.
This money-saving tip intrigues me the most. Many of the plants we think of as “weeds” are just as edible and nutritious as the mass cultivated plants in grocery stores. I’m sure you’ve seen dandelion greens in the store. Those are no different than the dandelions deemed “weed” from your yard. It’s important to note that heading outside and tasting plants is a good way to get sick. Take the time to understand what you’re looking for and properly identify the plants.
Our grandparents only ate out for very special occasions. It was considered a treat. Something out of the norm and not a weekly or everyday occurrence. Cooking at home is one of the most tips. If n, then why aren’t we doing it? Work, stress, and shuttling kids back and forth are all reasons to eat out. With a little planning, eating at home can save a lot of money. By batch cooking and doubling recipes, you can be sure to have enough leftovers for the next night and work lunches. If you really made a lot of food, saving it for a freezer meal will save you money in the future.
Canning was a large part of home life in the Depression Era. Our grandparents’ canned leftover produce into jams, salsas, sauces, purees, and fermented foods. Perhaps canning appeals to you but you’re frightened of not doing it right? The risk of improper canning is botulism but following reputable guidelines will help keep you safe. Check out this guide to get you started with terminology and supplies. Use the National Center for Home Food Preservation for the latest research-based information regarding food preservation best practices.
Many homemade cleaners work just as well as storebought but cost a fraction. Diluting white vinegar in a spray bottle is a healthy produce wash and general cleaner. Considering that a bottle of eco-friendly store-bought cleaner can be over $5 a bottle, you can make MANY bottles of cleaner using a $1 gallon jug of white vinegar.
In our grandparent’s upbringing, if something broke or wore out, you’d find a way to fix it. Items were built for quality and fast fashion wasn’t even an idea. If your chair broke, you’d fix it. Clothing would be mended and patches added. Learning to sew and general this time. One of my favorite garage sale finds old cast iron. Typically the pans are neglected and rusty. With a little TLC, the cast iron is easily brought back to its former glory. Since they were “ugly” and rusted, you can usually negotiate the price down.
Instead of hiring out, learn how to do tasks around the house for yourself such as painting and other maintenance tasks. Sources such as YouTube are great to learn how to fix a leaking sink or change your car’s burnt-out headlight. Many of the tasks we outsource can be done by us with only a little bit of forethought.
It’s no secret that turning off a light when you leave a room and not leaving water running saves money. Perhaps start thinking even more frugally. In the Depression Era, single household laundry rooms with washers and dryers were only a dream. Your options were washboard or be dirty. Drying clothes was done outside in the sun or indoors during bad weather. I’m not suggesting we abandon our electric washers, only pointing out that d our clothes quickly is optional. During nice weather, instead of running your dryer, hang your clothes outside to dry. Here are guides for building your own clothesline and repurposing an old pair of khakis into a clothespin bag.
Who doesn’t love a homemade gift? I’m not talking about macaroni picture frames. Although if that’s your thing, go for it. Today’s society is very . So much so that has lost some of its specialness. Items are mass-produced and available for purchase 24 hrs a day. Homemade gifts are the way to go if you want to save money gift giving. Handmade gifts are also more special since the gift giver spent their time creating it. Some popular gift suggestions are to make your own soaps and jellies.