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Depression Era Savings Tips

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 

Ok, so the thread about cutting the tubes made me think of the things that my grandparents did that I thought was nuts, but turns out is a great money saving tip. So.... Do you remember anything that generation did to save that maybe we've lost?

My grandma used to save the butter/margarine wrappers to grease her pans.

Hanging clothes on the line, I know some people do this, but not like my grandparents did. Or even my mother.

Reuse every container that came into the house! Grandpa had glass jars with nails, bolts, etc in his shop area that hung from the lids, he'd pound a nail through the lid and than screw in the jar.


post #2 of 63
I still use the butter/margaine paper to grease muffin tins, my nan taught my mum that, and i learnt from my mum.

I dream of the day of getting my own backyard so i can use a clotheline again, when I used to live in new zealand before i married my dh, we hardly ever used the dryer, everything went on the clothes line, and it smelled fresh and felt nice and soft from the wind.
post #3 of 63
I grease my pans with butter wrappers.

I love to hang my clothes on the line - the whole process of laundry is very stress relieving for me.

We reuse almost all containers. DH has many in his shop for various pieces of hardware. I have a bin that I keep full in the basement for packing up leftovers to send home after I have hosted a meal. If the leftover bin is full or DH doesn't take the ones I set outside beside the recycling bin for him then I recycle them.
post #4 of 63
This one, I don't do, but I remember from my grandparents' house -- the couch was covered in plastic! :D

post #5 of 63
This is so funny, I was just thinking about my granny last night as I opened a package of meat. She used to keep the styrofoam trays that the meat came on and use them as paper plates. She made all their clothing (even slips!), bedding and tablecloths. When something had worn out, she made quilts out them. My sister and I got one out of my linen closet at christmas, and was remembering what each little piece was from (her apron, a dress that one of us had outgrown, one of my papaw's shirts). It brings back sweet memories. Thanks for the thread!!
post #6 of 63
My grandmother cracks up that the "cheap" cuts of meat she used back in the day are now featured on various cooking shows. She used skirt steak alot because it was cheap and lasted when you made a sauce out of canned tomatoes and some corn. Or she fried up potatoes to serve with it. I really admire my grandmother and her generation. DH and I try to live up to their morals and values - life isn't about what you have, it's about the quality of your life.
post #7 of 63
Great thread! I just made myself a cup of tea to sit down and read the forums while my ds naps, and found myself thinking about my grandma. She would ALWAYS use her tea bags two or even three times before throwing them out. I can still remember the little dish that she kept next to her sink with her "used" tea bag! To be honest - it's not too bad. With each use, the tea becomes weaker (naturally), but some people like their tea like that anyhow. :-)
post #8 of 63
A/C. My Nanny had 1 a/c unit in her bedroom and it was only turned on when it was 100. I try to keep the a/c as much as possible but it is so humid in the summer.

Hanging clothes on the line.

Powdered milk. She used it for cooking, etc.

My husband loves peanut butter jars for the garage. He stores screws, nails, etc. He screws the lid to an overhead board then unscrews the jar when he needs it.
post #9 of 63
Beans. My grandmother always makes a big thing of beans in the winter. She makes a HUGE stock pot of them. She uses them for a bean soup thingy, taco mix, etc. It is soooo cheap and easy and feeds sooooooooooooooo many people. She invites a lot of us over always lasting her weeks of leftovers. She also freezes half of the thing for later use. I am in shock at how much money that saves.

She does a LOT of things that are cheap and from the whole depression era. Sometimes she hangs the clothes to dry; does lots of canning; makes her own jerkey, raisins, dried apricots, bananas, fruit leathers, etc; she hardly eats out at all, she uses the "borrowing and loaning" system instead of always going out and buying everything she might like, they stretch a penny pretty intently. I am amazed sometimes.
post #10 of 63
These are terrific ideas--and some I never would have thought of on my own. Growing up in the south, my grandmother also had some shortcuts like this. For instance, she would always save the grease whenever she cooked bacon in a ceramic jar on the stove. To cook eggs, etc., she would use this. Now, granted, many years later we realize some health issues with that (can anyone say the word "cholesterol"?), but it still reflects ingenuity of the past.
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