Before modern technology and innovations, our grandparents lived simply. Among other things, the simple life included frugality, the best way to avoid unnecessary spending.

Today, we live in a consumer-driven society where everything we want can be bought.

There are people alive today that recognize that the rate at which we buy and use items and how we conduct our lives is not only harmful to the environment but also our pockets. Every year, millions of people find themselves in debt from everything from federal school loans to buying expensive mansions.

If we just took the time to sit down with our grandparents and listen, we would learn tons of amazing tips that would help us save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year.

This article was designed to do just that—share a collection of tips and tricks you might hear from your grandparents on how to be frugal.

DIY (Do It Yourself)

DIY has become more and more popular over the years due to how much money you can save by doing things on your own. It can also be a great deal of fun, especially if you make things with a family member or friends.

Instead of buying wrapping paper every year for Christmas and birthday gifts, you can use brown paper or newspaper and decorate them with paper decorations, markers, stickers, etc. You can get really creative with how you decorate and accessorize your gifts.

On top of that, if you can find ways to DIY part of your gifts or make a DIY gift then you’ll save lots of money that way as well. These types of gifts will be much appreciated by the receiver because it has your personal touch.

Jams, jellies, and marmalades used to be more popular back in the day than they are now but if you are a huge fan of them then you can make your own preserves. If you have a cellar or basement then this would be best to store your concoctions, but if not, your pantry will do. You’ll need lots of glass jars and lots of fruit!

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse

Many things can be used for other purposes. Glass jars are probably the best containers to reuse and are so versatile. You can use them as planters, a storage container for beans, a candle holder, or a drinking class.

You can save plastic containers from takeout for meal prep or to store leftovers. Saving plastic bags is another good tip because they can be used as a replacement for garbage bags and they come in handy when you need to transport something.

This one might not be as popular, but you can save bread ties and store them to be used again if you need to close another bag in the future.

Eat at Home. No Dine-In or Take-Out

Everyone knows how expensive it can be to take the family to dinner. Depending on how many people are in your family and where you decide to eat, the bill can be expensive as $120.

To avoid the bill, eat at home instead of eating out. This isn’t to say that you can’t get take out or eat at a restaurant now and then, but to save money, the majority of your meals should be eaten at home.

Eating at home will also encourage you to learn different recipes and experiment with different cuisines. Overall, you’ll save a small fortune and consume healthier food.

Pay With Cash, Not a Card

Nowadays, everyone uses credit cards to pay for everything instead of cash. Credit cards didn’t make an appearance until the 1950s and even then, they weren’t used as often as they are now.

Many young people have acquired much debt from the overuse of and lack of knowledge about credit cards. We need to return to the practice of using cash more than we swipe our credit cards.

A good practice is to “buy what you need, not what you can afford.” In the case of credit cards, people buy things they can’t afford. If they keep this up regularly, then BOOM, debt.

To avoid having to make monthly payments to credit card companies, pay with cash, not a card. This will also help you only buy the things you need.

Eat Simple Meals

During the Great Depression, many people were on the verge of starvation. They didn’t have the luxury of splurging on meat or other treats from their local food market. They barely had enough to feed their children, much less themselves.

Canned goods like beans, peas, peaches, cranberries, and simple foods such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and oatmeal became staples in many kitchens. These foods were used to create simple meals like soups and stews.

Thankfully, the Great Depression lifted and people were able to include more foods into their diet. However, this is still a good idea today. Eating simpler helps you cut down on food costs, make fewer trips to the grocery store, and truly get in touch with your food—WiseBread.


We can learn a lot from our grandparents, including how to be more frugal. This is a good skill to have, not only for the sake of cutting costs, but also for the sake of our environment and future generations.

Take these tips detailed above and implement one or two into your daily lives. Your pockets will thank you!

Image by  Kristo-Gothard Hunor via