At the beginning of the 20th Century, things were very different. Not only were cars a brand new invention (hardly anyone had one, and there was no road network like there is today) but many people grew their own food and fended for themselves. There was no such thing as a supermarket or a shopping centre, and the internet wasn’t even a dream in the heads of the greatest inventors. Although we’re only talking around 100 years ago, the differences between then and now are staggering. How did the people of the day get through their lives financially? How did they make ends meet?
We can learn a lot from the past. The tactics used by our great great grandparents have been coming back into fashion since the recession, now that the focus has shifted from ‘spend’ to ‘save’. Old skills are being brought back by enthusiastic bloggers who have created an online ‘frugal kingdom’ full of information and tips. Many people have incorporated these old practices into their lives in order to fight their way out of unmanageable debt and they’ve won. The old ways of doing things really can save you money and allow you to pay more towards what you owe or put the surplus into savings for your future.
This isn’t to say that we should all go back to living without electricity or start keeping livestock (although some have done this with great success). Living frugally like they did 100 years ago doesn’t have to be all-encompassing; you can pick and choose the parts of it which you think you can incorporate into your life easily. Living like your great great grandparents doesn’t have to be difficult when you mold it into the modern life you have today.
Earn Money From Multiple Places
Back when the world was coming into the 20th century, many people did not have ‘careers’ like they do today. People worked hard physically and mentally, often turning their hands to many different things in order to make money. Your great great grandfather may have worked in the fields during harvest season, delivered groceries on his bicycle in the summer, did some light carpentry here and there to earn an extra few pennies and maybe even swept chimneys on the side too. If you can manage to gain income from multiple places then this will not only boost your earning power, but it can also protect you if one of your income streams falls through.
Barter and Swap
In the past, many people didn’t deal with money if they could simply swap something they didn’t want any more for something they needed. Neighbours often swapped one type of vegetable with another neighbour to ensure a variety. If you had an abundance of potatoes then you may want to swap a sack of these for a big bushel of your neighbour’s carrots, for instance. This principle can be used today in all kinds of areas. If you are doing some DIY and you need a drill, then why not ask to borrow one from a friend in return for some of your home baking instead of going to the hardware shop and buying one new?
Grow Your Own & Preserve
If you’ve got any outdoor space at all (even if it’s just a patio) then you could be saving money by growing your own food. If you’ve got enough room then keeping chickens can save you a lot of money in eggs and eventually,(if you’re not too squeamish) meat. Growing vegetables in pots is easy if you don’t have any soft ground (carrots, potatoes and tomatoes can all thrive in pots and grow-bags) and if you have room for a greenhouse or poly-tunnel, then you could grow enough veg to sell and make a profit! Preserving your harvest is an important skill too, and one which could mean you’re enjoying the fruits of your labour for months to come. Chutneys, sauces, jams and pickles are all things which require little equipment and are surprisingly easy to make and keep. Just ensure that you research how to store your preserves properly so that you avoid becoming ill!