7 Thrifty Tips Our Parents Lived By

Those of a certain age will remember the ‘old world’, which existed before the internet. As we approached the Millennium, we lost many of the thrifty habits which used to be common place.

I’ve put together 7 super thrifty tips our parents lived by… This may be a little rose tinted…

If this topic brings an old fashioned thrifty idea to mind, please share it in the comments below.

1) Travel For A Good Deal

In the 1980’s, when I was a child, the high street was a little different to what it is today.

There was a separate shop for everything, and it wasn’t unusual to travel up to an hour, just to save some money.

For example, if you needed to buy rice, you wouldn’t necessarily get it at the same place as you’d get the milk. You might, as we did, purchase it in bulk from a cash and carry, rather than a supermarket.

I assure you, I’m still talking about the 80’s!

Applied to the modern world, this behaviour would be akin to shopping around. Taking the time to do your research and finding the best overall deal.

2) Once You Got It, Take Care Of It

Image of woman cleaning car

Consumer products weren’t always so consumable. There was an expectation that if you purchased something, you would take care of it, so as not to have to purchase it again.

The ‘high technology’ of the 1980’s, was miniaturised needle and thread in a little kit. This super geeky hardware was used to repair clothing which had been damaged.

A tear in a pair of trousers was sewn up. A worn down elbow on a sleeve was patched. Many ‘fashion statements’ from the 1990’s, were just repair jobs from the 80’s.

If you were lucky enough to get a Walkman, it lasted a whole childhood. Not just until the next upgrade.

Applied today, this behaviour would mean saving loads of money. Valuing and maintaining the products we purchase, should’ve never gone out of fashion.

Somehow, high-value items have become consumables! Maybe it’s time to rethink that.

3) Waste Not, Want Not

Image of a plate of food - breakfast

This phrase was common place in the 1980’s. At the end of a meal, when you were thinking about leaving some, a voice would say “waste not, want not”.

It is a simple notion that means you should not waste anything. Even if it means putting on a bit of weight, as you try to fit in the rest of the meal.

Unfortunately, by the time it’s said, it’s too late to learn the lesson. The lesson is: Next time you build your plate, don’t take more than you need, less you have to make waste.

Consider the plate as the bounty of life. Don’t be too greedy, only take what you need.

4) Recycle And Reuse Everything

People used to collect things. More so, they didn’t throw anything away. Like boxes, bags, rubber bands, anything that you might need at some point in the future.

If you needed something new, there was always the perfect item, hidden in the back of a cupboard.

What about making the new thing, out of an old thing? Like new summer shorts, from a pair of trousers or tracksuit bottoms?

If you’re a minimalist, this clearly isn’t for you. But, if you’re frugal, you could carefully unwrap your gifts and reuse the wrapping next year.

5) 100 Pennies Make A Pound

Image of a money jar

When I was younger, physical money was used to pay for things. A debit or credit card was unheard of.

If you found some money in the back of the couch, you collected it. Most houses had a coin jar in the corner, or holding a door open.

A saving mentality was common, and meaningful, as you could see the results of your saving.

This is all about understanding how a small, seemingly insignificant, action could lead to the build-up of a decent savings pot.

6) Elbow Grease

A wooden house

In the 1980’s, there weren’t many short cuts. We never had a vacuum, we had a dustpan and brush.

Sweeping with the brush occurred on the weekends, when finally free of school.

‘Elbow Grease’ was the No.1 cleaning product of the 1980’s.

People also appeared to be more self reliant. In a community, there was always somebody, who knew somebody, who could get it done. A time when DIY was the first port of call.

Hammers, nails and screwdrivers were in most homes, and weren’t the speciality items of today.

Having a DIY attitude would result in making savings, especially on those tasks which do not require expert training, like painting a fence or washing a car. 

7) Sacrifice

Image of walkman

For most of human history, the notion of having to sacrifice, was an accepted practice. Giving up something now, to benefit later on, made sense.

Even if, not to gain. Even if, just to sustain. Sacrifice was the norm, with less theatre than is made of it today. A quiet dignity was kept, as one went without an extravagance.

Applied in the modern world, sacrificing unnecessary purchases to meet a savings goal, would be a lot less dramatic. It is to choose to go without while acknowledging the fact, that by having that choice, you are already more fortunate than most. 

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2 Replies to “7 Thrifty Tips Our Parents Lived By”

  1. My nan and grandad grew all their own veggies herbs cherries and rhubarb. My grandad brewed his own beer and looked as though he had not a lot of money. He passed away leaving my nan who only worked part time with two three bedroom houses and three pensions. Now that is what I call old style frugal living. ?

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