I watched with interest the attempt of fast food workers to raise their pay by going on strike. Things were so good in the 1990s, that we all have become used to having some luxuries and start to think of them as necessities. In the 1970s when there were economic hardships, we looked to those who had survived the Great Depression for lessons on how to live with less. Now that there are economic hardships again, perhaps we can learn some lessons from the 1970s.
To put things in perspective, before the mid-1970s there were no credit cards. Also, there was no easy credit with which to purchase cars and houses. If a person didn’t have cash, then they couldn’t buy things. Grocery shopping was an adventure. People carefully totaled up each potential purchase until the weekly budgeted amount was reached and then stopped. This was before inexpensive calculators, also.
Here are some tried and true ways to save money:
Don’t routinely pay to have fun; save up for special events and until then take a walk for fun, or play in a public park.
For a trip to another city, go to visit a relative and stay overnight with them (take a small gift to thank them, and clean up after yourself)
Accept offered used furniture from family members
Purchase furniture from a second-hand store, an auction or a tag sale. If it is a little beaten up fix it yourself
Look over the sale racks in all stores
Make food from scratch. Do you know how inexpensive lentil soup is, and how healthy it is?
Get books out of the library
Instead of watching cable TV, read to one another from your library books
Mend your clothes
Check second hand stores for clothes
Children grow fast, pass gently used clothing around to family and friends
Plant a vegetable garden
Look over your bills and see if there is something that you can purchase cheaper, or perhaps do without
Seal the gaps in your windows, don’t replace them
Make gifts for people, rather than buying them
Put your children (12+ years old) on a clothing budget. Figure out how much you should spend a year on clothing per child and then make that their budget for the next year. Children faced with their own monetary clothing decisions often opt not to get the expensive must-have items. It will help them understand budgeting and shopping at discount stores
Use coupons only when you were already planning on purchasing the item
Dry your clothes outside
Unplug appliances, even your TV, when not in use
Use real napkins and wash them
Use real dishes and wash them
Walk on errands that you can walk on
Give the gift of time: offer to clean or repair something for your relatives, or to take them on errands, in place of a gift
What if you want more money from your job?
If you are in a low paying job, work hard, learn all that you can and then look around for a better paying job that uses the skills you have gained
If you want to learn more, but can’t afford schooling, volunteer in an area that you are interested in and learn from it
Accept extra work or offer to help with new projects at work
Make sure that you are clean, well-groomed and appropriately attired for your job
Arrive a bit early (maybe 5 minutes?) and be willing to leave a bit late (maybe 10 minutes?), but don’t charge your employer for the time
Provide positive suggestions, and don’t be offended if they are not followed
Ask for more responsibility
Find a way to disagree with your boss, without putting him or her down , undermining them or embarrassing them in public
Be willing to do all of the work that is necessary; mopping floors and emptying garbage are not beneath anyone
Always be cheerful
For the commentators: How do you save money? What have you done to advance yourself in a job?