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We call them the greatest generation for a reason. They walked through fire and came out standing stronger on the other side. But not only was that generation full of heroes, but it was full of men and women who were fantastic at saving money in ways we no longer think about. These days life is just as uncertain as it was then; we don’t know where our income will be in a few weeks or if we will even have one. In this case, the best thing we can do is learn from history and use a few World War 2 money saving tips to help ourselves.
Part of the reason that our ancestors who lived through World War 1, The Great Depression and World War 2 survived the way they did was because they took on the motto of “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
You might be surprised at how much that little slogan helped people, but if you really think about it; it is easy to see why it did.
World War 2 Money Saving Tips
It kept saving money at the forefront of people’s minds and made what we now view as strange sometimes – living an extreme frugal life – commonplace and even something to aspire to.
But now, with 2020 bearing down with the full force of its might on the entire planet, living frugally and possibly even with an extremeness like we’ve never done before has suddenly become a necessity again.
and that is where these World War 2 money saving tips enter the picture.
WW2 Money Saving Tips
As I said earlier, the folks that live through the Great Depression and both World Wars were a tough sort.
You only need to read the Medal of Honor stories to know that.
It is those lessons that they learned that we can draw from when we’re looking to use a few frugal living (Six Dollar Family) tips from World War 2 in our own lives.
They may be lessons from a life gone by but they’re still very much applicable today.
Frugal Living Tips from World War 2
I have written on this topic a bit before, but never in a post as large as this. Not too long ago I did a post that shared frugal living tips (Six Dollar Family) from the Great Depression.
These frugal living tips from World War 2, however, take those tips one step farther and really dig into the specifics.
and if you ask me, it’s the specifics we all need right now.
Frugal Living Tips from WW 2
It should be common sense, but unfortunately for some, it’s not. The biggest way to save money isn’t necessarily a WW2 money saving tips, but it’s one people who lived during that time understood.
If you want to save money, buy fewer things.
Our grandparents that were saving money during the Great Depression and WW2 were not out spending their money.
They were at home. Spending less than they ever had before.
Make More at Home Instead
It sounds difficult at first, but you can replace a lot of what you’re buying with things you make at home yourself. Doing this actually leads to being more self sufficient.
My own family began doing this around 2015 and the results of this alone have been tremendous. In five years, I estimate it has saved me at least $5,000!
This frugal living tip from World War 2 comes straight from their experiences. Because they often did not have the money to buy the things they needed, they were forced to make them.
Eat a Simpler Diet
Don’t get me wrong. I love an amazing recipe, but these days, our recipes often consist of expensive ingredients that really are unnecessary.
One WW2 money saving tip we could all learn from is to just eat a simpler diet. This would include simpler cuts of meats, fresh vegetables and basic recipes.
One of my favorite Depression era cooks was Clara. I’m sure you’re familiar with her Youtube videos but if not, check her out. I love that her sons put out a cookbook in her honor after her death that contains all her favorite recipes.
I have the hardcover copy of Clara’s Kitchen and it stays in my kitchen all the time. I use it so often – although I do modify a few of them these days.
Along with eating a more simple diet comes learning to do for yourself. Baking is a great plade to start.
This may actually be my favorite money saving tip from The Great Depression period since I absolutely love to bake.
Learning to bake things such as homemade bread, cakes and biscuits are a great way to not only save money but to help your family eat better and be healthier.
If you don’t know how to bake or aren’t great at it, companies such as BluPrint offer great how to videos to help you learn or improve. They even offer a free trial for those who aren’t sure they want to continue watching their online classes.
Have a Baking Day
Talk to anyone who lived through The Great Depression – or read what they have said before – and you’ll find that while they did make a lot of their own products, they also did not do their baking or creating all week long.
Instead, they dedicated specific days to those things. The reasons for this was numerous but one main one was that they were able to target their baking when it would cost them less in time.
You know the old saying “time is money?” Those people knew that and as such would try to maximize their time.
By creating a baking only day each week, you will allow yourself to maximize your time, shop for ingredients at a time when they won’t go to waste, and to plan to use the least energy possible.
Use Electric When It’s Cheaper
This is not exactly a World War 2 money saving tip, but it goes along with the mentality of spending less.
Most power companies have a time when the power is cheaper per kilowatt hour. These times are usually off peak. By contrast, power use during peak hours is usually far more expensive.
To spend less of your money, try to use the bulk of your power during those off peak times. You will save yourself a siginifcant amount of money.
It is also worth checking to see if your power company offers different plans. Mine for instance offers a plan that I jumped on when it was offered to me. I pay $0.01 per kilowatt hour more during the day but from 8 pm to 5 am my power is totally free.
Can you guess when we do things such as wash dishes, do laundry and use hot water for showers?
Save Bacon Grease
Bacon grease is the holy grail of all Grandma’s everywhere for a reason and is a perfect example of the World War 2 money saving tips that used the motto “use it up.”
Bacon grease can be used in place of butter in almost any recipe. It adds a flavor that you just don’t get with butter.
Don’t believe me? Fry eggs in bacon grease then we will talk.
Save Chicken Fat
Another great money saving tip from the Depression is to save chicken fat. Why?
Because it can be rendered into lard quite easily. Lard is used in place of shortening when you’re cooking and baking.
You ain’t livin’ until you’ve had pie crust or biscuits made with lard instead of shortening. Hand to God it’s true!
Save Beef Fat
Another great – and personal favorite – of the frugal living tips from World War 2 is to save beef fat. Yes, just like chicken fat, beef fat can be rendered.
The difference is that beef fat renders into a final product called tallow.
Tallow is used for cooking, but can be used for other things too. Candles, soaps and more can all be made with beef tallow.
Save Pork Fat
Pork fat and bacon grease are two different things, but if you want to follow these frugal living tips from World War 2, you’ll save your pork fat as well.
Pork fat, when rendered, renders into lard just like chicken fat and is used the same way.
Hand Wash Dishes
The only dish washers during the Depression and WW2 were kids and Moms ya’ll.
While your dishwasher may save you money on water, the energy it uses is ridiculous. Instead, save money and hand wash your dishes.
You can maximize the cost of the process by making sure to fill your sink with wash water then filling the other side of the sink with dishes before you being to rinse.
Too many people leave the water running and that only serves to waste both water and money.
Hand Wash Laundry
This frugal living tip from WW2 may be a bit much for some people, but hand washing laundry was common during the World Wars and the Great Depression.
Hand washing your laundry saves a ton of money on both water and power. It’s a bit more work but that work pays off in dollars.
If you’re having a hard time making ends meet, this is one option that could save you enough to free up some real money in your budget.
Eat More Meatless Meals
Meat is the most expensive part of a family’s grocery budget. That’s why during the Depression and the World Wars, it was common for families to eat meatless meals.
If you’re having an issue paying for groceries or are just wanting to cut your grocery bill, eating a meatless meal once or twice a week is a great way to do it.
Most of the recipes you’re already making can be made without meat, however, if you’re looking for new recipes specifically made without meat, there are plenty of cookbooks that are packed with goodness to inspire you.
Substitute Meats in Meals
If you don’t want to give up meats in a couple of your meals, another great option is to use less meat and substitute it with other foods.
Foods such as beans and rice are both filling and nutritious but will allow you to use less meat in each meal.
Chances are good that your family will never know the difference.
Make Meals Last Longer
Most of us tend to eat huge portion sizes but one frugal living tip from World War 2 that we can learn from is to eat smaller portion sizes.
They weren’t gorging themselves at dinner back in those days. As a result, their meals tended to last more than one meal.
Leftovers are great for lunch the next day or even as dinner a second time.
They’re also a great way to save money.
Build a Frugal Pantry
One big difference between how we live today and how they lived during World War 2 and the Great Depression was that they knew how to keep a full pantry.
The basics of keeping frugal pantry staples on hand and how it saves you money is simple. If you have it on hand, you’re less likely to eat out and even more less likely to need to run to the store.
Frugal pantry items are just the items that are used on a regular basis and cheap to stock, but if you need help with ideas, I have a good list to get you started HERE.
Eat from Head to Tail
Going along with the Word War 2 motto of “Use it up,” the next ways to save money from World War 2 that we can learn to to eat from head to tail.
Basically this just means that they did not waste any part of an animal that could be eaten or used. Hides were used to make things such as blankets and shoes.
Meat that you may not normally be willing to eat – such as Sweet Bread; yuck in my opinion – was eaten for meals.
Bones were boiled into oblivion for broth.
In other words, stop being so wasteful if you want to save money.
Don’t Take What You Won’t Eat
This one should be pretty simple, but sometimes it’s not. If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, you’re going to waste food.
Instead, take a smaller serving at first then wait 20 minutes after you finish it to see if you’re still hungry.
If you are, get seconds but remember not to take more than you can eat.
We are a society that thinks more is best and in some cases that’s true. But when it comes to things such as shampoo, soap and of course food, less is more.
If you want to save money like the Great Depression, you will learn to use less of what you have.
A really good place to start is your laundry. If you’re not already making a DIY laundry detergent, know that commercial detergents are really potent.
Try using 1/2 the detergent you do now. You’ll never notice the difference, your clothes will get just as clean and your detergent will stretch twice as long.
Do more for yourself
How many people have cleaning ladies or visit a car wash to have someone else wash their car for them?
While I don’t know the exact answer, I can tell you this; it’s a lot.
Doing things for yourself has become more of a rarity than it it is commonplace. We as a people prefer to pay someone to do something for us than to do it ourselves.
But if you learn nothing else from this list of World War 2 money saving tips, it should be to learn to do for yourself.
It won’t hurt you to clean your home. It won’t hurt you to wash your car yourself or to cook for yourself.
What it will do though is save you a considerable amount of money.
Learn to Sew
Along with doing more for yourself comes learning how to make things for yourself so you don’t have to buy them.
We did this in 2015 out of necessity for my health but have kept it up since the amount of money we’ve saved is so significant.
Sewing is one of the areas that I feel everyone should know how to do for themselves. Whether you’re learning to sew a kitchen towel, a new baby bib or a reusable menstrual pad, knowing how to sew saves you considerable money over the years.
Some things can be sewn by hand while others you will need a good sewing machine for. It all just depends on what you’re looking to create.
Mend What You Have
Once you know how to sew, you can take it a step farther and learn how to mend what you have. This means fixing things like rips, tears and holes.
Ever heard the phrase “to darn socks” It means to fix a small hole in them by hand sewing.
If you learn to mend what you have, you’ll spend far less replacing those things.
Wear an Apron
I wear a half apron anytime I am in the kitchen cooking. Why? Because I have a really bad habit of wiping my hands on my jeans.
It’s a struggle y’all.
But it’s also a practical struggle. Whether you’re working int he kitchen or the garage, wearing an apron or some other form of protective covering for your clothing helps them to last longer.
You’ll avoid stains, excessive wear and even potentially avoid rips or tears.
Learn to Forage
Chances are really good that your own back yard and the areas around you are filled with food you wouldn’t normally think about. Foraging for food has been around since the beginning of humanity and is still a great way to feed your family.
Learning how to forage things such as dandelions or how to forage and identify morel mushrooms is a great way to supplement your grocery budget.
If you’re unsure about identifying wild edibles, my friend Mark wrote “The Idiots Guide to Foraging” and I have to say it’s an excellent book!