13 Old Fashioned Skills That Save Money

Are you tired of spending too much money on everyday expenses? Do you feel like you’re constantly trying to keep up with the latest trends and gadgets, but struggling to make ends meet? If so, it might be time to look to the past for inspiration. Our grandparents and great-grandparents knew a thing or two about living frugally and making the most of what they had. Many of them lived during the great depression and the basic life skills they learned growing up are still useful today.

By incorporating some of these old-fashioned skills that save money into your life, you can not only grow your bank balance, but reduce waste, and live a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

In this article, we’ll explore some of these skills our grandparents learned from a young age, from cooking from scratch to bartering, and show you how to incorporate them into your daily routine. So, get ready to channel your inner pioneer and start living more frugally today!

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13 Old Fashioned Skills That Save Money

These simple skills will put  more money in your pocket over your lifetime than compound interest in your long-term savings.

Cook from scratch

Cooking from scratch is a fancy way of saying that you should make your own meals instead of relying on fast food or pre-packaged stuff. It’s cheaper to buy basic ingredients and cook them yourself, plus you’ll be eating healthier food, too. Think of all the money you’ll save on healthcare costs!

Cooking your own food is one of the most basic skills that saves a lot of money. In fact, if you regularly eat out. and if you do nothing else on this list except begin cooking from scratch, you’ll start to notice extra money in your account each month.

Plan your meals

Planning out your meals for the week is an easy task that can help you save money on groceries, and it will make cooking from scratch infinitely easier. By making a list of what you need and sticking to it, you’ll avoid buying things you don’t need and reduce food waste. It will also help you stick to your grocery budget.

Shop with cash

Before there was the credit card, there was cash. Your grandparents likely shopped with cash – and that meant they couldn’t overspend at the grocery store or anywhere else. When you  hold cash in your hands you understand the value of money more clearly than when you’re handing over a plastic card.


Making a budget is an old-fashioned money management skill that’s still useful today, but many people don’t bother to budget. By tracking your income and expenses, you can identify areas where you can cut back on spending and set financial goals for yourself. You can also incorporate your long-term goals into your budget, and set your savings to auto-withdraw each month. (There are SOME benefits to electronic banking that our grandparents would have liked haha.)

Grow a garden

Growing your own fruits and veggies can save you lots of money on groceries, especially during the growing season. All you need is a pack of seeds, tools, and soil, and you’ll have your own organic produce to use in your meals or preserve for later. When it comes to sustainable living, gardening is one of those essential skills that our grandparents use to learn from a young age. If you live in a place where you struggle for outdoor space, you can look into community gardens, or even invest in a hydroponic grower for your kitchen counter.

Mend clothes

Instead of buying new clothes, learn how to sew and fix your own clothes. It’s easy to patch up holes or replace missing buttons, which can save you the cost of buying new items. Plus, if you’re feeling crafty, you can even create your own clothing or accessories. Keep in mind that sewing clothes from scratch can become quite an expensive hobby, so if you’re only planning to mend you don’t need more than a basic sewing machine.

Line dry laundry

Drying your clothes outside on a clothesline or drying rack is a simple way to save money on energy bills. It’s way cheaper than using a dryer and can even help your clothes last longer, so you won’t have to mend if you don’t want to! (Modern conveniences are wonderful, but they have cons as well as pros!)

Do basic home repairs and car maintenance

Learning how to do basic home repairs can save you tons of money on labor costs. Instead of calling a professional to fix something, try doing it yourself. Fixing leaky faucets, patching holes in drywall, or painting a room in your own home can be done with a little bit of knowledge and effort. Oil changes are not that difficult, and will save you a lot in the long term.

Make your own cleaning products

Making your own cleaning products using natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice is cheap and easy. It’s also better for your health and the environment than using harsh chemicals. I’m not that personally interested in making my own soap, but its another thing you CAN make for yourself if money is tight!

Reuse or repurpose things instead of throwing them out

Grandma would never throw out a glass jar only to buy a Tupperware one to store dry beans. She’s just store her beans in the pasta sauce jar. She would never buy a box of rags at Costco (which I absolutely have done) – she’d cut up old sheets and towels to make rags. She would never toss an old toothbrush and buy a scrub brush for getting around the taps – she’d just use the told toothbrush in a new way. The ability to see old things in a new way is a great skill that will save a lot of money in the long run.

Can and preserve food

If you have a garden or access to fresh produce, learn how to can and preserve food for later use. It’s a great way to enjoy fresh, home-grown produce even when it’s out of season, plus it saves you money on groceries. If you’re not that into learning about what a water bath is, or canning just seems like very hard work, you can do a variation of preserving in the freezer. For example, when I find fresh produce (like green peppers) on sale in the fall, I buy a lot of them and chop ’em up and freeze them in plastic bags – in the portions I know I’ll use through out the year. I save a TON of money on produce this way.


Bartering is an old-school way of getting what you need without spending money. If you have a skill like gardening or home repair, offer your services to others in exchange for goods or services that you need. These days with social media, it’s easy to post on Facebook in search of something you need – to see if you have a friend who’s got one that they’re willing to lend you, or sell to you.

Be creative and resourceful

You have to admit, grandma knew something about making do with what she had, or coming up with a creative solution rather than checking Amazon for the answer. The thrift store and yard sales were more rare in the past then they are now, but they offer us wonderful opportunities to be resourceful and find used things for a fraction of the cost of new things.

Have fun at home

Our grandparents rarely went out – many lived far from town, and often they didn’t have the money for going out at all. Home is a great place to be – if you know how to have fun at home! Play games as a family, take-up (inexpensive) hobbles like baking or painting. You can gave so much fun at home if you set your mind to it!

Do without

Sometimes the best way to save money is to simply do without certain luxuries or conveniences that you don’t really need. For example, skip the cable TV subscription or expensive coffee drinks and focus on what’s truly important to you.

By incorporating these old-fashioned skills into your life, you can save money and live more frugally without sacrificing the things that matter most to you

Today’s world of video games and student loans seems far removed from the past, but there’s something to be said for the wisdom of cultivating self-sufficiency skills – and reaping the financial reward that comes with those skills.

The old-fashioned skills that save money are still relevant and valuable today. By embracing these simple yet effective techniques, we can reduce our expenses, live more sustainably, and improve our quality of life. From cooking from scratch to doing simple things like home repairs and car maintenance, there are many ways to cultivate self-sufficiency skills that can make a real difference in our finances and overall well-being. So, let’s take a page from our grandparents’ book and start incorporating these skills into our daily routines.

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