41 Old Money-Saving Ideas to Use Today

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Are you looking for old money-saving ideas from many years ago?  If you are, I can certainly understand why.

Times sure have changed over the years.  And post-pandemic, people are struggling more than ever to make ends meet.  

While it’s essential to find ways of saving money in the modern days, sometimes looking to the past will help with inspiration and motivation for changing your spending habits.  

People seemed to live so simply back in the day.  Adopting this simple way of life has proven to help people live below their means.  

So, by changing the way you live to a more frugal lifestyle, you could reach your financial goals more quickly.  

If you want to know the traditional ways of saving in the past so you can save money today, keep reading for some tips to consider.  

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.  If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  You can read my full disclosure here.  

Old Money-Saving Ideas:  Money Management 

We can learn a thing or two from old-fashioned ways of managing money.  However, sometimes, resorting to simple strategies and techniques can help you manage your money effectively.

1. Use Cash

Using money instead of a credit card for purchases is a proven budgeting method.  The idea is so simple yet effective.  If you don’t have cash, you don’t spend money.  

Many people use the cash envelope system for budgeting.  The cash envelope system divides your paycheck into envelopes based on your budget categories.  You then use the money in the envelopes to pay for your expenses.  

2. Balance Your Checkbook

Many people feel balancing a checkbook is a waste of time in today’s electronic banking world.  Balancing a checkbook is nostalgic and satisfying, but it’s also a great way to monitor your money.

Tracking your money closely can save you money by helping you better control your financial situation.

For example, balancing a checkbook helps you to:

  • Avoid overdraft fees by ensuring you have enough money in your account to cover your expenses
  • Identify discrepancies with your transactions
  • Watch for fraudulent activity
  • Catch recurring billing for unused subscriptions or free trials that have ended
  • Know your financial position so you can make informed decisions with your spending

3. Use the Team Approach

Joining finances after getting married is becoming an old-fashioned way to manage money because keeping finances separate is becoming increasingly more common nowadays.  

And that’s okay.  However, teaming up with your partner will help you snowball your efforts with saving money and help you pay down debt and reach your financial goals more quickly.

Sitting down together to discuss your spending habits will ensure you are both on the same page.  Then, create your budget together so you are clear on where your money is going.  

4. Buy Quality Items That Last

Spending extra money to purchase something that will stand the test of time can save you money in the long run.  It’s tempting to buy cheaper items to save money when you are in the moment of the purchase.  And it’s impossible to know if spending a few extra bucks will result in an item lasting longer.

However, doing your due diligence by researching and analyzing your different options when making a purchase can help you make the right choice, which may save you money in the long run.

5. Save Up for Large Purchases 

Avoiding taking on debt by saving up over time for large purchases is a traditional way of saving money.  Carrying debt is expensive.  So, paying interest on top of your principal payments can eat up a great deal of your paycheck.  

Saving up for what you want or need instead of making purchases on credit or taking out a loan will help you save money in the long run.  

6. Save Your Loose Change (or Use an App That Does That!)

Did you ever spend hours with your parents or grandparents counting coins and putting them into coin wrappers? Then, you would hop in the car and drive to the bank to turn those coins into dollar bills.  That seemed to be the thing to do back then.

Now, you can take your bucket of coins to the bank for them to feed through their coin sorter.  It’s a much less labor-intensive way to do it.  

Or you could get even more high-tech and use a savings app for banking your spare change.  For example, Acorns is a savings app you might want to check out.

Acorns is a micro-investing app that can help you save and invest for your future.  You can automatically save and invest your spare change. You can also invest as little as $5 at a time.  However, a personal investment account costs $3 a month, so keep this in mind.  

Check out acorns here.  

Old Money-Saving Ideas: Babies & Kids

Having kids is so expensive.  According to Investopedia, raising a child to age 18 could cost around $272,000 in 2022!  Of course, that does not include paying for a college education.  But using some of these old money-saving ideas can help you reduce that cost.  

7. Borrow Baby Equipment

Borrowing baby equipment can help you save so much money!  Who wants to pay $100 for an activity center they will outgrow in 6 months or less?

But just be sure there are no safety recalls on anything you plan to borrow.  Safe Kids Worldwide is a great resource for checking for recalls.  

8. Buy Secondhand Clothes

Buying clothes secondhand is another way to save money when raising kids.  They outgrow clothes so quickly, especially when they are babies.  

Check thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales, eBay, Craigslist, ThredUP, and Facebook Marketplace to find used kids’ clothing.    

9. Use Cloth Diapers

Using cloth diapers is an old-fashioned way to save money.  But you have to be willing to wash them out yourself to save money.  According to thebump.com, using a diaper service for cloth diapers will end up costing you about as much as disposables would.  

10. Make Your Own Baby Food

Making baby food was the norm years ago.  And it can save you quite a bit of money today.   So, if you plan on making baby food, you must invest in a good immersion blender to complete the job more easily.  Also, there are tons of resources online to get started.  

11. Pack Your Kids’ Lunches

Back in the day, one-room schoolhouses didn’t have cafeterias!  Save money by packing your kids’ lunches for school.  

12. Limit Toys

Putting a limit on the number of toys your child has will save you money.  Did you ever love to watch Little House on the Prairie growing up?  That TV series comes to mind when I think about how kids grew up long ago.  

Kids didn’t have tons of overpriced, cheaply made toys back then.  They were lucky to have a stuffed animal and some marbles to play with. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I see the value in toys; they are essential for a child’s learning and development.  

But by being choosey with the toys you buy for your kids, you will save money and help your kids place a greater value on the toys they have.  

13. Send Them Outside to Play

Are you looking for free entertainment for your kids?  Send them outside to play.  That’s what Caroline Ingalls did.  

Finding free or inexpensive activities for your family can be a challenge.  Here are some related articles:

Old money-saving ideas: grow your own food

Old Money-Saving Ideas:  Food

The food budget is one area that often requires some effort to reduce.  So, let’s look at some old money-saving ideas that can dramatically cut your food costs every month.  

14. Start a Garden

Many people wonder if gardening can save you money.  Yes, it can.  Growing some of your produce can help to lower your grocery bill.  

If you don’t have room in your yard to start a garden, try planting your favorite vegetables or herbs in containers to help save money on food.

15. Learn to Can

Canning and preserving food is an old-fashioned way to save money.  If you grow any of your produce, canning and preserving your excess will help you save money throughout the year.

16. Avoid Food Waste

Avoiding food waste is a traditional way to save money from the past.  Yet according to Forbes, the average household wastes $1,866 of food every year.  Just think of what could be done with that amount of money!

There are many ways you can avoid food waste.  A few ways to prevent food waste are:

  • Meal planning
  • Organizing your pantry by placing food that will expire soon in the front
  • Organizing your fridge by placing foods that need to be quickly eaten in the front
  • Only buy what you will use
  • Use up your leftovers 
  • Freeze leftovers if unable to eat them or use them

17. Stock Your Pantry and Freezer

Stocking food items when they are on sale for the lowest price will help you save money on food over the long term.  Just be sure the items you are stocking up on will last until you need them.

Some items that are great for stocking up on are:

  • Canned items
  • Jarred items
  • Dry beans
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen meats
  • Boxed meals
  • Pasta

18. Eat at Home

Eating at home is an old money-saving idea that can save you a great deal of cash.  In addition, eating a meal around the kitchen table is great for family bonding and conversation.  

Eating at home does take work.  But once you figure out a meal planning system that works for you, it becomes much more manageable.  

19. Use Coupons

Using coupons was a popular way to save money on groceries in the past.  However, with the rise in popularity of electronic coupons and cash-back apps, using paper coupons is becoming quite antiquated.  

Many grocery stores now have electronic coupons you can add directly to your store loyalty card or app.  It’s much more efficient than cutting out paper coupons.

My favorite cash-back app for groceries is Ibotta.  

Ibotta is a cash-back app for groceries that is free to download and use.  You can use it at stores like Walmart, Target, Costco, Whole Foods, Kroger, and more!

You add the grocery offer to your account in the Ibotta app, take a picture of your receipt, and they deposit the money into your Ibotta account.  

Ibotta can also be used with Walmart Grocery Pickup, even though you don’t get a receipt with Grocery Pickup.  

20. Stop Spending on Junk Food

Next time you go grocery shopping, look at your receipt to see what some of the more expensive grocery items you purchased were.  You may find that most of these items will be items that don’t provide much nutritional value.  

Unfortunately, junk food tastes so good, but it’s also expensive.  Things like prepackaged cupcakes, cookies, chips, frozen desserts, and soda can wreak havoc on your food budget.  

Try sticking to healthier snack foods.  Here are some more nutritious and cheaper foods you could try for snacks:

  • Popcorn (buy a bag of kernels and pop it yourself)
  • Pretzels (try store brand or generic)
  • Raw vegetables (our favorites are celery, baby carrots, and bell pepper strips dipped in hummus or ranch dressing)
  • Nuts (slightly more expensive, but the serving size is small, so they last)
  • Tortilla chips (generic, of course) and salsa
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Cottage cheese and canned fruit
  • Yogurt

21. Chop Your Own Produce

It’s tempting to buy bagged lettuce and pre-chopped veggies and fruit.  But you can save money on your produce by buying it in its original form and chopping it yourself.  You can invest in a salad spinner, a good knife, and a set of cutting mats to get the job done quickly.

If you want to save time, try chopping all of your produce at once and storing it in green containers in the fridge for easy access to use throughout the week.  That’s what we do with our veggies for salads, and it makes dinner prep quick and easy.

22. Bake Your Own Bread

An old-fashioned way to save money is baking your bread.  However, bread-making can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.  

But it doesn’t have to be.  

Bread machines make baking homemade bread incredibly easy.  You put all the ingredients in the machine, set the cycle, and press start.  The bread machine does all the hard work for you. 

You can let the bread machine complete the entire bread-making process, so you have a loaf of bread when the timer goes off.  However, when allowing the machine to bake the bread, the loaf comes out square and has a hole in the bottom from the paddle.  

Or, if you want a regular-looking loaf of bread, use the dough cycle for the mixing and kneading.  At the end of the dough cycle, remove the bread, shape it, place it in your loaf pan, and allow it to rise the second time.  

It sounds like a lot of work, but it isn’t.  You spend most of your time waiting for the bread machine on the dough cycle or for the bread to rise again before baking.  

Regardless of how you use your bread machine, you’ll save money by baking your bread.

23. Make Homemade Desserts/Birthday Cakes

Desserts and birthday cakes purchased from the store bakery are expensive.  So the old money-saving idea is to bake all your desserts yourself.  

Even if you aren’t into baking from scratch, a box mix is cheaper than buying premade goods at the bakery.  

24. Pack Your Lunch

Taking a packed lunch to work instead of getting takeout or going out to eat on your lunch break will save loads of money.  However, if you dread packing your lunch every night, there are ways to make packing your lunch easier.  Consistency is key to saving money by packing your lunch.  

 25. Stick to Generic/Store Brands

Buying store brands is an old-fashioned way to save money on your food bill.  There is no need to spend more money to buy a name-brand item.  Many generic brands are made by the same manufacturers as the name-brand products anyway!  

Old Money-Saving Ideas:  Entertainment and Leisure

Finding fun things to do is important for enjoying life. But entertainment can get so expensive for a family. So, keeping your family activities simple will help keep your entertainment budget under control.

26. Hang Out at Home

Spending time at home with your family instead of going out for paid entertainment (movies, dinner, arcades, shopping, shows, etc.) will save you a bundle of cash.  Research budget-friendly activities you can do at home with your family and friends.  

27. Visit Friends and Family

An alternative to hanging out at your home is hanging out at other people’s homes.  Visiting friends and family is another old-fashioned money-saving idea.  Plan a potluck dinner with friends, have a wine-tasting party, watch movies, or have a game night for cheap entertainment.  

28. Use Your Local Library

Your local library is an excellent resource for cheap and free activities.  Libraries go well beyond books and movies.  

Many libraries offer free speakers, classes, educational workshops, and discounted or free passes to local activities.  

Old Money-Saving Ideas: Row of bikes

Old Money-Saving Ideas:  Transportation

Car payments and car maintenance are costly. Here are some old-fashioned ways to save money on transportation.

29. Walk or Ride

If you live close enough to your destination, try walking or riding your bike.  Not only is it great exercise, but you will also save money on gas.  

30. Pay in Cash

The old-school way to buy a car is with cash.  If you can save up enough money to pay for your new (used) vehicle in cash, you will avoid paying interest and won’t have a monthly car payment.  

You will save money and can allocate more cash from your paycheck toward your financial goals.

31. Carpool

Carpooling is remarkable for many reasons.  First, it will save you money on gas and wear and tear on your vehicle.  Second, carpooling can make a long car ride more enjoyable by conversing with friends.  Lastly, fewer cars are on the road means less traffic and less air pollution.  Carpooling is a win all around.  

Old Money-Saving Ideas:  Household

Costs related to owning or upkeeping a home can add up. Plus, even if you rent, your utility costs can get expensive. Here are some ways people saved money in the past.

32. Watch Your Electricity Usage

Looking for ways to reduce your electricity consumption will save you money.  There are many ways to decrease your electricity costs.  Turning off lights, unplugging unused appliances, and using a programmable thermostat are just a few ways to cut your electric bill.  

33. Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

Doing essential home maintenance and repair on your own is a great way to save money, as people did in the old days.  Nowadays, we have helpful resources to teach you simple home repairs and upkeep.  Just Google what you want to learn to do, and you will find the answers along with YouTube videos showing you exactly how to do it. But if your repair is complicated, find a professional to do it!

34. Fix Things Instead of Tossing Them

Mending and repairing items instead of throwing them out is another old money-saving idea.  Learn some basic sewing skills, have super glue on hand, and keep some tools handy so you are prepared to fix things in need of repair.  

35. Give Hand-Made Gifts

Hand-made gifts can be so much more meaningful than purchased gifts.  If you don’t have much room in your budget for gift-giving, you can save money by making gifts for family and friends.  

36. Use a Small Amount of Product

Using only the amount of product you need will help the product last longer and save you money.  For example, some beauty products are so expensive.  Buy them less frequently by using a light hand when applying them.  

 37. Use Up What You Have

Avoid buying new products until you have used up the ones you have.  It can be exciting to try a new product.  But sometimes, trying a new product before you use up the old one can cause you to leave the old product behind, collecting dust in a cabinet and wasting your money.  

38. Use Vinegar

Vinegar is so cheap and has many different uses.  Using vinegar for household tasks is an old-fashioned way to save money that will save you money today.  You can use vinegar for cooking, cleaning, beauty, household, and outdoor uses.

39. Make Your Detergents/Soaps

Making your detergents and soaps is not difficult and will save you money.  The hardest part is choosing the recipe you want to try!  Many detergent and soap recipes use castile soap, which has many uses even by itself.  Look for your next soap recipe on Pinterest or Google.   

 40. Hang Clothes to Dry

Limit your dryer usage to save money on your electric bill.  Instead, line-dry your clothes outside, in the basement, or invest in a drying rack.  Even hanging up one load of wash to dry per week will save you money over the year.  

41. Hang Bedsheets on the Washline

There is nothing like fresh, clean, and crisp sheets that were hanging out in the sunshine for a cozy night’s sleep.  Plus, you will save money on your power bill and save wear and tear on your dryer.  

Final Thoughts on Old Money-Saving Ideas

Many people feel old-fashioned or traditional ways to save money are antiquated.  However, many of these money-saving ideas are still great ways to save money, even in modern days.  

If you are looking for ways to live a frugal lifestyle so you can reach your financial goals, try some of these old money-saving ideas.  You will be pleasantly surprised by how much your bank account grows.  

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