We are entering another cycle of economic uncertainty, no one knows how long it will last or how deep the financial fall out will be. In difficult times, we tend to look back in history, searching for frugal living ideas and methods to save money. Recycling isn’t new, repurposing is an ancient mindset and finding ways to reuse something has been around for centuries!
Thrifty lifestyles and frugal living will be back in the cultural spotlight soon. The last recession (beginning in 2008) revived the idea of simple frugal living. Tiny houses, downsizing possessions and embracing #thriftlife helped many of us survive the loss of income, and we were able to find hope in our contentment.
Most midlife women know their way around a kitchen. We have made thousands of meals, stretching an empty fridge into a miracle meal with as much drama as Moses parting the Red Sea. But as we shift toward frugal living, every home cook is looking for new ideas for the kitchen.
Every generation searches for new ways to improve quality of life. And sometimes the results are amazing! (the internet, no more long distance phone charges, heated car seats). Other times, we create more work for ourselves. A typical middle class kitchen is full of one- use appliances, half used seasonings, and pointless holiday serving dishes. Many of our frugal living Grandmothers fed a crew of people with limited cookware, simple supplies and a heap of imagination.
Check out the four ways we can crush it in the kitchen, Granny style!
Aprons- Have you ever gotten an oil stain on your favorite hoodie? How about that awesome black shirt that goes with everything? Yup, it’s the worst! Full aprons are the answer to life’s most messy questions. Before you begin in the kitchen, put on your apron. Visit your local thrift store and see if they have any for sale. I often find new, unused aprons at the Goodwill. When I look for aprons, I set aside my personal fashion taste. Frugal living might mean buying an apron with a logo or a wild fabric. The fact is an apron will be destroyed as it does the job of protecting your fashionable clothes.
If you have basic sewing skills and some spare fabric, you can make an apron at home. Search YouTube for tutorials. Check out this site-www.jennifermaker.com for tons of ideas.
Countertop fermenting- Eat like a hipster, live to be a Great Grandma. Do some research on home fermenting. The benefits to “gut” health are amazing, and you can join the popular craft food movement. I have been fermenting sauerkraut for the past 3 months. An important element of frugal living is taking care of your body, to prevent the expensive trio of disease, medicine and doctors. Fermented foods nourish your gut by balancing out the good vs bad bacteria to help you digest meals more effectively.
Cast iron skillets– A must have for every home. Safe, almost indestructible and a valuable source of the mineral iron, these skillets are worth every penny. I was fortunate to find mine at a thrift shop, but if you have to buy new they are worth the price. My go- to cookware is cast iron, I love its ability to go from stove top to oven, hold heat and it is super easy to clean. Owning multiple sizes of cast iron is a frugal living kitchen basic. Treat your cast iron skillet right and it will last for generations. Teflon is bad for us people. Let’s stop serving our eggs infused with an industrial non- stick chemical, okay?
Toss the cookbooks– I know this goes against the current wisdom of having a meal plan and an exacting list for the week. Pintrest Panic! Grandma didn’t run to the store if she was out of something, she checked her pantry and then she let her imagination fill the blank spot. Case in point: last week, I made ham and bean soup. Traditionally, in my kitchen, carrots must be added to the soup for color and variety. I don’t keep carrots in my house, and I wasn’t driving to the store to buy some for the soup. Check the pantry, problem solved! Sweet potatoes were the understudy for carrots in my soup.
Recipes are simply experiments that have been recorded and shared with others. Granny was the role model for frugal living and food flexibility!
Hey Grandma, I like your frugal living style, gurl…..
As we move into this uncertain financial season, let’s focus on being hopeful and grateful. Frugal living is often a limited season in life, most of us will return to our previous jobs and recover the majority of our income. No matter what the our financial circumstances might be, there is always beauty in creating contentment in the kitchen. Meals are meant to nourish physically and emotionally, creating a gathering of hearts and bodies.