Coffee. Meat. Milk. Cheese. Everyday foods like these were all strictly rationed during World War II, which made cooking a bit of a challenge. But housewives of the 1940s rose to the occasion wonderfully. They became pioneers of thriftiness, learning to do a whole lot with very little. So here are the best beauty, housekeeping, and entertaining tips you can still use today while sticking to a tiny budget.
1. Line-dry your clothes — and make sure they last longer
The housewives of the '40s didn’t have tumble dryers. In fact, they had gentler methods for drying their laundry. And for people who wanted their clothes to last for as long as possible, gentle cleaning was the name of the game. We all could benefit from taking care of our clothes with the same degree of care.
All you need to do is hang your garments out to dry, rather than relying on the tumble dryer. Your wardrobe will last longer, which saves you money. And naturally, you’ll save on your utility bill, too.
2. Sate your sweet tooth wisely
Even though circumstances required '40s housewives to ration their resources, they still indulged in desserts. And they found ways to whip up their favorite confections without using all of the sugar that a recipe would normally require. For example, an apple pie recipe from this era called for only one teaspoon of sugar and the same amount of honey.
So, take this tip for your next baking batch. Rather than dumping a ton of sugar into the mixture, try swapping it out for whichever alternative you have on hand. Or, cut down on the sweet stuff and keep your pantry fuller for longer.
3. Why buy when you can borrow?
Women in this era had learned during the Great Depression that they had to use less and save more. One great way of doing so was by borrowing from others wherever possible. Buying books and movies, for example, can be seen as a waste of money if you can check out the same titles from your local library.
Or, you might need a tool or supply for a one-off project. Again, picking up an item to use it once would be an unnecessary expense when you could just borrow it from someone you know.
4. Save big on trendy glass jars
Mason jars are particularly en vogue, especially the vintage colorful variety. You can actually get a similar look by simply hanging on to your empty glass food containers. Even if they don’t look too similar to Mason jars, there are so many ways to repurpose empty containers. You can use them to organize a toolbox, craft-supply closet, or bathroom drawers.
Pop leftovers into glass containers, and you don’t have to buy Tupperware ever again. And, of course, with a bit of creativity, you can repaint and redecorate your saved-up jars to use as candle holders, cups — whatever you want!