My grandmother was born in 1930, the start of the Great Depression. The Great Depression lasted from 1929-1939 and was a time when everyone had to "Reduce, Re-Use & Recycle." Not a new concept, just for different reasons. I am so very blessed that my grandmother is still alive and I can ask her things about her childhood, she is also an amazing historian and has documented much of our family history as well as stories from her own growing up. I have always seen grandma being a diligent steward of all that is given her. She doesn't waste anything. She has always been frugal, but not in a tight sense, as she is one of the most generous women you will meet. I have been blessed to learn so many frugal tricks from her that have helped my family out.
For instance, an article of clothing like a man's old shirt has so many uses beyond being worn. When grandma's father (a farmer) had clothes that were worn out they were just re-purposed. After clothing can no longer be mended (a novel concept as by today's standards we just dispose of things) it is given a new life. (Check out Etsy and you will see site after site of re-purposed items) An old shirt becomes a handy rag for washing down windows, a strip of that shirt can be used to tie up tomato plants in the garden, and the buttons would be removed and saved for some other sewing project. Grandma always had a button jar (an old mason jar full of various buttons) that I thought was fascinating. The funny thing is that without even realizing it I started a small one with the random buttons that come attached in a small little baggie to clothing when you buy a new dress shirt. I don't know why, but I just felt like the buttons belonged in a little jar. They are kinda pretty.
I also learned that a meal can be re-purposed many times over. These days we are quick to dispose of leftovers but we throw out and waste so much. For instance, when you serve a baked chicken (I know most people just buy chicken breasts but I swear there really is more to a chicken than breast meat) you pick off the remainder of the meat after the meal and it can be a small beginning to a single serve chicken salad, or save it for a chicken soup made from bone broth you make with the leftover chicken bones (soo good for you, and better than store bought chicken broth with way too many additives).
Kitchen items can be re-used too. You know that ziplock bag that you just but a couple of cookies in but then they were eaten too fast? It can actually be washed and rinsed out and re-used. The glass jars that your grocery store food comes in? They make great containers for all sorts of things, (nails in the garage, cotton swabs in the bathroom, etc). I use lemon essential oil in my water and needed a glass water bottle for it, but the store prices to buy a glass water bottle were ridiculous ($20-$30) so I just purchased a $1.50 fancy lemonade beverage in a glass bottle with a metal lid and then when I was through, I ran it through the dishwasher, and violia! I now have a glass water bottle.
P.S. if you don't know how to make your own chicken broth, I will post on that this weekend, HUGE money saver and that is how chicken broth was made when you heard the old adage about chicken soup being a great remedy for being sick!