Now we’ve rung in the New Year, many of us will be looking at our bank balances and feeling twinges of regret about our overspending during the holiday period. According to Forbes Magazine, consumers who took on additional debt this holiday season added an average of $1,003 to their balances. The burden of debt can have a huge impact on both our emotional and physical wellbeing, leading to stress, anxiety, and sleepless night.
If you’re struggling with debt, or have simply overspent and would like to tighten your belt in order to get your budget back under control, then why not look to our Victorian past for a huge wealth of fun ideas on how to save money? Frugality and resourcefulness are both key buzzwords for describing the lifestyles of most Victorians, regardless of their class and social status. Victorian people made do with what they had and were incredibly resourceful when it came to finding what they needed without expense. Here are some ideas on how you can adopt this philosophy to suit your own lifestyle:
Repair Rather Than Replace
Victorians didn’t have wardrobes overflowing with clothes in the way that so many of us do: they certainly didn’t feel the need to wear a new outfit for every social occasion they attended. Clothes were not purchased off the rack: each gown worn by a woman, for example, would be made either by a professional seamstress or (if finances didn’t allow) hand sewn at home. As a result, dresses were often repurposed and updated to suit changing fashions, and repaired when they were showing signs of wear, rather than simply discarded. Modern money savers can learn a lot from this Victorian model: why not learn some simple sewing techniques? It is much more cost effective to replace a button than buy a new coat, and small holes in garments can be repaired very simply with minimal skill and technique. By repairing rather than replacing clothes, and other items around the home, you’ll be amazed at how much money you can save: that money would be much better spend on removing the burden of your debt and living a debt free life than on continued consumerism and things you don’t really need .
Ditch Your Car
Very few Victorians had their own personal transportation: the Victorian era was the era in which public transport became more easy and convenient to use than ever. Regular buses, trams, and even a rudimentary underground railway system (which would later become the subway) were all established during the Victorian era. Taking public transport is easy, cost effective, and what’s more it’s also great for the environment. Contrary to popular belief, nearly all forms of public transport pose less of a cost to the average commuter than driving and, thanks to increasing congestion and traffic, you can often reach your destination much faster if you are travelling by public transport too. Why not ditch the car (at least for a couple of months) and see how much money you could save on gas, parking, and car maintenance expenses? You might even find that taking public transport is so convenient that you never want to jump in your car for simple journeys again!
Grow Your Own Vegetables
Why not make like a Victorian and use your backyard space to grow something useful, such as vegetables? No matter how big or small their outdoor space, the Victorians often utilized this to grow vegetables in order to ensure they had access to a nutritious meal without having to spend any more. What’s more growing your own vegetables is a fun and inexpensive hobby that you can involve the whole family in, and it provides a great lesson for children about where food comes from, as well as encouraging them to spend more time outdoors. Carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers are all very simple to grow for a beginner, and you will soon be able to eat and enjoy the fruits of your labour, whilst watching your grocery store bills decrease as a result. Have a large yard and enjoy the idea of growing your own food? Why not consider buying some chickens and a small chicken coop: much cheaper to own as a family pet than a cat or dog, when you own chickens of your own you will always have a ready supply of eggs for breakfast!