Frugal Lessons From The Past

Concerning finances, thrift, frugality and simple living there are tried and true bedrock principals that we should never forget. In this series we examined source materials for possible lessons from the past that we could learn to help us figure out solutions to today’s problems.

The Holy Bible – Provides lessons on stocking up our pantries, saving leftovers, working hard, staying focused, moderating our habits and to pay as we go.

Frugality in the Spiritual Life – This is an excerpt from a book that William L. Watkinson wrote. His plea from the year 1908 to open our eyes to the “common things” couldn’t be more timely, surrounded as we are today with so many distractions from what is truly important.
The Art of Gardening – This was written by Iowan and Pulitzer Prize winner Frank Luther Mott (1886-1964). He reminds us not only that gardening is a great frugal option to save money on groceries but also names some of the joys that come with growing your own food.
Soar Away from the Vise – Here is advice from a beat up little 46 page booklet I rescued out of a dumpster years ago. It was written by Fred Moller, Jr. and this passage is from the final chapter called “Our Secrets.”
Seymour on Work - John Seymour (1914-2004) was a soldier, miner, farm manager, fishing boat skipper, world traveler, author, radio and TV broadcaster, farmer, teacher, and protester and is known as the “Father of Self-Sufficiency.”
Hillard Green – In 1972 the first Firefox anthology was published. Here are a couple of excerpts from an interview with Hillard Green, who at that time was around eighty years old.
Economy in the Home - The following is taken from Book Two of The People’s Home Library, published in 1920 and written by Mrs. Alice Gitchell Kirk.
College During the Depression – This is taken from the book The Great Depression by David A. Shannon and is a list of some of the ways college students made and saved money during the 1930’s.
Old Mike - In the book “Little Heathens” there is a chapter on how the author and her family practiced thrift. After describing such things as homemade cleaners and health remedies and the many life cycles of socks she ends the chapter with a recycling technique probably not used by many anymore.
Carl Faber – This “desert rat” and artist describes his lifestyle and lack of need for money while living in a little house in the Mojave Desert.
Harlan Hubbard - In this excerpt from his book about drifting down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River to New Orleans in a homemade shantyboat Harlan explains why he wanted to undertake the journey.
Kate Sanborn - Kate Sanborn (1839 – 1917) purchased and moved onto an abandoned farm in Massachusetts in 1888 and here she writes of some of the pleasures and advantages of country living.

The Mail Order Catalog - Carl Hamilton wrote about history and his own memories of growing up on a farm. The following excerpts follow the lifespan of a mail order catalog on the farm.

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