What’s War Got To Do With It? Learning Practical Frugal Living Techniques from History

Necessity is the Mother of Invention.  We have all heard this adage before, and it certainly applies with respect to frugal living techniques.  We all have a tendency to live a more frugal lifestyle when we have no choice but to do so.  In short, we develop and perfect frugal living techniques when necessity leaves us with no alternatives.

The necessity can arise in many forms, with the most common perhaps being the loss of a job and/or the loss of a breadwinner.  But rather than force ourselves to learn under some personally traumatic circumstances, it is better to study historical examples of necessity-induced frugal living techniques.  Some of the best comes from wartime, and the granddaddy of them all was, of course, World War II.

During that massive conflict, the federal government imposed rationing as a means of supplying the war effort.  Valuable commodities from gasoline to rubber to iron were rationed in order to meet the prodigious demands of was on a truly worldwide scale.

Americans also, however, instituted voluntary means of supporting the war effort.  While we are no longer doing battle against Nazi Germany or Tojo’s Japan, we can still apply the same savings strategies that helped us win these conflicts.  By doing so, we can salvage personal resources with the same methods that worked so effectively on a national level seventy years ago.

A case in point is the concept of Meatless Mondays.  Actually started during the first World War, this was a concept that called on Americans to forego consumption of meat on each Monday so as to help save food for our soldiers, as well as for civilians in war-torn Europe.  In recent years, an international Meatless Mondays movement has arisen to encourage people to skip meat one day a week for health and environmental reasons.

Meatless Mondays is also a great idea from a practical frugal living standpoint.  By dropping meat products from the personal dietary rotation, a family of four can easily save fifty dollars a month, more for those who choose pricey meat products.  You, of course, also reap the other practical benefits in the way of health and environmental factors.  It is also a money saving technique that can build on itself.  Once you become familiar with, and develop a taste for, meatless alternatives, you can expand the meatless rotation to two times a week and thereby double the savings.  A milder alternative would be to go completely meatless on Mondays, and “red meat meatless” on Thursdays.  The main point, however, is to look for pricey products that can be cut from the personal budget on a regular, albeit limited, basis.

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3 Responses to What’s War Got To Do With It? Learning Practical Frugal Living Techniques from History

  1. James says:

    Quibble: Japan is not “Taoist” and as far as I am aware never has been. Taoism is a Chinese philosophy and I don’t believe has much (any) influence here.

    I believe a militarist bent of the Shinto religion was probably what you were thinking of.

  2. vster says:

    Good point, James. I think Taoism did spill over into Japanese culture, but I admittedly mistook that for Tojo’s Japan. Will revise accordingly. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Pingback: Winter Storms: Great Teachers of Frugal Living | Practical Frugal Living

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