It is quite a contrast when I look at the little money my family survived with in the countryside in my childhood days compared to how much resources and money modern life seem to require. Almost like the Ingalls family, my family did not have a lot of money when I was growing up. We made do with what we had, and we were grateful that the basic needs were being met.
I am looking for ways to cut down on expenses these days. And I realise that there are quite a number of examples I can take from Ma and Pa Ingalls from the Little House On The Prairie series. However, while I want frugality, I also want to be practical. So here are a few ideas from the Ingalls family in which frugality meets practicality and will help me (or even you) to minimise expenses.
“Every seam must be exactly right before Ma would let her make another, and often Laura worked several days on one short seam.”-On the Banks of Plum Creek
Ma Ingalls used to sew clothes for her family from scratch. And she taught her girls how to sew too. My hubby recently bought me a little sewing machine, so I will be learning to make my own clothes and mend things around my home. I am sure I will be saving on the amount I normally spend at the clothes stores and dressmaker.
Sun-dried laundry is one of my favourite things to smell. And wouldn’t you agree that we can all save on the bills by doing some hand washing and hanging our clothes on the line to dry? This is how the Ma Ingalls did laundry. So laundry was not a major expense on their tight budget.
Going To Town Less
The folks in the Pioneer days spent a lot of time on their homesteads. So regularly running into town was not a practice for the prairie families. I realise that I do spend less money and find less reasons to spend when I limit the amount of times I visit town each month. And I get more time to focus on things at home :)🧺
Cooking And Baking From Scratch
On the prairie, there were no restaurants to order dinner from. And even if there were, how would families like the Ingalls afford that. Hubby and I have been making more homemade meals, and I have even decided to start baking my bread from scratch.
Growing My Own Food
“The garden behind the little house had been growing all summer. It was so near the house that the deer did not jump the fence and eat the vegetables in the daytime, and at night Jack kept them away. Sometimes in the morning there were little hoof-prints among the carrots and the cabbages. But Jack’s tracks were there, too, and the deer had jumped right out again.” -Little House In The Big Woods
I am so happy to watch my tomatoes grow this summer. Planting a garden has been such a joy for me this year. I can just imagine how anxious and excited the Ingalls Family would have been waiting on the crops to grow and then be harvested.
Preserving And Storing Food
“When they came to a plum thicket they set down their big pails. They filled their little pails with plums and emptied them into the big pails till they were full. Then they carried the big pails back to the roof of the dugout. On the clean grass Ma spread clean cloths, and Laura and Mary laid the plums on the cloths, to dry in the sun. Next winter they would have dried plums to eat.” -On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
It is one thing to plant and grow a garden. But after harvesting, it is important to properly preserve and store all that food you worked hard to grow. Ma’s canning procedure would have been different from the procedures we follow these days, but she canned their produce and the family got to enjoy those jars of food during the long winter. They also dried fruits and stored crops like pumpkin and squash.
I am starting my canning journey this Autumn and I have dried herbs hanging in my kitchen. I will be sure to share with you the recipes I will use for canning and making jams and jellies.
“Now the potatoes and carrots, the beets and turnips and cabbages were gathered and stored in the cellar, for freezing nights had come. Onions were made into long ropes, braided together by their tops, and then were hung in the attic beside wreaths of red peppers strung on threads. The pumpkins and the squashes were piled in orange and yellow and green heaps in the attic’s corners. The barrels of salted fish were in the pantry, and yellow cheeses were stacked on the pantry shelves.” -Little House In The Big Woods
Do you have anything to add to this list of frugal living ideas from the Ingalls Family? Or do you have any tips to share of your own? Feel free to share, as I would so very much love to learn from you also.
Take care 🙂