The Old Fashioned Way is the Cheaper Way

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Today people look for items to make life easier. Yet, those items cost money which is earned by working, thus defeating the purpose of making life easier. In the "olden days" things were done more economically than today, and life seemed simpler. Sometimes, the old fashioned way is not only the simpler way it's the cheaper way.


Laundry Day

Take some time to calculate the price of a clothes dryer per year. The initial purchase of the dryer costs several hundred dollars. Then, there is the cost of the energy needed to run it. In the end a clothes dryer could cost $380 in the first year for a basic electric model or $310 for a basic gas model.

Instead, do it Grandma's way and hang clothes on the line to dry. In the warm months of the year this is a practical and fresh solution. Not only do the clothes smell fresh, but the initial cost of $10 for a clothesline and clothespins doesn't compare to the mechanical method.. Hanging clothes outside also allows for a chance to enjoy nature's sights, sounds, and refreshing air; consider it a free trip to a health spa.

Put Up Some Savings

Learn to can items while they're on sale. Canning is a simple process once it is learned, and supplies are reasonable. However, don't feel that making jellies and "putting up" beans is the requirement. Instead, think creatively.


While green peppers can be expensive in the winter months, they are much cheaper in the summer. Purchase a bushel in the summer months along with a bushel of onions. Then, in quart jars layer one half cut green peppers and one half sliced onions. In the winter, or even on a busy summer day, prepare sausage or meatball sandwiches with the canned peppers and onions. It saves not only money but time as well. Consider other combinations or "quick fixes" to prepare ahead of time.

A Seed Swap

The old-fashioned idea of a seed swap is fun and economical. Plantlings are expensive when they need to be replaced each year. While landscaping can be based around perennials which do not need to be replaced each year, nothing beats the sunny smile of a marigold. As the seeds form on the dead flowers, snap them off and place them on a tray in a dry place. When the seeds have completely dried in a week or more, store them in an air tight bag in a dark place until next spring. In March start the seeds indoors and move them out as the weather allows.


Get Out There and Walk

Walking could possibly be the most beneficial exercise. The pace can be adjusted as needed, and it can be done with a friend. Instead of hopping in the car to go down the block for a paper, walk. The benefits are limitless. Not only will it aid in overall health, but it will save on gasoline and car costs. Remember how Great Granddad walked to work each day? He must have been on to something.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at or visit her website at

May 28, 20060 found this helpful

I agree that doing things by hand can be cheaper. Certainly taking a walk is cheaper than a gym membership, and since the great outdoors is always right outside your door, you don't have to drive anywhere. I'm not as keen, though, on the idea that old-fashioned women's chores are cheaper. My time is limited, so hanging clothes outside isn't practical. Besides, air pollution will ruin your wash. Better to use the dryer, and make sure the lint filter is clean so it uses the least energy per load. Also, canning is extremely time consuming, takes a lot of energy for cooking the foods, and can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

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April 30, 20120 found this helpful

I am so glad to see someone who is willing to go back to the old ways. I have always used a clothes line even when I had load after load of diapers. Of course we have always had a drier for when the weather is incliment but we rarley use it.

Another way that we saved money was my cook stove. We have always been where we could get wood and I love cooking on a wood cookstove. The food tastes so much better.

The only nod to modern cooking is my bread machine. I am now disabled and no longer able to make bread by hand. I use the bread machine on dough cycle and then make the loaves (my recipe will make 3 loaves of bread and enough rolls for dinner for the 5 adults in my family).

I do this twice a week. One batch is for rye bread and the second is for regular white bread for sandwiches. There is nothing better than to smell fresh bread baking in the oven. It is also better for you. It does not have all the chemicals in it that store bought bread has.

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April 30, 20120 found this helpful

LOL Had to chuckle at one response. She just can't see the long term benefits of doing any of it. Guess most ideas do seem time consuming.

Thankfully that is something a homemaker has time for. I love saving my family $.

I do hang clothes out; but I also give them a tumble for 5 min in the dryer to soften them (I make my own laundry soap).

Canning is not that time consuming & the benefits of NOT throwing it a electric $$ freezer, are huge.

Anyone has time to can a little something; have a canning party & learn from family or friends. There are a thousand recipes on line.. & it is NOT dangerous. Simple canning requires nothing more then boiling water, education & a spirit of adventure. Pressure canning takes a bit more education, but certainly do able :)

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