Want to save money like your Grandma?
You may know her as our monthly frugal columnist, or you may be a fan of her blog or Youtube channel. Jane Berry, known for her blog Shoestring Cottage, or affectionately known as Shoestring Jane by many, has released a new book.
‘Extreme Frugality: Save Money Like Your Grandma’, teaches readers how to live a happy and sustainable life without breaking the bank. It seems more relevant than ever. During the worst cost of living crisis we’ve seen for decades, why not revisit the frugal living tips our war-time ancestors had no choice but to use?
Bringing back the ‘make do and mend’ attitude, Jane teaches us some of her Grandma’s thrifty habits to help cushion you against the hard times.
We sat down with Jane to interview her about her new book, hoping to delve into the thought process behind it, and just how each page can help you.
Let’s start off by talking about your new book. What is it called and can you give a brief synopsis?
“It’s called Extreme Frugality: Save Money Like Your Grandma – How to live a creative, happy and sustainable life on much less.
“Some of the best frugal living tips have been handed down from generation to generation. I bring together some of these, along with more modern ways to save yourself a ton of money.
“From shopping and cooking like your grandma, to buying second hand, find stuff for free and using cashback sites when you have to buy new, I have pulled together some of the most useful ideas to get you through tough times.”
Have you always wanted to write a book about this?
“Yes, it has been in the back of my mind ever since I began writing my blog over ten years ago. I have been working on this book for five years! I’m a great procrastinator and kept putting it aside, rewriting it and adding to it. But the cost-of-living crisis made it feel suddenly more urgent and I was compelled to get it published.”
You have a blog. How did the idea to turn your blog into a book come to fruition?
“Over the years, my blog readers have suggested I pulled the hundreds of posts I have written together as a book. In fact, I have added a lot of information too, because I learn so much as I go, from readers, from members of my Facebook group and from just living as frugally as possible.”
What can people learn from your book?
“The basic premise of the book is old-fashioned frugality, with some more modern ideas thrown in too. Our grandparents and great-grandparents survived WW2 and rationing. They had no choice but to make do and mend, use every scrap of food, to grow some of their own fruit and vegetables and to go without if necessary.
“We have lived through a period of unprecedented prosperity that most of us have taken for granted. We throw perfectly good food away, spend mindlessly on fast fashion and the latest trends and even go shopping for fun. Many of us routinely have large debts and no savings, and just one misfortune could lead to financial disaster.
“I am not suggesting that we revert back to a 1940s lifestyle, but we could learn a lot from previous generations and pick up some of grandma’s thrifty habits to help cushion us against hard times.”
If you had to pick one frugal tip from your book that readers must try, what would it be?
“Cut out waste in every area of your life.
“Once you reduce waste, then you need to buy less. For example, plan your meals, shop with a list and use what is in your fridge before it goes out of date. Look after your things to make them last longer, be it clothing, shoes, furniture or household items.
“As a bonus, wasting less is also good for the environment!”
How did being frugal become part of your lifestyle?
“I embraced frugality out of necessity. Recently divorced with a small income and three kids to support, I had to learn how to stretch my budget as far as possible.
“Once I realised how much money I could save, I became hooked. Now frugality is second nature to me.”
What did your grandma teach you about frugality?
“My own grandparents were from a working-class background where no one had any money and frugality was quite normal.
“My grandad always had a greenhouse full of tomatoes and a small vegetable patch. When we visited, the food was always simple but filling. Meat and two veg or tinned salmon with bread and salad.
“My own parents inherited some of these skills and passed them to me. I haven’t always been good with money, but I did know never to waste anything.”
Where can people find you?
“You can see what I get up to on my YouTube channel, on my blog. and on Instagram (@shoestringcottage). If you want to find a frugal community, head over to my Facebook group, My Second Hand & Frugal Life.”