Food is expensive today – and it was expensive a hundred years ago. Here is what someone a hundred years ago said about how they minimized their food costs:
We save on food costs. Twenty-five percent of the known incomes, allows $660 a year for food. I allow $540 or $45 a month, for a family of four. It means a very plain table. It means, too, that food costs are lessened by our flock of 12 to 15 chickens which returns 50% above its yearly cost, and by a garden from which I can vegetables and fruits. We pay in labor for part of our food – caring for the garden and the chickens.
From an article titled “Getting the Most Out of Your Dollar,” (Good Housekeeping; May, 1920)
26 thoughts on “Save on Food Costs: 1920 Advice”
I’m certain chickens and gardens were far more common in 1920. For today’s urban and suburban dwellers, the freedom to pay in labor for food just isn’t possible. Community gardens help, but it seems they’re still uncommon.
I’m sure that you are right. Many people were much closer to the land a hundred years ago.
It really takes a large garden and dedication to supplement a grocery bill, but it is always nice to have some fresh homegrown food.
How true – our small garden only produces a very small portion of our annual food supply.
My husband planted kale this year and we are STILL harvesting it! He even has a few arugula plants to harvest from. That alone has cut the grocery costs as fresh greens for salads are very expensive…
The kale and arugula sound wonderful. It’s amazing how well kale does in very cool weather.
How many of us want to settle for a “plain table” these days? We have become accustomed to our variety. At a cost, I guess.
Cookbooks and magazines a hundred-years-ago often indicated that some dishes or menus were inexpensive. My general sense is that money was very tight for many people back then, and that some cooks took great pride in being able to create a “plain table” that contained nutrious foods.
One can grow quite a lot of food in a little space or even planter boxes. A couple of cherry tomato plants, cut-and-come-again lettuce, some herbs, a few kale and parsley plants, and you have lunch for a good part of the summer!
Small gardens are easy to take care of, and can produce some wonderful foods.
Look at that squash!😋 I find gardening definitely helps out with the grocery bill…. as well a making your own bread.
Gardening and making homemade bread can definitely help stretch the food budget.
I am still amazed by how far a bag of dried beans can go.
Your comment makes me realize that I have several partially full bags of dried beans in a kitchen cupboard. I really should be looking for a recipe to use them. 🙂
With seasonings they are quite good by themselves.
I don’t think I could do the chickens, but I dearly wish I had a garden today even though good quality produce is available in my grocery stores nearby. Many Americans, like myself, though do watch what we spend and try to be economical with our purchases. A table may be plain, but if it has fresh vegetables on it it is healthy and that is what should matter to us. Fun read!
Similarly to you, I take pride to trying to make wise food purchases that are healthy and nutrious.
It seems that some of us will always have to budget I agree with Dorothy however small your garden or balcony… pots, hanging baskets, grow bags can produce quite a lot of produce…Here we are lucky growing your own and having chooks is the norm…I just wish that damn cock would do cock a doodle do’s at a more social time and not 3.30 in the morning…
Morning comes very early for roosters. 🙂
Indeed it does…lol…although I can hear one crowing now and it is 10am so he has his body clock muddled …lol
Oh dear – this takes me back to my childhood and to growing up on a farm.
Lovely memories, Sheryl… I don’t mind the crowing… Not so my son.. 😂
Wow. Hard to believe that I know people who spend that much each week!!
There has been a lot of inflation across the years, though the author of the old magazine article clearly had a very limited budget.
Those squash!!! I couldn’t be without home grown veggies, they are so superior to store bought, and once you get organised it’s not that time consuming.xxx
I agree – there’s nothing like home grown veggies. They’re wonderful.