A horse-drawn carriage rolls down the street, a chimney sweep heads off to work, and a chamber pot is emptied out of a second floor window. This is the image we have of the Victorian Era which got its name from the woman we celebrate each May, Queen Victoria.
People in the Victorian Era, including the Queen herself, lived lives of remarkable frugality and resourcefulness. They made do with what they had and worked hard to get it. Consolidated Credit has looked at the way people lived 150-200 years ago in England and found some things we could learn.
• Public transportation - Victorian England and public transportation go together like tea and crumpets. This period marked the rise of such transportation options as horse-drawn trams, steam trains, and even the creation of an actual underground railway -- which would become the subway. In modern times, however, we have a love affair with our vehicles. The majority of people shun public transportation for their own car. Not only does this harm the environment, it also costs more. One quick way to eliminate a major cost in your budget is to ditch the car and travel with the masses.
• Hobbies - The people of the 19th century England didn't need a plane ticket to the Caribbean to enjoy their lives. Rather, they used their leisure time to participate in hobbies that benefited both their minds and bodies but cost little. Things like riding a bike, playing cricket and reading books became popular during this time.
Can you live without your smartphone, plasma TV and computer? People in the Victorian era had none of those things and yet they were able to enjoy themselves. So, how about heading out to a local park to play a game of soccer with friends? It's going to make your body healthier, cost nothing, and even save you money because you won't need a gym membership! If that doesn't appeal to you, get a hobby like woodworking so you can make your own furniture instead of having to buy it. Now that's how you save money!
• Grow it yourself - Many Victorians used whatever yard space they had to grow vegetables. This was an easy and cheap way to get nutritious food and save money. This helped to keep stomachs full and surely beat having to sheepishly ask your neighbour for a couple of potatoes because you forgot to go to the supermarket before cooking up a stew.
Who spends more time in your backyard -- you or your dog? We have all this extra space that has basically become nothing but Fido's bathroom. Little did you know but all this time, he's been fertilizing the soil so you can grow your own vegetable garden. Carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and more can be grown by just planting a few seeds. Give it a try and watch your grocery bills plummet. And there's nothing better than a salad with ingredients you grew yourself.
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