Join the Shift to Thrift

Shift toward thrift


In the United Kingdom, one of the surprise hits in the book world is David Kynaston's Austerity Britain, 1945-1951 (2008, Walker & Company), which documents the way Britons adapted to the dire shortages after World War II. With recession worries growing, many are looking to it for tips and taking other steps to save money. According to the Telegraph, the economists say that "there is a slow-down in the housing market, which makes everyone feel less confident financially. And credit will be harder to come by. We should all be tightening our belts."

The Telegraph's Eithne Farry notes that It's not quite as onerous as it sounds. Recession thinking tends to be practical but prosaic: Switch off the lights when you leave the room. Turn the heating down and put on a sweater. Take your shoes to the mender rather than throwing them away.Others are starting allotment gardens. Geoff Stokes, of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardens, says that demand for allotments has been so huge that some London boroughs have a 10-year waiting list.

"Fresh air, exercise and fresh food, what could be better?" he says. "And because so many younger people have started working on allotments, and mothers come with their children after school, there tends to be a real community spirit."

Here are some tips from Austerity Britain 1945-1951 that might come back into vogue: