My mom and dad are from the generation that has been dubbed the Greatest Generation, born at or near the Great Depression and veteran of WWII. This is odd for some one my age, 35, but it was my normal. I learned a lot of lessons from them that I really thought would just save a little here or there, and then the "recession" hit, and did not go away.
Here are a few things that may or may not help your home, budget and soul.
1- Use it, reuse it, repurpose it, offer it to some one else to use, and then and only then throw it away.
Old clothes can make rag rugs or crazy quilts, boxes can make play things for kids, chicken bones can make stock, an old pot can beocome a planter... get creative, and think outside the box.
2- Food does not have to be gourmet to be good. Some recipes with only a few ingredients can give you what you need, taste good and not break the bank.
3-Think twice before you buy. If you wait a week before you buy that impulse purchase you may find that you can make do with what you have or you never really wanted it at all.
4- Going out to eat should be an occassion. It is much more expensive to eat spaghetti at Olive Garden than make your own. Save the restaurant trips for special days as a treat.
5- There is always someone who has less than you. This is the one I remember to keep my life in perspective when it feels like I am running in place up hill. There is always some one with less food, inadequate shelter, etc that needs your help. Even if it is just 4 cans of food to the pantry or a smile to some one down on their luck, you never know how that will help or brighten some one who really needs it. We never know why they are where they are, or what circumstances brought them there, but we can do one kind deed for them when we see their need.