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Retrench!

Don’t you wish you could marry for money?

With the economy faltering, perhaps we can learn some lessons from our heroes and heroines as to how to economize (“Retrench? Retrench! How may I retrench“).

1. Wear the same gown every day. When your gown is threadbare, turn it inside out and start wearing it that way.

2. Throw entertainments inside your home.

3. When venturing out, make just going to town the entertainment. No cost to you! And you might just find a husband, too.

4. Rise with the sun, go to bed with the moon.

5. Pay your servants paltry wages. Threaten them with no references if they complain.

6. Never pay your bills, except gambling debts. Those are debts of honor.

7. Become popular, so you get invited everywhere.

8. “Forget” your reticule when shopping.

9. Start writing a secret newspaper column/illustrating humorous cartoons for extra cash.

10. Take up spying.

11. If you’re a courtesan, threaten to publish your memoirs with names unless the men pay up to keep you silent.

12. Go to sea.

13. Head for India/the West Indies to make your fortune.

What can you think of?

Megan

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Linda Banche
14 years ago

Eat less. Food was expensive then.

For the men, stop buying the ubiquitous brandy they’re always swilling in romance novels.

Enter your horses in races. If they couldn’t possibly win, pretend they broke a leg and had to be put down and sell them–but not at Tattersall’s.

Send your carriages and coaches out to be refurbished, and tell your friends they were all caught in a fire and you have to buy new ones, and secretly sell them–in Scotland.

If your hair is short, let it grow.

Kwana
14 years ago

I love these. I think throwing entertainment inside your home is a great idea. A bottle of wine is cheaper than 2 glasses and friends always walk in with more. Why not do pot lucks with friends instead of dinner out?

I thing frugal will be The word for quite a while. Off to buy leaf bags with pumpkins to decorate for Halloween. Will only buy on sale. And I swear the next time I’m marrying for money!

Susan Wilbanks
14 years ago

1. Inherit a tidy legacy from a long-lost relative.

2. PRETEND you’ve inherited that tidy legacy for long enough to marry money. Once he’s said “I do,” there are no takesie-backsies!

Lois
14 years ago

Hmm. . . nothing really fun is coming to mind, but the first thing to do so was have a really patient father/older brother/uncle who is the head of the family to constantly bail you out of your bills. Love one of those right now! LOL 🙂

Lois

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

Awsome list. I shall start doing some of these things tomorrow. I would prefer of course to win $5,000 a week for life, but that’s not happening.

Put newspaper in your shoes to cover the holes.

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Here’s one I’d love to do:

Move to Bath!!!!

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

Yeah, if only moving to Bath was the way to economize now! 🙂

I don’t like the “wear the same dress” thing at all, LOL. Maybe I could re-use tea leaves? Cut back on coal for the fireplace? Marry Colonel Brandon?

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Of the ones suggested by commentators here, these are no-can-do’s for me…

Eat less.
Don’t get a hair cut.
Cut back on coal for the fireplace.

If I do #1 and #3, I’d have a short life. So yes, in that case, my financial burden on the family would be short-term.

If we pretend that I do want to live, then all those three items are important, including fees for the circulation library and monies to go traveling for a bit once a year. Oh, and a stout pair of boots and a warm pair of house shoes.

I’d have three day dresses that I would alternate. No problem there at all.

Severely cut back on the alchohol budget. I rarely drink.

Make do with fewer servants. Pay them well and over-work them. Tactics learned from engineering career.

Walk wherever possible.

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

I would like to invite you all to visit Kalen Hughes’s workshop and discussions on Regency Fashion. We’re talking great details with pictures of extant garments including patterns.

So far, she’s put up…

1. Round Gowns
2. Apron-Front Gowns
3. Fabrics

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Here’s the link to the workshop.

Gemma
14 years ago

Fantastic list!

Also:

Sell your hair.

Rusticate at your Aunt’s country house.

Become a tutor/governess or a secretary/companion.

Cara King
14 years ago

I too love the idea of moving to Bath as a way to economize!

Also:

1) charge the neighbor kids when they come over to play with your kitten.

2) instead of taking the family out to the movies, buy a paperback and share it.

3) get a thrifty husband who’s happy to take public transportation/walk, so you only need one car/carriage between you. 😉

4) insist that your cats get part-time jobs to help with the cat-food and vet bills…

Cara

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

“insist that your cats get part-time jobs to help with the cat-food and vet bills…”

Oh, I do like that one!!!

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Train children to do household chores thereby cutting down on the number of servants required.

Drum it into the children that they’ll have to foot their own undergraduate educations, so, they better start working towards full scholarships from kindergarten, thereby, saving money that you would’ve otherwise wasted in 529s.

Eliminate all extra curricular activities for kids unless they’re free, don’t require special equipment, and the children can walk/bike to the activity by themselves.

Keira-being-a-total-meanie-mommy

Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

These are all wonderful suggestions! Especially the one about making the furry children get jobs! I leave the house every morning and say “Mama is going off to make dog and cat food money, unless one of you would like to volunteer?” No volunteers so far, but I live in hope!

The lending library would be a good idea, except I truly love all my books in my home – my preciouses! Sorry, channeling Smeagal there.

Santa
14 years ago

If you aren’t a courtesan, go to town and visit that lovely widow who became one and take lessons from her. Become an even better courtesan, attract a very well to do protector, have him reluctantly fall in love with you and then marry him.

Refurbish all your bonnets, interchanging lace and ribbons.

Hide the fact that your gown is threadbare by also interchanging ribbons and lace and edgings.

Ditto with all cloaks, spencers and pellises (sp).

And doesn’t turning gowns inside out mean you have to take them all apart and restitch all the hems by hand.

Use the village seamstress rather than Madame Celeste.

Janet Mullany
14 years ago

Take some well known gentlemen as lovers and then blackmail them; those who don’t pay up will be mentioned by name in your scandalous, best-selling memoirs. It’s a win-win situation.

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