Savings Secrets: 7 frugal lessons learned from Downton Abbey


Image: PBS

Did you see the premier of Season 4 of Downtown Abbey? It wasn’t but 10 minutes in and I was already boohooing like a big baby. I had visions of the Dos XX man saying, “I don’t always cry while watching TV shows, but when I do it’s because Downton Abbey is on.”

I love this show. There’s no other show on TV right now that makes me laugh and cry multiple times all in the same episode. 

And as a bonus, I love the life lessons I can take away from it. In particular, I want to share some frugal lessons we can all take away from the Crawley family. Let’s discuss…

1. Be careful and wise with your investments. This can bode true for both financial investments and personal investments. In season 3, we learned that the estate was in jeopardy due to poor business investments on behalf of Robert Crawley. That was a huge lesson that humbled the entire family that was used to having everything handed to them.

2. In times of financial struggle, look around and see what you can sell in order to raise some money. During the tough times, items from the house started to be sold off in order to pay bills. 
3. Reduce expenses wherever possible. The bills were high, the money was lost, and that meant that expenses had to be reduced. You have too many servants in the house? Time to let some of them go (yes, this is a problem we all face – which servants to let go…)!

4. Regularly re-evaluate the budget and how the household/business is run. Matthew and Robert butted heads over what the estate spent money on. For the longest time, Robert was stuck in the old ways of running things. Matthew was finally able to convince Robert that they had to re-evaluate and change the way things were run in order to move the estate back to being profitable.

5. Have integrity with money. When faced with a dilemma of taking money from a situation that he didn’t feel comfortable with, Matthew was ready to give it all up in the name of integrity. And across the world, women of every nation gave a collective sigh and fell in love with Matthew. 

6. Wherever possible, get a job that you enjoy that will bring in more money. Despite her Father’s opposition, Edith was able to get a job as a columnist in The Sketch. She was able to do something she loved and bring in money for herself. 

7. Give of your time and money to help others. Isobel Crawley became the heroine of season 3 when she made it her mission to help young prostitutes from ruin, and even ended up helping a young unwed mother. Despite the potential shame it could bring the family, and despite the protestations of Lady Edith, Isobel pushed forward and became an example of what it means to have compassion and help others. 

Sometimes it’s not about what we can get out of the world, but what we can do to help others, and that’s the best way to live frugally!

Are you excited about the new season of Downton Abbey? You can watch last night’s episode and keep up with all of Season 4 here.

Crystal Collins, a DealPro, is an Atlanta local, adventurer, a health advocate and thrifty as can be. Check her out on her blog at


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  1. JillParkin

    10 months ago

    Great tips…I always need to be reminded. Perfect timing for the New Year.

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