Two things I remember from the recession in the 80s
Toothpaste-tube keys These were similar to paint-saver keys, only they were marketing tchotchkes with a local business or political candidate's name printed on it. Time must have been tough if people were worried about the last pea-sized dollop of paste from a $1.29 tube. My parents had several of these around.
Soap-sliver savers Again, thrift reigned if people were willing to try to eke the last paper-thin wash out of a 50-cent soap bar. You put your leftover soap slivers in a little plastic machine, compress them, and presto!--you have a new, full-sized bar of soap. The ads always showed many different colors of soap merged into the new bar, which I thought was really cool--but also showed how people bought their soap at the time: extremely price-sensitive, no brand loyalties. I think my grandmother had one, but maybe I just saw the ads on TV. Other people also seem to recall this method of saving soap.