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My Frugal Life: The Thriftiness of Grandparents

Like so many of you, I remember my grandparents' thriftiness. They made it through the Depression, but its impact never left them. They made the most of every penny. Even when a lifetime of hard work made got them to a place of being financially "secure."


Even into their late seventies, they were still planting and canning a cellar full of bounty from their garden. I remember the fun of selling their berries to the neighbors. We picked beans and had fresh corn on the cob for dinner. Gramma made apple pies from fruit trees in their yard in Pontiac, MI.

Grampa had nothing but a fourth grade education when he moved to Detroit, but worked his way up to general foreman at Pontiac Motors. They were able to pay cash for their house. Grampa's car was his pride and joy, but I remember him riding his old Schwinn bike to the store to pick up bread and milk. The menu was determined by what was on sale at the grocery store. Going out to eat was a rare treat. But who needed it, when nobody cooked like Gramma. No store-bought cake mixes for her!


Even though they could have afforded all the modern amenities, Gramma still washed her dishes by hand in about two inches of water! Clothes were hung on the line, paper bags were used to line the garbage. Nothing was wasted. Even as they watched TV in the evening, Gramma kept busy; knitting or crocheting afghans for the people she loved.

Not only did they know how to stretch a dollar, they knew how to make wonderful memories for their grandkids while doing it!

By Nicol from TN

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October 15, 20100 found this helpful

I also have fantastic memories of staying at my grandma's and picking berries, growing veggies, playing outside and cooking at grandma's place in the country. They are some of my fondest memories.

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October 15, 20100 found this helpful

I also remember many loving memories with my grandmother,like spending the night and popping popcorn in a wire popcorn basket in the fireplace. She had lived through the depression and raised 2 children during that time. There were a lot of things she still did to save money or stretch food a little farther like heating up soup beans and adding elbow macaroni to them.


I did it for my kids many years later and they loved it. She would tell stories about the bartering she did to have the things she needed to raise her family since my granddad died when my mother was only 8 and she was raising my mom and her brother by herself.

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October 19, 20100 found this helpful

I want to try washing dishes in two inches of water now that I read your memories! I thoroughly enjoyed reading descriptions of them. Our beautiful loved ones, have shared their wisdom, from having learned to live on very little and in demanding times. When they become more prosperous moneywise, and the nation became more secure, they still held on to the things that worked for them that I believe they had come to cherish,


And for sure, it is easier to always be frugal and be content, then to have to live on excess and suddenly be thrown into a situation of having to live with little or none, of what was normal before.

Thank you so much for sharing.

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