Getting by with less while still living well
7 Simple Living Lessons from Grandma
by Diane R. Schmidt
14 Frugal Food-Rescuing Tips from Grandma
Easy Ways to Become More Self Sufficient
11 Frugal Hobbies
My grandmother, Esther, who lived through the Great Depression, passed away recently. In the past few weeks, I have been thinking about the lessons of frugality that she taught me.
Lesson 1: Make Do with as Little as Possible
While it may not seem cool in this society to go without, my grandmother made do. She lived in the country with my grandfather and made almost all her meals from scratch, using food from their garden. My grandfather hunted and brought home wild turkey and deer. She reused scraps of paper to write lists and notes, and conserved water and electricity. She did not shop for fun or accumulate knick-knacks and frivolous items. She wore her clothes until they wore out.
Lesson 2: Learn to Cook, Sew, Decorate
My grandmother was an expert seamstress, which was how she paid for her college tuition in the 1940s. She made many clothes for her children and grandchildren, knitted blankets, pieced together patchwork quilts, decorated her home and cooked meals everyday for years. They rarely went out to eat or had pizza delivered. Someone else preparing meals was a luxury.
Lesson 3: Pick Up Frugal Hobbies and Entertainment
Some hobbies, like renting movies or shopping, can really cost a lot. Others, like stamp collecting, don't cost as much. My grandmother loved reading books and magazines she got from the library, taking walks outside, visiting family and friends, and listening to music. She rarely watched TV.
Lesson 4: Appreciate What You Have
It can be hard to want what you have, without wanting more. My grandmother never seemed to want more than she had. She was content with her home, her belongings, and her family. She had mastered the art of contentment.
Lesson 5: Never Get in Debt and Save Up for a Rainy Day
My grandmother's generation didn't believe in debt, and therefore, she never got in debt or even had her own credit card. For whatever she needed, she paid cash. She saved her change and dollar bills and only bought things when she had the money. She saved her money for what was important to her.
If your spending has put your family in debt, take the first step to financial freedom!
Lesson 6: Creatively Solve Problems
Whenever a problem came up, she always had the solution. She was very practical about how to solve problems, without resorting to spending money. For example, when I was moving into my first apartment, she helped me come up with a list of stuff I'd need and meals I could make that wouldn't cost a lot. She also gave me necessities for my new home.
Lesson 7: Focus on the Big Picture
One snowy night, not too long ago, my grandmother died peacefully in her sleep. The most important lesson she taught me was to focus on living a good life, loving your family and not focus on money or things.
With these lessons, she lived a wonderful life. I hope these lessons inspire you too.
Diane Schmidt is owner of Savingsmania.com, SavingsMania.com, your guide to savings, deals and more!
Take the Next Step
- Do you struggle to get ahead financially? Then you'll want to subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
Debt from my past is preventing me from saving for my future! Tell us: Yes, debt is hindering my ability to save and I could use help dealing with it! or No, debt is not a problem but I am trying to get ahead financially!
More Money Tips & Tools
- 5 low-risk ways to earn higher interest now
- 10 easy ways to save money for the holidays
- 7 IRA withdrawals that don't trigger a penalty
- 4 secrets to maximize your credit card rewards
- How small changes to your finances could make a big difference
- Learning from our financial mistakes
- 5 ways to make finances easier
- This week's Readers' Tips