Even though I sometimes have to take a day off from blogging to go to work, The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook Group seems to be hopping (and popping and locking) 24 hours per day. Luckily, group members are almost always respectful and helpful, which means that it hardly ever requires any moderation.
I woke up today to a fantastic thread in response to this question from reader Dani:
“Did you or do you have a frugal role model in your life? For me, it was my grandmother. She lived through the Depression and was very frugal. She made everything from scratch, grew her own vegetables, sewed her own clothes, etc. My mother likes to say that my grandmother was into recycling before it was popular.”
The answers were amazing! Here’s a small sampling:
“My mother lived through the depression, everything was used and reused until it was used up. We didn’t have indoor plumbing until I was 12 but the outhouse got scrubbed the same time as the kitchen floor. She sewed, used her worn out dresses for mop rags. It’s amazing what she could do without all the things we have now. I never had store bread until I was 12, my mom baked once a week, bread, buns, cinnamon rolls, everything. My parents had a HUGE garden canned, sold and gave away extra produce.”
“My great grandfather started a small Lutheran college and kept it open through the Great Depression and two world wars without any help from the Lutheran Church by extreme frugality. A bunch of people in my family then became teachers or pastors (Lutheran, natch), both professions where education and service are valued over earning. Extreme frugality allowed them to do this. I had a roommate who desperately needed to practice frugality but wouldn’t because it would make her “poor,” and I realized how blessed I was to come from people who viewed frugality as a method intelligent, ambitious people used to achieve their dreams.”
“My parents never threw anything away. When we moved across country, it took one and a half moving vans. Mom was the most frugal, making ends meet while raising seven kids. We all learned that if we wanted something badly enough, we paid for it ourselves but we were also taught that saving was more important than buying.”
“My father was born at the end of the depression in a rural coal mining town. My dad had a 20×20 cabin until I was 10 years old and reuses everything. He is a minimalist and doesn’t like to have too many “things”. He has also composted for as long as I can remember and likes to pay cash for things. He is also retired and lives completely debt free – I hope to achieve that also.”
“My pioneer great grandmother, who homesteaded in Montana, and lived until I was 12. I remember pickling with her, and a root cellar where the canned veggies looked like jewels. I pickle and can every year to this day. Her husband lost their ranch in a poker game, and my impression of her was that she just kept plugging away at a garden and making do, no matter what.”
“Every one of my grandparents and my parents were very frugal AND self reliant. Grandparents raised 7 kids through the depression. My parents grew up through WWII and they all gardened, canned, did without (most things), made their own toys, clothes, quilted, gave each other hand me downs, lived without air conditioning and heat (one room heated) along with their full time jobs….I used to love sitting with all of my relatives and listening to their stories and even to this day, amazed and proud of them. One of my biggest regret is not paying closer attention to them to learn all that they knew. Knowledge that is lost forever to me.”
I wish I has a similar story of an inspirationally frugal grandparent, but my grandmothers were all raised wealthy. One continued this way throughout her adult life, and the other lived in poverty and sadly never figured out how to make it do. I’m realizing this may be part of why I always feel like inventing the wheel.
However, I’m just loving all these responses, which keep coming and coming. But I want to hear your stories as well! Please share in the comments section below.”
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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