August 12, 2012

Thank you Grandma

I draw much of my frugal inspiration from my maternal grandma.  She was born in 1900 and raised a family during the Great Depression and died in 1985.  Grandma left me with many tips of how to live frugally.  Though many were never spoken, I learned these tips by watching her.  Here are a few:

Don’t spend money unless it is necessary.  Use up what you have on hand.  Grandma would carefully unwrap presents and save the wrapping paper.  Then before she stored it away she would iron the paper on low heat to take out the creases and restore it to near newness.  In fact, many times she didn’t use tape to wrap presents.  She would simply fold and wrap the paper on the box and keep it in place by tying the package with a ribbon.  That is what they did when she was a kid as they didn’t have scotch tape. 

How many times do you run to the grocery store for 1 item?  Grandma lived on a small farm in the country and you just didn’t run to a store for 1 thing.  In fact, you didn’t go to the store unless it was absolutely necessary.  So, she managed and she managed very well.  If there is one frugal tip she taught me it was not to run to the store for 1 thing but to see what you could substitute or just make do.
When you open a package of a block of cheese, don’t take all the plastic wrapping off.  It is the touch of your fingers on a block of cheese that causes it to mold.  Always hold it with some of the plastic wrapping on it when you slice or shred it.  If you do have cheese that goes moldy, cut or shred the moldy piece off and go ahead and use it in cheese sauces or casseroles. 

When you are laying out a pattern onto some fabric, keep your pins pushed into the base of an old candle such as a votive candle.  The wax makes the pins go into the pattern and fabric easily. 

If you are frying potatoes for supper and there are more people coming than
expected, Grandma would take a few slices of bread and tear them into pieces and fry them along with the potatoes.  Don’t knock it, it was very tasty and stretched the potatoes.

Grandma always saved the grease from frying bacon and used it to fry her potatoes, eggs or even in cooking green beans to give them a bacon flavor.  She knew just the right amount to add as her food never tasted greasy.

Grandma only made simple old fashioned cookies:  oatmeal, sugar, and molasses. She wasn’t into fancy kind of things.  She had variations for these cookies such as making oatmeal molasses cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, adding some orange peel and a little juice to the sugar cookie recipe and even some stale Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes to the cookie dough.  Nothing went to waste.  If something was stale such as some potato chips or bread, it was put in the oven to make the chips crisp again and to refresh the bread. 

If you want to save money, find someone who has lived through the Great Depression or World War II rationing and you will glean the very best advice ever for saving money and living on a budget.


Rose said...

Your Grandma had some excellent advice and many households would greatly cut down on their expenses if they would just not turn up their nose at a conservative approach to living, but put it into practice.

I, for one, reuse aluminum foil, plastic ziploc bags, wrapping paper, gift bags, bacon grease, frying oil, and stretch meat with oatmeal, bread crumbs, or grated potatoes.

Kimba the Mighty said...

Great post!
My grandma was a great one for feeding a bunch of people with whatever was in the house. Or making meals/leftovers turn into 2-3 more meals.
She also made her own patterns and sewed a lot of the family's clothes.
I learned both skills from her and my mom.

And now, being a caregiver, I love talking with some of my clients about what they did and how they lived in their youth. You can learn so much listening to someone's story.

~Carla~ said...

Grandmothers are so full of wisdom aren't they?! :) Your grandmother sounds like she was a very wise woman!

Kathy said...

The bread in the fried potatoes actually sounds pretty good. I think I might have to try that myself.