Grandma Esther’s Frugal Rules for Living – A Mother’s Day Tribute
It seems lately, I have been thinking more about Grandma’s lessons in frugality. And while she passed away in 2003, I think about her every day. She was such an inspiration to me!
Rule 1: Baking, Cooking and Canning
She loved to bake and cook and did things out of not only necessity, but out of love. Because they lived in the country, she was used to making three square meals a day. They did go to the grocery store for necessities they couldn’t grow or hunt themselves.
She learned from her mom how to survive in the country, especially during the bitter cold upstate New York winters. Grandpa and Grandma, up until their 80s, kept gardens, growing corn, giant pumpkins, peas, raspberries, carrots, potatoes and more. They were always canning and freezing food for the fall and winter. I remember helping her shuck corn and peas for canning. It was tedious work, but looking back now, I am so happy I had that experience to help her.
Rule 2: Sewing, decorating, knitting
My grandmother was an expert seamstress, which was how she paid for her college tuition in the 1940s. She made clothes for her children and grandchildren, knitted blankets, pieced together patchwork quilts, decorated her home and cooked meals every day for years. She found knitting and crocheting not only practical, but relaxing.
Rule 3: Frugal Fun
I remember going to the library with Grandma Esther and picking out a few books. She loved to read and was always reserving the next great book on her list. She also loved reading the New Yorker magazine, and when I got a subscription for her, she was thrilled. She also enjoyed taking walks outside, visiting family and friends, and listening to music. She rarely watched TV as they didn’t have cable. Though I do remember watching Wheel of Fortune and Dukes of Hazzard with her as a child! Those were the good old days!
Rule 4: A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
My grandmother’s generation didn’t believe in debt, and therefore, she never got into 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 up for what was important to her. She also used coupons when she went shopping, which wasn’t very often.
Most of all, the biggest lesson I learned from her, was the art of contentment. Being happy with what you have in the moment, without wanting more, is the best lesson she passed onto me.