Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

I have to tell you that I am exhausted. We were visiting with family this weekend but we went to them in eastern New York. We just returned home today at 12:30PM after leaving at 7:45 and driving non stop.

We left on Friday morning about 8:30AM to drive there to visit my son, daughter in law, and granddaughter.  We stopped at a travel plaza around Exit 33 to eat the salads and drink water that I packed. We got back on the highway and we saw signs that told us that all traffic had to exit at Exit 30.

We no sooner left the travel plaza when we ended up in the traffic all backed up before Exit 30.  A Construction worker who was working on the highway was killed and that is why they closed it so that they could do the investigation. They were still taking tolls which led to a huge backup plus the little town of Herkimer couldn't handle the traffic with their little two lane roads. When we got off they had detour signs set up to lead us up and down the mountains to get to Exit 29 where we could get back on the highway. From the time we hit the stop and go backed up traffic at Exit 31 until we actually got off at Exit 30 took us 2 hrs. and 15 minutes. We got to our son's home 7 and 1/2 hours after leaving our home. This is a normal 4 and 1/2 hour trip.

Fortunately the rest of our stay went well. We spent a lovely time with our family all weekend. My granddaughter wanted to go to the Yogurt Place and do some other things so we did. 

On Saturday, late afternoon, we went to an 80th Birthday party at the Mariott Hotel in Colonie. The party was for a good friend of ours who we have known for over 43  years. There were about 100 people in attendance including 12 of us who did everything together for almost 32 years. It was a great time with good food, good friends, and great dancing. Nothing better than a bunch of 70 and 80 year olds who are healthy enough to dance.  

On Sunday we spent all of the day with just our family highlighted by a wonderful dinner out at 
Valente's Restaurant where Hubby and I have been going since we got married. Between dinner entree's, antipasto for 3 of us and mozzarella sticks for 2 for appetizers, we went home stuffed and we had plenty of leftovers. My family who we just left has plenty to eat tonight.

We brought all of their Christmas gifts to them because we will not see them for Christmas this year. So that saved me shipping them.

We loved seeing our granddaughter. She is such a young lady now and so tall. She stands next to me and is up to my nose. She sent me home with a 7 page story that she has written. I am off to enjoy reading it. Then I have unpacking to do, laundry to start, and dinner to cook. Then the trick or treating will start.  

Enjoy Halloween trick or treating. Keep your kids safe. I will be posting again tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My New Purchase

The end of last year I told you that we would not buy any clothing in 2016. However during the year I had to buy a few things that Hubby needed. Then when my bras' elastic were almost threadbare, I had no choice but to buy some new bras. But we have spent a pittance on these things this year until now.

Hubby has been telling me to buy a winter coat. I have a really dressy black one for going to special  dress up places. However to wear it every day is a nuisance because it picks up lint like crazy. It was a mistake. 

When we moved to Arizona 15 years ago, we gave away all of our winter clothing including coats. The hope was that we would never need them again. If we had to come back in the winter, which I did for a wedding, I just layered. 

When we moved back to New York 6 years ago, we had to buy all new winter clothing. We arrived at a temporary apartment in December. The first thing we had to do was buy coats. I ran from the apartment across the street to Target and bought one. It ended up being way to warm for me especially when I would be out running around doing errrands. It's great for playing out in snow with the grandchildren but that is about it.  

So for the past 6 years, I have been running around doing errands in my fleece with a sweater or sweatshirt under it. On some really cold days, I would freeze. Plus I was always worried about breaking down in the car and not being warm enough. Hence, I keep a very warm blanket in the car. The blanket is not a bad idea since Buffalo gets a lot of snow and many people have been caught in the middle of blizzards here. They get stuck on the highways because the plows can't keep up. So keeping a blanket, food and water in the car is something we always do in the winter. 

Hubby has been trying to get me to buy a new coat for years. I kept telling him that I wanted a really nice coat that was just warm enough and that was beautifully lined. I also told him I was not willing to buy that coat until I got a great deal on it, preferably $50. - $ 60. 

Well, I found one at Lands End last Saturday. It was reduced from $ 199.99 to $ 109.97. Then I applied a coupon code for 50% off  and was able to get free shipping. The coat ended up costing me $ 54.98+ tax.

The coat arrived yesterday and it is absolutely gorgeous. It's a warm camel color and it is beautifully made and lined. I just love it. I believe it is one of the nicest coats that I have ever purchased. It's always hard to pick something out from a picture but Lands End did a great job in the description so I was pretty sure that it was just what I was looking for and I was right.

So I am glad that I purchased it even though I told myself that I would not buy any clothes for me this year. If I had waited until January, this coat would probably be gone. I just couldn't pass up this great deal on something that I needed.

Sorry about the picture. The lighting in the room where I had it hanging wasn't good and it was a very dreary dark day here yesterday.

I am taking the day off from blogging tomorrow since family will be visiting with us. So I will be back posting on Halloween. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I AM DONE!

I feel like the cat that swallowed the canary today. I am all done with my Christmas shopping. Not only am I done shopping but it is all wrapped. Not all of them are pictured above, just a few. Can you see the big grin on my face?

Every year I try to be done by October 31st for a few reasons. If my son, daughter - in - law, and granddaughter who live about  4 and 1/2 hours away visit soon, I can have them take all of the presents back with them instead of having to ship them. My other son as you know comes every weekend so that is not a problem. But I like to get everyone done at once and know that everything is bought and paid for in cash.

Next I have to write my Christmas cards. I purchased them for just $.10 a box after Christmas one year. I bought 10 boxes. Our list has whittled down over the last few years not only because we have lost touch with some people but because a lot of our friend's have died. So I only do about 20 cards a year now. I have enough Christmas stamps that I purchased last year to do that many.

Then I can concentrate on planning and cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for 5 of us. I am really looking forward to that. Turkey with all of the trimmings is one of my very favorite meals. Here's hoping that turkeys are a great price this year. 

But getting back to the Christmas presents, remember I told you in this post: 

 Back To Basics: Gifts 

that I felt I was spending too much on the grandchildren all of the time. Well, I asked you to share what you spent on gifts for them. I had a few kind readers who responded. I thought about all the ideas you shared and then I sat down to come up with a plan.

We decided to spend $150. each on the grandchildren this Christmas. I purchased a few things that they  each wanted plus they each are getting a $50. Amazon gift card to use for something they might want in the future. Since we still give to the adults, we decided to give them $150. gift cards to one of their favorite department stores. So that is a total of $ 900. spent on family. Some of the gift cards were purchased with reward points.  I also give a small item to two of our UPS men, our mailman and the newspaper lady to let them know how much we appreciate them. Last December I bought a 4 pack of microwaveable mugs that I will be splitting up for them as gifts this year. I can't find a picture of the exact set I purchased but they were similar to these:

Microwaveable Mugs 

So they were purchased and paid for in the budget in 2015.

Hubby and I do not exchange gifts because we purchase things that we want when we want them. For example, Hubby's beard trimmer bit the dust this morning. I am not waiting to buy him one. I will order a new one today. This way we don't feel pressured to come up with the perfect gift for each other for Christmas. We get lots of joy from watching our grandchildren open their presents either in person or via Skype.  

I have also budgeted $ 400. for holiday dinners and for some stockpiling if I find the rock bottom prices on food and turkey that I am hoping for.

The last reason that I like to finish by the end of October is so that we can start planning our budget for the next year. We do work on it for about two months. This is also the time of the year that we look at what we can do in our portfolio to lower our taxes that we will be paying for 2016 by tax loss harvesting. If you don't know what that is Jeremy explains it HERE


I like to challenge myself each year to continue being frugal and save as much money in our trust as we can. So I will be working diligently on some new challenges for 2017.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Is Extreme Frugality Really Poverty Living?

I have read quite a few articles lately that say that extreme frugality is poverty living. These articles really get my dander up. They say that extreme frugality is popular and practiced by many middle class families who they say don't have to practice it. This is totally untrue. First of all, how do they know what our finances are? Yes I am middle class. 

Secondly, they assume that middle class families have plenty of money to spend on whatever they want.  I totally disagree with that statement.

You are considered middle class if your income falls between $42,000. and $125,000.  The middle class has shrank as both the higher middle class has gotten richer and the lower middle class has gotten poorer. 

The truth is that the people in the middle class are paying for everyone else. I could probably include people making $126,000. to $250,000. as paying for every one else also.  However, we are discussing the middle class today. They pay taxes for the poor to get all of their benefits at a higher percentage than the rich do. The rich have so many loopholes that they use to lower their taxes percentage wise. I would love to pay as low a percentage of federal income taxes as Warren Buffet does. But the middle class are not afforded those loopholes especially if you have to take the standard deduction on your taxes because you have a paid off house. If your children have grown and gone out on their own, you only have one or two dependent deductions. There really are not any deductions for you except the standard. Hence you are most likely paying higher taxes.

If you are poor, you need that help, and I wouldn't deny anyone a hand up in time of need.  But you are either paying no taxes or very little compared to the middle class percentage of taxes.

So the middle class is drowning in income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, and if they own a home, property and school taxes. So once you deduct those from a middle income person's gross pay, the net is a whole lot lower. 

They most likely have a mortgage payment or rent. If you own a home, you have the maintenance of that home which includes utilities which are not cheap and taxes or taxes included in your rent because the landlord is going to charge you for them. You have the physical maintenance of your home inside and outside. You have water and garbage bills. You have homeowners or renters insurance.

Then you have your food( most likely for more than two people) and that takes a great percentage of your net because food today is so expensive especially when you have a family.

We all know how expensive medical is today especially since Obamacare went into effect. Many making middle class incomes are getting no subsidy because they don't meet the income requirements to qualify or they have smaller families of one or two. Those who are paying for private insurance have seen their premiums increase sometimes by 19-20% a year because of Obamacare. And those in Obamacare have been seeing their premiums increase and their providers go down. However, if Hillary Clinton is elected, we will all be on Obamacare, or the name she replaces it with, because she will replace it with single payer insurance. That is the plan that she wanted back when her husband was President and that is what she will replace it with. That is what Obama wanted all along but knew he couldn't get it through Congress. So just a warning about this to anyone who has private insurance through their employer whether it be a private company, a school, or government, it will get replaced with Obamacare when she puts in single payer insurance. Donald Trump will never put in single payer. I believe he will replace the current plan with a plan that lets you buy over state lines which will make it very competitive. That is what should have been done instead of Obamacare. Then prices would have fallen because of the competition. However the government doesn't want competition because they want to control your medical. They have already shown us what a horrible job they do at controlling anything they touch. I don't mean this to be a political announcement but I just want people to be aware that this is what will happen if she gets elected because the media is not telling you. I have followed Hillary and Bill Clinton for years and I can tell you 100% that this is what she will do. So you can kiss your great company or government or school private insurance goodbye if she gets elected. For those of you who don't know what single payer is, it is just what is sounds like. You will pay a premium for yourself and for everyone else in your family individually.

Some people live in cities and drive to work. Others live in cities and take public transportation. Some walk or bike. If you live in suburbia, you most likely drive or carpool to work. Commuting is expensive. Purchasing cars, paying insurance, gasoline and oil, registrations and inspections and paying for maintenance are all expensive. Public transportation adds up to a significant amount also.

If you add up all of these things and deduct them from the net that was left after all of the taxes, you are now left with not a lot of money for extras, especially if you make a lower middle income wage. 

Middle income class people have many other expenses besides these even if they don't have debt. Dental, entertainment, clothing, life insurance, etc. come to mind. 

Now let's get back to what these articles said, "If you are middle income, you should not be practicing extreme frugality because you don't need to."

So I guess I should not be conserving on my utilities or using coupons to pay for my food or other things like clothing or eating out. I shouldn't be eating meatless 2 nights a week and having a cheap homemade pizza one night to cut down on what I spend on meat. I shouldn't be finding ways to get gift cards for less than their full value. I should be buying my books instead of getting free ones for my kindle or borrowing them from my library.  I shouldn't be finding ways to earn more points to reduce my gasoline purchases.  Bottom line according to them is that I shouldn't be doing any of these things because I don't have to. To them this is extreme frugality. To me this is smart living. To me this is not throwing away your money that it took so many hours to earn.
I could take their advice and not have saved for our retirement or save now for the things that are important to us. 

Don't believe these articles written by journalists who most likely aren't even middle class. They have no clue and their articles are garbage.  

Do what is right for your family. If you want to practice extreme frugality to make a better life for your family do it. I don't use family cloth but if your family does and that is what you need to do, go for it. If you want to spend your spare time couponing, go for it. No one knows your finances but you(unless you put it out there on your blog like I do) so the media is clueless.

Middle class families have a ton on their plate and most of them are doing it all by themselves. They get no help from anyone. Don't let the media tell you how to spend your money. We have enough of that with all the commercials online and on TV which is one of the reasons that except for a few programs a week I don't even watch it.      

Monday, October 24, 2016

Why I Love Halloween


I have always loved Halloween. All those years of making costumes for the kids when they were little was so much fun. They were cute little clowns(not like the creepy clowns of today) when they were toddlers. Then they were devils and a myriad of other characters. I sewed on a regular basis back then so their costumes were homemade and adorable. 

When they were 8 or so they had to be creative because I made them make their own costumes with a little bit of my help. By the time they were in middle school, I felt they were too old to go out trick or treating. That is when they started helping me hand out the candy.

Now I get to enjoy seeing what my grandchildren dress up as. My grandson was excited yesterday that Halloween is a week from today. 

I remember all of those Halloween evenings going through the kids candy bags and tossing anything that was open or even looked suspicious. My children were not allowed to eat anything until Mom and Dad checked each and every piece. 

Besides seeing the joy on the faces of the little ones that come trick or treating the best part of Halloween now for me has been going to the after Halloween sales. They used to only be after Halloween but these days it seems that places like Super Walmart reduce their candy on Halloween. I remember going to shop the day after Halloween and being shocked that there was none left. Other stores seem to wait until the next day to reduce it to 50% off and then 75% off. If there is any left after that, you might be able to pick it up at 90% off.

I always pick up as much candy with coupons that I can find reduced that I know we will use during the year. We use all kinds of chocolate, like Hershey bars, M&M's, Milky Ways, Butterfingers, etc. to bake cookies and cookie bars. I also use the Hershey bars to make smores, fudge and chocolate covered pretzels.  I know many people pick up next year's candy and freeze it. We don't usually do that because I need the freezer space for other things and the candy has a long shelf life. I will save out any red or green M&M's to use for Christmas and Valentines candy for the grands. I enjoyed using the red M&M peanut ones to make the kids water bottles( free from LL Bean) for Valentines Day last year. 

I use the M&M's or M&M peanuts for party mixes too.

One year I picked up 90% off Smarties to make Christmas wreaths for all of my family. I just tied the Smarties all together following the directions that Tawra has here for making one with other candies:

Candy Christmas Wreath 

Stores reduce all kinds of leftover Halloween cookies, cakes, cupcakes, etc in their bakery departments. 

Many years I have picked up Pillsbury Halloween cookies for pennies after coupons and froze them to use in the future. Keep an eye out for Halloween cakes mixes on the shelves too.

Let's not forget that decorations and costumes will be greatly reduced after Halloween so that is the best time to buy them for next year. After all of the years I have celebrated Halloween, I have more than plenty now. 

Remember that you can buy pumpkins for cheap right after the holiday too. Many grocery stores will cut the prices to get rid of their oversupply. The same goes for farmers markets and produce stores. A tractor company that I know sells pumpkins every year and then reduces them. It is a great time to buy them and bake them. Roast and salt the seeds for a treat. Divvy up the baked pumpkin into portions sizes for breads, muffins and pies. 

Keep an eye out for the pumpkin decorated baking cups for cupcakes at a reduced price. The same goes for napkins and plates that you can use right through Thanksgiving. I like to have a supply of these on hand for that holiday to use for snacking all day. It is enough work to wash all of the dishes from dinner.

So now that it is a week before Halloween get your game face on and make a list of what you can use at the after Halloween sales. Put a little bit of money out then so that you can save a lot in the future.

If you buy something at the after Halloween sales that I don't have listed her, please leave a comment and share with the rest of us.

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Frugal Upbringing

We can learn from our ancestors how simple and frugal life can be. Allow me to reminisce to my childhood. I grew up in a home owned by my grandfather and grandmother. My great-grandfather built it. He built a lot of the homes in my old neighborhood. My grandfather paid for it in cash to his father. There were no mortgages back then.

It was in the city and was a 2 story home. My grandparents, my mom, my sister and I lived on the 2nd floor. At one time or another, different aunts and uncles and cousins lived on the first floor. Each floor had a small living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, good size pantry and three bedrooms. The closets were small so storage was limited. Each floor had a fireplace but I don't ever remember them being used. They were actually covered up. Upstairs we had a lovely screened in porch where I spent many hours reading. I was an avid reader and I still am. I spent many hours reading Nancy Drew books and Little Women that I borrowed from the library. Downstairs was a nice porch where I spent a lot of time with friends playing Monopoly and Clue. This was one of my favorite things to do and hours upon hours were spent with board games. 

For a few years that I can remember, the house was heated using a coal stove. Every once in a while, the coal man would come and fill up a bin in the basement with coal. The coal had to be shoveled and brought up in a bucket to the stove. My grandmother would be so mad when I would play in the coal bin and come upstairs with my clothes all black. Finally we got a gas heater and the old coal stove sat on a landing between the two floors for as long as I can remember. My cousin and I used to leave notes for each other in the stove. It was our secret and it was such fun. 

The heat was turned down at night and you got warm under the blankets and quilts.

My grandmother did all of our cooking. I don't remember her using recipes. She just seemed to know how to cook. She used to cook our meat till it was very well done because my grandfather didn't want to see any blood coming from it.  My uncle(her son) was a butcher so we had good cuts of meat. However portions were not what they are today. One T-bone steak fed all 5 of us. We ate much healthier back then. My grandmother was a simple cook. Most meals consisted of a small piece of meat, a boiled potato, and a spoonful or two of vegetables. If she cooked a roast on Sundays, we would then have mashed potatoes and gravy with some vegetables. That was my very favorite meal and it still is to this day. Fridays were meatless consisting of tuna fish creamed on toast, crab salad, shrimp salad, a macaroni salad, baked tomatoes with saltines, etc. About once a month or two, my grandfather would bring home fried fish from the local fish store. That was a real treat. What is considered a fish fry in this area where I live now fed all 5 of us.

Once a week my mom would buy a quart bottle of cola and perhaps a bag of chips. She would make a dip to go on the chips consisting of cream cheese, milk and catalina dressing. I still crave and make that dip once a year. That was the snack for us for the week.  

My grandmother would bake the best apple pie, make an applesauce cake with a glaze poured over it that was to die for, and make cakes and cookies. She was a great baker. But desserts were far and few in between. Food was simple back then and mostly made from scratch. When the catalina dressing and other processed foods showed up in markets, it was rare that my grandmother used them. I would walk the 7 blocks each way, when I was older, to go to our small market to get some canned tomatoes, tuna, canned crab meat or shrimp, tomato soup or canned vegetables. But I don't remember her using much more than those once in a while. 

If you made a cake, you used a spoon to make it. We didn't have all of the appliances of today. You had a cookie sheet, a roasting pan, some pots, and a skillet and that is what you used for your meals. There were no toaster ovens, microwaves, electric mixers, etc. You made your coffee or tea in a pot on the stove.

We washed dishes in the sink in hot soapy water and they got dried with a dish towel right away. We used a dishcloth to wash the dishes. There was no dishwasher.

We had a Freihofer bread delivery man who came in a cart pulled by a horse, a vegetable delivery truck, and a milkman who delivered to the house weekly. I loved feeding the horse an apple once in a while. I also remember the man who came in a truck about once a month and would sharpen my grandmother's scissors or knives when they needed it. He was fun to watch.

We were much healthier back then than people are today. I weighed 107 lbs. and was 5 ft. 6 and 1/2 inches tall when I got married. I was also fit from many days of playing tennis and getting other exercise after school and on weekends.

We also walked many blocks to school every day crossing heavily traveled streets using traffic lights. There were no school buses to pick you up and take you to school. I remember many days bundled up in winter clothes to walk about 7 blocks to and from school. My fingers would be frozen sometimes when I reached my destination. That was a lot of exercise we got each day too.

We were always outside making our own fun when the weather permitted. Besides playing board games, we roller skated on the old style skates that had a skate key that tightened your skates to your shoes. We played hopscotch, tag and jumped rope. I remember many a fort in the woods that I helped create from sticks and branches. I loved playing tennis and softball. We ice skated and took our sleds to the nearest hill in the winter and swam in the summer. Most of these things didn't cost much money. When I was about 12, I got my first bike which was used. I loved to bike. The skates were used also. Most children were very fit because of all of the exercise. You always saw kids playing outside. 

Almost all of my clothes were passed down to me from my cousin who was three years older than me. Maybe I would get a new outfit for the first day of school or for Christmas. I was happy to wear those hand me downs. When I was in high school and more clothes conscious, I went to a private school where I wore a uniform everyday.

Christmas was not like the Christmases of today. Gifts were usually clothing that was needed and perhaps a toy, book or board game. Our stockings had fruit and nuts in them. The true meaning of Christmas was celebrated when we attended church. Then we would have a meal at home. I remember special treats at Christmas being stuffed dates, homemade fudge, and ribbon candy. Relatives would visit or we would visit them. It was fun. I would love to go back to the simple, more meaningful way of celebrating Christmas. 

You also did not get a lot of gifts for your birthday. You usually got one thing that you wanted and perhaps a piece of clothing or shoes that you needed. You had a homemade birthday cake or a frosted cake from the Freihofer man. Most birthday parties were at home with relatives. Mom didn't spend any money taking you and your friends out for an elaborate birthday party.
 
Thanksgiving was spent every year at my aunt and uncle's who lived in a town near us. We had turkey and all of the trimmings. The entire family on our side and on my aunt's side attended. There were so many people for dinner that they set seating up in the basement for all of us to eat. I actually have a tape that was made a few years back of those dinners. My cousin had the tape made from her father's old 8 millimeter films that he would make. I love looking at it once in a while since it brings back such wonderful memories. 

My grandmother was fortunate to have a wringer washing machine. She had no dryer. We had a small back porch upstairs where she stood to hang the wash. There was a clothesline attached to the porch and then to a telephone pole in the backyard where she hung our clothes. Many winter days those clothes could stand up by themselves when you took them off the line because they were frozen. I remember taking the clothes off the line in terrible wind that shook the porch and praying that the porch wouldn't fall down with me on it.

I would do the dusting every week because my grandmother was aging. All we used was a dust rag. No furniture polish. If something was stuck to the furniture we used a little water to get it off. I remember my mom washing the floor once a week. In between, it was swept. Once a week, you used a push sweeper to clean any carpets.

In the kitchen was a sink in a metal cabinet, a huge old black stove, the hot water tank, a refrigerator, the washing machine, an old sewing machine and a table and and chairs. Grandma had a huge walk in pantry that I would love to have today. There were shelves for food, pots and pans, and one at just the right height to make pie doughs and other foods. Built into one wall was a china cabinet for the everyday dishes.

The dining room was only used for company(my grandmother's bridge club) and holiday dinners. It  had a big mahogany table that could seat many people and mahogany chairs. There was also an old mahogany desk, buffet, and china cabinet(for the company dishes). And at one time the coal stove and then the gas stove. 

The living room had a couple of chairs and a sofa. When the first black and white TV's came on the market, my grandparents were able to buy one a few years later. I doubt that they purchased it brand new because they were so expensive. Most likely Grandpa either got it used or a deal on it. That was a real treat. It was back in the day when there were only a few shows a day on the TV. I remember watching a few black and white cartoons and the Howdy Doody show. When I got older, Bonanza was popular. But our TV watching was restricted by both our elders and the fact that there were not many shows on the air. 


My sister and I shared one of the bedrooms which had a bed and a small closet and my mom's dresser in it. My mom had her room which had a bed, closet and dresser. The dresser had my grandmothers clothes in it. My grandparents room had beds and a dressing table in it. Hence that is why none of the dressers were in the rooms that people actually used them. Space was a premium.

In the later years of my childhood, my grandfather bought a used car. He only used it to go to work and to the men's club that he belonged to. My mom got her license and a used car when I was in middle school. She used it to go to work. She worked at the telephone company during the week and the movie theater on the weekends to not only support us but so that she could pay to finish her college education,  pay for our private high school, and so we could spend most of our summers at a lake.

When we went downtown to shop, to see a movie, or to go out to dinner which didn't happen very often, we took the city bus. Fares were reasonable, buses were on time and you didn't have to worry about finding a parking space or paying for it. Gasoline was expensive.

We lived in a neighborhood that had many German and Irish immigrants. I never thought of us as being poor because we never went without. I think that most of the people who lived on our street were all in the same income category. That is one of the reasons that we didn't know that we were lower income. Life was simple and things were sparse. Even though we had lots of furniture, I think it had been accumulated over years of my grandparents married life. It was the same furniture they had when I moved there at 3 years of age with my mom and the same furniture when I moved out when I married at 19. They kept things for years and only replaced them if they broke.


We were only allowed to take a bath once a week and washed with a washcloth the rest of the week. You washed your hair in that bath. My sister and I shared the same bath water. Hot water was costly.

In those days the doctor came to house to treat you if you were sick. We only went to the dentist when we had a toothache because it was too expensive to go. I have paid for that all of my adult life because I didn't have regular check ups as a kid. They were sporadic at best.

The insurance man also came to the house monthly and you paid him the premium for house insurance, car, or life insurance.
 
My mom worked 52+ hours a week between the telephone company and the movie theater and saved all year long so that we could spend the summers on a lake instead of in the hot city.  One of my fondest memories are the days spent at the lake with so many other kids every year. Mom paid cash for everything those summers.

I remember Mom using credit cards when I was in high school. Prior to that our family did not have credit cards. My grandparents always paid cash for everything whether it be their home or a used car.

My grandmother had an old, old sewing machine and she used to repair our clothes with it. Clothes were repaired and patched back then. You didn't throw them out ever. When they became unwearable, Grandma would cut them up and put them in the rag bag to use for cleaning.  

My grandparents wasted nothing. Leftovers were  always eaten. Every thing was used until it was no longer repairable. They didn't run out and buy something new just because they wanted it. Shopping was for necessities not used as entertainment.

Times were much more frugal and simpler back then. You had less things to care for and to worry about breaking. Doing things in the fresh air was the entertainment. Our houses weren't packed with every toy imaginable. Meals were simple and portioned. They knew how to live frugally. They didn't envy the Joneses or try to keep up with them. They were not a throw away society.

Each and everyone of us could learn a thing or two from our ancestors that would help keep our money in our wallets. My grandmother was my first frugal example and I learned a lot from her.

I had a simple and wonderful childhood filled with love and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

How about you? Did you learn anything frugal from your grandparents or great grandparents? 

PS: My granddaughter loves to write stories. She is always sharing them with us. So I wrote a similar story to this one(leaving out the blood from the meat) for her in word and printed it out and wrapped it in a box for Christmas as one of her gifts. She will love it!