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Thread: Things your frugal elders told you

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Things your frugal elders told you

    I'm making mince tonight--basically boiled hamburger meat with onions and peas. This was a staple in my MIL's house, and I've come to regard it as a comfort food. It calls for one onion per pound of meat (Ishbel probably has a different variation on the theme, but I'm only going to talk about my MIL's way).

    But she told me that when times were tough, the ratio would be the reverse: a quarter of a pound of meat for a pound of onions (or "ingyuns" as MIL called them).

    I also remember my grandmother-in-law saving a dozen peas in a teeny-tiny Tupperware about an inch and half in diameter and saying "That'll dae ma lunch the morrow." In other words, waste not, want not.

    Do you recall any specific frugal things your elders told you they practiced, or taught you?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Neat idea for a thread.

    Chief advice - if you don't have the money at hand, don't buy it. Even with credit cards, if I don't have the money in my account, I don't buy it.

    With mortgages and car loans, pay if off ASAP so that it is yours.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Don't leave the door ajar/window open. We don't want to heat the outdoors.

    No you can't join ski club that's for rich kids.

    No we can't go out to eat you lick your plate and that's bad manners.

    The stock market is gambling.

    Pay cash if you can and if not pay off the loan early.

    Stay in the starter home you bought.

    Grow your own food as much as possible.

    Don't get a credit card. (Later updated to pay it in full each month.)

    Sew your own clothes (only when my mother was a stay at home mom).

    Entertainment? If you're bored I can find some work for you to do. (We did not get a TV until I was in fourth grade, and then signed a contract that each child got a half hour of TV per day, total exposure to the ads 1 1/2 hours per day from 3 kids. Shows had to be approved and were along the lines of The Waltons.)

    If you want money you can work. I started before I was legally old enough to do so, but did also have a small allowance to teach me money management skills, ditto a bank account at a young age.

    We can go scrounging around town for firewood.

    It's good to hang clothes outside to dry because they smell fresh. It was not until after I left home that my parents got a drier or microwave and they still do not have a dishwasher.

    We can use your father's professional development money to go on vacation and only pay for the amount in excess of what one person would cost. This led to many boring trips to empty fields that were Civil War battlefields but also some more interesting attractions.

    Any leftover can go into soup.

    A person's heart matters. You don't need makeup, hair color, or high fashion.

    Never cosign a loan.

    You can live on peanut butter for awhile if money is tight.

    Don't worry, God will take care of you, and don't feel sorry for yourself. There are lots of people worse off than you. Help them as much as you are able to.

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    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    The rich get richer, the poor have babies.

    waste not, want not.

    my mother didn’t drive so we got where we needed to by bike or the “shoe leather express” as she called it. Back when shoes actually had some leather in them. Now I guess you could call it the synthetic material express. I had friends who did not have an auto in their family.

    Change into “playclothes” as soon as you got home from church or school. Save your best for Sunday.

    Get an education (secretary, nurse teacher for the girls, science or engineering for the boys)

    know how to type as a “backup” in case you were a woman you could always support yourself.

    gog is always watching so be kind to others. .

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    If the toilet isn't working and you don't have the money for a plumber turn off the water to it and flush it by pouring a bucket of water in the bowl.

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    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    grandma said you had to use your teabag 3 times. By the 3rd cup it was more like milky water with a hint of tea but we drank it.

    Also, never leave a room with a light on.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I'm making mince tonight--basically boiled hamburger meat with onions and peas. This was a staple in my MIL's house, and I've come to regard it as a comfort food. It calls for one onion per pound of meat (Ishbel probably has a different variation on the theme, but I'm only going to talk about my MIL's way).

    But she told me that when times were tough, the ratio would be the reverse: a quarter of a pound of meat for a pound of onions (or "ingyuns" as MIL called them).

    I also remember my grandmother-in-law saving a dozen peas in a teeny-tiny Tupperware about an inch and half in diameter and saying "That'll dae ma lunch the morrow." In other words, waste not, want not.

    Do you recall any specific frugal things your elders told you they practiced, or taught you?
    We ate something similar in a white sauce over toast or biscuit. When there wasn't money for hamburger/peas/onion it was creamed egg over toast. Grandma would always have cornbread in a glass with milk.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    My dad showed me how to change the oil in my car but I was lazy and always paid someone to do it rather than crawl under the car. He also changed tires on the side of the road when he got flats driving.

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    It was a right of getting the first car that we were taught simple mechanics. How to change a tire, change the oil, check and clean the points and plugs, and replace belts. I pretty much carried that through much of adulthood. What plastic bags that there were then were often washed and reused, although paper bags and waxed paper were more common then. We had a brick and concrete ash pit and what ever might burn went into the ash pit. Once every few weeks a truck would come down the alleyway and clean out the ashes and debris. Not especially frugal, but it seems pretty odd now.

    Long sleeved shirts with holes at the elbows would often become summer short sleeved shirts and pant with holes in the knees could get patched or converted to cut offs. Shoes could get re-soled if there were some wear left in the uppers. Socks were mended. We hung clothes on the clothes line or indoors on a clothes rack for sometime until the first electric drier came along. I still use a clothes line much of the year and almost get a little nostalgia.

    I don't recall a lot of food frugality, but we ate a lot of jello, hamburger, and peanut butter in a multitude of combinations and nearly always packed a lunch for school. Restaurant meals were rare, maybe a couple of times a month, and often at Don's Cafe as Don was a next door neighbor.

    My grandmother became widowed at a fairly young age and ran a boarding house near where my folks went to college so they could afford expenses.

  10. #10
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    Everything everyone has already said!

    Plus, hand-me-downs were a way of life in a family as large as mine.

    If something still had life to it but was no longer needed or wanted, it was traded or passed along - not thrown out.

    The best way to save money is to not spend it; even something on "sale" means you are parting with some money.

    Just because something is "free" doesn't mean you have to take it.
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Anon.

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

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