Learning from Grandma: Recapturing Frugal Ways

In today’s times of rising costs, higher taxes and lower wages, it’s a good idea to take a look at our grandparents for ideas on how to survive. My grandparents all grew up during the Great Depression and were teenagers during World War II. They knew how to survive and stretch their pennies to make things work.

These are the things I have learned from my grandparents and now put into practice in order to survive in today’s troubling times–using a saying that my grandparents practiced well: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without. You’ve heard that before haven’t you?

Use It Up

The concept of using it up means to use items until they have no use left in them. Don’t replace something until what you currently have just doesn’t cut it anymore. If your television is just getting old but still works, don’t get a new one. If your pots and pans or dishes are still in good shape, don’t replace them just because you want new ones or are tired of what you have. Try to make your car last as long as possible before thinking about a new one.

Wear It Out

I try to wear my jeans until they are falling apart. This serves a dual purpose–I am able to save the cost of buying a new pair and I am truly getting my money’s worth out of the jeans I have. Apply this idea to everything–from nail polish to clothing to furniture.

Sure, who doesn’t love the idea of new furniture but unless your furniture is falling apart there is no need to buy new. You can buy slipcovers at a fraction of the cost of new furniture or throw decorative blankets or quilts over furniture to give it a new look.

Make It Do

Who wouldn’t love the luxury of buying an all new wardrobe or a brand new lawn mower or some other item? When you live frugally, you just don’t do it. You make it work–if that means mending a blouse or hemming pants that are too long but were a bargain at the thrift store or working with the older computer that you already have–do what you can to “make it do.”

Do Without

Prioritize your needs. What do you really, really need? Do you need a new microwave or will the one you have suffice? Do you really need a new vacuum cleaner or do you just want a new one? Force yourself to wait before buying a new item–say, one week or even as long as 30 days. If you still really want the item after waiting then go for it, if you’ve forgotten about it by then, you probably didn’t really need it anyway.

Take a look at your lifestyle and figure out what you can do without. Do you really need to eat out and catch a movie every weekend? How about a home cooked meal and a DVD rental instead. Do you need a brand new outfit for Easter?

Take a few pointers from Grandma and Grandpa and learn to live more frugally. In the long run you will appreciate their wisdom today–even if you didn’t when you were younger.

1 thought on “Learning from Grandma: Recapturing Frugal Ways”

  1. This is how we live for the most part. Up until we wanted cell phones we didn’t even have loans but with out them or a credit card you have no credit rating. So so we got some cards. Did some shopping bought a house a few vehicles on credit. Now we just owe two years on the house ( after owning for five) and everything else is going to be paid off in about 2 months …. I am so re leaved now I can go back to no bills except the electric, phones, sewer water garbage and gas! I wish they would charge us by the garbage can for garbage cause with the recycling we do and feeding what we don’t eat to the dogs or composting we really generate very little garbage! Some times we go 3 weeks with out a full can full! Evidently we did a good job as an example for our girls because they are both about in the same shape. No we are not millionaires but we have what we need. Do mostly what we want and live a very frugal life. Can’t wait for retirement as I know we will be just fine!

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