EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

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dm200
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EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by dm200 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:34 pm

When "frugal" things are discussed, I often think of things my parents and grandparents did (or did not do) that, today, are very rare. Back then, there was no Medicare, food stamps, food pantries, etc.

I grew up on a small family farm and my grandmother was part of the household. She died at 87 with I was a Senior in High School.

Until the year before she died, every spring she would get large amounts of "greens" to be cooked two meals a day. These included dandelion greens, pigweed (what she called it, but probably another name), red root and dock.

Both grandmothers, in earlier times, made bed sheets from sacks - bleached them with soap, and sewed together.

Almost all of the pig was eaten - including "head cheese". In our case, though, we did not eat brains, lungs, blood or intestines.

We had a few cows. The milk went through a "separator" - separating the cream. The skim milk was made into cottage cheese. I don't recall what was done with the whey - maybe given to the pigs. The cream was churned into butter (LOT of work) and we drank the real "buttermilk"

Cured ham and bacon.

Made "salt pork:" on crocks and used over the rest of the year.

NO food (leftovers) was ever thrown out.

Whole milk was put on coked vegetables. Some meals were "milk toast".

Fat from cooking (such as bacon fat) and used for other cooking. The rest was saved and used for homemade soap (rough stuff)

.. and some other EXTREMELY frugal things as well

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by stan1 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:55 pm

Saving string from the newspaper just in case it was needed for something.

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celia
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by celia » Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:33 pm

Grew chickens from chicks, slaughtered and feathered them so they could be cooked and eaten. Probably used the feathers for pillows.

Built their own homes with help from friends and neighbors. (Had to purchase land first.)

Kids had to feed the chickens and milk the cows every morning before school.

One grandfather wrote and published his own book using a mimeograph machine.

Another grandfather made wine in the basement during prohibition. He also made and sold hats for a haberdashery store.

A grandmother made clothes for the kids to wear sometimes using recycled cloth.


None of these were attempts to be frugal. They were just trying to survive and raise families.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by CarolL » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:13 pm

My mother's uncle would walk a mile to our house to read the newspaper daily. He would then walk back home. When he died, his estate was worth over a million dollars ( this was in the early 60's)..

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by snackdog » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:27 pm

My father would stop the car for almost anything in the road and send one of us running back to fetch it. A glove. A boot. A hat. One time even a Barbie doll with one breast flattened by a passing car. My sister used it for years.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by sambb » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:30 pm

The level of frugality is interesting, but some get paid more per hour to work at their job then to work at saving some dollars on making food etc. So every minute of time can have an ROI. Saving and spending are less important than ROI, and the value of your time in achieving other income.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by stoptothink » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:41 pm

sambb wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:30 pm
The level of frugality is interesting, but some get paid more per hour to work at their job then to work at saving some dollars on making food etc. So every minute of time can have an ROI. Saving and spending are less important than ROI, and the value of your time in achieving other income.
I hear this idiom all the time, but it is only true in certain situations and for certain people. I earn a decent living, but I don't have the opportunity to earn that same wage whenever I darn well please. Unless I find a decent paying side hustle, paying someone $20/hr to mow my lawn isn't saving me money (although I earn several times that rate in the workforce), it is giving me some more time to sit on my duff.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by Mingus » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:43 pm

sambb wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:30 pm
The level of frugality is interesting, but some get paid more per hour to work at their job then to work at saving some dollars on making food etc. So every minute of time can have an ROI. Saving and spending are less important than ROI, and the value of your time in achieving other income.
Yes, but OP is talking about previous generations who lived during a time when wealth, and modern conveniences were very scarce compared to now.

And I don't think it was frugality. It was more than likely no other choice.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by Hamberders » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:50 pm

My dad would squeeze an almost-empty tube of toothpaste with the force of a colossus to get the remaining amount out of it. If he received a letter in the mail that had a stamp that wasn't marked with ink by USPS, he'd steam the envelope to remove the stamp in one piece and reuse the stamp.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by bck63 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:09 pm

My grandmother always used the same "teaball" twice (at least). She would brew her tea, then leave the tegbag in a small glass next to the sink. For next time.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:12 pm

My maternal grandmother used to wash plastic bags sliced loaves of bread came in, to use them repeatedly to store other things.

I think she was an environmentalist before it became popular.

PJW

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by imsomeguy » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:17 pm

bck63 wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:09 pm
My grandmother always used the same "teaball" twice (at least). She would brew her tea, then leave the tegbag in a small glass next to the sink. For next time.
My grandmother would share / reuse teabags. If family came over for a meal/celebration you were expected to dip the tea bag in your water a few times and then pass.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by mariezzz » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:21 pm

Grandparents never had cell phones. :D

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by mariezzz » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:24 pm

bck63 wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:09 pm
My grandmother always used the same "teaball" twice (at least). She would brew her tea, then leave the tegbag in a small glass next to the sink. For next time.
I still do this. I don't consider particularly frugal.
If you purchase high quality loose tea, it works quite well. (The tea in most tea bags these days is fairly poor quality, so reusing them doesn't work all that well, but in the past, it may have.)
If you go to some tea shop-s, they'll give you a tea pot filled with water, and then refill when you've drunk most of it. How is this any different from re-using the tea ball?

Interestingly, I do many of the things people have mentioned. I make sure to squeeze out all the toothpaste. I reuse plastic bags from loaves of bread (I don't wash them, just shake out the crumbs, and then use them to wrap things like cheese, veggies, etc.) I'll cut open hand lotion containers to use it all. I consider this smart, and 'Not wasteful'. Never thought of it as frugal.

My grandmother was frugal. She had buckets of twist ties, rubber bands, reused paper from anywhere. She did not waste anything. She remembered the depression well, raised a family on a farm during it.
Last edited by mariezzz on Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by 123 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:28 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:12 pm
My maternal grandmother used to wash plastic bags sliced loaves of bread came in, to use them repeatedly to store other things.
...
I do this all the time. The plastic bags that bread items come in are very sturdy and make excellent bags to freeze things in.

Other economies I experienced:

Much of the time we used dried non-fat powdered milk, which we added water to. Even after I moved out on my own I continued to use it. It was a lot less expensive than regular milk and there was no waste or spoilage. You just mixed enough for a couple of days in a large jar.

When we went out to eat at McDonalds (when hamburgers were still 15 cents) we brought large bottles of soda in the car and cups. We always ate in the car and NEVER bought drinks in cups. They were far too expensive for my folks taste.
Last edited by 123 on Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by foamypirate » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:30 pm

My in-laws (in their mid-50s now) washed and reused ziplock bags, until they split a seam. They have nearly $1 million in investments, and still wash and reuse to this day.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:49 pm

foamypirate wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:30 pm
My in-laws (in their mid-50s now) washed and reused ziplock bags, until they split a seam. They have nearly $1 million in investments, and still wash and reuse to this day.
Presumably habits like those led to their having nearly one million dollars in investments.

PJW

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by augryphon » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:56 pm

My dad was born in December 1929, just as the Great Depression began. He would take on any project of any size....unless he had to purchase something to complete it. If he actually spent money on it, it was super high value.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by yousha » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:01 pm

My dad used to say "a penny saved is a penny earned. Save for a rainy day. God will cry is you throw away leftovers. He and my mom raised 9 children during and just after the great depression.

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GerryL
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by GerryL » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:21 pm

As the daughter of parents who grew up during the Great Depression, some of these habits were -- and still are -- just a natural way of life.
  • Definitely save and reuse plastic bags and aluminum foil … not to mention wrapping paper and bows. Until just a few years ago when I finally broke down and bought a set of plastic storage containers, I used yogurt, margarine and Cool Whip containers for storage.
  • When I finally became a homeowner I felt downright decadent when I actually bought a ball of string, especially since I still had plenty of little pieces of string I had tied together.
  • And I almost always use watered down shampoo and conditioner.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by Flora » Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:02 pm

My grandma used the (red) mesh bags that onions came in to make her own pot scrub 'pads' by combining a few with rubber bands.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by Workinprogress » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:27 am

I think my upbringing and early years of lean times have made me into the person of whom you speak. As one of seven children, my first new cloths were as a senior in High School.

Luckily for me, my wife allows these odd behaviors, with just a shake of the head.

A always use not only the outer bread bag for my lunch sandwiches but also the inner wrapper on a different day.

The bags in cereal boxes make perfect refrigerator protection for vegetables, cheese and sandwiches if I run out of bread bags.

Stopping on the road for lost tools and other flotsam is a given, however I never sent my kids into the street, though they knew why we were screeching to a halt on the side of the road. What did Dad see this time???

Being a mechanic generates many small bits of aluminum, copper and brass...a bucket for each is always waiting to be taken to the scrap yard.

A tube of sealant is never done until it is rolled flat with a deep socket to extract the last tiny bit.

I have never purchased a bottle of water, always a couple beverage bottles of water in the pickup that get refilled for years.

Pages from the promotional notepads given by vendors are not fully used until both sides are used.

I have only within the last few years stopped using the round plastic ware from cottage cheese and such, but still save the lunch meat tubs.

Being a firearms enthusiast, not only do I reload all of my cartridges, I cast the bullets that I load them with, and have made my own black powder. In retrospect, by the time you consider all of the dies and molds, I am not saving any actual money, now that I am no longer competing.

Eating out...Water please.

The list goes on to the point that I am often the subject of comments on my frugality. It is a bit of a mental health issue according to my sweetheart. But, she puts up with it/me and even willingly participates to a large degree. As was mentioned earlier, there is no way I should have the savings that I have amassed, given my compensation history. I attribute my success to taking care of the little things, so that the big things fall into place.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by SR II » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:14 am

foamypirate wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:30 pm
My in-laws (in their mid-50s now) washed and reused ziplock bags, until they split a seam. They have nearly $1 million in investments, and still wash and reuse to this day.
My mother-in-law did the same thing for years (she's now in assisted living). After she washed them (sometimes they still looked dirty to me!) and they were dry, she would methodically fold them into a little triangle, like a flag, and stack them in a drawer. And she is a multi-millionaire.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by DesertDiva » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:35 am

My grandmother was an excellent seamstress and made most of her own clothes. She was also very adept at mending clothes—including patching old work pants and fixing worn socks. She preferred drying clothes outside on a line instead of using the dryer.

My grandparents also grew a lot of food in their garden and either canned or froze their produce. They rarely ate at restaurants. Never bought beer, wine or soft drinks. Didn’t buy junk food or snacks.

They never bought new vehicles even though they could have. In fact, to my knowledge, they never paid interest on anything—including real estate.
Last edited by DesertDiva on Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by F150HD » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:38 am

123 wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:28 pm
I do this all the time. The plastic bags that bread items come in are very sturdy and make excellent bags to freeze things in.

Other economies I experienced:

Much of the time we used dried non-fat powdered milk, which we added water to. Even after I moved out on my own I continued to use it. It was a lot less expensive than regular milk and there was no waste or spoilage. You just mixed enough for a couple of days in a large jar.

When we went out to eat at McDonalds (when hamburgers were still 15 cents) we brought large bottles of soda in the car and cups. We always ate in the car and NEVER bought drinks in cups. They were far too expensive for my folks taste.
my mom did the powered milk thing when we were growing up. Its a good idea actually to have on hand w/ lots of kids so you don't run out. It isn't bad if its cold/chilled.

McD's was only on special occasions....when there was a coupon.

my folks did many things mentioned in this thread.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:48 am

I suspect that the forum would not allow the length of my post re my FIL is I made a complete list... :D He was the true definition of a depression era child, turned into a hoarder, although his wife did not allow the living areas to be his collection areas.

- Keep soap remnants, all held together with elastic bands. Don't know how he combined them later.

- I would put him up against anyone in the "Empty the tube" challenge. Elastic bands, binder clips.

- He made his own dental tools to clean the inside of his teeth regularly.

- Bought dented food cans on clearance, even if the type of food wasn't something they ate.

- Put gifts in attic especially if clothes like PJs, wore them until threadbare.

- Kept dress shoes of deceased relatives and wore them even if toes had to be curled.

- Picked up old tires. Put different sized tires on car, added more air to make smaller one bigger. Stopped this practice when I went berserk.

- Used tired for many years after date code. 17 years on one set. I took his car to Discount Tire for 4 new ones after telling him our family would not be riding in his car.

- Everything that broke, he fixed. Repeatedly. If it became unrepairable, he stripped it. Toaster outside went in aluminum pile. Springs, popup mechanism, ... Cords were cut off INSIDE the appliance because that was before the knot that stopped the cord from pulling out, and was another 2 or 3 inches longer.

- Burned insulated wire in neighbor's fire put to remove insulation because bare copper got more at the scrap yard. Then hauled it on block and tackle into attic "waiting for price of copper to go up". Bed frames, trailer hitches, ... We scraped over 8 tons of metal after he moved to assisted living.

- Had a "party line" telephone system for many years after it was obsolete. When switching them to touch-tone phones (forced gift from us), we discovered that party lines can't have touch-tones, so had to "upgrade". Years later he tried to turn the old phone in at an AT&T store when they gave a cash reward. They wryly said "sir, this is a rental unit that is so old we stopped charging rent. You were supposed to return it years ago."

- Picked up stuff on road, stuff floating in lake ("no, I will not drink that can of beer with the label faded that you found in the lake"), trash people set out, and went "garaging" (garage sales) never paying anywhere near the asking price, and saved all of it. Reinforced rafters to hold weight in attic, garage, ... So much lumber that it filled a 20 foot U-Haul truck when we donated it.

- Put off car repairs as long as possible. Broke front suspension months after car dealer pointed out issues, car went off road, luckily at slow speed. Asked what would have happened if at broke at 70 mph, he shrugged.

-Junk mail converted to scrap paper. Every envelope, every letter. Never used a pad in his life. Gave him a ream of copy paper (free from Staples) when he was in assisted living, he would not use it.

- Used pencils, not pens. Until they were too small to use. Sharpened with one of the dozen or so pencil sharpeners located in most rooms.

- Had multiples of every tool to minimize steps to get the tool he needed (see garaging). We found a dozen unopened tool boxes stacked everywhere that he bought at end of garage sales for pennies.

- Going out to dinner was Arby's take out with coupons.

- Paid utility bills with cash, at places like drugstore or grocery store. No value on his time, waiting in line to save a stamp.

When he was in his final years, he said one of his regrets was being too cheap. Yet he would buy anything for a grandchild, or us.

Some things I did not list because I don't want anyone to do them.

Edit (added items):

- Prop open car hood with stick when working on engine because new hood struts cost money. Stick slips, lose fingers, oh well.

- Cutting metal behind back seat to get to bolts on shocks/struts to loosen/tighten them.

- Carefully unwrap presents to save wrapping paper.

We:


- Reuse bread bags
- Wash ziplock bags (depending on what was inside them)
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:24 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by midareff » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:14 am

My folks were what was called depression era kids..... 20's and so forth, passed 21 years ago 6 weeks apart after 63 years of marriage. The era they lived through left them extremely frugal in every regard, but they lived in Brooklyn so the farm stuff wasn't possible. Dinner in the little apartment's kitchen with the radio tuned to the stock market report.... me in a high chair not yet big enough to have dinner at the table. What memories.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by typical.investor » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:18 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:48 am
Some things I did not list because I don't want anyone to do them.
Those are best placed in a youtube video where you can generate revenue. Market it as solutions to student debt. :twisted:

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by BradJ » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:25 am

Where we live, your sewer rate is based on your usage during the fall months. I have heard of people not flushing at the desired rate during that time for a cheaper rate.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by rennale » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:28 am

My grandfather would turn off the car engine to free wheel down long hills and save gas. (Long before the days of steering locks!)

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:49 am

Let's move on from this depression era frugality. It is a new century. We have heard most all of this before. Those people will be gone. Those times are gone. How about we hear from people how they themselves might be percieved by the gen x or millenials?
How about hearing about how they lived in a McMansion but it only had 2 1/2 baths. How the dad mowed his lawn, did not even have a lawn service. How they had to drink store branded orange juice instead of Tropicana. How the parents used a cell phone for 5 years instead of the latest model. How they would not buy appetizers before the dinner. How their allowances were so skimpy that they had to drink regular Starbucks instead of a Macchiato. How they did not have cable and had to watch antenna TV.
Oh woe is them.
Last edited by Shallowpockets on Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by Blueskies60 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:14 am

Too funny Shallowpockets! You nailed it!!! My kids think I'm the cheapest person ever because I insist we "wear our shoes and clothing out" before buying more!

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by fru-gal » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:16 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:48 am
- Keep soap remnants, all held together with elastic bands. Don't know how he combined them later.
If you take the old small piece of soap, you can attach it to the new bar when they're both wet, and it will stay attached.

Bottles of moisturizer, etc. are the worst for not being able to get everything out. I store them upside down when they're at that stage. They should be packaged in short jars instead.

Lots of hygiene and cosmetic products have wasted material you can't use, unless you dig it out and add it to new ones or keep it in a small dish.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:23 am

fru-gal wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:16 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:48 am
- Keep soap remnants, all held together with elastic bands. Don't know how he combined them later.
If you take the old small piece of soap, you can attach it to the new bar when they're both wet, and it will stay attached.
That's what we do. I never did figure out what he did with the stack of tiny pieces. Melt them down? Use them with elastic band around them?
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by GCD » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:31 am

I used to get all my presents at Christmas and birthdays wrapped in the Sunday comics instead of store bought wrapping paper. That was as late as the 90's until they just quit wrapping them at all. I have taped together scraps of wrapping paper to cover a present for my kids. Sometimes I even use the coupons we get in the mail instead of wrapping paper just to add some color (we don't get a Sunday paper with comics).

I had a great-uncle who saved water by using an outhouse until he died in 1975. I don't think he ever used an indoor toilet ever.

My daughter wears ripped jeans to school. Oh wait, that's a fashion thing I paid for...

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by dziuniek » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:42 am

Some things I've seen and heard from stories in my family:

- Making Coffee twice from the same coffee beans (same for tea)
- I remember making butter from milk.
- I remember gutting a pig and burning off the hair when I was a kid. (now this isn't frugal but I must be less snowflake than I think)
- No soda, we made real juice/ boiled fruit to make a sweet drink.
- If in season eat it then, otherwise lots and lots of preserves.
- I remember a potato storage underground room where it was semi-cold and potatoes were kept there over winter.
- Getting yelled at for cutting off a cherry branch because it was easier than picking up fruit while sitting in the tree.
- Car door hatches were broken so a string was used tie from one door to another.

Aaah, I don't know these are that frugal, but they sure made for a fun childhood.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by GatorFL » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:44 am

My Dad was born in 1928, was a depression baby that grew up on a farm. I spent my childhood in poverty in a small city after he left the farm. Here are some of the notables:

1. I remember the rare occasion that we would travel to my grandmothers house 30 miles away. There would sometimes be a rainstorm and as a small child I remember Mom yelling at Dad to turn the wipers on. My Dad would drive nearly blind down the road, rain covering the windshield. Years later I asked my Mom about this. She stated that Dad would almost never use the wiper blades as he was trying to extend their service life!
2. Plastic bread bags: I had to bring lunch to school in recycled bread bags. I always saw the other kids at school with brown paper bags as luxurious.For years I was known as the bread bag kid. Kids.....
3. Junk: All of our clothes, shoes, etc. mostly came from my Dad's collecting on garbage days around town. Virtually everything in our falling down house was collected in this way.
4. Christmas: I only remember getting anything on one Christmas. My Dad spent months in the basement unwinding the copper from transformers from thrown away TVs to sell for scrap to buy presents. That was a great Christmas.
5. Eating at a restaurant: I remember going out to eat for the first time in my life when I turned 13. We went to McDonalds, I thought it was amazing. I also remember Dad having us keep all of the hamburger wrappers and the bag so we use them for lunch.

I am not even close to being frugal by my late Dad's standards. He would look at everything I do on a daily basis and would be critical of the waste. I don't resent my Dad for my upbringing, he did what he could. We were never on public assistance, and he never drank or swore. He worked at the same terrible job for 32 years straight while never once taking a sick day. The crappy company have him a plaque. My Dad took the plaque and recycled the materials into a lamp.

I have to admit that every time I turn my wiper blades on, I still think of him.

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Kitty Telltales
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by Kitty Telltales » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:54 am

bck63 wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:09 pm
My grandmother always used the same "teaball" twice (at least). She would brew her tea, then leave the tegbag in a small glass next to the sink. For next time.
I still do this, except it's a teabag. I buy PG Tips or Tesco tea and it actually too strong the first time around so it waits by the sink resting on a teaspoon for my second cup.

My husband remembers riding, as a toddler, on a snow sled, pulled by the family's German shepherd, with a bag a grain to the windmill. We visited the windmill last year, which still exists as a tourist site.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by typical.investor » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:07 am

Not taking an International flight every year to see family in order to save money is something both I and my parents did.

Now that they've passed on, I wonder if it was worth it.

Probably saved more money by that than doing everything in this thread. Have taken public transportation my whole life though, so no choice to save by using not using wipers. That's just nuts.

Well, so is not taking your child to see their grandparents I guess. The great home movies are just no substitute. Lesson learned.

Anyway, I suspect the parents of the millions of children without health coverage don't take their kids to see a doctor every time they probably should. Hard to justify spending that money if nothing might be THAT wrong.
Last edited by typical.investor on Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:28 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by Glockenspiel » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:12 am

I grew up in the late 80s to early 2000s, with 5 siblings. My parents were born shortly after WWII. They both grew up on farms in the rural Midwest. Here are some frugal things my parents would do:

1. We drank powdered milk. My mom would buy a box of powdered milk and mix it with water. I have 5 siblings so I assume we went through nearly a gallon a day.
2. Save all kinds of things for re-use: bread bags, plastic sandwich bags, tissue paper from gifts, etc.
3. Wrap christmas presents in newspaper, mostly the comics section.
4. Sew patches on my jeans if they got holes in them.
5. Very very rarely ate at restaurants as a family. If we got to eat at a restaurant, it was Burger King. And we thought it was amazing. I do remember getting to eat at a Bonanza buffett restaurant for a very special occasion.
6. Grew a large garden (at least half of the entire backyard), canned the food, and stored it in the root cellar, a cold, underground concrete cellar attached to our basement.

Neither of my parents ever made more than $15/hour working, but we managed to live in a small town in an average house, and I grew up to be well-adjusted. My wife understands some of my quirks once she spends a little more time around my family, and realizes that yes, I grew up with these people.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by dm200 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:19 am

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:12 pm
My maternal grandmother used to wash plastic bags sliced loaves of bread came in, to use them repeatedly to store other things.
I think she was an environmentalist before it became popular.

PJW
Yes - my maternal grandmother saved the bread bags as well.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by dm200 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:21 am

fru-gal wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:16 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:48 am
- Keep soap remnants, all held together with elastic bands. Don't know how he combined them later.
If you take the old small piece of soap, you can attach it to the new bar when they're both wet, and it will stay attached.
I do that now.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by thrifty_one » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:24 am

my dear old dad used to buy ugly , non/barely running jalopies , fix them up and either we'd use them as family cars or turn a small profit by reselling. My 'favorite' was i believe a '74 Plymouth Valiant (two tone brown) and remember my sister wanting to not be dropped off in front of school in that thing. priceless.
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our paernets and grandparents

Post by sschullo » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:39 am

mariezzz wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:21 pm
Grandparents never had cell phones. :D
My grandparents never had electricity. In 1938, 9 years before I was born, my parents installed electricity for the house, pump shed and the barn on our small family dairy farm in northern Wisconsin. In the 1940s, my dad bought his first electric starter tractor, Allis Chalmers C,(https://www.machinerypete.com/details/u ... c/19401018) and vacuum milking machines. He had up to 25 cows. We did not have an indoor bathroom and TV until 1955 when I was 8 years old.

80 years later my parent's grandson and his wife now have the farm which I was raised. They raised five children and milked 900 cows with 15 employees for years, and have no plans on retiring. Each cow has a computer chip which the computer reads their physical condition as they parade through the milking stations.

I learned all of my frugal thinking and practice from this environment.
Last edited by sschullo on Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by Nicolas » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:57 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:23 am
fru-gal wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:16 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:48 am
- Keep soap remnants, all held together with elastic bands. Don't know how he combined them later.
If you take the old small piece of soap, you can attach it to the new bar when they're both wet, and it will stay attached.
That's what we do. I never did figure out what he did with the stack of tiny pieces. Melt them down? Use them with elastic band around them?
You can put soap scraps into (part of) an old nylon stocking and tie the end, works pretty good.

By the way, enjoyed your post, many of these same things were done by my depression-kid FIL.
Last edited by Nicolas on Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by Every things free » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:03 am

I grew up in the cold of North Dakota. Lots of ketchup sandwiches. Simply white bread with ketchup.
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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by onourway » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:09 am

Having grown up close to my grandparents who had 11 children on a farm, all of this stuff just seems 'normal' to me, even for us who now live in the city. Just celebrated that grandfather's 96th this weekend. :D

One thing that always stuck out, even to me, was when I was growing up they had a rotary-dial phone for years after they'd become obsolete because the phone company charged extra for tone dialing.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by Watty » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:13 am

When I was a kid we lived in the suburbs and my parents would order half a cow and we would fill the freezer with meat.

We ate a LOT more meat in those days than people do now.

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by dm200 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:14 am

onourway wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:09 am
Having grown up close to my grandparents who had 11 children on a farm, all of this stuff just seems 'normal' to me, even for us who now live in the city. Just celebrated that grandfather's 96th this weekend. :D

One thing that always stuck out, even to me, was when I was growing up they had a rotary-dial phone for years after they'd become obsolete because the phone company charged extra for tone dialing.
I did that as well - except I got one of those pulse tone phones that made the dial clicking by pushing a button :)

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Re: EXTREMELY frugal things from our parents and grandparents

Post by mariezzz » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:03 am

GCD wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:31 am
I used to get all my presents at Christmas and birthdays wrapped in the Sunday comics instead of store bought wrapping paper.
It's the gift wrap that keeps on giving ... it's reading material!

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