Living Frugally…

Whenever I think of “living frugally”, I always think of my grandmother.  In her days, people didn’t waste anything.  There weren’t any yard sales or Goodwill Stores in those days, simply  because people used their things until they were worn out!  I still remember my grandmother cutting the buttons off  worn out clothing and saving the buttons so she could use them again!  (Oh how I loved that jar of buttons)

In grandma’s day, flour came packaged in printed, cotton “sacks”.  The sacks were fairly large, and grandma washed the flour sacks , took them apart, then used the cloth to make aprons, curtains, quilts, or other things.  If you think about it, doesn’t that make good sense?

Back in those days, boxes of “Breeze” laundry detergent came with bath towels packed inside– a little reward for buying their product.  I remember the towels were either blue, pink, or yellow striped–and they were paper-thin! ( Of course, they’d have to be thin to fit inside of a box of laundry detergent!)  I also remember the smaller boxes of detergent had wash cloths in them, to match the towels.   Grandma would let me open the little boxes that came packed inside of the detergent, and it was so exciting to see what color towel was inside!

My granddaddy was a farmer, and I remember my grandmother spending many long, hot, summers canning and freezing vegetables and fruit of all kinds.  Nothing was wasted.  Preserves were even made from watermelon rinds, which I, personally, always thought were gross.  What did grandma use to can her fruits and vegetables in?  Recycled mayonnaise jars, and reusable freezer containers, of course!

The other night my husband happened to mention that he could still remember when his parents got their first roll of paper towels.  I don’t remember that, but I do remember our parents using old paper grocery bags to put under fried foods to soak up the excess grease, especially during a fish fry!  I also remember Ed’s parents saving used aluminum foil…

I proudly recycled my first piece of aluminum foil the other evening!  Ed’s been trying to get me to do this for years ( like his parents did), but I always scoffed at the idea in the past.  With the price of aluminum foil getting so ridiculous, I’ve recently begun to rethink that decision!  I’m not to the point of wiping food off used foil (yet), but if the foil is clean when removed from a bowl, I’ll fold and save it for future use.

Times are changing…  I’m hanging onto things I once would’ve discarded without a thought, in days gone by.  You never know when something just might come in handy!   Prices on merchandise certainly aren’t getting any cheaper!  Recently, I’ve heard commercials on the radio from Goodwill Stores, begging people to donate.  Apparently, I’m not the only person hanging on to my stuff!

I’ve also begun to rethink my decision to stop canning and freezing in recent years.  Canning had gotten to be such a hassle in the past few years, I’d all but stopped canning or freezing anything other than a few peas each year.  I even threw out all of my Mason jars, and got rid of my canning pot!   With food shortages on the rise, as well as higher prices at the grocery stores, putting more food in the freezer or jars is sounding like a wise decision!

How about you, does the economy have you living more frugal yet?


Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 11:20 am  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve done all those things. I still save jars. The plastic ones, Jim uses for nails and things in the garage. He has made his one seedling pots out of newspaper. I always save foil if it isn’t too messy.
    I remember the gifts in detergent. And don’t I remember dishes coming that way, too?
    This is a good weekly meme.

  2. I’d like to learn to do canning. I have a garden in the summer, but most of it goes to waste because we can’t eat it fast enough. If I knew how to can, I would be much better off.

  3. I remember saving magazines and using the pages to put bacon on to soak up the fat, after of course pouring the fat into a can to cook with. Thin or worn out underwear became dusting rags and socks did as well. Clothes were air dried, rubber bands off the bread were saved as was the bread wrapper. Twist ties were saved as well. When my mother died there were Huge jars in the basement full of twist ties, rubber bands and those plastic things that came on bread as well. Funny how I remember those….time to do the same thing. It’s just too costly now a days.

  4. I had forgotten about the dish towels in the soap. I never saw a dress or anything made from flour sacks. But I do remember my Mom talking about them.

  5. The fried fish draining on brown paper bags! Brings back memories of fish fries with relatives, sometimes at our house, others at the home of aunts and uncles.

    Hubby and I learned during the first decade of our 44-year marriage that frugality and working to become debt-free brought peace. We found life much more enjoyable when we saved up for things we needed or wanted instead of going into debt. We save and pinch pennies but then spend on things some might consider nonessential, like travel.

  6. You brought back a sweet memory. My grandmother’s favorite apron was one she made out of a sack. She always looked so weird to me whenever she’d take it off. I was a little girl, and my grandma was supposed to have on her dress and apron. That was just how it had to be. LOL 🙂

  7. I didn’t grow up with any canning going on but I have a dream of living on a farm. We wouldn’t farm the land but have a garden and I would love to do canning. It sounds like simpler times and I want that despertly. I do remember the towel in the detergent and the grocery bags being used with the fried foods. Actually we should use brown shopping bags for trash rather then have them sit in plastic in our land fills. Only you can’t get much more than plastic bags!

  8. What a nice article you wrote! Ever since my husband and I got into Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last September, we’ve been looking for ways to cut back.

    The husband used to hate leftovers but now shares them with me (only when I ask, of course). I try never to throw away any food unless it’s rotten, but I watch much more carefully what is in the fridge and don’t let things GET rotten any more. We’ve stocked up on food from Sam’s Club and are working our way through our pantry and freezer and trying not to buy anything new at the grocery store except for the perishables. My aim is to save 50% on my grocery bill this month. Plastic bags hold the litterbox leavings, and I use my cloth grocery bags more often than not.
    Thanks for your inspiring blog post!

  9. This article is very impressive. I wasn’t aware of all the opportunities to be frugal! I’m trying to be frugal in thee aspects that don’t really hurt, clothes for example. Actually you get double benefits when you swap clothes, because you get rid of unused items and get new trendy things in return. I prefer swapping online at, it’s really the only trading site out there I can recommend.

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