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Grandmas and Parents

April 2nd, 2018 at 07:08 am

My Grandmas were very different. Especially when it came to finances. My dad's mom was very frugal. She stockpiled, couponed, had rental homes, and was financially secure. But she lived very modestly, although she did buy cartons of cigarettes. (But she could afford it) She made her clothes. She did not have expensive things. It had to be really hot to run the air conditioner. But she never had to worry. My mom's mom was very different. She struggled, and lived off of social security. She wasn't a spender or a saver, but I wouldn't say she was financially secure either.

My parents were never financially secure. My dad died when I was 12 years old and my parents divorced when I was 5 or 6. But even separately they never had a lot. I received death benefits when my dad died, but it wasn't until I was 16 I realized that my mom did not save any of that benefit. She said it went towards providing for me. $980 a month? I did get an allowance of $20 a week, and I never went without. But I also know that I had to pay for my own class ring and invitations and other graduation expenses and college expenses. And our utility bills were always late or almost turned off. Even with her working full time and my step dad working full time. Maybe I wouldn't have been in debt in my early 20s if I would have started with a little cushion. I received over $52K in benefits by the time I reached 18.

I need to channel my inner Grandma. Smile Learn the difference between wants and needs. Real needs and real wants.

And here is to April being a new Financial Beginning.

5 Responses to “Grandmas and Parents”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Yes! Frugal Grandma could be very inspirational!

    That is what death benefits are for...to provide for the child, not necessarily to build up a nest egg when they turn 18. I would not blame your mother for not saving. Of course, a little set aside for college wouldn't have been a bad thing. What's done is done. Move forward and learn from the success and failures of others.

  2. Rose. Says:

    Yes, a little set aside would have been nice. Working full time and going to school was difficult. Not impossible, just difficult. Luckily I had scholarships to help pay for school. I don't dwell on it. But I am trying to learn for my past and take advice where I can.

  3. laura Says:


    My Frugal Grandma opted for a typewriter instead of an engagement ring from my grandpa. She figured that would be more practical in helping him with his business.

    Both of my grandparents were well-off (lots of post WWII opportunities). However, one set was very flashy (new cars/diamonds/trips to Europe) and the other set was normal with a huge about of real estate investments.

    As for me and my family, well, we're currently not exactly P2P living, but we are facing unemployment (though I'm completing coursework and plan to job hunt 6/1 along with my husband). We're looking to downsize to a town home and correct this course.

    My parents divorced when I was young and my father didn't pay child support regularly (and my sibling was born after the divorce and wasn't even mentioned in the decree because my mother just wanted to get away/be done/over/etc). Thank God for grandparents who made sure I had opporotuntities outside of being fed/housed. Catholic school tuition, car, prom dress, casual clothes, books, etc. All from grandparents.

  4. CB in the City Says:

    Both of my grandmas were frugal (one was actually my great aunt). Dad's mom was a minister's wife. She lived through the depression making ends meet on a very low income. They did get intermittent help from parishioners, in the form of say, a turkey, or a box of tomatoes. My mother's aunt was the wife of a factory worker. They lived hand to mouth, it appears, but they always had a big garden (including grape vines!) She canned her produce and lived off it all winter. They actually did not have indoor plumbing -- they had an outhouse and a pump. She saved every bit of cloth and made beautiful quilts. She made all her own clothes and so did my mother.

    My mother was frugal, too, but my father was a spendthrift. He was also an alcoholic (though he did recover). I grew up in a household where there was no money, ever. I had no help to go college but I did get good scholarships, and I made my way.

    I married a very spoiled man who blew through everything we had, and when we divorced, I had nothing but the promise of $100 a week for child support. (He usually paid.) Since my divorce I worked at pretty low-paying jobs (librarian, researcher) but I did manage to get on my feet -- buy a home, save a little nest egg. I'm not bringing in much money now, in retirement, but I do know how to make it stretch. My sister, on the other hand, has spent every penny that ever crossed her hand (and more), and she and her husband now get food at the food bank and flirt with eviction every month. She scares me to death.

    It's funny how people in the same family can be so different.

  5. rob62521 Says:

    As sad as it is that you didn't have that cushion, I think you are on the right track and wanting to find a frugal lifestyle. When I went to college, I had some scholarships, but had to work to pay the rest. My folks had no money to help other than they bought things like snacks, an occasional pair of shoes, and my mom found clothes for me at garage sales. Back in the 1980s, when and where I went to school, very few got a total full scholarship and books and room and board weren't a part of it. I was fortunate that I had learned to do without and cut corners. I graduated with no loans. Was it difficult? Yes. But, I did it and many years later, I have learned that by saving and scrimping, I have a pretty decent retirement.

    There are lots of interesting articles and videos from the Depression Era that I like to peruse every so often to, as I say, "Get my frugal on." It helps keep me focused. I think you are on the right track. One thing that struggling taught me was to appreciate the good things I have.

    Laura, it sounds like your grandmother was a very practical gal!

    CB, you've done so well having had a spoiled ex husband! You rock! My husband is retired from the public library and you aren't kidding about low library wages!

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