“Forever Frugal”

Yesterday I was staring at the door to the broom closet and laughed at the array of rubber bands. I have put rubber bands here for years without really thinking about it. (Quarantine allows a lot of time to think about things that I would never have thought about. Is that a positive or a negative?) Some of them break when I try to use them, but in general I always have a rubber band handy when I need one.

My husband’s and my parents were both children of the depression. While my mother and his father were comfortable during that time, my father and his mother lived in great poverty. Regardless of their circumstances, they all seemed very ingrained with the notion of “waste not, want not.” The lights had to be shut off when we left a room. (Are we running an electric company around here?) The furnace went off at night.(That’s why we have sweaters.) No food ever went to waste.(You said you wanted those license plates in the Kix boxes. Now eat all that cereal.)

The rubber band collection is a relic of that frame of mind. Why buy rubber bands when they come free on asparagus? I am curious about what other frugal habits any of my readers picked up from the generations before them. Please share.

46 thoughts on ““Forever Frugal”

  1. Our postam uses rubber bands around any bundle of letters. He has a habit of discarding them outside our front door, before posting things through our letterbox. I always pick them up and save them. Who knows when I might need one? 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Balls of string, boxes of buttons, odd scraps of material, firelighters made from old newspapers, dog and cat hair put out for the birds to use for their nests, egg shells on the garden to protect plants from slugs. We’ve all been recycling for years!

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  3. My mom was raised during the depression and is definitely frugal. But then she pretty much had to be raising 6 kids on her own. I inherited a little of that trait but not much! 😉

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  4. I was raised by two thrifty parents, so I don’t throw much out. The downside is I’ll never use a lot of the stuff I save. I must have 500 pencils in various drawers even though I prefer pens over pencils.

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  5. Hi Elizabeth, your article made me smile. My mother was a war time baby so she is also very frugal and it can drive me a bit potty. She is particularly like this over food and never wants to throw anything away even if it is old and possibly a health risk.

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    1. you’d be amazed at how mature some foods can be without becoming a health risk. I’m, no respecter of ‘sell by’ dates. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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        1. My first husband was a chef and we ran an outside catering business on the side for years (parties, weddings and funerals etc) so I had to educate myself on ‘the rules’ for the sector in case we inadvertently poisoned anyone (although I wouldn’t want to be doing that now that so many people seem to have nut allergies).

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      1. It is useful to have learned what those lines really mean. There have been a lot of articles here lately about food waste and how most of it is from an incorrect understanding of those words.

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        1. I particularly get annoyed at ‘use by’ dates on food that doesn’t need a dealine, such as many dried foods. I can’t remember who it was that once told me (about meat) ‘if you can’t smell it when you come into the room, it’s OK to eat.

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  6. Like you, nothing was wasted, especially food. We always turned off the lights, but not the heat (which was kept at 68 in winter). The one odd thing is both of our mothers saving aluminum foil to reuse. Hubby still wants to do that. Was it expensive back then?

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    1. I have been thinking about that. Certainly in our home it was treated as a rare commodity. And of course there was no plastic wrap so it was tempting to use it instead of that annoying wax paper which never stayed closed.

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  7. I’m a frugal gal, nothing is wasted in my home, its either used, recycled or up cycled. Even food scraps are turned into compost for our garden!
    Ripened fruit is frozen to go into yummy muffins, loaves or pancakes as required.
    Over supplies of seasonal foods go into relishes, pickles, jams or soups.

    I raised my daughters to be the same, as my parents did who both had their childhoods through the Great Depression here in Australia. Hubby is similar.
    It has served us well in this season of our lives, both of us having been forced into early retirement a few years ago, with limited finances, due to chronic health issues.
    But we live very blessed lives indeed!
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  8. I am with you all! I love the frugality and dislike putting plastic in the trash as who knows how long it will linger in a landfill? So I find myself washing out sandwich bags (why do I buy them I wonder?) to reuse and reusing bread bags to store home made bread in when I bake. So many things to reuse! Well done all of you!

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  9. This reminds me of my ex-mother-in-law, who grew up in quite a financially cautious family. She could afford to travel by train but instead often goes by coach.

    My collecting items are safety pins and paperclips. Safety pins because every time I do a race I need one to pin my number to my top. I always forget to take safety pins, so I collect 4 more and think at least I’ll remember them for the next race. However despite a growing collection of safety pins, I still rarely remember to take 4 with me…

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    1. I am afraid I am all out of safety pins and am too frugal to buy any. They come with dry cleaning, but since we haven’t had any for a year I haven’t collected any.

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