Send Me Your Grandma Tips - GIVE THEM FOOD...and other ways to cope with life Blog at Allrecipes.com - 177288

GIVE THEM FOOD...and other ways to cope with life

SEND ME YOUR GRANDMA TIPS 
 
May 27, 2010 2:10 pm 
Updated: Apr. 21, 2011 10:00 am
I got such great comments from my last blog on simple living....talking about my mother in law and all the ways she lives frugally, ...I thought it would be a great idea to have all of you send me your Grandma Tips.....we all have Moms and Grandmas who saved money and unknowingly, the environment by doing a multitude of different things..so let me hear what you have to say....should be interesting!

example:  my mother-in-law saves every little bit of left over vegetables ..gradually filling up a container in her freezer, when it's full she makes soup.
 
Comments
May 27, 2010 2:23 pm
My mom is almost 80 and she still cuts coupons and always has. She also reuses her Ziploc bags and foil. Saves every plastic bag from the grocery store. Will eat leftovers until there is mold growing on it. YUCK! It's funny because my parents really didn't have to pinch pennies, but growing up during the Depression, it just stuck with them.
 
May 27, 2010 3:45 pm
Like GoonEatNZ did with lime juice in her recent blog, I often use ice cube trays to salvage small potions of sweet or savory cooking additives such as: pineapple juice for marinades, chicken or beef stock from crock pot cooking, tomato paste, fresh herb in water/ice; all these are popped out of their trays and put in labeled freezer bags and kept in a specific section of the freezer, so I don't have to go digging every time I need just a tad of something to boost the flavor of the meal-in-the-making.
 
May 27, 2010 3:50 pm
ditto with the plastic bags-they just seem so attached to them. Gramma saved egg cartons to return to the egg farmer, had a whole section of the freezer with left overs which were turned into monthly soup, saved every margarine/sour cream/yogurt tub to start plants in, had a pail in the kitchen for compost, saved pop/beer can tabs to send in to buy a wheel chair for the less fortunate, cut up old clothes to make quilts and used tattered blankets to fill the quilt, mended clothes and glued shoes so they could be worn for an extra few months, grew herbs for insect repellent, medicines and cooking. I could go on and on and it's funny because I do many of these things as she passed her wisdom down to all her grand children.
 
MK! 
May 27, 2010 4:48 pm
awesome topic! I will definitely checking back to get some tips! My grandma grew up during the depression too... I am trying to think of anything specific she does... mostly just saving containers, which has already been said... my other grandma - my dad said she used to save drippings from meat and use the fat from that for cooking or... on bread like butter... that sounds a little gross to me... I'm sure there are more but thats all I can think of at the moment.
 
cocojo 
May 27, 2010 6:15 pm
This is a great opportunity for conversation with moms and grandmas!
 
cocojo 
May 27, 2010 6:16 pm
not responsible for how long they keep you on the phone!...lol
 
May 27, 2010 8:52 pm
My grandma made everything from scratch and hated using vegetables she had to buy - if something wasn't in season in her garden, she wouldn't make a recipe with it. My parents both grew up kind of poor and now that they've made a comfortable living for themselves they don't go out of the way to penny pinch - my mom shops at expensive grocery stores and buys brand name foods. However, I live on my own and am a student, so I definitely have to save money. The number one thing I try to do is NEVER throw out food. We try to turn leftovers into new and interesting dishes, and use up produce before it goes bad. Takes some practice but we're getting better! Great idea, I'll be checking back!
 
judy 
May 28, 2010 3:15 am
my mom & granma's thing was ...waste not/want not...safe to say they used everything till it couldn't be used any more. now i find myself doing the same thing...it's a good thing..we always had a good meal on the table, and if any one dropped by there was plenty food for them too.wow they are both gone now but i still do as they did....
 
May 28, 2010 3:48 am
I don't care if it's a Grandma tip - Hezzy's tip for the ice cube tray is genius! I'm always throwing out partial cans of broth or tomato sauce. I have to go buy some ice cube trays!
 
May 28, 2010 8:30 am
Unfortunately, I don't really know my grandmother all that well to even have any handed down tips from her! My mom was challenged in the kitchen, so no tips there, either...but some of mine: I always save and reuse my plasic containers from sour cream and cottage cheese...those are my fancy tupperware! I save small glass jars from jellies and artichoke hearts and make up my own spice blends in them. I buy a big bottle of garlic powder and refill it from bulk spices. I don't save styrofoam from under meat, but I do from veggies and I use those to send platters to different people. I am still using the same baggies for onions and peppers that I first put them in from over a year ago. I reuse milk jugs for ice tea. I reuse my cat litter buckets and so forth for pots for veggies in my recycled container garden. I have a big bucket I set under the corner of my awning to catch rain water which I use to water my garden. I could go on & on...
 
May 28, 2010 3:26 pm
My grandmother fed 2 teachers lunch and dinner weekdays for $.50 each per week and made money doing it during the Depression. That is each teacher paid her $.50 for 10 meals each week. I learned to always drain bacon into a clean jar and store it in the fridge. It gives wonderful flavor to sauteed veggies. She was the my inspiration to avoid precooked or processed foods when I was trying to feed my very large family well on a limited budget. She taught me to make extra gravy when making a roast and freeze it. You can use it to make a meatless dish that satisfies even the bigged carnivore. One of my DH's favorites was Roast beef gravy over wide egg noodles.
 
cocojo 
May 28, 2010 6:03 pm
Great Ideas guys!..I like the kitty litter bucket idea Witchy...here's one that was passed to me....don't throw out veggies that are past prime..put them into your blender with some water and make a compost liquid...take a rod or pencil and make holes around your plants and pour it in!
 
May 28, 2010 7:04 pm
Mostly just canning and freezing everything imaginable. My mother harvests quite a few wild foods too, like berries, fiddleheads, a few kinds of mushrooms and some wild greens. I use all of my fresh garden basil in the fall to make giant batches of pesto and then freeze it in baby food jars that I've saved from my children. I used to buy most of their fruit and make most of their veggies and freeze it in saved jars.
 
May 28, 2010 7:12 pm
My MIL kept a large plastic container (from a long ago used product) in the freezer. She would put all her leftover veggies from dinners in there and when it was full she made a big pot of soup. She saved every container, bag, twist tie she ever had. Slivers of soap were compressed into a new larger bar. She hung laundry outside until it FROZE on the line. She had an old pair of shoes (from FOREVER ago) she would wear to hang the laundry and an equally worn out coat for hanging wash in the cool weather. Rain water was collected to water plants in the hot weather. She would not say she was cheap or frugal - she would say she saw value. Sigh~ I miss her.......
 
May 28, 2010 7:25 pm
My grandmother use to do the same. She loved to paint but as a younger gal she didn't always have the money so she saved all cardboard and painted on it and sold them. She used all of her butter tubs and prego glass jars for left overs and jars for her painting. She used clothe napkins instead of paper towels, rain water was collected, and she never threw clothes away, or old towels or anything she would cut them into squares and sew them together. They always made the most colorful and warm blankets around. She also would take her shoes into be resoled, cheaper than buying new ones.
 
sueb 
May 28, 2010 7:29 pm
We save rainwater. We walk if it is within a reasonable distance, it's cheaper than gas, and better for our health! We clean the lint filter in the dryer with every use to prevent fires! Solar cooking saves money instead of heating up the kitchen, especially if the AC is running! We try to recycle newspapers by giving them to the animal shelter.
 
May 28, 2010 7:36 pm
PS coffee grinds were used to fertlize her plants. Bath water was carried by buckets to her veggie garden. small pieces of soap were mushed together to make a bigger one. torn pants were cut off and sewed to make shorts. Same with dresses, skirts etc...if she could resew them to make a new outfit if nto the blanket was made from them. I really miss my grandma! She was so frugel due to being so poor that my mom is so the opposite that it makes me cringe! lol
 
May 28, 2010 11:01 pm
My father was frugal - My Auntie Minnie and Uncle Kenneth were amazing. They "retired" to the Isle of Man when kenneth was only 35. They built two houses out of scraps and left overs. Auntie Minnie had a wringer washer and still has it and uses it to this day. She is 88 and still pegs out her laundry in the cold North Sea wind. They never had TV or a phone. They owned one car for 40 + years. Auntie Minnie could make one chicken go further than anyone could imagine. They heated the house and the water in the water heater with a wood stove - she still does this. Nothing went to waste - nothing! She and my mother both had button tins and buttons were saved and reused over and over again.
 
May 29, 2010 5:21 am
Just like Redneck Gramma my mom did the same things
 
May 29, 2010 12:58 pm
Well I guess the one that really sticks out to me after all these years is, writing on old envelopes. All grocery lists or recipes was on old envelopes from the power company or greeting cards. She wouldn't waste a clean sheet of paper by only using it once.
 
cocojo 
May 29, 2010 2:57 pm
Baking Nana...that is such a cool story...I want to go and live with her!
 
cocojo 
May 29, 2010 7:39 pm
These are all such wonderful memories and stories....thanks everyone!
 
ilove2bake 
May 30, 2010 4:44 pm
Love reading these - now I need to go ask my MawMaw her stories!
 
cookie 
May 31, 2010 5:00 am
When I was young, my dad used old bread wrappers to wax our tables. Back then,wrappers had a lot of wax on them
 
CJ 
May 31, 2010 5:25 am
My mother put an empty bread bag in an old 1 lb. coffee can on the counter. She added the wet scraps from cooking for the day they put them in the paper bag in the kichen waste basket. She use washed plastic bags in the washer, hung them out to dry and used them to wrap leftovers.
 
May 31, 2010 7:33 am
Well, when I was young, and my mother and I were living in a small rental house, there were quite a few things we did. There was the garden of course, which had lots of different things like Carrots (My favorite), Radishes, Spinach, Onions, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Corn (and I'll tell you, it was so yummy with a bit of spread and Parmesan Cheese), Giant Sunflowers, Watermelons, Bell Peppers, EggPlants. We also had a couple fruit bearing trees. My favorite tree was our Apricot Tree because the Apricots were so yummy. Even Blackie, my dog, enjoyed eating the Apricots that fell to the ground. My Mom also had a small Peach Tree which I seem to remember grew much slower than the Apricot Tree did. We also recycled, and while we bought our bread, we got it on sale and froze the extras. Anything that was too stale for us to enjoy eating, we took to the big parks and fed to the ducks and geese. Now living with my Sister and her family, it is very hard to be very frugal since it seems every shopping trip brings home something we already have because nobody wants to check. The kids are also very very picky so many food items that I would easily scarf down are cut out of the menu. The only green thing my youngest nephew will eat is green beans or a green colored candy. Nothing else. We also don't have a big freezer here in this apartment. However I've been talking to the bro in law for some time and we might start making our own bread since he was interested. We also decided just recently not to ever buy a bag of hash browns from the store again because not only are potatoes cheaper, they just taste 100% better than store bought hash browns. I'm not sure I'll even be able to stomach fast food or even restaurant hash browns ever again. I actually like my hash browns a little bit soggy so freshly grated potatoes are perfect to go straight in the frying pan. We will probably start doing homemade mashed potatoes as well. Now if only we had space for a garden... Then i might be able to do corn and some beans, and then all we would need to buy from the store would be some chicken for fried chicken. Man I wish we lived in the country so that we could have a farm-like lifestyle...
 
Cathy Salgado 
May 31, 2010 7:44 am
My mother who would have been 99 this year used to cut the vinyl tips of our red and blue tennis shoes off and make "sandals" when our toes reached the end. She would patch play clothes at the knees and darn socks and wash a comb never throw it away. Didn't own a dryer-sometimes the towels were like rocks on the clothesline. (our joke)Hand me downs were considered before buying anything. We didn't eat out because she thought it was a waste of money when she had to feed 8 kids meals. We didn't buy sweets - always homemade. We always carried our brown paper bag from lunch home again and reused it. She made everything leftover taste good. To think buying bologna was a treat! I was better for it and can stay on a budget.
 
May 31, 2010 8:02 am
My mom died in 2000 (I miss her each and every day). She was born in 1918. She said that while growing up her family was so poor that they didn't even know there was a Depression. The five kids in her family only wore shoes in the winter - they each got a new pair once a year! My mom and those from that same generation were recyclers long before "recycling" was even in our vocabulary. She insisted that nobody take the car out on a single errand. She often served a dinner dish she called "Mustgoes" which consisted of everything in the refrigerator that must go! My mother made most of our clothing - I didn't have a store bought dress until I was 18! She taught me to prepare meals based on what was the best bargain in the grocery store. I've taught my girls to live the same way my Mom taught me. These are the lessons that will help us during the fat AND lean times.
 
pam 
May 31, 2010 8:19 am
I just love the idea of the ice cube trays. I'm running out of left over food bowls because of saving stuff in them. The other day I had a recipe for a 1/4c. of sweetened condensed milk. So there went another little bowl in the freezer. Somethings are just hard to poor into a bag. This will save me so much, Thank you. I save bread ties. I use them for everything. Most recently I used them to tie aluminum pie plates to my little fruit trees to scare away the birds.
 
May 31, 2010 9:21 am
I always use ice cube trays for lemon/lime juice, but never thought to use them for freezing leftover beef/chicken broth. I usually just refrigerate it and then throwit away 4 weeks later. Thanks!
 
Carolyn 
May 31, 2010 10:43 am
WOW Some great ideas. This is the first time I have been on this web site. Love it. I'll be back. Thanks
 
May 31, 2010 11:33 am
Now a days, we take a potato peeler for granted. When I was young and peeled potatoes with my Nana, we just used an old, thin paring knife. She said that in the depression, they couldn't waste a thing. The potatoes got cooked & eaten. The peels used up in potato soup which the leftovers would be put into. Bread was baked at home, not from the store. There were so many jobless, homeless men in those days (called hobos back then). These men knew where the lady of the house was a good woman who would feed them. They put secret marks on the gatepost or outside somewhere near the house, they could always be sure of some kind of soup & a crust of bread at Nana's.
 
May 31, 2010 11:43 am
Here I am again;) This was supposed to be about food. Did you know dried corn tastes better than JuJuBes. We used a type of dryer that was about the size of a 1/2 sheet pan that fit over 4 gas burners. This was hollow and we filled it with water. Turned the gas as low as it could go and spread freshly cut from the cob corn out on the top. This went on for about a day and a half (had to get up in the middle of the night to keep the reservoir from running dry. There you have it, dried corn(not the planting kind)full of it's natural sugar, waiting to be soaked & cooked. I snitched it to eat like candy. We did this with green beans also. NOT a great candy taste there!
 
nikkic 
May 31, 2010 11:50 am
My parents lived through the depression, so I learned from them. We didn't have running water when I was a kid, but we had electricity. We took a bath once a week, in a tub of water- mom heated the water on the stove in a kettle. I was first, she second and dad third. By the time we were done with it, the water was ready for the garden. The soap was a natural bug killer. When I was first married, I had $10 a week for groceries. We lived in a larger city and there was no room for a garden. I bought a bag of flour, chicken backs and wings (back then, wings and backs were .10 a lb), salt, yeast, eggs, canned veggies, potatoes, tomato soup (.10 a can) and milk. Some times, I'd buy a fruit like apples if it was in season. Or, I'd ask a neighbor if I could pick up the apples from their trees that were laying on the ground. I made a lot of chicken and noodles, boiling the chicken (including the skins and bones), then removing the skin and bones and using what meat I could salvage. Part of the meat went to make the chicken and noodles and part went to make a chicken pot pie. The crust was homemade from flour, water, salt and shortening. Tomato soup with home made bread was lunch. One can of soup fed three people and it was made with water. Some times, I made grilled cheese sandwiches after the government gave away free cheese to the poor. Always home made bread on the counter and if it was getting too old, then a treat was bread pudding. I made hamburger gravy and a pound of hamburger could easily make 2 gallons of gravy. The gravy was made from water, flour, drippings from the hamburger and any seasonings I had on hand. I usually had chicken or beef granules for flavor and if not, then Worcestershire sauce helped out. I put that over potatoes, but if potatoes were too expensive, then rice. If I had no rice, then I made noodles or home made biscuits. If I was lucky enough to buy hot dogs on sale, then I could make them last for ever. A great meal was fried potatoes with onions. Add about 4 thinly sliced hot dogs and you can feed a crowd. Pork and beans were so good if you added some brown sugar, onion, ketchup and hot dogs to that. Macaroni was great with cheese, but if you don't have cheese, just put some margarine in it. You'd be surprised how a hungry child will eat that up. Most people today have no idea what not having food or being hungry is really like. I was bone thin and ate all the wrong things, but as my dear father in law told my DH when he asked what was for supper, "It's the stuff that keeps you alive."
 
MaxMom 
May 31, 2010 12:18 pm
What a great topic! I've gotten a lot more ideas. My mom & grandmom were canners. I would also use veggies and fruits we grew or bought at local stands that I knew were not sprayed w/chemicals and steam them, pureed and put in ice cube trays. I added some seasonings, never salt & used them for baby food. I never bought a jar of babyfood. I pulled out some veggies & fruit cubes in the morning to thaw and heated and served! It's soooo much easier now with a processor. We also made our own applesauce for the kids & us. I also never throw out food. I freeze for soup and/or mixed veggies & I also use leftovers for lunch at work. I used plastic bags to clean my litter box into. My father was from Greece and we NEVER ate processed foods. We thought it was awful growing up but now I understand. My dad & I used to go "harvesting" dandelion greens in the park by our home. He would clean, steam and we'd eat with a little lemon, garlic and oregano. hated it then, love it now. Go figure. We ate lots of fish. My mom would take the fish remains and plant them in the ground around her beautiful roses. Also, she used egg shells. She soaked them and used the water on her flowers and planted those shells around her roses. My dad used baking soda to brush his teeth. Oooh. Not me. He made his own wine and my mom would use some of the grape "stuff" in her compost. Which is wear most kitchen "stuff" went. She also mixed in leaves from the yard in the fall.I used a 3-bin laundry sorter in my kitchen for recycles. They are made of nylon, can be taken apart and washed and I also made 3 nylon bags that fit in the sorter and are the same size as each bin. When full, I just pull out (put drawstring in there also, take to the recycle (cans, glass & plastic and paper). Bring back home, wash if needed and put right back in the sorter. Very handy. It has a little shelf underneath I use for flattened boxes. I put those in the large dog food bag to take to the recycle. It has an attached cover so you never see it in there and it's handier than running to the garage all the time. It's also on wheels.I too reuse plastic containers. I learned to send extras home with my kids in them so it's not so bad when I never see my good containers again. My mom also made fruit rollups for my kids out of ripe fruit and our dehydrator. It's fun to think of all these things and I get to enjoy all of yours. I know I'm forgetting tons of stuff.
 
sross43958 
May 31, 2010 12:23 pm
My gram saved pretty much like everyonelse, but she also saved the burlap bags that flour and sugar use to come in to make dish rags. Saved every piece of string on the baker boxes and tied them together to make her own ball of string. Used bread bags for the food scrapes instead of throwing them in the garbage can. Used left over vegs for soup and meats for eggs. Never throw out bacon grease. Used it to cook anything in it. Saved egg yolks if a receipe called for only egg whites. This was my great gram who before the turn of the century. I learned alot from her. she lived a long life. Miss her still.
 
MaxMom 
May 31, 2010 12:40 pm
CookinArgentina, I do the same. I make my list on used envelopes and then put my coupons inside. It's so handy! I have a pen in there too.
 
pattyD 
May 31, 2010 2:34 pm
What a great blog, brings back so many memories. My grandma grew a huge garden and canned the most wonderful things, tomatoes, pickles and corn relish to name a few. She canned so much, just in cse a neighbor needed a helping hand with feeding their family. I think the most important life lesson I learned from her and my Mom, never think twice about lending a hand to a neighbor or friend in need.
 
cocojo 
May 31, 2010 4:01 pm
You are all so INSPIRING! What a great time reading through all you comments. I think we all agree that simple living is worth revisiting today.
 
CHefPaige 
May 31, 2010 4:02 pm
My Grandma told me that after you boil eggs, immediately put them in ice and let them cool. They are really easy to peel that way.
 
lizzie 
May 31, 2010 4:41 pm
One more idea for ice cube trays. I freeze leftover brewed coffee in them. They make great flavored ice to add to mocha smoothies.
 
lizzie 
May 31, 2010 4:46 pm
I thought making my own chicken broth would be difficult, but it couldn't be easier. Plus, it's far healthier. No MSG, no sugar, gums or other unpronounceable ingredients. I put a whole chicken, celery, onion, parsley & poultry seasonings in a crock pot. Add as much water as the pot will hold, cover and cook on low until done. For very little work, you get plenty of broth to freeze in tubs and ice cube trays, and lots of "usable" chicken.
 
KASUE 
May 31, 2010 5:18 pm
My grandmother did so many of the things already mentioned here! People had to be thrifty and creative back then to survive the Depression and then the rationing in World War II. My grandmother didn't live on a farm, but on a long, narrow lot in what was then the outskirts of a big city. She raised her own chickens for eggs and meat, planted fruit trees in her back yard (crabapple, Granny Smith apple and peach trees), had a grape arbor (for juice), and had a large vegetable garden where she grew corn, tomatoes, cabbage, asparagus, beans, lettuces, carrots, onions, cucumbers, rhubarb, peas, herbs and other vegetables. She baked her own bread, made her own jams and jellies, canned her own produce (on the hottest days of the summer in a house without air conditioning), and made her own clothes and those of her daughters. She and her children picked the wild strawberries, blackberries and mushrooms that grew in the surrounding fields. Flour and sugar came in cotton sacks during the Depression -- those sacks were made into either underwear or dish towels once they became empty. Bacon grease was strained and saved to cook eggs in. Dry bread became toast or was made into crumbs and used to bread chicken or as the topping for a brown betty dessert or a casserole. Styroafoam trays were washed and reused at least once as lunch plates (just the right size for a sandwich and some fruit). Coffee grounds were reused for a second pot (because she preferred her coffee weak). When my grandmother cooked, she made enough food for several meals and froze the extra for an easy meal another time. She kept an electric roaster in the basement so she could roast a chicken in the summer without heating up the house. My grandfather smoked a bit, but they didn't drink other than a very occasional beer because it was a luxury they couldn't afford. (I wonder how many wives today have to pinch pennies to accommodate a major smoking, drinking or drug habit?) My grandparents worked hard, but it was a healthy lifestyle -- organic produce, no processed foods, hormone-free foods and very fresh eggs.
 
May 31, 2010 5:26 pm
What fun to read all of the Grandma tips! There are a lot I could share from my mother, but the one that I am thinking of now is this. My mother was a school teacher, and couldn't stand to waste paper. She would gather all the leftover handouts, cut them in quarters, stack them up, maybe 1/2 inch thick and paint rubber cement on the top edge to make homemade scratch pads. We still have quite a few of those scratch pads around. She also has gotten in the habit of writing her grocery list from the bottom of the page, so when we go to the store, she tears off just the part that is written on. Makes me smile every time.
 
tracythebruce 
May 31, 2010 6:04 pm
my grandma told me..."if the two of you can cook together and make a good meal together then you will be a good match and should be able to get along in other areas of life."
 
May 31, 2010 6:05 pm
My mom and her sister grew up during the depression with their widowed mother and brother (who was later killedin WWII).Mom used to tell about how they put bricks in the fire (their heat source) and then put them in the bed (at the foot)she shared with her sister to keep warm- ancient hot waterbottle. Aunt Phyllis always had the bacon grease container at the back of the stove. Mom always cut coupons and scanned the ads for specials before going shopping. She usedlots of dried beans in soups and would always 'tut tut' when she saw the 'Five Bean Soup Mixes complete with spices for sale at an high price. I've always washed and saved plastic bags and now days the 'shower caps' we use to cover things -- we actually did collect shower caps from motels before Glad got in on the action. In NZ recycling is taken to the nth degree, and if the chickens, goats or compost bin doesn't get it, it goes into the 'organics' bin that the council collects weekly to make compost for Christchurch, the Garden City!
 
May 31, 2010 6:27 pm
Oh my, so many memories. What a great topic! My parents were children of the Great Depression and my mom was an immigrant from Greece, to boot. Dad was one of seven boys on a farm while mom was one of nine kids in NYC. Between the two of them, my sister and I grew up knowing that wasting anything was about the worse sin you could commit, especially when it came to food. Mom made a roll of paper towels last for years. She was the only one who could decree when a paper towel was warranted and it hardly ever was. She fed us TV dinners as a treat and washed those aluminum trays over and over and used them for picnics and our dinners. Only Dad got a real plate most of the time. We took our sandwich lunch to school in used bread bags and our milk or juice in a screw-cap jelly jar. I'm an Air Force brat and although we shopped the commissary and the BX, money was still precious and every cent counted. But I never knew real frugality till we were stationed in Scotland and renting a small house in a working-class neighborhood. Those kids never saw wrapping paper and the same paper we used to wrap the gift for the first birthday party we attended was still in use months later. No such thing as paper bags for groceries. Crayons were used until they were nubs too small to hold and it was there that I learned to knit outfits for my Barbie doll. They simply could not fathom that we would actually buy an outfit for a doll. They thought we Yanks were terribly spoiled and rather wasteful. I came back to the States knowing alot more about the value of a dollar and I have carried that with me all my life. Last week I bought a rotisserie chicken for $5--the Friday special. I served my husband two chicken meals, then I picked the meat and made soup and after that, enough chicken salad for two lunch sandwiches. Even though I do not eat meat, I was able to get 7 meals from that one chicken. I cannot stand to waste food above all. I know my parents are up there watching me to make sure I don't. And that might be the biggest tip of all they passed down.
 
May 31, 2010 9:41 pm
I THINK THIS BLOG IS TERRIFIC! I'M FROM THE HILLS OF KY AND I COOK WITH BACON GREASE!YUM-O! THE OLD WAYS ARE THE BEST WAYS TO COOK, IT TASTE SO GOOD. THE STUFF THAT IS COOKED NOW I CAN'T EAT IT! THANKS TO OUR GRANNIES AND MOMS AND IN MY CASE, ALSO MY MOTHER-IN-LAW.
 
May 31, 2010 11:26 pm
I never knew my grandmother but my mother sure knew how to stretch a dollar with needing to feed 8 children! She did a lot of baking. Many times we'd come home from school and she'd have a little cake or something made up for us. She often would not use the full ingredients a recipe called for, skimping on the expensive items but everything still managed to taste wonderful! When she baked bread she made a huge batch, then divided the dough to make different kinds, there would be big dinner rolls, loaves of pull apart bread and pans of cinnamon rolls, she would use a round cake pan (or 2) with corn syrup butter and brown sugar on the bottom, then place the rolls on top. They were so good! If we had chilli it was always stretched by first putting rice in the bowl and then you'd put the chilli over it. She never bought trash bags, we used a paper bag from the grocery and when that was full it went to the can outside. She kept a 2 qt. milk carton on the corner to put liquid waste in. We had 1 drawer in the kitchen to put plastic bread bags in. During the winter when we were small and had to get out boots on you'd put a plastic bread bag over your stockings then slide your foot into your boot. They helped keep your feet warm and dry and the boot easier to get on and off! One cupboard was full of the plastic containers saved from food items and I continue to do this, they're so handy when you want to send food home with womeone or if my husband wants to take something to work (he can not be trusted to bring a good food storage container back) Our drinking glasses were the ones that came in a box of laundry detergent or that were given at the gas station. She sewed our Barbie doll clothes and also sewed me many dresses. When us kids needed to get a little money we'd take all the soda bottles to the store to get the refund. She saved the S & H Greenstamps and would buy a nice gift for us, 1 sister got a suitcase, 1 got a guitar and I got a radio. We had a crabapple tree out back and she made jelly and pickled crabapples. She always studied the grocery adds and bought what was on sale, stocking up on things when she could. You planned ahead and bought when things would be the cheapest. Toilet paper was not to be bought unless it was on sale! When it was on a good sale sometimes there was a limit on how many you could buy so we would be sent on different times to buy our limit. I use the back of envelopes etc also as others have mentioned, they work great for making lists or when you need a little scratch paper. Bills that could be payed locally were paid at their office, in my teens I was sent to drop off payments downtown, why use a stamp when you had a child who could run an errand?
 
May 31, 2010 11:58 pm
Wow, jailhousecook, our mom's had so much in common! S&H stamps and Blue Chips! Forgot about those - we have 'Flybuys' in NZ, a similar but modern concept. I get heaps of subscriptions, dustbusters, electric kettles, etc every year! At this very moment I am making crabapple/chilli pepper jelly. All of our drinking glasses came from Shell or Gulf! Barbie not only wore the best of home-made fashion, but her house was decorated with pics cut out of magazines, scrap blankets, hairspary top coffee tables. Those were the days!
 
Jun. 1, 2010 4:00 am
Good EatNZ! My sister had a store bought paper doll of Debbie Reynolds, and that paperdoll was jealously kept in a big manila envelope along with her (presumably Ms Reynolds') kajillion Sears catalog cut out babies! We would play with those for hours on end. Also entertaining was Mother's button jar. And years later when my first born was knee high to nothing, I cut out geometric shapes in colorful cloth scraps for him to use as flat Legos of sorts. At age two, he came up with some fantastic designs.
 
Jun. 1, 2010 6:25 am
I'm only now starting to appreciate what moms and grandmas would do to save money. I remember being little and embarrassed about how mom would always freeze EVERYTHING and how we re-used the yogurt/cottage cheese containers as tupperware. Being newlywed and in grad school now, I appreciate the efforts much more. To some degree, some of their tricks just aren't possible anymore (I have never seen potatoes or flour come in a cloth bag), but the ideas are still there. I've made homemade chicken broth, frozen half of a big batch of bread to eat later, etc. I love dividing things into "one-use" size portions to freeze, like the ice cube ideas, or pre-mincing a bunch of garlic or onions to just sprinkle in what I need for a certain recipe. Now I just wish I didn't inherit mom's brown thumb, because I'd love it if I could grow my own herbs, fruits, or veggies!
 
cheryl 
Jun. 1, 2010 7:34 am
I never knew my grandma but my mom spent hours cutting coupons.
 
Jun. 1, 2010 8:51 am
Here is a tip I grew up hearing and so did my husband.... USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT; MAKE DO, OR DO WITHOUT. It takes planning, and even more time, and lots of self-denial, but the tighter the budget, the more you realize how you can live like that. Things you think are absolutely necessary you find out are actually luxuries.
 
Jun. 1, 2010 9:10 am
My mom and grandma, to preserve tomato paste in the can once opened, would put just enough oil at the top to cover and then seal it with plastic or aluminum. It kept it from going bad quickly, and drying out at the top. I'll add more tips when I remember them. :)
 
Susan 
Jun. 1, 2010 10:14 am
When money is tight the first thing to be cut from the shopping list is paper towels. I cut up towels when they get holes in them and sew around the edges and use for rags or double them up and use for hot pads.
 
jannyjan69 
Jun. 1, 2010 10:27 am
This could be written by me....my mom god bless her is the same way...my sister and I get frustrated but it doesn't do any good!She is a meat anc potatoes kind of Mom and she still cooks the way she use to!!
 
Jun. 1, 2010 10:43 am
My grandma was an excellent seamstress. She used to have me lay out flat on the floor and trace my body then use it to make sewing patterns from newspaper. I had lots of pajamas made from newspaper patterns. I'm 57 yrs old and I still have all the doll clothes she made me with scraps of material that were just big enough for doll clothes. She would even do beautiful little crocheted edges on baby doll dresses, and blankets. My grandkids play with them now if they promise to be very careful.
 
Jun. 1, 2010 10:48 am
My mother doesn't have a frugal cell in her body but I got most of my influences from my Mamaw! I remember bread wrappers being saved and used for all sorts of things, as well as all plastic tubs from the store. Papa always had a huge garden. The garden was his job and canning or freezing the harvest was Mamaw's. Egg cartons were saved and taken back to the farmer we got the eggs from and she bought them by the dozen's at a time...you know they really last a LONG time! That's why I get tickled every time someone posts that they have a dozen eggs that expire "tomorrow" so they need to use them all before then. Now my grandparents were by no means vegetarians, shoot, they were from rural Arkansas, but a supper of pinto beans, fried potatoes and cornbread was not at all unusual, nor were many other all veggie meals. Mamaw didn't freeze leftover veggies for soup. They were simply eaten until they were gone so still no waste. In summers, she would make and freeze "soup mix" which would be a fresh combo of all the garden veggies. For a pot of soup, all you needed was a container of soup mix, a potato or two and some home canned tomatoes. Frayed towels, sheets, and quilts weren't thrown out, they were mended. One of the best memories was our Christmases with gifts galore. Mamaw always started on her Christmas fund the first of each year by choosing one coin to save. If it was a quarter that year and she was buying something that cost a quarter, she'd pay with a $1 bill then .75 would go into the Christmas kitty! The big gift extravaganza year was when she was upset with Papa because of the money spent on cigarettes, so that year she ditched to coin saving method. Instead, for every time Papa bought a carton of cigarettes, she took that matching amount of money out of the household funds and put it in the Christmas fund, just to show him how much it added up to! Oh, that woman was a gem and my best friend!
 
Jun. 1, 2010 1:54 pm
my grandma tip: don't cook FOR the kids, cook WITH the kids. Get them invested in their meal and involved with the preparation. Show them how raw food can become something delicious. THATS precious quality-time you'll remember forever (and so will the kids...) Bonding over messes and successes and healthy eating habits encouraged to boot...how can you miss?
 
judy k 
Jun. 1, 2010 3:18 pm
Didn't know any grandparents as they died before I was born but, my mom did many of the above mentioned "thrifty" things. One thing I did't see from any of you lovely ladies was the saving of bacon grease to make home-made soap. Can't remember the recipe but it involved the grease and lye. All was poured into big enamel pans to harded and later to be cut into bars. It was some nasty smelling stuff but sure did the job!
 
BB 
Jun. 1, 2010 3:35 pm
Hi, we use to recycle old glass mayo jars to can with. Also, we saved christmas cards annually to use as name tags the next year. I still do this.
 
BB 
Jun. 1, 2010 3:38 pm
Hi, we use to recycle old glass mayo jars to can with. Also, we saved christmas cards annually to use as name tags the next year. I still do this.
 
Liz 
Jun. 1, 2010 5:57 pm
My boyfriend is the most wasteful person! drives me crazy. if it is a week old he swears its not good anymore. help!
 
Salusia 
Jun. 1, 2010 6:49 pm
2 Pieces of Advice from my Grandma: If you have a warped wooden cutting board, place a wet dishtowel underneath it while you roll out dough. That way it won't rock and make noise in the morning when you're rolling out biscuits for breakfast. (Grandma, I love you but the only thing i cook before 9am is coffee!) Practice dish conservation: half an eggshell is about 1 tablespoon. Use this to measure out your water and save yourself a dish to wash! (I actually use this, but don't try it with milk...trust me if something slips it's bad news)
 
Mairead 
Jun. 1, 2010 7:08 pm
Bizzy, he might be unsure about germs and whatnot. One thing you can do is sit him down, find a few sources on how long you can keep milk/eggs/salad/whatever (make sure it's a book/article or something where he can see it for himself), and the plot out a calendar. If you buy milk on the 15th, mark it down, and plot out how long it will be good for. (Milk is usually a week or so after the sell-by date, if memory serves.) That way, he can feel safe and germ-free, and you don't have to buy more milk every 2 days. :) In terms of money saving, my Dad's the chef, and he's come up with a few decent tricks. One is dried versus canned beans -- takes forever to soak/boil, but so much cheaper and healthier! Another is homemade pita chip and hummus. Hummus is so simple (chickpeas, tahini, lemon, salt, red pepper and/or garlic) but so overpiced in stores! Dad spent a lot of time in the Middle East, and got a recipe there. Store bought hummus now has a weird aftertaste for me, since I'm used to stuff that just came out of the food processor. Dad's pita chip trick is simple; buy pita bread, and use that for sandwiches/dipping, then cut it into eighths, sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Bake it until crispy. If you pull apart the pitas, you can get a ton more than you would in a bag of purchased pita chips, not to mention much fresher and cheaper.
 
Jun. 1, 2010 8:00 pm
Cocojo, thanks for this inspiring idea-it sure has brought our homely ways out, dusted off the cobwebs and allowed so many of us to see how much we have in common from our beloved "grands" and "me-maws". It is delightful to read how content, thankful and fulfilled that generation was with the results of their frugality !! I, who still hang up laundry on a line, tie up the tomato plants with cut-up pantyhose and feed every conceivable kitchen scrap to the garden soil rejoice and am so proud of this heritage and I am grateful to be able to pass down this homespun share of wisdom to my daughter and my granddaughter! Plus, I live twelve miles west of NYC -where it is most UNCOOL to cook, can, quilt, grow vegetables with kitchen leavings and make your own ice-cream (vanilla, peach or strawberry only ), especially if you have judgemental teens living at home. (Ma! You gonna throw those bones out to the backyard? Gross!! Is that my old second grade gym shirt you're washing the windows with? Eughh! Ma! MA!! You gonna make that good dish that Grandma used to make, you know, with all the leftovers, that one we love so much, 'cause she made it so good- c'mon, Ma! We love that one, c'mon MA: make that tonight for us!) God bless our wonderful ancestors who taught us about so much within so little; when I practice one of their "old ways" I feel proud to be poor,hard-working and grateful! I think that for many of us, even if we were to win the lottery, we would not change our frugal Grandma ways-these are means that we honor and pay homage, with love, to our beautiful inheritance and it is a woman's blessing to see the wider wisdom in these small simple things of life. Thanks again for a lovely idea and a lovely thought to ponder warmly,and with great,true affection.
 
Susan 
Jun. 1, 2010 9:40 pm
Any gift from my grandmother came wrapped in a recycled cereal box, often wrapped in the funny papers. My mom (her daughter) was also well known for creatively recycling in her wrapping, often using construction paper to turn an empty oatmeal container into a Santa or a toy soldier, or an empty milk carton into a long-eared puppy or buck-toothed bunny. Inside, you'd find your gift!
 
Susan 
Jun. 1, 2010 9:43 pm
My mom also gave us old wallpaper sample books to wallpaper our dollhouses, and kept the cut-out rectangular piece from a kitchen sink counter to use as a big flat surface if we wanted to sit on the floor and assemble a jigsaw puzzle, play a games, or do a project. When not in use, it stored away easily under the sofa!
 
Cremoore 
Jun. 2, 2010 9:37 am
Lord...I feel terrible...I'm always wasting food! But the saved butter and sour cream containers brought back wonderful memories! And they wash way better than this new tupperware! At least I had planned on buying a freezer so I wouldn't wast so much food! And it never accured to me to use larger containers for plant starters. I've recently bought a sewing machine and started saving my coffee container, something my G-Mom did to store her buttons and what nots. I really enjoyed reading all the memories and getting some really GREAT ideas! Now if I can just sew a straight line for a hem I'll be on my way! I also thought to save my torn but favorite shirts to use as patterns! I'm getting there!
 
Cremoore 
Jun. 2, 2010 9:50 am
Lord...I feel terrible...I'm always wasting food! But the saved butter and sour cream containers brought back wonderful memories! And they wash way better than this new tupperware! At least I had planned on buying a freezer so I wouldn't wast so much food! And it never accured to me to use larger containers for plant starters. I've recently bought a sewing machine and started saving my coffee container, something my G-Mom did to store her buttons and what nots. I really enjoyed reading all the memories and getting some really GREAT ideas! Now if I can just sew a straight line for a hem I'll be on my way! I also thought to save my torn but favorite shirts to use as patterns! I'm getting there!
 
Ruth 
Jun. 2, 2010 11:07 am
I also used to save the return envelopes that come with appeals from charities, utility bills etc. I would use them to return money to my kids school for whatever the appeal of the day was. Milk money, book orders, canteen day. These days I use the postage paid envelopes from the multitudes of charities to return the order form to them, marked "Please remove me from your mailing list". This way they pay the postage, and get the hint! Reduces junk mail, and saves a tree! When my children were small I used to save yogurt containers to see how high a stack we could make before it toppled over. Light plastic that would not hurt them if it fell on wee kiddies. Best plaything my kids had was a movers fridge or wardrobe cardboard box (from a friend who moved to our neighbourhood) We decorated the outside to look like a house, cut out opening doors and windows front and back. That box was in my livingroom for years! Worked from the time they were just barely toddling around til they were almost school age! I still do alot of the moneysaving tips - it's responsible to be friendly to the earth! Lots of great tips on this site, and lots of great memories! Thank you.
 
Jun. 2, 2010 12:27 pm
Wrap your heads of green lettuce in a couple of paper towels before refrigerating in a plastic bag, and the lettuce will stay fresh a lot longer.
 
Jun. 2, 2010 12:29 pm
I, too, learned many frugal tips from my mom. We were poor, so nothing went to waste. Back in the 50's, bread came in wax paper wrappers, which were saved for polishing the top of the oil stove, and to keep the iron from sticking to clothes. Flour came in cotton sacks, and I got to choose the sack because it would become a skirt or dress for school. I also learned to can from my mother - vegetables, fruit and meat. We never had a freezer, so mom had to can any surplus meats. Dad was a hunter, so whatever he shot got canned if not eaten right away. Mom always reused aluminum foil, too. And bacon grease was a staple - I still use it for frying, also as shortening in corn bread. This is a great site - brought back so many memories. The world would be a better place if everyone still lived the way our parents and grandparents did. Waste not - want not was their motto.
 
marlene 
Jun. 2, 2010 2:23 pm
raising chickens sometimes gives you too many eggs. I scramble them in 2 or 4 egg portions and freeze them. They are handy in the winter when the girls aren't laying and can be used in cooking and baking.
 
Jun. 2, 2010 2:41 pm
My mom was careful with money, and it was a habit that blessing to them into their old age. She hated paper towels, felt it was a real waste of money. She often washed the bread bags inside out to reuse, hung our clothes outside to dry in sunny weather, and saved bacon grease to grease the pan for biscuits, or extra flavor when shortening was called for. She lived 90 years, and seldom had a soft drink. We only had kool-ade, water, or milk to drink... and she only added 1/2 cup sugar instead of the 1 cup called for! Her homemade cinnamon rolls and lemon meringue pie were to die for. Dad always said she was such a good cook he didn't want to eat out. Much later, he realized what a treat for Mom eating out was, and changed for her. After retirement, they had a large garden, two dwarf apple trees, and an enormous Carpathian walnut tree that blessed our extended family for years. I miss her and Dad very much.
 
Jun. 2, 2010 4:19 pm
My grandma was great, we would visit her every Sunday, and she would give us each a bag of chocolate bars and candies which she had hidden in her closet. (Now that I have my own kids I realize it's a good way to keep them quiet while they visit). She was always happy and smiling, but had very little to say. She would listen and smile, watching us as we visited. I remember her having white hair that had a perm in it, wearing little grandma dresses, she was the traditional grandma. Once a month, she would send us home with a box of pies, and cakes. She had 4 children and now realize that she did this for all four children, one every week. She would make raisin, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and apple pie. She would also make layered cake that always tasted so sweet, as a child I've noticed sweet things just tasted better then than now as an adult. I miss her and loved her, all my memories of her are sweet and pleasant ones. The Ideal Grandmother!
 
Jun. 2, 2010 4:25 pm
I should write that we froze the fresh pies to eat throughout the month and would always run out just as she was making up a new batch - they were always delicious.
 
Jun. 2, 2010 6:24 pm
My Italian Nonna was one of the wealthiest women in her small town, but that didn't mean she didn't struggle. She had 8 children to feed and provide for, and several neighbors she cared for. She used every inch of their small plot of land to do whatever she could. She built a balcony off the second floor of the house (on the garage roof) to raise chickens on and used the railings that bordered the property to trail grapes. She had my grandfather dig a trench around the property to train the river water into their cistern. The trench also provided water to fill a small pool she dug for washing most things, including the children (ha ha!). She taught the girls all how to sew, and even sectioned off a part of the house to use as a small store to sell their handmade goods. She was extremely resourceful and creative with every thing she was given.
 
Kitten 
Jun. 2, 2010 8:17 pm
An ordinary lead pencil will take off rust. Just keep marking over the rust until it is gone; If you want to heat milk in a sauce pan, rinse the pan with water first and the milk will not stick; When making muffines, place a small strip of piled paper in each muffin cup. Pour in the batter and when they are done, lift them out with the little paper handles; to prevent fillings from soaking into pie crust, dust the bottom crust with a mixture of flour and sugr before adding the fruit or other filling; For meringue-- a pinch of baking powder eill keep it from falling; to make a very stiff whippped cream so that it will hold up when combined with other ingredients, add 3 or 4 drops of lemon juice per cup of cream just before whipping; When you have picked veggies from your garden, a little vinegar added to the water where the veggies are washed will cause all insects to come to the surface.; Sprinkle salt in a greaded pan just before putting the fish in to fry and they will not stick; To remove candle wax from fabrics, place a blotter under the spot, a blotter over the spot and go over it with a hot iron until the spot disappears; If your frying pan or griddle sticks,take a dry cloth andrub with dry salt; to remove rust stains from clothing, throughly wet spot with lemon juice theen sprinkle with salt and lay it in the sun to dry. When dry is spot is still visible, re do the lemon and it will lighten with each treatment;
 
Jun. 3, 2010 11:20 am
I loved spending weekends at my grandma's house and believe a lot of her frugal ways rubbed off on me. I read through a bunch of other posts and saw that we do the same (bacon grease, butter/sour cream bowls, ziploc bags, foil, soap slivers, veggies in freezer for making chx broth, etc). I have a small priority mail box by my desk that I put scrap paper into to use, my husband keeps those plastic grocery bags in the shed to use when he is on doggy poo duty in the backyard, and of course I am always going around turning off the lights and tvs left on, turning down the thermostat and telling everyone "Put on a sweater!", I use coupons, we put our veggie and coffee scraps into old folgers cans and take them weekly to our compost pile. We buy our eggs from a co-worker so we bring the empties back to be re-filled, old sheets get made into covers for our dog beds, old socks get turned into stuffing for our dogs stuffed toys that they have ripped open. Once, I saw a man dumping a whole bunch of those 5'x7' outdoor carpet rugs that have business names on them into a dumpster and asked if I could have the rest. I lined our 2-car garage with them (most look nearly new). My Nana would be proud :)
 
Sam 
Jun. 3, 2010 11:57 am
I love this blog! It has truly lifted my spirits today. My grandma used to feed the dogs and hogs the left over cornbread and biscuits, which were both made fresh 2 times a day. She also took old panty hose and cut them up to tie her veggies up, she said they did not cut into the stems or stalks as the plants grew. we also DUG night crawlers to fish with..she would take her and Paps old clothes and make quilts from them. All of their grandchildren have at least 1 quilt she made..Pap grew corn, let it dry in the fields, pulled the ears and we would take the kernels off the cob, they had their conrmeal ground. Best cornbread I've ever had. Then the stalks were harvested as Fotter for the horses. He also worked his fields with a mule and a hand plow. Both my grand parents were very tough people. They have been gone several years now, and are missed daily...
 
Jun. 3, 2010 12:24 pm
LOVE this blog! LOVE the wisdom of these wonderful women in our lives... Tips: 1) I break up big Costco bags of grated cheese into zip-loc bags & then store the used bags in one big bag in the freezer so they don't ever go bad. 2) Freezing old bananas preserves them until I can make banana bread or smoothies. 3) Leftover coffee is great to freeze in ice cube trays for iced coffee that won't get watered down. 4) Save bread ends or aging bread in a paper bag to use later for croutons or stuffing. They won't ever mold. 5) Snipping the tip off an almost-gone tube of Carmex will reveal another week's worth of applications. Thank you to everyone who contributed here!
 
cocojo 
Jun. 3, 2010 1:50 pm
It would take me forever to comment on all the wonderful entries here..but know that I read all of them and send out a big THANKS! I feel like I have had a peek into all of your lives and memories and that has been a lovely visit! Not only did we share frugal ideas but we went back in time to appreciate our grandmas,moms,mentors and the lessons they taught us! Such a wonderful group here at AR! I have an idea for my next blog thanks to you all!
 
crunchhourly 
Jun. 3, 2010 1:50 pm
Instead of going to the laundromat,I do hand wash in my bathroom sink every evening.It requires only a tiny amount of powdered detergent for a bathroom sink of wash.I don't have to wring out the wash; it drips from the bath rack+ dries on hangers.This way, a large box of detergent lasts for ages--and no laundromat fees.
 
crunchhourly 
Jun. 3, 2010 1:53 pm
I love soda pop, but it costs a lot to buy the cans. So I always buy 2 liter bottles of soda instead--saves a lot of $.
 
crunchhourly 
Jun. 3, 2010 1:57 pm
I reuse all of the newspaper--in the black and white sections I wrap wet garbage before discarding. I save the "funnies" to wrap gifts in. And then I tie up the gift with yarn instead of buying expensive ribbon.
 
crunchhourly 
Jun. 3, 2010 2:01 pm
I save all heavy plastic bags that mail-ordered goods come in. Then I turn them inside out (to hide the printing) to use as mailing bags.If mailing by Priority Mail, I can use the free Priority labels from the PO.
 
crunchhourly 
Jun. 3, 2010 2:03 pm
Thick phone directories can be used to press flowers for dried flowers.
 
crunchhourly 
Jun. 3, 2010 2:07 pm
Cookie cutters can keep the kids busy for hours cutting out clay shapes. Then the cookie cutters can be washed well and used also for cutting cookie shapes.When your oven is warm to bake the cookies, you can put your homemade bread dough on the warm oven top to rise.
 
Jun. 3, 2010 3:20 pm
Great blog, wonderful memories! My Norwegian Grandmother observed most of the thrifty tips listed here. My Grandfather was a hunter and we never know that the secret to Grandma's meatballs was that they were half venison, half pork. The neighbor's hogs were fed scraps of anything that did not qualify as edible leftovers. They had huge gardens: canned, pickled, made jams, jellies, preserves, and froze all sorts of game and fish. When snowed in, it did not matter, the cellar was full. When a towel or sheet had outlived its use in the house it was used to cover the preserves, put over the freezer, cover anything in the basement to keep it from gathering dust. Spring cleaning always involved taking all the covers and washing them and drying in the sun.....I remember well the fresh spring smell in the cellar when she brought the linens back in!
 
Jun. 3, 2010 3:36 pm
well my grandmother just passed away about two years ago and all her life she had the same traditons. Christmas she would cook all the food for the whole family to come over and eat at her home and no one was allowed to bring anything becasue she obligated herself to do all of the food! she was very kind and i mean the food varried from mexican food down to american food there was tamales, pies, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and much much more. she made some really good food and that was just the thing she did every year and everyone loved to come over and eat there because they knew there was always going to be good food made. my grandma never hesitated on doing any of it and she would never ask for help from anyone. she even made home made tortillas and man were they good! well that is one of my grandmothers traditons she alwasy stuck to and i will never forget that about her she will always be loved and missed dearly!
 
Cathy Salgado 
Jun. 3, 2010 6:05 pm
We never bought store "grass" for our Easter basket. We picked the grass the night before and put it in our basket and set it out on the back porch and the Easter bunny would fill it up with regular candy bars and treats not little miniature candy. I remember thinking we were special for having real grass and it was fun anticipating what the bunny would leave us.
 
Cathy Salgado 
Jun. 3, 2010 6:11 pm
Christmas time We picked our own socks from the drawer and hung them up instead of buying Christmas Stockings for the chimney. we always looked for the biggest ones to hold the loot-always walnuts and little toys or money in them. Our friends thought that was wierd but not us. I treasure that memory.
 
nooney 
Jun. 3, 2010 7:12 pm
i have so enjoyed reading this blog. unfortunately i did not get to meet any of my grandparents bc they all passed before i was born but you and your family traditions have taught me so much. thanks coco for this wonderful idea, and to everyone who contributed. you are appreciated
 
cocojo 
Jun. 3, 2010 10:22 pm
Don't all of these ideas and memories stir up the longing for living a simpler life? A life that was focused on surviving and taking care of what you had instead of the culture of excess that we find ourselves emerged in...even if unwillingly.
 
Jun. 4, 2010 12:35 am
I did't know my grandmother on my fathers side, but my other grandmother was a very self centered miserable woman. My mother and father lived through the depression and most of the memories I have of her (as she died when I was a young new mother) are of never knowing we were struggeling in my childhood. I know now that one can of tomato soup did 4 of us because she put elbow macaroni into it. Still a comfort food today with my kids. We were city people and didn't have a veggie garden but lots of fruit trees that the fruit got canned all summer long. She baked pies, cakes and we had dessert every night. She was very frugal and put my sister and I before anything else. She made all my clothes and my doll clothes to match. Her home was impecable and every afternoon she would put on a fresh dress to meet my dad when he came home from work. It was definately a Ozzie and Harriet life we lived as kids that was both wonderful and determental when life turned out not to be fair. If I could only give my kids that cocoon (I was a single mother for many years and life was very hard) I would have in a heart beat but perhaps my kids were more prepared for life than I was.
 
cocojo 
Jun. 5, 2010 4:10 am
Julie..how wonderful that your mom broke the cycle of miserableness and gave you a childhood of good memories. My sis was a struggling single mom also..I think no matter if they had the Ozzie Harriet life or not..I'm sure you were able to give them the same core love that your mom gave you and that's what will sustain them as they face life when the road gets inevitably rocky.
 
jenni 
Jun. 16, 2010 8:58 pm
We were not poor growing up but I think everyone was more frugal in a way. There just were not that many disposable, throw away items back then. You reused or repurposed things whenever you could. I remember my mom substituting ingrediants or making stuff up so she could use what we had in the house. Like her homemade jelly we used warmed up on pancakes instead of store syrup. She would make tiny silver dollar pancakes and sprinkle them with salt for a snack...yum. Or she would add herbs and a bit of milk to thin out mayo for a salad dressing. She worked after we were in school, but always made my dad breakfast in the morning and his lunch to take to work. I love that concept and try to use it as much as possible. The same as many posters reusing plastic bags especially produce bags. And saving cartons for storage. Save dry bread for stuffing or crumbs. I also make my own chicken broth in my crockpot and make a lot of things from scratch like soup, chili, salsa, "hamburger helper", taco mixes, Bake all of our cookies, cakes and pies. I do it to save money and because I know whats in it and they taste better (or so my family swears). Save the twisties from the garbage bags that we tie and use for everything. I use only 1/2 or 1/3 the amount of laundry soap and dishwasher soap the box calls for and works just as well. When all my kids were home I had a huge garden and canned fruits and veggies, made bread, elderberry wine from the wild elderberries, chokecherry jam, pickle crabapples, and picked apples from the trees on the sides of the road (public property) to make apple butter apple pies and dried apple slices. Wow such memories! I need to get another garden in. But we have such a nasty gopher problem here that they ate my garden starts last time!!
 
woodimes 
Apr. 21, 2011 10:00 am
My family is larger than most. We have 6 children and I came from a larger family than that, so living cheep is just living for us. One thing I have found to save a lot of money is making our own laundry soap. I didn't think that is would work as good but it works better than the stores. So here it is 2 cups washing soda (you find it in the laundry isle at the store) 2 cups of borax (also in the store next to the washing soda) and one bar of graded ivory bar soap. That is it mix and all you need for the wash load is 1/8 of a cup. Less than that for a small load or a load that is not filled with mud. We have chickens goats and sheep so you can understand how dirty the kids get. Try this it is pennies a load and works better than store soap.
 
 
 
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cocojo

Member Since
May 2009

Cooking Level
Professional

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Hobbies
Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Painting/Drawing, Charity Work

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About Me
Loving life at 50ish. Kids are gone and I'm focusing on my career! I enjoyed running a chocolate truffle business for 3 years and now teach adults and children about chocolate. I also teach hands on cooking classes at a local cooking school and am writing my first cookbook! Please visit me at my blog www.allrecipes.com/cook/givethemfood
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook almost anything but particularly enjoy Italian. I have been studying Vegetarian and Vegan cooking for the last few years and love to make healthy meals.
My favorite family cooking traditions
from scratch cinnamon buns on Christmas morning...they take forever but Oh! so worth it!
My cooking triumphs
landing my dream job as a teaching chef.
My cooking tragedies
when I was teaching myself to cook way back in college, I made these wonderful oatmeal raisin cookies for my roomies....only problem was I forgot the flour! The cookies became one big mass that overflowed the cookie sheet and made a huge mess in the oven!
 
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