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Growing Up In A Frugal Society When Everyone Was Forced To Be Frugal.

Updated on August 21, 2015
mary615 profile image

Mary likes to write about her life growing up in the country, and sharing all those good times.

My house was built in 1900.
My house was built in 1900. | Source
This is the clothes line I use instead of a clothes dyer.  It is low because I am so short!
This is the clothes line I use instead of a clothes dyer. It is low because I am so short! | Source
This old car with the wooden spokes is very similar to my Daddy's 1929 Dodge.
This old car with the wooden spokes is very similar to my Daddy's 1929 Dodge. | Source
My Mother taught me to sew with a Singer sewing machine very much like this one.
My Mother taught me to sew with a Singer sewing machine very much like this one. | Source
This wood stove is very similar to the one my Mother cooked on.
This wood stove is very similar to the one my Mother cooked on. | Source
Tomatoes and other vegetables are easily grown instead of purchasing them, and they certainly taste better!
Tomatoes and other vegetables are easily grown instead of purchasing them, and they certainly taste better! | Source
I raised backyard chickens like these.  I got fresh eggs every day.
I raised backyard chickens like these. I got fresh eggs every day. | Source
This is my Miniature Schnauzer on her walk.
This is my Miniature Schnauzer on her walk. | Source

My family lived frugally when I was a child. This was not an option. It was necessary for survival! We Americans have become a very wasteful society. Now, because of the economy, we are being told to live frugally. This amuses me. I was raised to be frugal, and that is a trait I have tried to instill in my children. I think I have been successful with that part of parenting. We just call it being thrifty (not cheap).

We are told that 40% of our food is wasted in American each year. Just go into a restaurant and look around at all the food left on plates to be thrown in the garbage! Look in your own refrigerator at all the leftovers that will never be used.

I get tired of hearing about all the overweight people in our country. I have a solution: EAT LESS FOOD.

I Am Not Suggesting We Go Back In Time

My article is not to suggest we go back in time to the "horse and buggy" days and how people lived then. This is make people aware of how wasteful we are as a nation, and to try to live more frugally.

Our 1929 Dodge

The experts tell us to drive our cars longer. No need to buy a new car every two years; just take care of the one you have. Change the oil every 2-3,000 miles, and maintain the proper tire pressure.

Our family automobile was a 1929 Dodge with wooden wheel spokes. It was at least 20 years old and ran great. My Daddy would straddle the car over a ditch and change the oil himself. He used a bicycle pump to inflate the tires.

We all try and conserve gas we have to buy for our cars. “They” tell us to make fewer trips to the store. Conserve gas by going the speed limit, etc. etc.

Daddy conserved the gas in the old Dodge any way he could think of. The three of us would push the car down the hill in front of the house to get it started so he could go to work in the mornings. He would put the car in neutral, open the driver’s door and help push. As the car started, he would jump in at the last minute, and off he would go! When he drove the car on the highway, he would throw the car in neutral and “coast” down the hill to save gasoline. We made one trip just on Saturdays to buy supplies from the stores downtown. We didn’t hop in the car just to run to the store once or twice a day as people do now.

I drive a 1997 Honda Accord. I care for it and hope it will last me for many more years.

We Are A Sedentary People

The health experts tell us we need to walk more and execise more.

I walked two miles each way to school every day (that is NO exaggeration) We all walked. There was only one family car, and if Daddy drove that car to work and we needed to go somewhere: we walked!

We need to exercise more. We are a sedentary people.

I totally agree with that one. We are SO lazy. Back then, we kids would run through the woods, swing from the vines, play in the creeks, plow the mules in the fields, and work in the cotton fields.

I walk my Miniature Schnauzer, Baby, at least two miles every day. It's good for her and good for me, too!

Americans Are Building Smaller Houses Now

Who Needs Big Houses And Large Lawns?

We are being told to downsize our houses. Who needs a “McMansion”?

I grew up in a two bedroom wood frame house that would be considered a shack by today’s standards. It never leaked because it had a metal roof. That house was home to us for many years.

I lived in a four bedroom house that was built in 1900 until it became necessary for me to downsize. I now live in a tiny apartment which requires very little to keep clean. I enjoy it very much.

Folks worry now a days because they don’t make enough money.

My Daddy worked in a textile mill. He took strands of cotton and wove them into cloth. His salary was $35.00 a week. We didn’t have credit cards. If we didn’t have the money to purchase an item, we waited until we did have the cash to spend. I remember my Mother proudly showing my Daddy the new chair she gave him for his Birthday. When he asked her where she got the money, she told him she had charged it. Well, he told her the chair had to go back! He refused to charge anything.

Too bad we can't resist charging things we think we just have to have. We should wait until we have the cash!

I agree with the experts we shouldn’t have huge lawns that have to be maintained, using valuable water and constant care.

We didn’t have a lawn to maintain. Our yard was just red clay like you find in the hills of South Carolina. My Mother “swept the yard” each day with what they called a “brush broom”. This was made by tying bunches of small branches from the trees. She was proud of the way she kept our yard clean.

Why don't we grow vegetables in our yards???

I would like to see people converting their lawns into gardens.

We Had No Electricity

The frugal experts tell us to turn off all the appliances that are not being used during the night or when we are away from home.

We didn’t have electricity until I was 12 years old. There was no vacuum cleaner to clean the house. Mother used a broom and swept the dirt out onto the ground. We all went to bed “with the chickens” because after dark, we had to rely on the kerosene lanterns to see. If I hadn’t finished my homework by dark, I had to read my books by this light. It didn’t harm my vision either, because I’ve always had 20/20 vision.

To conserve energy we are told to hang our clothes out to dry. We had a clothes line in the back yard to hang wet laundry. Of course there was no washing machine. Mother would build a fire underneath the metal washtub to heat the water. She used homemade lye soap to scrub the clothes on a washboard. I still have that old washboard. The clothes would be rinsed in fresh clean water that was in another tin tub, and then hung up on the line. I still remember how fresh my bed sheets always smelled!

Unless you live where clothes lines are prohibited, consider hanging your laundry instead of using the clothes dryer. I use a clothes line and save a lot of electricity by using my clothes dryer.

We Should Sew Some Of Our Clothes

We could save a lot of money by making some of our own clothes.

My Mother was a wonderful seamstress. She made my dresses from flour sacks. Back then we girls were not allowed to wear shorts or pants. All Southern ladies wore dresses. We bought our flour in floral bags.

The flour makers made these bags from sturdy cotton that would have to survive all those washings on the washboard. She added a pretty “peter pan” collar trimmed with her hand tatted or crocheted work.

I had four daughters and I made all of their clothes!

The frugal people tell us how to use our range for cooking. Use the oven to cook several dishes at once.

We had a wood burning cook stove. Even with no thermostat, Mother turned out wonderful cakes and pies. The stove had a warming oven built into the top so dinner could be kept warm to be eaten later.

We had no central heat, so that old stove served to keep us warm when we didn't feel like lighting up the fireplace.

To save money, the pet experts give us recipes for making our homemade dog food. This is much better for your dog’s health (they say), and is cheaper to use.

We never bought dog food. Our dogs ate the table scraps if they were lucky enough to get any. Our dogs lived very long and healthy lives.

I do not buy commercial dog food for my Miniature Schnauzer. I cook chicken and rice for her.

Americans spend an enormous amount of money on disposable diapers. We are filling our landfills with these plastic diapers that are not biodegradable.

We used cloth diapers, washed them, and hung them out on the line to dry. In cold weather, the diapers froze on the line.

My Mother would "turn over in her grave" if she could see all the water we buy in plastic bottles. We had clean, clear water from springs that just came up out of the earth. We had a well that we pumped water for laundry and our weekly baths.

Why don't we install water purifiers under the sink and stop buying all that water??

We never heard of paper towels when I was growing up.
Why can't we use cloth kitchen towels and cut back on paper towels?

We are told to grow our own vegetables. These are better for our health, of course.

It was unheard of to buy fresh vegetables when I was growing up. We grew everything we ate, including the meat.

We are encouraged to become vegetarians and not to eat the meat that is sold in the market. I have to admit, this will be a difficult challenge for me. I do love a great steak!

We raised our own hogs, cows and chickens for food. The cows had a large pasture to graze in. The calves were never put in small crates to fatten them like the practice is today. Our hogs had big pens to wallow in the mud and were happy with their living conditions. Our chickens were never penned. They ran free. They call that “free range” chicken meat now.

When I lived in my former big house, I had backyard chickens. They supplied my family with fresh eggs every day. Unless you live in a area that prohibits you from having chickens, they are wonderful to have. They make good pets for your children, too!

Kids Had Fewer Cavities Back Then

Toothpaste??? What was that?? We used baking soda to clean our teeth. It was a rare sight to see a child with decayed teeth.

Believe it or not, but we didn't have tooth brushes, either! We made ours from a twig from a soft wood tree. Every day I went outside to cut a fresh toothbrush.

We have become a “disposable” society. We use something one time and throw it away. The things we buy don’t last long because we people have not pressured the manufacturers to produce lasting products. The recession we are experiencing now in the United States has been good for us in many ways. It has caused us to rethink the way we live. It has forced us to live frugally and that’s a good thing.

We are depleting our planet’s resources at an alarming rate. We all have a duty to conserve what we have left for the next generations. In our world of bounty we should all practice living a frugal life.

Just remember: Waste not, want not.

Just One More Story

I will relate just one more story of how frugal I was as a child. I was allowed to buy one pack of chewing gum a month. Oh, how I looked forward to that treat!

I would chew a stick of gum, and I would take it out before going to sleep and carefully place it in an aspirin tin that had a hinged lid. The next day if I felt like it, I would take it out and chew it all over again.

I do believe we Americans are a wasteful society. We are fast depleting our natural resources. We need to all do our part in preserving those resources for the future generations. Think of ways you, as a responsible person, to learn to live more frugally.

Do you agree our society needs to live more frugally?

See results

© 2014 Mary Hyatt


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    • MarloByDesign profile image


      3 years ago from United States

      Great Hub! I practice the art of frugality everyday. I get very frustrated to see so many family members and friends throw away leftovers - such a wasteful society indeed!

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      3 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, ladyguitarpicker, thanks for the lovely comment. I wouldn't trade my childhood and the way I grew up with anyone. We were poor in money, but rich in life. Yes, we turned out fine!!

      Nice to see you today, Mary

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      A wonderful article and I remember all of it. We always used a cloths line, and canned, all the food. We knew how to survive if we had to. I think we turned out fine.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      3 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Elsie Hagley It's so nice to hear from someone who was brought up to be frugal! I see so much waste in our society, people now think they have to have the very best of everything, and it is so unnecssary.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      3 years ago from New Zealand

      Excellent article. I agree 100% about everything you said.

      That how I was brought up also and still live like that.

      Interesting thing you said about cleaning our teeth, we used salt, also there was no such thing as shampoo, we always washed our hair with soap and it wasn't the fancy soaps they have these days either, it never damaged my hair I still have a full head of hair.

      Thanks for sharing nice to know there are still people living that remember those hard days when things didn't come easy to us.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Besarien Yes, it makes me sick to see how much food is wasted. I just read an article that said Panero Bread donates their bread at the end of the day to a local soup kitchen. How awful that bakeries would spray paint bread just so the homeless can't eat it!!

      That just makes my blood boil! Goodnight, Mary

    • Besarien profile image


      4 years ago

      Great article! Yes we can all take lesson from people who lived through war rationing and the Great Depression.

      The saddest thing I have ever seen is the amount of waste generated by the bakery at my local grocery store. Bakery items are treated as display. They always over-bake to keep the cases full. Then throw most of it away instead of giving it to a soup kitchen or food bank. You'd think they would at least let the people working there take day-olds as a perk. No. The workers ( I have a friend there) are supposed to spray paint bread, cookies, etc. so homeless can't take them from the dumpsters.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Anne Harrison, I would hope we learn from the past, but I see so much waste; it makes me sick. Especially when I see so much food being wasted. We people live as though they will be no tomorrow to save for.

      My best, Mary

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 

      4 years ago from Australia

      All very good points, mary615. Life always goes full circle, and I think we are slowly learning from the lessons of the past. Thanks for sharing

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      HI, Millionaire Tips I'm glad you enjoyed reading about how I grew up in a frugal society. I truly believe we are spoiling our children now by not teaching them to be frugal. I would not trade my childhood for anyone's. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Mary

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      4 years ago from USA

      I enjoyed reading about your childhood and the many ways you grew up frugally. We have indeed made things worse for ourselves by having too many conveniences and too many things. Being poor does have its advantages as it teaches us to appreciate what we have and make do.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, peachpurple. Oh, yes...when you grow up poor as I did, we learned at an early age to be frugal! Kids today are so spoiled because they get everything they want.

      Thanks for the visit today, Mary

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      growing up with poor family could help kids to learn to save money

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, caseymel Even though we were poor, we were wealthy in love at our house, too. As a kid, I just thought everyone else was poor, too! Oh, yes, I find it a real challenge to save money. I live on a very limited budget, but if I had tons of money, I would be no different!

      I'm so happy you enjoyed reading my story, thanks. Mary

    • caseymel profile image

      Melanie Casey 

      4 years ago from Indiana

      My family did not have much money growing up, but we did have a lot of love. I think we spent more time with each other and cherished each others time more since we relied on each other so much more. Even though my husband makes good money, I still find it a fun challenge to see how much money I can save and how little I can spend. I have a garden, always cook from scratch and almost never buy anything at full-price. I loved hearing your story!

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, tillsontitan. It's good to hear you are also frugal (I like to say thrifty!). Yes, if everyone thought like you and I, our resources would certainly last longer!

      I'm happy you could relate to the way I grew up. I like to think my children took some of my advice because they are very thrifty, too.

      I pray every day my 97 Honda will keep on running!

      Thanks for much for reading, commenting, and the votes. Mary

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      While we lived a different lifestyle in New York when I was growing up, there are many similarities. I had to chuckle when I read about the frozen diapers. I remember being so angry that I had to thaw the darn things out and dry them on a radiator so I could use them! I think Pampers were just starting to come out but my son was allergic to them so I had to keep using real diapers. We didn't have a washing machine or a bathtub (we had a shower) in our first apartment and there wasn't always money to go to the laundromat so I washed plenty of diapers by hand in the kitchen sink.

      My father never believed in credit cards nor does my husband. If you can't pay for it, you can't afford it! We had a huge vegetable garden when my children were young and oh the baking and canning I did!

      I think I made two skirts for my daughters. They were truly a labor of love since I am not a talented seamstress.

      I enjoyed this hub and truly appreciate the need to live frugally. We do so in may small ways. We don't drive to the store more than once maybe twice a week and make sure we do all our errands on that day. We have had the same car for five years. We bought it new with my retirement bonus and intend to have it for a very long time.

      Its the little things we do that make for a better planet.

      Voted up, useful, funny, and interesting.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Paul Kuehn. You just made my day with your nice comment! I would not trade the way I grew up with anyone, and I'll bet you wouldn't either. We both lead hard working live back then, but I think we are better people in general because of that.

      Thank you so much for reading, the votes, and the shares, I do appreciate that. My best, Mary

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Mary, this is an awesome hub which I find both interesting and useful to read. Your upbringing sounds so similar to mine but I think your life was rougher and more austere than mine. I remember moving out to a farm in the country when I was 9. We had electricity, but no indoor plumbing for three years. My dad had to work full-time just to get started in dairy farming. Yes, I remember having chickens for eggs and growing all of our vegetables. My father would also butcher chickens, pigs, and steers for meat. I also learned the value of hard work and money. Voted up and sharing with HP followers and on Facebook.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, DeborahNeyens Oh, it makes me sick to see good food wasted! I try and not waste anything.

      So nice to see you, HAPPY NEW YEAR, Mary

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      4 years ago from Iowa

      Good thoughts, Mary. I am especially horrified by the amount of food that gets wasted!

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, Eddy. Thanks for reading and the nice compliment. I hope you and yours had a great Christmas, too. Mine was spent with my large wonderful, and crazy family!

      I hope you have a wonderful 2015, Mary

    • Eiddwen profile image


      4 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful hub Mary. Hope you had a great Xmas.

      Lots of love from Wales.


    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, cat on a soapbox. Yes, it's all about planned obsolescence now, I think. They used to make things that would last. But, even with the stuff we buy now, we could take better care of them and try and make them last longer. Your Mother sounds a lot like mine; mine taught me so many ways to live frugallly.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS, Mary

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Mary,

      I couldn't agree more w/ you & Bill about simple , frugal living. My mother also taught me to care for things to make them last. She showed me how to get the last bit out of bottles, jars, & tubes and how to creatively incorporate leftovers into fresh dishes. We lived "greener" lifestyles then than we do today w/ our planned obsolescence and love of materialism. Merry Christmas!


    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Blond Logic I miss my chickens!! I have no space for them in my tiny apartment, but I loved my chickens. I never heard of a Miswek, that is so interesting. When we went to the little country school I attended, the teacher would check our teeth. If they were in need of a good brushing, she sent us outside to choose a twig and get the job done!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Best wishes for you and that guitar! Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi there, ladyguitarpicker Every time you visit my Hubs and I see your photo, I think of my daughter #3 who plays guitar. One of my favorite photos of her is that of her playing her guitar!

      I'm sure that bothered you to see good food thrown out. Too bad they didn't take it to a local soup kitchen or somewhere it would be so appreciated.

      MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      bdegiulio, good morning, and thank you! Yes, when I see water sprinklers on then it sun is bearing down and the temperature is 98, it just makes my blood boil! We use our resources like there is no tomorrow! My children call me cheap, too because I'm always preaching to them. They do try, but they are not willing to make sacrifices like I do.

      Thanks again, and I hope your weekend is good for you, too, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, Peggy. I know how much you appreciate your parent's influence on how you are thrifty today. It has become such a way of life for me: I wouldn't know how to live any other way! Can you imagine how people survived the Great Depression?? I wonder how long our society today could survive under the same conditions??

      Thanks so much for reading, commenting, the votes and the shares.

      I'd just like to say: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS, Mary

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 years ago from Brazil

      I currently do some of these things. I have chickens and cook our own meals. I am surprised by many of the things you listed here. I know our ages aren't that different but I don't remember not having a toothbrush.

      Many people still use a twig as a toothbrush called a Miswak stick. Some people believe they do a better job than a toothbrush.

      Thanks for the fascinating look at a what it was like and can be like in order to live more frugally.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      4 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I must agree with you on your thoughts for this article. Kids are not learning to save money or not to waste food. I prefer not to waste anything. I went to a party for my Daughter in-law and it was all Doctors and very wealthy people. The host had the maids throw away all the left over food, and there was plenty. I would have at least found some one who was hungry. This is a useful and great Hub. Merry Christmas.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary. This is an excellent hub. I am also frugal, my wife calls me cheap, but I am constantly thinking about ways to not waste resources. It pains me to see food being thrown out, lights on with no one in a room, water needlessly running, etc.. This planet of ours cannot sustain our bad habits for ever. Wonderful job. Have a great weekend.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      My parents and grandparents were all very frugal and passed it along to us. WWI and WWII taught them some lessons as well as the Great Depression. It was a way of life for most folks back then.

      We cannot hang clothes outside nor have chickens in our yards due to our subdivision rules. I well remember the fresh air smell of things hung on a line.

      We try and conserve as much as possible and also reuse items. Good hub Mary! Up votes and sharing, tweeting, pinning, etc.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, starstream. I'm glad you found my Hub fascinating and educational. Thank you. Living frugally has become a way of life for me. I like to think I am saving Mother Earth!

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      4 years ago from Northern California

      Your article is fascinating and educational. While I do not agree with such frugality now, I like the information that you share about the waste of food and products all around our lives these days. Twig tooth brushes? How interesting. Let us take this article seriously while enjoying the abundance of life!

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, handymanbill Parents of today are just not teaching their children to be thifty, I agree. Well, kids see their parents throw out perfectly good things that could be repaired and used, just as you did with the frig.

      Being frugal is just my second way of life.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi there, pstraubie48 Our nearest store to where I grew up was two miles away, and I walked there often to buy stuff for my Mama, too. People now a days complain about being overweight; I think they should walk more! Yes, it is good for the body and soul to walk.

      Thanks for reading, commenting, the votes and the share. I hope you and yours have a blessed Christmas. Thanks for sending some Angels my way, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, Jodah. You are a guy after my own heart! You got me on the diapers: I never heard of making diapers that tip rather than pinned! When my newest great grandchild was born a couple of years ago, I bought cloth diapers, I could not find diaper pins! Maybe they don't even make them anymore! I'll just bet you have a compost for your garden, too.

      I have two granddaughter who are both expecting now, but I can't convince them to use cloth diapers. They both have washers and dryers.

      I think it is great you have a food dryer!

      Thanks for your great comment and the votes. Mary

    • handymanbill profile image


      4 years ago from western pennsylvania

      I agree with everything that you wrote, I believe that the younger generation believes that every thing that you buy when something goes wrong you throw it out. My refrigerator stop working a couple years ago and my wife called me at work and told me we hand to get a new one. I told her it was only 8 years old I would look at it when I got home. I moved it from the wall and looked in the back and found that the fan that blows on the coils was bad. Cost me $36.00 dollars to fix. Still have the old one and it works to this day.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 years ago from sunny Florida

      O yes, Mary, we were frugal in our family frills usually. No running to the store...we grew most of what we consumed. It was a different time, then, for sure and I try to keep in mind all of those ways we helped ourselves and Mother Earth.

      We walked so much...and thought nothing of it. I made the 2 mile walk to the store if my Momma needed something she did not have..maybe a spice or something.

      And still walk a lot is good for the soul.

      Great hub...shared and voted up++++

      Angels are winging their way to you this morning ps

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Terrific hub Mary, with a very important message. We al need to be more thrifty and live a more frugal lifestyle. When my kids were babies we never used disposable diapers. My wife actually made her own using towelling and they tied up rather than use safety pins. We make our own dog food using minced meat, liver or chicken plus rice and vegetables. We grow most of our own vegetables and herbs right outside our window and have a food dryer so we can save as much as possible in bottles for future use. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, phoenix2327. Funny comment! I've heard of kids sticking their gum to the bedpost, but my way kept my Mother from having a fit!!

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love the chewing gum. I think most kids do thing whether they are frugal or not. Probably not as neatly though. I imagine they just stick it the bedpost till morning.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, RachaelOhalloran. I enjoyed reading your comment and your experiences. Thanks for the nice compliment on my Hub about living frugally. Living this way has become such a way of life for me. If I had all the money in the world, I could not spend it in a wasteful way! I shop our Goodwill all the time!

      So nice to meet you here, Merry Christmas, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Gypsy Rose Lee, I'm glad you think people should get back to basics. Oh, I have friends who just go deeper in debt just to buy more "stuff" that they don't need even when they are already in debt. It's very sad, I think. I don't understand that mentality, either.

      I do hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas. Tell your Sid that Baby wishes him a happy Christmas, too! Hugs from me to you, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi Vellur. I'm so glad you agree that we should try and live more frugally. It has become a way of life with me, and I feel good that I do not waste anything.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 

      4 years ago from United States

      I enjoyed reading your article very much. It was a trip down memory lane for me to two separate times: a time in the 1960s and 1970s when I lived as such mostly because I was not on a limited income -- I was downright poor with no income.

      I did have to take charity for awhile. I was a widow with one child, it was over a year before my dead husband's military pension came through and it was all I could do to keep from going to a shelter with my child. Shelters were not good places in the 1970s.

      With those kinds of circumstances, you learn real quick what is important in life and how to get along with just what you need, nothing more.

      I remarried in the late 1970s and my new husband couldn't stand to see me do without, so he showered me and our four children with gifts, wealth and lifestyle and for those 15-20 years, life was different. Oh, I still made "some" of our clothes, and foods from scratch, but how they were done using what kind of appliances were quite different then.

      It all came to an end in the mid-1990s when "that time" visited me again. My husband had an road accident that put him out of work and in a brain injury rehab for over 3 years. His income stopped, his insurance ran out after 6 months. I went back to what I knew and I was very comfortable with it all once again.

      We lived on my income as a nurse ($22,000/yr) and my medical insurance helped with the bills. He came around to my way of thinking and to see that what I called our luxuries came in all shapes, sizes, costs and packages.

      Since then, no matter what our income is, we still live in our chosen lifestyle -- with a car that is now 6 years old, in a house that is considered a pre-fab, but most people know them as mobile homes. The water here (near the Gulf of Mexico) is not drinkable, so we did concede and put in a water softening treatment system, and we keep bottled water for emergencies (which happen about every 30 days here). We are all gluten free as well, so I make almost all our foods from scratch. My daughter-in-law laughs at me but I love to hang wash! I make most of my clothes - the ones that I don't find in thrifts or flea markets. I still shop the way I always did - Aldi's, Save-A-Lot, Thrift Stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army and flea markets. It is a choice, not because I need to live this way. My children are all grown and most have adopted similar lifestyles (as much as their spouses will allow!) They do know what is superficial and what is important.

      I look at it this way ... If I support Goodwill, Salvation Army (we call it Sal-Vay), various Thrift Stores and others, it all comes back to us in grace. And it really does :) Thank you for such a wonderful article.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      We have been terribly spoiled and it's time to get back to the basics. You know here in Latvia there are so many people who are at poverty level yet when and if they get the chance they will still try to get credit and make it worse for themselves. Never understood the mentality but no one is helping them see the light. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Sid sends a Christmasy meow to Baby. Hugs to you from me. Passing this on.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      A look back at the past will definitely help us to go back to the good old days of great ways to live. Great hub with a great message that we all should do our best to follow.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, LindaSarhan. Oh, yes, me too! I'd love to have a place in the country where I could raise my own chickens, a couple of cows and pigs, and have a nice big garden! I agree, the American people are very spoiled, and I'm afraid parents are not teaching their children to be thrifty.

      So nice t meet you, Merry Christmas, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, vocalcoach (Audrey). Since I am on a limited income, I still live frugally. If I had all the money in the world, I think I would still live this way. I find it a real challenge to shop for bargains, and to save in any way I can.

      I'm happy you enjoyed this walk back in time. Thanks so much for the comment, the votes, and the share.

      I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas. Speaking of Christmas: I do not buy Christmas gifts. I make homemade candies, cookies, etc.!

    • LindaSarhan profile image

      L Sarhan 

      4 years ago from Huntsville, Alabama, USA

      I totally agree with you. I made most of my children's clothes when they were younger. Unfortunately, in my area at least, the cost of material now is so expensive that it because cheaper to just buy clothes already made. But as I have gotten older, my wish is to one day have my own homestead and be as self-sustaining as possible. The busy, narcissistic way of life in America ends up eating away at one's soul.

      Anyway, great advice!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      When I was a child being frugal was a way of life. We had no choice. Today I use many of those same practices and they seem to be the 'in' thing.

      All our fruits and veggies were 'organic.' :)

      I really enjoyed this walk back in time Mary. Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and will share.



    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Thelma Alberts. I'm glad you could identify with the way I was raised in a frugal society. We Americans are so spoiled, don't you think? I'm afraid we are not teaching our children to save our planet. We are fast using up our natural resources. I'm still pretty frugal ( I call it being thrifty).

      So nice to see you, Mary

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      4 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      I have been living a frugal life way back when I was a child in the Philippines. We fetched our water in the near pump, washed our clothes in the river, no electricity, had veggies garden, had to collect woods in the forest for making fires and so on. We still have our singer sewing machine and I still used that last May when I was in my home country. Thanks for bringing me back to my memory lane.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi peachpurple. So, I guess you learned to be frugal at an early age, too. If you are like me, it is a way of life now.

      It really isn't that hard to do, is it?? Thanks, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, ChitrangadaSharan Yes, our children are not being taught to living frugally as you and I were. We have spoiled our children by giving them everything they desire. Too bad.

      Yes, living frugally is also my second nature. Thank so much for the nice comment, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, travmaj I have some friends who have been forced into a frugal life because they have lost their jobs, and no longer can afford the big house and the big car.

      Maybe the bad economy has taught all of us to be more frugal.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, AliciaC I'm so glad you found my Hub on frugal living interesting. It just seems to me we live in such a wasteful way, and I don't think we are teaching our children to be thrifty, either.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, Faith. I have to grin when I see the commercial for Arm & Hammer tooth paste. I want to tell them I used baking soda when I was just a kid! I agree with you on the bottled water. All I think of is all the plastic bottles clogging up our landfills and oceans.

      I have a granddaughter who is expecting a baby. When I mentioned cloth diapers, she just shakes her head: NO WAY!

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, the votes, and the shares, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, DDE. I still try and be frugal: I have no choice. I'm glad I learned to be frugal as a child. I think more and more people are learning to become frugal because of the economics of our country.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hello again, alancaster149 Thanks for coming back with that info on the book. I will find it; sounds like a book I would enjoy.

      I hope you have a wonderful day, Mary

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interestingly told. I enjoyed learning of your frugal lifestyle. I know of some people who take life for granted and don't care of where the next plate food can most because everything is found and placed there for them. That is a terrible thought. You made me see life from another perspective.

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, Iris Draak, I'm happy you enjoyed reading about my life as a child. As I said, we had no choice to live a frugal life because we had very little money!

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Mary

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      your hub reminded me of my past

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is a thought provoking hub and your message is so valuable to everyone.

      I found many of your habits and things similar to how I have been brought up. I have always practiced frugality and will continue it till I live. Because this has become my nature.

      The more people have now, still more is their desire to get.

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful and engaging hub!

    • travmaj profile image


      4 years ago from australia

      Hi Mary, you seem to have covered most aspects of living frugally. I'm familiar with most and agree with all your points. Isn't it frustrating seeing the waste in today's society?

      It's sad really, instant gratification seems to be the norm, clothes, homes, holidays... on and on.

      And yet, realisation hits, society is unlikely to change. Thanks Mary - Maj

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting and useful hub, Mary. I loved reading about your memories and your way of life as a child. The past can teach us a lot about frugal living. Many frugal habits of the past would be very valuable today.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful hub, Mary! You could be the spokeswoman for our country and teach these commonsense approaches to living a frugal life. Growing up, I remember my mother saying that exact same thing, "Waste not, want not." I loved reading all of your stories, especially the one about your Daddy saving gas!

      I remember using baking soda as toothpaste, but we did have a regular toothbrush. Today, we do use a water filter on our kitchen sink and do not spend any money on bottled water. I take a large thermos to work and drink it all day. The bottle water in the plastic bottles, when heated, are not healthy, as the plastic then releases chemicals into the water, which some say will cause cancer. Those water bottles travel around in those big trucks in the heat and that is not a good thing!

      I remember my middle sister wearing those real diapers, and I am sure I did too, for I am the oldest of four siblings. We may not only be a sedentary people, but lazy too, for it seems convenience rules these days, but that does not mean it is the best way to do things no doubt!

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful insight here.

      God bless you.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello again Mary, there's a book by Barry Cockcroft called 'Daughter of the Dales - sequel to an earlier book about her titled 'Seasons of My Life' - published by Arrow Books Ltd., 1993, ISBN 0-09-981480-3. A review by the Manchester Evening News includes the statement: "She brings the reader back to the essentials". First published by Century (Random House, 1990).

      There may even be a dvd/vhs recording - check with Amazon

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 

      4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Mary, it's always interesting to learn about how people grew up and what shaped them as the adults they are now. I enjoyed this article. I agree, we need to live more frugally!

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, alancaster149 I loved your comment! I was watching a show on our public television network about the different classes in England. They were talking about the way different people there talk, and one could tell from that if they were lower or upper class people.

      I'd love to see that TV show about Hannah; I know I would enjoy that.

      Thanks so much, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, sasanka7 I'm so glad you liked reading about the way I grew up. My parents were poor, but I never knew they were poor! I had a wonderful childhood for which I am grateful.

      So nice to meet you, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi Craftdrawer, I hope your grandkids will appreciate whatever you make for them. When my children were small, they loved their little dresses I made, but once they were older, they wanted "store bought" stuff!

      You sound like my kind of gal; driving a 10 year old car and living in the same house!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Bill. You know, I thought of you when I was writing this article! Yes, I do know how important it is for you to send a message of living frugally. I'd like to link one of your great Hubs on being frugal. You have written so many great articles, it will be tough to do!

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Jackie. It is just amazing when we think back of how our Mothers sewed, canned, and worked so hard in the gardens. She was such an inspiration to me.

      I agree our children today just want "instant gratification" because parents are not teaching them to live within their means.

      I'm still thinking of writing a winter memory! Oh, my...where does the time go??

      Thanks so much for reading, the votes and the share. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Mary

    • mary615 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Carb Diva. Thank you so much. Yes, I do hope my article will make people think twice about being so wasteful! Mary

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Until the mid-60's most people in Britain lived fairly simply, although perhaps 90% of households had gas and electricity piped from a central supplier (you could fit England several times into some of your states).

      However, there were households - usually tenant farms, railway or ex-railway property, or former miners' houses, what we call two-up-two-down (living room, kitchen and scullery downstairs, two bedrooms upstairs and a tin bath in an outhouse) - that didn't have running water, electricity or gas. At farms owned by an estate or landowner, and in railway properties out in the countryside - remember there are no towns or villages in England more than 75 miles away from the sea east or west, in the case of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset it's less than 20 miles north or south to the sea - farming families used hurricane lamps downstairs, candles upstairs and water had to be brought in from a well or pond beside the farm/house.

      There was a TV programme about Hannah Hauxwell, who lived in such a tenanted farmstead in Upper Teesdale where winters were harsh. She had to use a hammer to smash the ice for water for herself or her few cows (four or five). The landlord had not been approached by her father for electricity supplies to be installed, for fear of being thrown out in the lean, mean 30's, and both he and his wife were worn out by their annual tribulations by the 1950s. Ms Hauxwell stayed on, not knowing any other lifestyle, and retired in the 1970s to the nearest village, Cotherstone, now in County Durham. She was taken on a cruise, paid for by the TV company. A fellow cruise passenger whinged about how hard life had been to her before asking Ms Hauxwell about her life. When told the basics she didn't say any more. She was 'gob-smacked' (nice descriptive English word for astounded).

    • sasanka7 profile image


      4 years ago from Calcutta, India

      Great hub. I liked it. It reminds my childhood when I lived in my village. I am eager to read more about your school life or service period. I also like your simplicity. Thanks for sharing.

    • craftdrawer profile image


      4 years ago

      What a great article! I agree we have our cars well over 10 years and still live in our first home we built 25 years ago and it's a small home but comfortable. I would like to instill these values in my grand kids because they seem to get overwhelmed with gifts during the holidays so this year I made them some things and hope they will enjoy them.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think you know how I feel about this. Like you, frugal was not a choice growing it is. My parents had it right. It took me awhile to understand that and follow in their footsteps, but I finally made it. :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is great! I remember my mom sewing on a machine just like that but I think most of my clothes came from Aldens or Montgomery Ward. Still I hardly grew so I just added a couple outfits each year and mixed and matched them and it always looked like I had more. You do what you can. I know my mom raised gardens and canned in the summer when it was so hot I don't see how she did it! Cooking on a hot stove when it is 90 degrees outside. Well she taught me to be saving too and it is a real disservice to children today giving them everything they want and not making them work for it.

      Great story; thanks so much for sharing it! Hope you are still going to share a winter memory, I know it would be fantastic.

      Up and sharing.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 years ago from Washington State, USA

      I totally agree with you, that we are (in general) a nation of spoiled individuals. Like you I was brought up in a "use it up, make it last" household. Thank you for an interesting hub. I hope many people read it and take your words to heart.


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