6 Powerful Life Lessons Learned from my Thrifty Grandma

Check out this list of powerful life lessons learned from my thirfty grandma on gracefullittlehoneybee.com

Check out this list of powerful life lessons learned from my thirfty grandma on gracefullittlehoneybee.com

  My grandma grew up during The Great Depression and was part of the greatest generation making her strong, thrifty and frugal by nature. These qualities were ingrained in her by necessity and stayed with her all of her life.

  She was one of eight children and grew up on a farm where money and material possessions were scarce, but homegrown food, hard work, love and the grace of God were abundant. I feel like we have so much to learn from this generation and so today I’m sharing 6 powerful life lessons that I learned from my thrifty grandma to hopefully be an encouragement to you as well.


Grow Your Own Food and Cook from Scratch

  My grandma had a garden, canned and cooked from scratch her whole life. She did it because that’s just what you did to save money and keep from having to purchase expensive produce from the store. She also cooked from scratch and ate at home 99% of the time because she simply didn’t have the money or the opportunity to buy convenience or eat at restaurants very often.


  In today’s crazy busy world, with packaged meals and restaurants at every turn it’s easy to spend an exorbitant amount of money each month on food, but I think a great life lesson for us all is to practice self-control and also common sense by learning to grow, preserve and cook our own food. Check out the links below to help you get started.



5 Tips for the Beginner Gardener

10 Easy to Grow Vegetables for Beginner Gardeners

15 Money-Saving Tips from a Frugal Gardener



How to Freeze Blueberries

How to Make Dehydrated Cinnamon Apple Rings

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce



25 Old-Fashioned Recipes You’re Grandma Knew By Heart

30 Items You Can Make at Home to Save Money

How to Build an Old-Fashioned Frugal Pantry

50 Cheap & Easy Recipes for When You’re on a Budget



Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do or Do Without

  My grandma never threw anything away if it had another use. She kept bottles, baskets, tubs, egg cartons, bags and anything else you can imagine for later use. She also used everything up without wasting a drop (as far as it was possible). If she needed an item she would try to make it herself first before she bought it or just simply go without. These practices were second nature to her, but for us it may take some forethought and/or practice.


  We can save a lot of money and also learn about gratitude and self-control by implementing these practices in our modern lives. I try my best to reduce food waste by meal planning based on what I already have in my kitchen and also by doing periodic pantry challenges where I limit my grocery budget and try to eat up what we have in our stockpile. For more ideas on reducing food waste and other creative resourceful tips check out the links below.


10 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

10 Steps to Reduce Waste in the Kitchen

20 Creative Ways to Use Kitchen Scraps

30 Old-Fashioned Frugal Tips from Grandma

20 Ideas to Produce More and Consume Less


Be Content with What You Have

  One of the most powerful life lessons that I learned from my grandma was to be content. She didn’t have much, but I never heard her complain. She put her faith and trust in the Lord and that was enough for her. She valued faith, family and nature. She didn’t put much stock in material possessions and she was happy with the little that she had.


  We can gain so much from practicing gratitude and contentment like my grandmother’s generation did. It’s definitely true that the more you have the less you appreciate it. We have so much in our modern world that it can be hard to slow down, simplify and be grateful for it all instead of complaining about what we don’t have.


Realize the Power of Working with Your Hands

  Generations that came before us knew the power of working with their hands. They grew and harvested their own food, sewed their own clothes, created houses, furniture, kitchen utensils, toys, hats, scarves and all kinds of other useful items with their own two hands.


  Learning to create with your hands isn’t only practical and frugal, but it also slows you down and gives you a chance to clear your head and appreciate hard work and a job well done. Pick a skill and give it try. You just might realize there’s more to life than purchasing and consuming all of the time.


Give Generously

  Another wonderful life lesson that I learned from my grandma was to help others and to give generously. She always had her eyes and ears open to people who needed help. She truly enjoyed giving her time, money and prayers to those in need and I think we would all do well to try to live this way. She may not have had a lot, but she was generous with what she had and was always willing to give and lend a helping hand.


Live Simply and Appreciate Natural Beauty

  My grandma lived a simple life by necessity, but she also had a great appreciation for natural beauty. She went on prayer walks every morning down her dirt road and she loved to grow flowers and write poetry. These things cost her very little, but she reaped many rewards from her relatively small investment. A powerful lesson we can learn here is to appreciate the little things in life that matter to us and don’t cost a lot of money. Slow down, live simply and appreciate the natural beauty in your own life.


  I hope you enjoyed reading about my grandma and the lessons that she taught me. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below and don’t forget to check out my similar posts by clicking on the graphics below. Have a great day!



Other posts you might enjoy:

See how to make 25 Old-Fashioned Recipes Your Grandma Knew by Heart including biscuits, pie crust, fried apples and more on gracefullittlehoneybee.com8 Lessons Learned from The Great Depression on gracefullittlehoneybee.com

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  1. Missy I can tell by reading this you loved your grandma very much. I have been thinking a lot about my Mamaw lately. My most valuable lesson from her was tithing. She didn’t have many earthly possessions, but she trusted Jesus to provide all her needs and he did. My favorite child hood memories were with her and in my eyes, she was the richest person I knew.
  2. The original 'minimalists'. I too, learned so much from my Depression era grandparents. Maybe we're related! I felt like I was listening to her wisdom as I read this. Thanks.
  3. I loved reading about your grandmother. She sounds a lot like my grandmother and mother-in-law. My husband I live in the country now near a small town and have no desire to move, so it is easy to be close to the land. I get overwhelmed sometimes, especially this time of year, but I just have to slow down and practice gratitude. It is very refreshing to hear from someone so wise at your age. Keep up the good work!
      1. There was 6 of us at home and mama and daddy. My mama knew how to cut up a whole chicken that fed all of us along with some beans, peas or greens and we were never hungry.
  4. Your grandmother is a very wise woman. If we all would practice these can you imagine what a different country this would be?? Thank you for sharing!! Kathy
  5. If we could (would) just learn how to take care of all our needs and wants...clean off your own door step first. There could be a world with more love, less waste, no war and no greed. Trust in the Lord to help you provide; then get out there and do a hard days work. Guarantee you'll be too tired for mischief. Thank you for sharing. Little by little I'm trying to be more self sufficient.
  6. This floods me with so many memories of my grandparents. Their lives were simple and full of gratitude. I love the idea of a “prayer walk”. I will be incorporating this into my life. I am much more likely to take a walk for prayer than for just exercise. Many thanks.~Rebekah
  7. I love this! My grandma grow, froze, canded and used up the last bits of everything. It brings back some of my favorite memories of spending time with her. I try to do the same with my kids. One of their favorite hings to do it make bread. Thanks for sharing!
  8. Hi from South Africa. As you can well imagine, in this country, my grandparents were severely affected by the war, and both my grandfather's fought in them up in Egypt. I never got to meet my father's mother who was the real deal when it came to thrifty living. My mom's mother was unfortunately institutionalised and so due to her mental condition wasn't really able to contribute to my upbringing. My mom grew up poor, so was pretty frugal in some ways, but she never taught me much as she was impatient and just not very maternal at all. I have often wondered if some of these traits are written into out genetic codes because nobody has taught me but myself. I taught myself to cook from age 11 as mom was working long hours and dad was a heavy drinker, so not always cognitively present. Somehow I ended up being the one who always freezes her own veggies, has the dry goods pantry of staples and has always cooked from scratch. I am an only child, so maybe I just learned to be self reliant? Drying my own herbs and making all sorts of powders from peels, stocks and so forth just seems to come naturally to me and with all my herb racks, my spice and herb / powder cupboard, it sort of resembles a Medieval witches stash - minis the vials, lol! We eat very well, have never wanted for food and my husband often jokes that I can make a hearty meal from a tin of beans, a tomato and an onion (not literally, but you get what he means). I loved reading your blogs about living the old fashioned way. I really can't explain why, but this has appealed to me since I was a young child sitting under the mulberry tree getting messy from those delicious free berries and guavas (they grew wild in our garden). I hope my kids learn these vital skills, though in their teens now they seem totally disinterested. Sure they scoff down the pickles, jams and peanut butter I make, but they really don't care to learn how. Cooking from scratch and living off a cheap, well stocked pantry as you suggest has gotten us through some very tight patches and improved our health so much from the damage done to us by the way our own mother's cooked from processed, convenience junk. Highly recommend people follow your wise advice.
    1. So good to hear from you in South Africa! God bless you. I hope your children have a change of heart someday. My own are similar. Sometimes they "get" it, and a lot of the time they don't. But just like you and me, I am sure they will have to learn their own lessons as they go on. I wonder what life is going to hold for them. Some things are so, so different, and some things never change.
  9. I loved reading your post about your grandmother. She sounded so much like my nan, she used to open the Christmas wrapping paper so carefully which you can imagine as an impatient child itching to see what she had been given used to take to my idea ages. She would tell me stories of when she was growing up and as a young woman in the First World War,she lived through the Depression of the 1930s, the General Strike in the UK and the Second World War where she was raising her young family. The Make Do and Mend was very strong in her and my late parents. I am now trying to embrace the frugal lifestyle due to financial constraints of a change in employment. I came across your blog from Pintrest and look forward to reading more.
  10. Thank you for sharing. I live my life like your Grandmother did. Also out of necessity but I to gain much more. Its nice to know I'm not alone in living with what I have and not needing to have things
  11. I love your website. As a man trying to start saving money and living more simply. Your website will be a true friend and help. Thanks so much!
  12. I think the lessons from our grandmas are so important. And also that part of them cultivating contentedness was because their time wasn't so full of television and time spent on the internet. They had more time to think and therefore appreciate instead of look at other things and wanting.
    1. "They had more time to think and therefore appreciate instead of look at other things and wanting." This is so, so true! We tend to fill out lives now to the brim with entertainment, never giving room to think or be "bored." Convenience is King. But contentment has been lost.
  13. I have been loving learning how to make more things from scratch the last few years. For example, who needs store bought mayo when you have a blender? It might take more time, and it's not even necessarily cheaper, but I just think it's fun and interesting. I need to get better at taking notes on the exact recipes because a lot of things I just wing it, and then it's an adventure to recreate. Great list!
  14. My gram came from 13 siblings and had starting teaching me these things before she passed. I’ve learned frugality by necessity also. The past almost 3 years now I’ve been raising two daughters on $71 a week. It hasn’t been easy and I can’t just get a job. I had a brain tumor removed in 17 and went back a day later with dry brain from a csf leak. I tried working 3 different jobs but couldn’t. I’ve been fighting disability for 2 and a half years now and getting nowhere fast.
  15. I so enjoy reading web sites like this. My Grandmother, who raised me and my sister, was no help in teaching me the frugal ways that would have been so helpful. My Great Grandmother, who I absolutely adored, was not well and so couldn't teach me what I needed to know. I learned much on my own as I grew up but not about canning, sewing, true frugality, and the like. So if anyone cares to suggest how a senior, stuck in the city, can become much more frugal please bless with the knowledge. Thank You ahead of time.
  16. Grandma's hand wrote the quote on my first counted cross stitch sampler, and only after rows of stitch examples done correctly and efficiently or removed and done over, with a single strand taken from a floss of 6 strands: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" (it stuck with me)
  17. I wish you would put this all into book form. I love your style, but have difficulty reading screens❤️
  18. It brought tears to my eyes as I read your article. You were describing my grandmother in every detail. She grew up on a farm in PR & taught me the same values which I still abide by. Thank you for the memories. A shout out to all grandmothers!
  19. Your Grandma sounds typical of most women of her era. I can relate to her life and tried to instill it in my children. Today's people are too materialistic; they want everything and they want it now. How many people today have been taught to sew their own clothes or to knit? Not many I'm thinking. I don't like the way that life has become so mechanised. People are out of touch with actually living; everything is so artificial - including people.
  20. So refreshing to read and see the younger generation still appreciates the way of life our families had back in the day. My mother is 97 years old and those attributes have served her well. The clothes she made us while growing up were stitches of love. We too did have much but it has served me well with the crazy inflationary times back in the late 70's and today. I loved your article.
  21. Great article and so true! My blessed mother is 102 yrs young and she still asks me how she can help. She always lived like your grandmother and cooked, cleaned, scrubbed and washed everyday of her life. She did without a drier and hung the clothes on the line all year long because she liked the fresh air smell. She had to put them in the basement or finish drying them on the radiator heaters. Recycled and reused when she could, rode her bicycle and to this day praises God for her good life. She’s amazing and relatable to your kin. God bless them!
  22. I love that she did Prayer walks. I struggle to set aside a Prayer Time, and a walk and talk seems like it would be specifically time with the Lord.
  23. This is so beautiful and these remind me of my grandparents. Every time we visited it was gardening, preserving, going to the creeks and rivers or out with great grandpa to do something with the cattle. And they always found joy in it. I'll always remember my Papa's smile as we picked beans and caught horny toads or shelled pecans. I still do these and so much more that we learned from them. They made the everyday work fun and we always enjoyed each other. May you always have enough. <3
  24. What a beautiful and insightful post! It's heartwarming to read about the invaluable life lessons your thrifty grandma has imparted to you. Her wisdom shines through in every word, and I appreciate the way you've eloquently shared her teachings.

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