Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Spending Time With A Frugal Guru

No I haven’t spent money signing up for a seminar; I’m just going to visit my Nan.

My Nan is 92 years old and has always been frugal, in the best sense of the word. As was my Grandfather before he passed away a few years ago. I wish their sense of frugality had sunk in earlier, but I've certainly already got a lot from them that make me who I am today, so picking up more of her tips can only be a good thing.

She’s frugal, but only so she can use her money for the things that are important to her. She lived through the depression and Second World War, so there was no choice but to watch what you had and use it wisely.

She saves wrapping paper, wastes nothing, only buys what she needs, grows her own vegetables, composts her scraps and always has done these things, she’s such a trendsetter!

My sister and I bought some of her favourite perfume a few years back and we had to put conditional use on it as part of the gift – as in we insisted she use it every day or otherwise she would have ‘saved it for good’, she was 90, what was she saving it for? :-)

Some the things she chooses to spend her money on these days are:

  • Big TV And Cable Subscription - When you live alone and spend a lot of time at home, and your eyesight isn't as great as it once was, this is money well spent for her. She loves her cricket in the summer, plus she gets to watch all her favourite shows (HUGE fan of The Bill for example).
  • Getting Her Hair Done - She gets her hair set every Friday and has done so my at least my entire living memory. She’s had to change hairdressers as her original one retired! J
  • Going On Bus Trips - My Mum and my Great Aunt always seem to be going off somewhere for a few days on community organized bus tours with her these days, it’s fantastic to see.
  • Medical And Home Care Visits - yes, she’s on a war widow’s pension and this takes some of the sting out of these costs but she’s still out of pocket for some of this.
  • Maintaining Her Home - She’s not renovating or anything, but she does get the lawns mowed regularly and had the placed painted inside and out not long ago.

She’s also got a regular taxi driver, who takes her to the hair and doctor appointments, and has been known to nip over the road from the salon to get her a BBQ chicken if required!

One of our favourite things to do when I visit is to do her grocery shopping in person (she usually gets it delivered). She just loves it, and I love spending the time with her (OK, I admit I love doing groceries too). She pushes the trolley, as it keeps her stable and she feels safer that way, and I work her list. She loves being able to pick out her own fruit and vegetables and inspect all the new items on the shelves. Then we go to a café and have coffee.

Not a big day out by a lot of people’s standards, but it’s one of the highlights of my month, all for the cost of minimal petrol and bridge toll; which she tries to pay for...funny old thing she is.

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  1. You are so lucky to still have your grandma :) They truly can be a fountain of wisdom, and I wish I still had one of mine around!
    God Bless the Grandmas of the world!

  2. what a lovely way to spend day, I think that whole generation just understood frugality in a way we can't. I'm sure they could teach us quite a lot about finances.

  3. Isn't it wonderful to see the world through different eyes? Other generations knew how to wait for what they wanted, save for bigger things and often decided to NOT even get some things because they could live without them. Something many of us cannot comprehend.

  4. Thanks Dawn, Louise and Tammy.

    She's certainly the matriach of my family, and I really want to spend as much time with her as possible while I still can.