About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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How Far Back?

August 12, 2022

I put the lightweight Chenille spread back on the bed because it is still too warm for the blue blanket spread.

I have been doing my best to remember my past and what we did when money was tight.  With the increasing prices of most everything it is concerning how difficult this could get.

I think about how far back we need to go to survive a possible economic crisis?  If we live like we did when we first started off keeping house then we will be okay.  Today many people do not know what this means.   

I have told the story about packing up our 1955 Ford with the little we had and driving off to Oklahoma to live near an air base that we were stationed.  But I don't think that I have shared that our pay would only get us through about three weeks somewhat comfortable and the fourth week was scraping the bottom of everything.  

We purchased groceries once a month and there had to be some creative meal planning how many ways to cook a box of mac and cheese. 

I have said this before, you can live without a phone, without television and all the electronics of today.  Just because it exists does not mean we "Need" it.

Shelter, food, water, simple clothing and basic items such as towels, soap, toiletries, cooking utensils, bedding and such as this is what we need and everything else is want.  As long as you have a fork and spoon for everyone the knife can be shared. 

Still today we can write a letter and drop it in the mailbox if we need to communicate with someone, this has not changed.  This is what I did long ago.  I wrote to my family and they wrote to me. Not on a computer, there were no computers back then, this was real mail.  I looked forward to finding a letter in the mail box and sometimes there would be a small package from my mother. 

I remember the exciting day that we purchased a radio record player. We waited two years to purchase this.  We did not have a television or telephone and then we could listen to the radio and when we could afford it we would purchase a record to play.  We played it over and over and over.  We read the same books over and over to the point that we memorized them.  It was a good life.

We knew how much money we made and that is all we could spend.  We rented a small apartment on top of an old house. We wanted a puppy but the lady that rented to us did not allow pets. My mother mailed us a stuffed parrot and we talked to the parrot as if it were real. I cannot for the life of me remember the parrots name, that was so long ago. 

There was another apartment just like ours next to ours above that old house. Each apartment had a small bedroom, a small bathroom, a tiny kitchen with a small table to eat on and sitting room and a sitting area.  The walls were thin between the apartments and the wood stairs going up the back of the house were a little rickety. The bathrooms were next to each other and so when we or they went to the bathroom or took a bath we could hear the other. It was a very interesting life.

We did eventually move to a very small house that allowed pets and we got a puppy that we named Shaky. He was a chihuahua mix and this was a time when people would give you a puppy for free.  We fed him Jim Dandy Dog food his whole 17 and half years we had him. When he was fifteen I wrote to the Jim Dandy company to thank them for a good product and they sent me free dog food. 

Albert has been hanging out in the pepper patch all summer.

Back then long ago, we understood that we could not live beyond our means.  There was no rescuing us and no credit cards and such as that.  If we did not have the money we did not get it.  We saved our money to pay for the extras we wanted and not put it on credit.   I call this time our sensible roots and before electronics that work so fast they give you no time to think. 

With the recent situation of prices around the world, not just here in the United States, I have thought about this time long ago that we lived with little money.

Recently we have added more details to our journal and record books.  We need to understand the price changes, what they were and how much they are now.  We are watching everything closely and are noticing that food companies are reducing the amount of food in a container, box or package and also increasing the prices.  Just recently our dish soap has a half an ounce less, it went from a 7 ounce bottle to a 6.5 ounce. and the price has increased .13 cents.  I was using a powder soap but I had to make a decision over cost.  Some choices have been difficult but the bottom line is we have to save money.

The other day the price of a can of sardines was listed as $1.00 a can but rang up at the register $1.12 cents.  Charles asked an assistant manager about the price and he looked on his scanner and it said $1.00 and had the cashier to correct the price on our checkout.  This does not sound like much but if many items are like this then this affects our food budget and this is just one thing that we have discovered.  Charles did this in a kind way as he always does and it was handled with respect both ways.  

Our Grocery journal lets us know how much we have spent weekly and monthly at a glance in our book.  We write down each item we purchase and how much it was.  Then we write down how many ounces or pounds we got and anything we want to about that purchase.  We enter it into our journal and keep a running total of prices, taxes and increase prices or decreased but we have not had any decreased prices so far. 

I have been washing up and ironing my cotton fat quarters for sewing.

We also write down the temperatures each day and our electric and water use.  We do not have natural gas or fuel.  We do have winter fuel but we are in summer.  We know how many kilowatts we use each day and we can see by the temperatures how that affects our bill.  We also try to be careful how much we use.  Just because it flows to us does not mean we have to use it.  We do use it but carefully.  If we had a high kilowatt use one day then we know we need to be extra careful the next few days and if we do this we have no surprises on the electric bill. 

Are we frugal?  Are we cheap?  I feel we are careful and sensible.  How would we ever save money for tires or new roof or medical bill or veterinarian bill if we are not careful with our money.  This would mean we would most likely have to charge something and then we would have debt if we did not keep track of our money.  We did have debt before but we got ourselves out of debt by being careful.  Anyone can do this.  

I cannot tell you how many people I have heard saying that their groceries are not lasting as long, or prices are so high now it is getting difficult to pay for things.  

During the Great Depression people did not know they were in a great depression they knew that things were very difficult and banks were closing and money was tight.  They could not keep living like they were, they had to make changes.

We have to do the same thing, how far back do we go to make sense of things?  We go back to basics.  Basic is not a bad place to be, it is a empowering place to be.  We are being very careful to see just how much we can save so we can pay our way through this.  

Today there is so much that is out of control but it does not have to be this way and it is not for us to tell people what to do but just do what we feel is right to do for us. If it is working to improve our situation and someone asks us what we are doing then share what seems to be working. 

If we cannot take care of our own family then how would we ever be able to help someone else?  Another way of helping someone else is by taking care of ourselves so we do not need the help of that someone else.  It starts at home.

Mashed potatoes, peas, chicken fritter, beets and unsweet tea.  We are concentrating on our home and keeping our expenses down as we should be so that we do not need a life boat so to speak.

We need to know how much income is coming in and how much is going out.  If we ignore to keep a budget or at least know how much our bills are and the total of our debt then it becomes difficult to get ahead and save.  

We should never live beyond our means and if we do we make changes immediately before it gets worse. 

Since we are increasing our record keeping of money spent on Groceries, household, gardening and everything else Charles picked up two spiral notebooks and the total for the two of them was .76 cents.  They were .35 cents each and .6 cents tax.   We shop where we can find the best prices for things.  

Just one of these notebooks could start anyone on a journey to becoming debt free and have money in savings just by writing down income, bills and all expenses and keeping track of where the money is going.  If more money is going out than coming in then that is big trouble.  That flow going out can be reduced much more than you may realize. 

Never think nothing can be done about a bad situation, there is always a solution that can improve things, it might take awhile but it can be done.

I hope something in this blog post is helpful today, Grandma Donna

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