100 Years of Frugal Living Lessons

6 min readNov 2, 2021

Grandma Esther and Grandpa Sonny would have celebrated their 100th birthdays by 2021. Their frugal and full life has inspired me and my family. Their story begins during the Great Depression in upstate NY. Neither family had much and they lived in the country. It was a hard life but they somehow managed.

Esther lived with her mom, stepfather and 6 brothers and sisters in a farmhouse. All of her frugal lessons came from her mother, who worked tirelessly to provide for her family.

In her early 20’s, she met Sonny, who lived down the road. After a short courtship, on Christmas Eve, they were married in a small ceremony. The next day, Sonny left for the war. They inherited 50+ acres in upstate New York, where my family had lived for generations.

My grandparents had 3 children- Karen (my mom), Aaron and Jo Anne.

I always felt that they must have been the luckiest children in the world, to grow up with the forest to run around, swim in the pond, and have a wonderful childhood. They learned a lot about responsibility, helping my grandparents with gardening and taking care of the property. My grandpa worked in construction, while my grandma stayed at home, raising the kids and taking care of the home.

By the 70’s and 80’s, my grandparents had 4 new grandchildren, myself, cousins Lisa and Mark and my sister Emily. They were definitely doting grandparents and always treated us like their children.

I spent a lot of time there and learned a lot about responsibility. Here are some of the ways my grandma inspired me.


Grandma loved to bake and cook and did things out of not only necessity, but out of love. Because they lived in the country, she was used to making three square meals a day. They did go to the grocery store for necessities they couldn’t grow or hunt themselves.


New England born- now living in the Midwest. Blogger, author, influencer, history addict and genealogist in training