Okay, so I know I'll never understand what my Grandmother's life was like. We had completely different lives, and only shared a fraction of that time together. But sometimes, the woman did stuff I STILL to this day, do not see the point of (that's probably terrible grammar, sorry). I mean, don't get me wrong, we all loved her, but... you don't have to understand someone to love them.

She had a completely different perspective to me, my mom, and a lot of people, I think. She was born in World War One, and grew up in the depression on a farm in Iowa.  She was one of eleven kids (six boys, none of whom I ever met, and five girls, who were our matriarchs). They had to share beds, food, clothes, everything.  The boys would have to do patrols around their farm to protect the cows - people would steal them for food. So in a way, I get it.  When your formative years drive home the message that you have to fight for every scrap you get, that sticks with you.  But...it went a little off somewhere.

1.  Leftovers. 

Now, hold on.  Don't jump ahead of me, now.  I'm not talking about just leftovers.  Of course I keep leftovers.  There's leftover pizza, balsamic basil chicken, and potatoes in my fridge right now.  Virginia (grandma) did things differently.  She was a fan of McDonald's - she'd eat there just about every month or so.  And then, like clockwork, at least a day later, one of us would go to get our mail and... find a bag of cold Mcdonald's french fries in our mail box.  Or an opened pint carton of milk.  Or a half eaten chicken sandwich.  We would ask her, why? And she never really had a good reason other than, "I thought you might want it. It'll save you a little money."  No,  I don't want your half drunk warm milk. Why would I want that? I could get food poisoning from just looking at it the wrong way.

2.  Hoarding. 

Grandma was a pretty decent hoarder.  But... like a lot of those people on the TV shows, she hoarded stuff that made no sense to hoard.  Her intention was to use these things later, but.. she never did.  Ever.  Every time we would go somewhere, if there was something for free, she would take it.  Even if she had five at home.  When she died, we literally found garbage bags full of the free salt and pepper they give you at fast food restaurants.  Bags full of napkins.  Bags full of rubber bands.  A drawer full of matchbooks.  Another drawer filled dozens of yard sticks.  I know her reasoning was if she took it for free, she wouldn't have to buy it later.  But... who needs all that? Who would be able to USE all that?

3. Re-using. 

Again, seems sensible on the surface.  I've worn shoes until they got holes in 'em, sure.  I don't throw out things lightly if they've got value.  But she would re-use the strangest things for far, far too long.  Like those little paper hotel slippers? She wore a pair of those for at least six months.  Kleenexes, she'd reuse those until they were tatters. She'd then smooth them out, and put them on her little table, so they could "dry out".... so she could use them again. I know, right?  Every now and then I'd just toss them when she wasn't looking.

4.  Conserving. 

She'd regularly drive ten miles below the limit in town to "save gas".   I don't know if it really ever did.  There were so many coupons, you guys.  She'd keep coupons years after they expired, because she was convinced she could make the cashiers accept these coupons.  And I'm not talking about 50% off or anything. I'm talking about a coupon for 30 cents off a box of chocolates.  I'm sure her regular haunts dreaded seeing her coming with her great big wallet of coupons.  "No, ma'am, I'm sorry, but I can't accept this coupon, because this product isn't made anymore..."

5.  Stockpiling. 

This is a companion aspect of this to the hoarding.  She would buy stuff when it was on sale, and then leave it for years.  Do you need seven bottles of rubbing alcohol? Well, it's there if you want it.  Do you need five jars of Vasoline?  Well, it was on sale. Do you need three bottles of expired vitamin C? There it is, on the table.  I can understand buying things in bulk or on sale, but... if you're not going to use it, why buy it?

What strange things did your parents or grandparents do to save a little money?

Savingly yours,

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