Grandma lived through the Great Depression. 

Some people, today, may not even know what a life shattering event it was or how people learned to cope with virtually having nothing to live on.  Having to cope with such adversity means you either become a survivor or you just give up all hope.

Grandma did not give up hope - she was determined to make it through the Great Depression no matter what she had to do.  In those days, there was no government assistance for the jobless and the homeless. 

Your destiny was fully in your hands.

From listening to her stories, I have been able to figure out what she did to not only live on a very meager existence but to save a tiny bit of money as well.  You see, my Grandma knew that something had to be put back for "bad times" so she had a hidden "penny jar".  She put whatever she could into the jar.  I don't know how living could have gotten worse; but, she was not going to leave anything to chance.  My Grandma may have been a "doomsday prepper" way back then.

She used everything and wasted nothing.  She was into repurposing before it became the in thing to do.  When items of clothing became completely worn out, they were cut up for quilt making or for rags.  Seed and feed bags were transformed into dish towels and wash cloths. If a chicken ended up as Sunday dinner, its feathers were scalded in boiling water and stored until enough had been accumulated for a feather pillow or even quilt stuffing.  The vegetable garden provided food for the table and scraps to feed the chickens.  If something broke down, my Grandpa did everything in his power to repair it himself.  He couldn't hire someone to fix it or even buy new parts for it. 

Doing-it-yourself was the only way to keep things going. 

If something had to be bought, they bought usedI remember her story about her sewing machine.  The sewing machine was absolutely a necessity.  She made their clothes, repaired clothes and anything else that a sewing machine could repair or make.  Grandpa could not make the old treadle machine work no matter what he tried.  After asking around, they found a used sewing machine that had been stored in a neighbor's barn.  The asking price was 50 cents and 2 dozen eggs.  The deal was made and, after Grandpa "tinkered around" with it, Grandma was back in action.

They did not borrow money or anything else.  If they had a need that they couldn't take care of themselves, they simply did without.  Borrowing money was not even a consideration because Grandma knew they might not be able to repay the debt.  No borrowing meant no debt of any kind was incurred.  Learning to live with what you had was a way of life for Grandma and Grandpa.

Lastly, Grandma attended church regularly.  She never missed an opportunity to put a little something in the offering plate.  Sometimes, the offering was a scrap of paper pledging to give the pastor a dozen eggs or a jar of homemade jelly that she hand delivered after the church service.  She believed in tithing and if it couldn't be a money tithe, she felt God would honor her "homemade" tithe. 

Grandma's ways to save worked for her. 

Her ideas were simple and only required willpower.  She had a can do mindset - failure was just not an option.  There is a popular saying today that just may apply to us as we try to become debt free and put something back for "bad times".  The saying is "Keep it Simple, Stupid".  Maybe, we just need to step back, take a second look at what we are trying to accomplish and stop making everything so difficult. 

 Kimberly Johns, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading Provider of Debt Relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Kimberly Johns

Kimberly is enrolled on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, Kim shares how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income in their home state of Illinois. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income. Kimberly generously shares smart and tested tips in her A Straight Talk on Debt blogs! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.