Having a conversation with my grandma I discovered my family have been doing money saving tricks for generations.
My great grandma was a dab hand at making very little go a long way. One of the main points I took away from the conversation was that nothing was ever wasted.
I was surprised just how far this went. My great grandma was known as Granny Green. She was a small, feisty lady from Leeds who was a force to be reckoned with. I never had the opportunity to meet her but from what I’ve learnt she was an incredible woman. From turning old clothes into new ones to using bones for stock she knew it all.
My grandparents still live in the same village that my Granny Green lived in. It’s a small, community based village and one of the most interesting stories my grandma told me was about was the Pig Club.
The Pig Club was a way for a lot of members of the community to save money collectively. At the beginning of the year they would all invest in buying a pig. It was then fed the scraps from everyone’s kitchen. This not only fed the pig but also reduced the amount of waste per household.
When the time was right the meat was shared out between all that had taken part. I think this is a brilliant way to make a little go a long way and also keep a sense of community alive.
Learning skills such as knitting, sewing and embroidery also saved my granny a lot of money. Being able to make and mend your own clothes saved a fortune and these skills were also passed down to my grandma and my mother. There is nothing these incredible women can’t make.
When my parents got married my grandma used her skills and made nine bridesmaid dresses from scratch. It helped my parents save a lot of money on outfits.
Unfortunately, these skills haven’t been passed on to me I don’t have the patience to knit but I can use a sewing machine so it’s not all bad but if I need anything making I knew the perfect place to go.
I come from a historic market town called Grantham and in its heyday, the market was the place to get all your bargains. There wasn’t an item you couldn’t get but as with a lot of towns, Grantham declined and the market really suffered.
In my grandma’s day she remembers coming into town on the bus and getting everything from meat, fruit and veg to homewares and clothing all at bargain bottom prices.
There was even a weekly auction that took place selling anything and everything. My grandma recalls visiting with her mum Granny Green to purchase a dinner set for her new home. She came away with cutlery, plates, bowls, side plates, mugs, saucers and much more for just £2. We are talking 1950s but still a lot cheaper than if they were purchasing from a shop.
One of the biggest things that surprised me was the lack of food waste there seemed to be in fact there wasn’t any. Considering the huge amount of food that is wasted today it makes me think about what’s changed.
I think it must be our attitude towards food and what we class as food nowadays. Being told about making sheep’s brain soup, brawn made from pig’s trotters and even getting bones from the butchers to make stock from is all ways my granny stretched those pennies.