Monday, 28 September 2015

Frugal hero(ines) 4

Down a generation for my next hero.  Grandad and Grandma's son-in-law.  In other words, my Father.

My sixty fourth birthday is approaching and my Father would now have been over a hundred years old so for some of my readers he is old enough to have been their grandfather or even great grandfather - maybe even great great grandfather but that makes me feel very old myself.  He was born just after the outbreak of the Great War and was the eldest child of a family of eight.

My paternal grandparents are not as vivid in my memory as my maternal ones but they must have been truly devoted parents.  Their youngest child had severe epilepsy which was regarded with great suspicion in those days.  They were urged to commit him to an institution but grandma was adamant that she was the best person to care for him which she did until he died aged fourteen (quite a while before I was born).   Of the remaining seven three went to Grammar School which was impressive for a steelworks labourer's family in those days.  My father was one of the lucky three.

Daddy left school when he was about seventeen and became an apprentice on the steel works but he was a hard working man and he steadily worked his way up to become general manager of those same works.  His salary was good and I didn't understand for years why we always lived in rented houses.

The reason?  He still took a lot of responsibility for his parents and younger siblings and he bought the house in which my grandmother lived until she was well into her eighties.  He would not commit to a mortgage on a second house until the first was paid off.  

He abhorred debt.  If you could not pay for something you didn't have it.  You saved a cushion for emergencies and you planned your spending.  

So the frugal example of my Father was two fold.  First and obviously, you do not get into debt.  I didn't always take this to heart when I was younger but these days I like a good night's sleep.  The second thing might not seem so much frugality as ethics but it is this: you take your financial responsibilities seriously.  Daddy was grateful for the sacrifices his parents had made and after making sure that my mother and sister and I were OK, he continued to help them until their deaths


  1. I don't know how much of our attitudes and values are influenced by genetics or by example. We are all so lucky today really and like you I think often of the sacrifices and hardships of those gone before. That's why I feel important that these memories are recorded as once out of living memory they could so easily be lost.

    My parents would be well over a hundred now too and many of my ancestors lived and died in workhouses. What we now see as frugal living I'm sure many of our forbears would have seen as luxury...

  2. what a wonderful lesson learned! I agree that our parents/grand-parents influence us in these areas much more than they think they did, mostly by example. I know that my mother was a bit flighty with money and there was always a bit of tension between her and my dad over it so as I grew into an adult and had a home (and a salary) of my own, I was much more frugal. During times when we have been more solvent I have let my guard drop some but I am ready to pick it back up again when I need to and I don't feel at all deprived. Money is such an influential thing in our lives and we do need to know how to deal with it.

  3. If all the world took such responsibility in caring for family and dealing with money, oh what a much MUCH better world this would be. Your father's story is very inspiring!

    Both of my parents were born later into very large families so my grandparents if still alive (my Paternal Grandpa is the only one still here) would be getting very close to 100. Thus you don't have to be feeling so old by me, your father is of the same generation as my grand parents :)

  4. He was great. There was never any doubt that his wife and children (including me) had first call on him but his birth family would never be let down by him.