No prizes for guessing the last frugal heroine in this short series - Mother.
Sometimes I resented the frugality of the fifties, the decade in which I spent my childhood. One economy which I really resented was "sides to middling". If a sheet from their double bed got worn out the two sides would be joined together, the worn out middle bit would be cut away and the new sides hemmed to form a "new" single sheet - very economical. The trouble was that the French seam used to join the old sides was right up the middle of my bed and not very comfortable. I longed for new sheets (but I liked the super-soft hankies made from the remains of the worn out middles).
Christmas was a time of more extravagance but the phrase "stocking filler" was not to arrive in our language for many years. We had a single present from our parents and maybe something small from the various aunts and uncles. Selfish little horrors that we were we took it for granted that adults didn't get presents - I think we believed they had everything they could possibly want anyway. However, I remember that as a small child I was not allowed to unwrap my presents until a grown-up had removed all the sellotape for me - the paper had to be saved for next year.
Mother never went out to work but she worked very hard at home. She made all clothes for my sister and me and she even learnt shirt making but I think she decided that making shirts for my father was not successful. However she would unpick the collars and cuffs from his worn work shirts and "turn" them, extending the life of the garment considerably. She was always knitting or darning, unless the garden needed her attention.
In many ways I had quite a privileged childhood. My father was a white collar worker, mother was always at home when I got home from school and I was always loved and cared for. I had properly fitting shoes (always bought new, even if quite a lot of clothes were had-me-downs from various cousins) and I could always go on any school trip. In retrospect I know that much of that security came from Mother's hard work.
But Mother often said No to demands from my sister and me. No new sheets, no ripping off wrapping paper, no cheap clothes from the shops. I suspect that sometimes I sulked and was "a little Madam" in the face of many noes, but because of her constancy in making everything last there I was aware of no hardship and there was no debt.