Simple frugal living with my Grandfather. In 2009 when I was 18 years old I decided to pack up and move back to Omapere in New Zealand where I am from. My goal was to move back to reconnect with my roots and learn my native language. I would live with my Grandfather for the entire year. My Grandfather and I have always had a close relationship so the prospect of living with him excited me. I would attend a tertiary educational school during the days and continue my learning at home with him being a native speaker. Overall the time I spent with him was among the best in my life so far. I learnt more in 1 year about my culture than I had in my entire life.
But, what I also learnt was this although I did not know at the time. Simple frugal living from my Grandfather.
At the time I took no notice of these lessons but now I understand and would like to finally share!
Showers were kept short. Enough time to bathe and wash yourself and that’s it. Saving on the water bill in the long run. To be fair we lived right next to the beach so if I felt like soaking for a while I could just stroll across to the ocean and relax in the waves there.
If there were excess fresh ingredients like onions, cucumbers or fruits we would preserve them in a couple different ways. We could pickle them which would extend the shelf life incredibly. We could make jams from fruits to be stored in the pantry and used over time. Lastly we could make chutney. If you haven’t tried a fruit chutney recipe I suggest you do! They are absolutely delicious!
Always use up leftovers
Leftovers from every meal were always eaten and combined in the next meal to not waste cooked food (or ‘kai’ as it is known in my language).
No scraps are wasted
Scraps from peeling potatoes, fruit peels or other vegetable scraps were put to use as well. Where my grandfather lives is considered a rural town in a pensioner village on the beach.
Every household in the village has a pig bucket. All scraps from fruits and vegetables are put into these buckets, Once a week the farmers would come around and swap our full buckets for empty ones. Using all our scraps to feed their pigs.
No part of our fruits and vegetables went in the garbage which is just awesome. No waste there,
Gardening is exercise
In front of the house as well as behind there were small gardens. For the most part the gardens were a resource for exercise. You’d be surprised how much effort it takes to maintain a decent size garden on your own as an elderly person.
Learning cures boredom
Living in a rural town can become somewhat boring for an 18 year old. To pass the time I found myself learning more and more everyday. This was before the days where you could pass time by laughing at memes for hours. I taught myself how to play a guitar, most of what I still know today 10 years on. Using all the free time to my advantage soaking up any knowledge I could from any source including my Grandfather. Sometimes I reminisce on all the spare time I had back then.
Meal time is the same time everyday
My Grandfather is an ex-military man. He served as a Major in the New Zealand Army Corps for decades. As a result of this he keeps his routine very much to a strict consistency. Every meal we ate at the same time everyday. Breakfast 7am. Lunch 12pm (on days that I was not at my studies) and Dinner 6pm.
After a couple weeks adjusting I found myself not getting hungry in between meals. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. I unconsciously became used to eating at these times. I wouldn’t get hungry in between and would eat enough to fuel me until my next meal.
When your not snacking in between meals a couple things happen. Firstly, you don’t spend as much money on snacks and bad foods. Secondly, your body adjusts to keeping you fuelled for this time in between meals and keeps you from being hungry. I found myself happier and healthier because of this.
Simple Frugal Living
The year I spent living with my Grandfather at home was rewarding in many many ways. We spent a lot of quality time of which I still hold close to my heart now. He taught me many lessons of which I live by in my adult life now. He exposed me to simple frugal living before I had any idea I would be interested in the lifestyle. And lastly, I learnt the value of spare time whilst having plenty of it.