My grandparents never forgot the Great Depression. Granddaddy talked about not having “one red cent!” Everything was bartered. They traded farm-raised pigs, cattle, chickens and what they grew in their garden for sugar, flour and other necessities. Necessities were all they thought about. There was never any money leftover for extras.
Even as their lives improved after the Great Depression ended, my grandparents never stopped being frugal with their money. It was a way of life. They purchased a home and paid it off in five years. (Unheard of these days!)
They purchased new cars every three to five years with a note to pay them off in a year. Everything else was paid in cash and what they did buy was always very modest. Like I said, no extras. Not even for their grandchildren.
You always knew what they were getting you for your birthday and Christmas – socks and underwear. What kid looks forward to that?? At the time, we just didn’t understand where they were coming from.