Six Things My Grandpas Taught Me About Financial Success

What My Grandparents Taught My About Finances{Both of my grandpas with me as a young girl on Easter.}

 TIAA-CREF recently surveyed a number of grandparents and grandchildren across the country. I was interested to read that this was one of the findings from their survey:

We discovered that grandchildren not only want to talk to grandparents about money and savings, but also that they view their grandparents as positive role models when it comes to the importance and ability to save money.

Read more here.

I so agreed with this, because I attribute much of my own personal financial success to my grandparents — my grandpas especially. My parents were highly, highly instrumental in shaping my thoughts on finances, debt, spending, and saving, but it was my grandparents who first laid the foundation for them.

There is so much I could share about how my grandparents impacted me. My grandmas taught me so much and set such great examples for me in many areas. But when it comes to finances, it’s hard to think of anyone who has impacted me more than my grandpas.

Here are six things my grandpas taught me about financial success:

1) Be a Disciplined and Diligent Person

Both of my grandpas have lived lives of productivity.

My dad’s dad (whom we affectionately call “Pop”) was one of the hardest working men I’ve met — right up until he passed away. He was usually up before 6 a.m. and he’d go out and walk and then start in on his day. Even after he retired, he never stopped working. He was always fixing things, building things, and looking for people to help.

My mom’s dad, Grandpa Duane, is still going strong. He keeps everything in their home and in his shop in meticulous order. He cares for his wife, my step-grandma, and is always thinking of others. It amazes me how much he does, even in his eighties! In fact, just recently, he was out on my parents’ property flying one of his planes. I hope that I’m still as active and driven as he is when I’m a great-grandma!

What My Grandpas Taught Me About Financial Success{Pop helping me with a present I’d just opened for my birthday while my older sister, Brigette, looks on.}

2) Save Your Money Carefully

I can’t think of any time I’ve seen either of my grandpas spend money frivolously or extravagantly. Every purchase they’ve made has been made carefully. Time and time again, I’ve seen them wait to buy something they wanted until they had saved up for it and were sure they were getting a good deal.

At the same time, I’ve also seen them be generous with their wives, their children and their grandchildren. I truly believe that the thought and intention they put into wisely managing their money gave them the opportunity to be able to bless others more.

3) Never Pay Full Price for Anything

I remember when Pop passed away and we were going through his house, we found multiple brand-new pairs of the same kind of shoe he always wore. We were curious what this was about until we realized that he’d found a great sale on them (they still had the clearance prices on them), so he’d bought extra for the coming years.

Not only do I love this story because it shows his wisdom in always planning ahead, but I also love it because it shows how simple he liked to keep things. He always wore the same kinds of clothes and shoes and once he found a brand/make that worked well and held up, he just stuck with that.

We’d often tease Pop about how he would buy extra of items like peanut butter if they were on a great sale. Looking back, I’m pretty sure he’s somewhat to blame for my bargain-shopping nature. And I’m incredibly grateful for the example he set and all the money he’s inspired me to save over the years!

What My Grandpas Taught Me About Financial Success

{Grandpa Duane with my brother, Dustin, my sister, Brigette, and me — yup, fingers in my mouth and all! ;)}

4) Think Through Purchases

I’ve observed both of my grandpas purchase a house in my lifetime. In both cases, I saw them think through the purchases very carefully.

They took their time. They asked for counsel of others. They considered their options.

And they didn’t just run ahead and get something because it looked like a great option. They wanted to make sure it was the best option. And in each case, the time and thought they put into these big purchases turned out to serve them well.

5) Use It Up, Wear It Out

My grandpas were experts at this! Why buy something new when the old one will do just as well? They took very good care of all of their possessions and made them last as long as they could. And it’s amazing how long they could make something last!

We would often joke with Pop about the fact that maybe he should replace his hole-y sweat pants or t-shirts, but he’d keep wearing them until they were completely and 100% worn out. While I haven’t quite gone this far, I do wear and wear and wear my clothes and shoes, usually until they are very well-worn. And this not only simplifies my life, but it saves us a lot of money.

What My Grandpas Taught Me About Financial Success

{My dad’s mom holding me for the first time while Pop looks on and holds my older sister, Brigette.}

6) Don’t Go Into Debt — Except for a House

One thing that Pop ingrained in my dad was that you should never go into debt for anything except a house. From the beginning of my parents’ marriage, they followed this principle.

And then they took it one step further.

When I was around six years old, my parents decided to do something radical and work hard to pay off their house. They then saved up everything they could.

When I was ten years old, we sold that house and bought land out in the country. My dad bought an old single-wide trailer for a few thousand dollars and moved it to the land.

The trailer didn’t have an oven, didn’t have heat or air conditioning, leaked crazily every time it rained, had a bad mice problem, and was in fairly disgusting shape when we got it. But after days of elbow grease, we got it in livable shape, moved most of our possessions into a storage unit, and moved the basic necessities into that trailer.

We spent seven months in that trailer while we were building our house. I could write a book of stories from that experience. But most all of the memories are very happy memories and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.

At the end of seven months, our new house was finished enough that we could move into it. And it was a huge celebration to make it to that day… and for my parents to have realized their dream of building a house debt-free.

Let me tell you: Pop’s encouragement to my dad to never go into debt except for a house and then seeing my parents take that advice and go even further with it, well, that has a profound effect on you as a child. Especially when you then see your parents go on and be in position to be able to give generously because they worked so hard to no longer have a house payment.

Truly, my husband and I owe so much to our parents and grandparents. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that we would never be in the position we are in financially nor would we have paid cash for our first house were it not for my grandparents influence and examples. And we are eternally grateful.

Want to start a conversation between your kids and their grandparents about money and finances? Or are you a grandparent who would love to know how to talk to your grandkids about money? Check out these free downloadable resources for tips and ideas to start the conversation.

{Note: This post was underwritten by TIAA-CREF. See my disclosure policy here.}


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Brigette’s Bulk Foods Grocery Shopping Trip

We’ve been traveling the past few weeks, visiting family and friends, so I haven’t done any weekly grocery shopping. I DID, however, visit a couple of my favorite places while we were back in Michigan (where we used to live).

We discovered the Amish bulk foods store by accident one day, years ago, when driving around. It is not advertised and doesn’t have a phone number or website! It is the cheapest place I have ever found wheat kernels (no tax or shipping!), and I have been a loyal, happy customer for many years.


I divide the 50-lb bags into ziptop bags and store them in the freezer

Countryside Bakery and Bulk Foods

(2204 29 Mile Rd, Homer, MI 49245)

1 50-lb bag Prairie Gold Hard White Spring Wheat Kernels – $27.95

1 50-lb bag Oats – marked down to $16.95

1 3-lb bag Cocoa Powder – $14.95

(16 oz Cinnamon – $2.49) My sister-in-law actually bought this for me and gave it to me ahead of time – but I am including it in the picture because it came from this store and I was planning on purchasing it.

4 oz. Ground Ginger- $1.99

Total: $61.84


J and D’s Honeybees

(13521 Allman Road, Concord, MI 49237)

1 gallon (12.5lbs) of Raw Honey – $37.50 (We actually bought four gallons while we were there, but only one is for us. This is the best, cheapest place I have ever found raw honey. We’ve paid as little as $25 a gallon over the years we’ve been buying from them, but apparently this was a really bad year for the bees and there is a shortage of honey so the prices are up. It’s still worth it to this honey-loving family!)

Total: $37.50


 Sam’s Club

2 (54-oz) jars Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil @ $15.00 each – $30.00

Total: $30.00

Grand Total for all Bulk Purchases: $129.36

I didn’t plan a weekly menu this week as my kitchen is undergoing a major renovation over the next few days and it’s almost impossible for me to cook in it right now. My older three children are staying with grandparents all week, so my husband and I are kind of in eat-whatever-you-can-find-that-doesn’t-require-kitchen-prep mode, supplemented by the occasional out-to-eat treat. :) Looking forward to getting back to a more normal schedule soon!

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How to Make Delicious Homemade Lattes — Without an Espresso Machine!


I’ve heard rave reviews of this Homemade Latte Recipe ever since I posted it. And I’ve wanted to try it, but I was happy with my regular coffee with cream and sugar so I figured, why change it?

Well, in the last few months, I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of most sugar in my diet. And a few weeks ago, I stopped using sugar in my coffee altogether.

{Can we all take a moment of silence? Did you read what I just wrote? This girl who has had a lifelong sweet tooth, STOPPED USING SUGAR IN HER COFFEE?!?

I’m not even sure that I can communicate the magnitude of that statement. Next thing you know, I’m going to start a blog about doing car repairs or something. Well, I may need to first learn the name of the car I drive (babysteps, babysteps…). But hey, if I can do something I never thought would be remotely possible — drink coffee without sugar and like it — who knows what I might do next?! :)}

Good Girl MoonshineGood Girl Moonshine

Bulletproof CoffeeBulletproof Coffee

At any rate, as a result, I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of coffees and drinks, including Good Girl Moonshine and Bulletproof Coffee.

{If you Google the recipes for those, please promise me you won’t write me off as total crazy. Because I liked both recipes and have made them multiple times. I know… I may be going through a midlife crisis or something. ;)}

Homemade Latte

As I experimenting with different recipes, I remembered this Homemade Latte Recipe and knew it was high time I try it. I used some of my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to purchase the Aerobie Aeropress and AeroLatte Frother.

Homemade Latte

I’d never made espresso before and was super impressed with how easy it was to make!

Homemade Latte

When you pull the Aeropress off the cup, the most amazing coffee smell wafts up. Love it!

(Also, totally unrelated: but notice how I’m keeping my nails painted thanks to the encouragement from some of you in the comments here. And it’s been over a week and it’s totally working to kill my nail-biting habit. And it makes me so happy to look down and see my red nails. I have hope that they are going to grow out all pretty, long, and strong… but for now I’m celebrating the little victories.)

Homemade Latte

This frother is absolutely so much fun!

Homemade Latte

And there you have it! An amazing cup of Homemade Latte for much, much less than you’d pay at the coffee shop and without using an Espresso Machine.

Homemade Latte

You can find the detailed recipe here. Also: if you want to make a Breve Latte, just substitute Half and Half for the milk, like I did. And then don’t go look up the calorie count after you make it like I did… yikes! ;)

Homemade Latte

What are your favorite at-home coffee drinks to make?

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