Na Na pinches her pennies

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

About Na Na

Hello, I’m known as Na Na on this blog and by my grand children.  Everyone else usually calls me Anita.

When I was born; technology was limited to the hand operated tools found on a very isolated rural farm without indoor plumbing or a power grid attachment.  Of course, being an infant, technology didn’t matter to me.  It was enough that I simply learned to walk and talk.  The president was Harry Truman.  We lived in very rural area.  My first year of school was in a one room school house.  By second grade a brand new school house had been built and new school buses took us there.

When I was in my teens;  technology had advanced to having running water in the house, a crank telephone, electricity had finally arrived, and we had a refrigerator.   I thought just having the ability to take a Saturday night bath, without hauling buckets of water, was absolute heaven.  I got married and had my first child.  The new president was Dwight Eisenhower.

When I was in my twenties; technology had come quite a long way.  Almost all of it intrigued me.  It was a fascinating world of new things to learn.   I wanted every new gidget and gadget I could buy for my house.  I became a part of the consumerism society.  I got a divorce and two years later remarried.  I had two more children.

When I was in my thirties;  technology was advancing much more rapidly.  I began to see how the newest gadgets became outdated the minute I walked out of the store.  I began to see the error of my ways and started going back to basic living.  I was dropping out of the “rat race” to find peace with my life and the gadgets I owned.  They became less important.  I had two more children.

When I was in my forties; technology was leaving me behind.  I realized I wasn’t quite up to date on the new buzz words.  I could figure many of them out by listening for awhile.  Then, I found this fascinating thing called the “Internet” that allowed me to make friends all around the world.  We had these things called newsgroups which were people with the same interests signing up in a list to talk with each other.  Newsgroups was an early version of “forum” before windows was invented.  I had two more children but one was stillborn.  My second oldest child died of cancer.

When I was in my fifties; technology had really advanced by leaps and bounds.  This new thing called “computer windows” made using the internet easier.  Computers had gotten smaller.  Telephones were smaller.  And, both these things could be carried with you where ever you wished to go.  I discovered “email lists” were the newest version of newsgroups.  I signed up for several and made many friends.  My oldest child committed suicide.  Three children passing before a parent is very difficult to endure.

When I was in my sixties;  Technology had become like a foreign language.  There were new buzz words like; Ipod, Iphone, type pad, texting, and others I can’t think of right now.  I’m still trying to figure out what most of the new buzz words mean.

My senior memory became a problem.  I realized this was happening to me and I wanted a way to leave my memories for my descendants to read someday.  I discovered this thing called “blogging” and worked very hard to learn about using it.  I wrote posts almost everyday.  Each post becoming a chapter of a paperless book of my life.  I wrote about what I was doing or what I happen to remember of my youth.

When I entered my seventies:  My dreams slowly died.  For 25 years, no matter how difficult or what I had to do without, I paid a mortgage payment every month.  Never missed and late only once.  It was my dream to pay off the mortgage and live rent free the rest of my life.  My dream was not to be.  I did pay off the mortgage but the neighborhood went downhill before I had a chance to enjoy being rent free.  The crime rate rose rapidly and was horrible.  Children as young as 8 and 10 began robbing seniors at bus stops and gangs would beat up people for just the fun of it.  People were getting shot and killed every single day.  People inside their homes were getting killed by stray bullets from outside.

Quilt customers no longer brought me work.  I was afraid for my kids or grands to visit.  I didn’t feel safe in my own home anymore.  When bullets hit my house for the third time, I sold my 80K house for 5K and moved to where I am now.  There is still crime around where I live but being on a dead end street helps keep the drive by stray bullets away.

Now today (2019); here I am still barely surviving in a rough economy.  The cost of absolutely everything keeps getting higher and higher but my social security doesn’t.  No matter how much I sacrifice.  No matter how often I juggle my budget.  I stay only half a step ahead of the bills.  Unless I win the lottery or a go fund me person sets up an account for me or a rich person pays off my house; I’ll never live rent free or be able to stop standing in food bank lines to survive.   Sigh.  Born poor, struggle for a lifetime, die poor.  Life is a 8itch and then you die.

23 comments on “About Na Na

  1. Carol
    March 7, 2019

    Dearest Anita,

    It’s Carol in New Jersey here. Happily in her early seventies. In no way worry about your spelling with us your dear on line friends. If I would slow up and read my texts it would save me a lot of time. The other night someone inquired about my dog’s health and I responded that since she was put on a diet that has duck in it, but used the F letter instead of the D letter and almost had a stroke when I read it after I had sent it. LOL We LOVE all the sane advice you give us in this crazy world and all your adventures. You could spin a great story about going to the trash can. Please try to stay just who you are, be well, happy and reread your texts? Haha,

    Warmest regards,


    • Anita
      March 8, 2019

      Thank you Carol. 🙂 Yes, I’m very careful about proofreading but even then some things don’t come out right. I often have a good chuckle at myself and move on. Life is not made any better by worrying after a mishap. Hmm, a story about going to the trash can. Yup, I’ve had a few trash adventures that might be worth telling. 🙂 You stay warm and stay safe in the bad weather up your way. We are expecting strong storms and wind here in Ky.

  2. Linda
    March 2, 2019

    Just found your blog off someone else’s blog. From reading I am thinking you and I are around the same age. I am in my mid 70’s, and remember a lot of the things you have posted on your blogs. I have been a saver ever since I can remember. I also like to take things that are thought of as junk, and make it into something I can sell. I am assuming that you are a quilter, or maybe you only crochet. I never learned to crochet. Do you only blog, or are you on a Yahoo group as well?

    • Anita
      March 7, 2019

      Hi Linda, yes I am a professional machine quilter. (retired) I think many of us older generation know the value of using what we have to make what we need. My Grandma Mama taught me many hand craft techniques. Knit, crochet, weave, quilt, etc. Mostly I make things because I need them. No, sorry I’m not on any yahoo groups anymore. Writing my blogs is all the internet time I can manage these days.

  3. Ruth Gaffey
    February 1, 2019

    Keep up the good work and God Bless you

    • Anita
      February 1, 2019

      Thank you Ruth.

  4. Carol
    July 15, 2017

    Dearest Nana, You are the best on the web. Somehow I found you when you were telling about changing light bulbs to save energy and money. By chance do you knit? I was given some needles and yarn along with some pamphlets but the
    directions for socks are way too hard. Can socks be croched?
    Thank you for your very wise advice. Oh, I am beginning on a storage pantry! Thanks again,

    • Anita
      July 15, 2017

      (aww, cheeks blushing) Thank you Carol. I’m glad to have you here. Comments are always welcome and may help another reader.

      Yes I do know how to knit. Its been a really long time though. I prefer to crochet. Yes, there are lots of free crochet sock patterns on the web. I’m hoping to crochet a couple pairs when the weather gets cooler. Maybe a pair of house slippers too. IF I can find a little extra time. Glad to see you are jumping on the pantry band wagon. I hope you don’t use anyone else’s idea of food to store. Store only what you and your family like to eat.

  5. Carol
    January 19, 2017

    Just found You on the web. I think I’m going to enjoy reading past posts…I’m trying to downsize my things it’s so hard almost everything has sentimental value to me…and I need start living more frugal…

    • Anita
      January 20, 2017

      Hi Carol, thanks for reading my blog. I hope find it useful.

  6. Jayne
    January 20, 2016

    I just found your blog today, and I am very impressed with it. I love your sense of humour and all the wonderful tips and ideas. Thank you!

    • Anita
      January 20, 2016

      Hi Jayne, glad you found me. Feel free to share anytime you want. I like knowing what others are doing to save money.

  7. johndent
    November 16, 2015

    I stumbled upon your blog today.. you remind me of my late grandmother. We call(ed) her “Mee Maw”… my Mother is a “Na Na” now…thank you for sharing your life and your frugal (aka “smart”) tips.

    • Na Na
      November 16, 2015

      You’re welcome and I appreciate the nice compliment.

  8. Linda Smith
    May 7, 2015

    Just found you as my computer skills are rudimentary. I’ve always been frugal & was doing pretty well on Social Security til I was recently blessed with 3 teenaged grandkids to raise. It’s a challenge but they’re good kids & it’s keeping me young. (I also have in-house tech support!) haha

    • Na Na
      May 8, 2015

      I’m glad to have you join me. Ooo, in house tech support. How lucky you are! You have checked into getting SS for the grands too? Checked into other benefits they may qualify for? I’m pretty sure you have but I’m curious.

      • Linda Smith
        May 8, 2015

        Thanks for your response! Yes, we get a small but appreciated stipend for food & Medicaid for kids. Oldest is in college on full scholarship (thank goodness she’s smart). Gas is above avg. in Idaho & you have to drive to get anywhere; those “wide open spaces” of the West. Haha I’ve been in same rented house for 10 yrs.; small for increased family size but we make it work. Not exactly how I imagined my “golden years” but I feel lucky to have them in my life. I never liked Bingo anyhow.

        On Fri, May 8, 2015 at 5:03 AM, Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal

        • Na Na
          May 9, 2015

          ha ha ha, I do go to bingo sometimes. I guess it is an old lady sport.

  9. Kathleen Wood
    April 28, 2015

    Hello Anita,
    I just found your blog a few days ago…I am loving it!! I am only 52 and a retired waitress…. I have always been fascinated by frugality.
    Over the last 10 or so years I have downloaded well over 250 frugal,housekeeping,daily life in 18??, books.
    I like to go back when you didn’t open a can of cream of whatever soup and pour over top…aahhhhh! I hate that…I love to cook from SCRATCH!..make my own chicken,beef and veg broths…no msg,no unidentified ingred….
    I like to find new ways of organizing…not that I am a clean freak …but I still enjoy trying. 😀
    .I am also hand quilting a blanket 7’x7′ quilt..just started that last week..first timer. 😀
    I also have on my wish list a pressure canner…15.5 is big enough?…just the hubby and I.
    Keep them coming…Loving it… 😀

    • Na Na
      April 29, 2015

      Thank you for reading my blog. I post as often as I’m able. Life comes before the computer.

      Wow, that is a lot of older books. You must have hundreds of good scratch recipes in that collection. Do you read through the books often or have you got your favorite recipes to use?

      About the canner, I believe a smaller size is best for just one or two people. Mine holds 10 pint jars and is just the right size for me. I guess it depends on how much canning you plan to do and how often.

      A 7 by 7 quilt is a pretty ambitious size for a beginner. A bit of advice…. take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t let it overwhelm you. Quilting is supposed to be enjoyable, not stressful.

      • Kathleen Wood
        April 29, 2015

        I get a lot of the books from and other free downloads on-line.most of them are about the same..every once in awhile you find a different recipe…some of my favorites that I read so often are Catherine Owens..they are her life stories and she actually had them published first as a newspaper article for women back in 1888..they are a great read..”Ten Dollars Enough” is one of my favorites.
        I actually made my 7×7 quilt about 10 yrs ago..I just tied it and made the mistake of just tying it every 12 inches..oopppps . it didn’t take long for the batting to shift and bunch in the corners…and fessing up here …I washed it way too many times…live and learn.So I took the front and back apart…threw the old batting away and got some new…a friend of mine loaned me her quilt poles and horses for stretching and rolling it so I can quilt it by hand(her grandmothers tradition)…Thanks for the advice…I am going to take my time. I have watched a few youtube videos on rocking…lol yeah right…just gonna try and make as even as I can and not try perfection just 😀
        Just started my garden 3 weeks ago ..we shall see how the harvest goes before I plan my canning days.
        Thanks again 😀

  10. Sarah Severns
    February 22, 2015

    Hi NaNa.

    I have been a life long penny pincher, at times poor, and blessedly doing better financially now. Even though there is some money in the wallet, I still am a frugal soul, trying to make do or do without. thanks so much for sharing your journey, it makes a difference.

    I look forward to reading your posts.

    Sarah in Kansas

    • Na Na
      February 23, 2015

      Thank you Sarah for reading.

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