50 Comments

  1. You’re Nana sounds like a fascinating and amazing person. This sums it up for me: “Because she understood money well, she knew that it wasn’t just for saving.”

    That’s golden life and money advice.

    • Thank you, Jason! I appreciate your comment here and your kind words on Twitter. Also, a big thank you for the support you’ve given me and my blog!

  2. I love this Penny! Your manifesto has warmed my heart on this -11C day. A lesson I’ve learned from my grandmother is the importance of doing stuff with your hands. She taught me how to sew, and quilt. And even when she didn’t have her own license, she made sure I got mine, so I didn’t ‘have to depend on a man to get around’. She’s one smart cookie, my Grandma.

    • Oh, I love all of this! I wish I had taken more time to learn how to needlepoint and cook. I was too busy eating 😉 I did learn how to bake pretty well, though!

      And I love that grandmas are all about raising independent granddaughters!

  3. Ray

    My grandparents… they did e verything the old fashion way…. hard work!!! Nothing was granted or given, you worked for it. Oh what I’d give to be back on my grandpatents or great grandparents farm. Outhouse, wood kitchen stove, pump handle kitchen sink, coal lamps, fresh eggd, raw wild honey, the garden…. oh Lord take me back….

    • My dad has stories of his parents like this, too! My nana was a city girl through and through, but she used to make everything from scratch. She’d get her clean linens and spread them out everywhere and lay fresh pasta dough on them. I can’t even put the picture into sentences, but it was a sight to see! Definitely a different world.

  4. Viola

    Your NANA SOUNDS LIKE MY NANA 🙌🏾❤️💐💔My nana lived to be 85…she out lived my mother…her middle daughter 💕 I pick up pennies and have graduated to nickels dimes and sometimes quarters!! Even drove into a parking lot and found a $20 bill 🙌🏾 I’m the oldest in my family on my nana’s side 💐

  5. David

    Best lesson my Grandma ever taught me was always have a savings account that you dont need. Start it slow..5 dollars or so and over years build it up till you have 6 months to a year worth of living
    Took me 25 years to build it up to 25k but I did it. I dont use it, dont need it, but it’s there. She always said if you have 6 months to a year of living expenses saved up there is no boss in the world whom you cant tell to go F himself

    • Whoa, that is an amazing lesson. Way to go, Grandma! And of course, congrats to you. That is a huge amount saved. It sounds like your grandma coined the idea of an F U fund. I LOVE IT!

  6. Pamela J. Davis Thayer

    My Mom Leophil Philleo aka Peggy was also a child during the depression. Raised in Washington D.C. as a child Peggy would want money, so her ingenious idea was to sell herself on Sunday’s to childless couples who wanted to take the tour of the White House. Sunday’s were reserved for families only. So she charged each couple $5.00 and they were allowed to enter the White House on Family Day. My Mom went without during a time of great sadness for AMERICA ! It left her scarred as many others in our nation were.
    Picking up pennies was her way of always having money and that she did. When my Mom died due had 4 & 1/2 five gallon Sparkletts bottles filled with pennies. Each one held over $500.00, they were to be given to her grandchildren. So every member of my family has always picked up pennies and said ” I know my Mom, Nana in heaven is thinking of me today “. A penny is a gift of love where we come from… For my Mom…

    • Oh, Pamela. This made me cry! My nana died with a Pringles can full of coins. She stashed it on top of her shoe rack in her closet. I am so glad you shared Peggy’s story with me. What a remarkable AND STRONG lady!

  7. steve T lawson

    Beautiful story my friend, I’m 46 years old and I pick up any coins I fine. I was at Hardee’s I pick up 84 cents 1 time, I’m a coin dealer, and I pick up a miss stuck dime, I sold that dime for 6500.00 Thank You For Sharing. God Bless You I Pray You And Your Family Have A Wonderful Day

    • Oh, Steve! I wish my nana was still around so I could read her this story. I can hear here crystal clear in my mind. She would look at you and say, “Get out of town!” What a find that dime was 😀

  8. Penny I just love your post it was so good it made me cry but it was a happy cry I know your grandmother would be so proud of you and I thought of my grandmother as I read it thanks so much for making my day I as one thing pray for my sister she in the hospital it’s her heart she is 68 and I am 65 again thank you for making my day I needed it so much god bless you honey

    • Oh, Susan! I will keep your sister in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you both strength <3 And maybe I'll find some pennies and think lucky thoughts for you too 😉

  9. Alex

    My Grandpa had Parkinson’s disease for most of the time I was with him. Me and my Sister were wth him when he took his last breath and went to sleep in Death. It was the first time we saw him smile. He taught us both not to be afraid of death. I’m 75 years old now and I hope to see him some day. Love you GP.

    • That is really amazing that you were able to be there with him, Alex. I’m sure that took so much strength, and I’m so happy you got to see him smile. I hope you also get to see him again <3

  10. Pam

    I always pick up pennies

    Some say only pick up the ones with heads up….it doesn’t amount to riches. You’re Nana’s love does !!! Love this post and God Bless you sweetie

    • That’s so funny that you say that, Pam! I remember someone telling my nana that once. Something to the effect that the tails up ones were bad luck. “Only for the person who doesn’t pick them up!” 😀

  11. I don’t know that I learned any specific lessons from my grandparents. Living in Alaska, I only got to see them every couple of years — and then I barely saw them at all during my teen years when we stopped traveling at Christmastime (I had work, for one thing).

    I guess what I learned from my grandmother is that you have to make yourself, but only because her life was a cautionary tale of hitching your happiness to a partner. It didn’t work out either time, and while she was married until the day that she died, she was painfully lonely and unhappy for a fair chunk of her second marriage, which broke my and my mother’s heart.

    Especially because he was older, so she should have by rights outlived him and had time to discover herself and finally put herself first. But that didn’t happen. Damn cancer. So now that I’m divorced I’m convinced that I’ll be VERY careful who I choose to partner with from here on out. I spent enough years unhappy and stressed out. I know she wouldn’t want me to repeat her mistakes (again).

    • I am so sorry that she had to go through that and that you had to learn that lesson. (Though I’m very happy for everything that’s transpired for you this year!) I think it’s very easy to glamorize “the way things were in the olden days.” But I think grandparents–and grandmas in particular–had to endure a lot of things that we forget about!

  12. JC Clark

    I’m sorry to be critical but there is no such monetary denomination of the penny in the USA. There is a Cent. The penny or pence is an European and British monetary denomination. This is why the reverse has “One Cent” stamped on the reverse of the coin.

    • Except in America, we routinely refer to cents as pennies.

      This reminds me a little of when people point out that tomatoes are not actually a vegetable. Ok, yes, but we commonly refer to it as a vegetable. Everyone knew what we meant. 😉

      And this all reminds me of this quote:

      “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

    • Michael Detterman

      I too, learned that lesson from my grandparents. I’ve been picking up and saving pennies for 45 years now. I now have a milk can that weighs 176 lb of pennies

  13. Lawrence Yarbrough

    Watch out for the man with the big hat. To grandma that meant the police. And til this day that has made me make good decisions and stay out of trouble. Thank God for Grandma’s.

    • Oh, that made me laugh. Thank you, Lawrence! I needed that today. I could definitely hear a grandma giving advice like that. I bet yours was very special!

  14. Barbara Steinbock

    Your Nana and I both picked up pennies, and I still do. I grew up in an orphanage, never knowing my background. The nuns educated me through high school and then escorted me out of the front gate.
    I was very poor, hungry, and homeless. I began picking up pennies and whatever coins I found. I am retired now but still pick up. I will think of your Nana at each new penny I pick up. It is like she is watching over me.

  15. Grant Hatcher

    My Grandma, the sweetest, nicest, and utterly wise woman, that I have ever known. My friend, my champion when everyone else quit me. ( for good reasons I’m sure) Well she had these short , brilliant and power packed nuggets of wisdom. Well one day she told me , “Honey, life sucks.” I was shocked! What this lady doesn’t swear or say mean things.. and what do you mean? She explained; ” Life sucks… its full of hardwork, heartaches and breaks, probably more bad times then good, so when the good times come with family, rewards from work or just a content nice nap. Appreciate what you have and remember the good times.” Alright Grandma, I love you.

    • What a lady she must have been, Grant! I am so glad that she was in your corner. The fiercest love in the world is the love of a grandma, isn’t it? And where do they come up with these things?! I remember the first time I heard my nana deliver that line about “poop” happens. My jaw hit the floor! But darn it if they aren’t right!

  16. Mia Grant

    I always pick up pennies, and I say increase everytime.Have you ever heard the term “Pennies from heaven” one thing my grandmother taught me was to always buy myself something when I got a payday. Even if it’s just a pair of earrings. Always be kind to myself..

    Thank you for this blog..

    • Wow, Mia. How sweet and how important. It’s a good idea to take time to treat ourselves just a bit, isn’t it? Your grandmother was very wise!

  17. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother! She sounds like an amazing person. For me, my blog is also named in honour of my grandmother. Whenever she would pour a cup of tea (in a Royal Doulton teacup) and there were little bubbles in the centre, she would say “you have money in your tea!” Then you’d have to scoop it out on a tiny teaspoon and drink that first.

  18. William T Carroll

    very heartwarming to read these comments. i also pick up any coin that I come across. the most important reason is stamped on the coin, In God we trust. that phrase gives value, far greater than any monetary worth.

    • I think it was one of the most consequential moments in my life. It sounds absurd and overly dramatic, I know! I remember being so sad and so struck by the idea that someone had found a way to care about so many people so deeply that cashiers would come to her funeral.

      It was a great reminder of how important of an investment our communities and other people are!

  19. Hannah

    I am so thankful for this memorial of your Nana! I could write a similar one, but I’ll keep mine short.

    My grandpa, an entrepreneur through and through once told me, “You never have to worry about being out of work. There’s always work to be done. The only problem is running out of money.” His focus was always on enjoying work, and he said his favorite time of the week was Monday morning. Sometimes he earned a lot of money, but he lost a lot of money too.

    My grandma was the type of woman who never let anyone insult or hurt her grandkids simply because we were hers. She was incredibly generous, and often invited us and our friends over to her house for pizza (my grandpa had one tenant who paid his rent in kind, aka in pizza). Everyone who met her wanted to be her grandkid too.

    I think the biggest money lesson that I learned from my grandparents is the importance of generosity. They were generous with their stuff (my dad often tells about the times when they didn’t have cars to get places because both my grandma and grandpa lent one out to someone in need), their money (not just with us, but also with charitable organizations and their church), and their lives- they always had a kind word to say, they faithfully volunteered at their church and incivic organizations and they were quick to make time for people who needed them.

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