The Greatest Saver

Today I pay tribute to the greatest saver I’ve ever known, Joyce – a lady who never, ever wasted anything.

Joyce was born in Sydney in 1913, and the great depression and Second World War largely shaped her attitude towards money. She was lucky enough to be supported by her husband Herb and family over these years, and didn’t spend time in the jobless queues herself.

In the early 1930’s, and newly married, the couple were given a block of land in Sydney which they built on for a cost of $500. In 1939 she said goodbye to work and hello to twin girls, and within 18 months they had a third child.

Joyce and Herb stayed in the house they’d built until well after the 3 children had grown up and left. Then one day, in mid conversation with Joyce, Herb dropped to the floor and died instantly from a stroke. Despite being the state manager of an insurance company, Herb had no life insurance.

Suddenly alone and without a husband to support her, Joyce needed to draw on all her resources and strength to get by on a government pension. It didn’t help when the house was broken into twice in quick succession, so she made the decision to move to a unit on the 4th floor of a block of flats that had no elevator. Joyce figured that by the time any thieves were to make it up the stairs, they’d be too buggered to rob her.

Joyce did not waste one scrap of food or single cent over the 1970’s, 80’s or 90’s, allowing her to regularly visit family in country NSW and even go on holidays to destinations such as central Australia and Fiji.

In her later years she was able to save $100 a week from her pension by doing things like recycling the wrapping paper from presents she’d received and using it to wrap gifts she gave to others.

Now that she’s passed away, you won’t find her name on a list of heroes or Order of Australia recipients. She will simply be remembered by those who knew her as a kind, generous, loving lady.

I’ll remember her as my Grandma.

RIP Joyce Haggarty 1913 – 2011

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