An Inside Look On The Frugal Life Of Former President Jimmy Carter

Jul 20, 2021 by apost team

James Earl Carter Jr., known as former President Jimmy Carter,  was born on October 1, 1924 in Plains Georgia. He served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. Prior to being president, Carter was a Georgia State Senator from 1963 to 1967 and the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. 

Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his dedication to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts, advancing democracy and human rights and promoting economic and social development. He achieved these goals through his work with The Carter Center. The Carter Center is a non-profit organization with the mission of advancing human rights and alleviating human suffering. The center was founded in 1982 after Carter finished his presidency. 

Carter has lived in Plains Georgia his entire life. He was born at the Wise Sanitarium, the hospital where his mother worked as a nurse, which makes him the first U.S. president to be born in a hospital. At the time of his birth, Plains was a boomtown of around 600 people. The former president’s father, James Earl Carter Sr., owned a general store and invested in farmland. 

When he was a U.S. Naval Academy student, Carter met his future wife, previously known as Rosalynn Smith, in the summer of 1945. After he proposed, Rosalynn said no at first because of a promise she made to her dying father that she would wait to marry until she graduated from college. She kept that promise and married Carter in 1946 after graduating from Georgia Southwestern College. Read on to learn more about the Carter family and their simple life in Plains.

Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter (1949), (Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

The Carters celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in 2021. Rosalynn told CNN that when she first met Carter she was quite smitten with him. "I thought he was the most handsome young man I had ever seen," she said to the news outlet. 

Their love was instant and has lasted the test of time. According to CNN, when he got home from his first date with Roslynn, Carter told his mother, "She's the girl I want to marry." 

A longtime friend of the Carters, Jill Stucky, told CNN that the former president trusted his wife above anyone else. "Rosalynn has always been that trusted adviser that is selfless. He knows for sure that she is looking out for others. And I don't know if President Carter would have been president without Rosalynn," Stuckey explained.

"They will never, ever give up once they set their mind to something, they put everything into it," Stuckey said. "And every day they try to eat right, exercise because they know the value of their presence to a project and they want to live as long as they can, so they can help as many people as they can."

When the news source asked Carter what his secret to a long marriage was, he answered, "First of all, it's best to choose the right woman, which I did. And secondly, we give each other space to do our own things. We try to be reconciled before we go to sleep at night, and try to find everything we can think of that we like to do together," he said. "So we have a lot of good times."

Jimmy Carter (2005), (R. Diamond/WireImage/Getty Images)

The Carters moved back to Plains after their time in Washington. They still live in the two-bedroom rancher they built in 1961, which is assessed at $167,000. The former president has always preferred to live modestly. He told Rolling Stone in 2011 that he still likes to shop for clothes at Dollar General. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Carter was asked how he feels about his fellow former presidents becoming millionaires off of giving speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He answered, “I don’t see anything wrong with it; I don’t blame other people for doing it. It just never had been my ambition to be rich.”

After his presidency, Carter had to sell the peanut farm that had been in his family for years. “We thought we were going to lose everything,” Rosalynn said. Carter then decided he would make money by writing and has written over 30 books. With the income from his books and the $210,700 annual pension he receives for being a former president, the Carter family is able to live comfortably. 

Despite being a very notable resident, the other residents of Plains see Carter as just another neighbor. “I grew up in church with him,” says Maya Wynn. “He’s a nice guy, just like a regular person.” Another Plains native, David Lane, said “He’s a good ol’ Southern gentleman.”

The feeling of respect and admiration is reciprocated by the Carters. The former president told The Washington Post, “We feel at home here. And the folks in town, when we need it, they take care of us.”

Jimmy Carter (2019), (Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

What do you think of Carter’s frugal lifestyle? Do you know anyone who has been married for 75 years? Let us know, and be sure to send this along to your loved ones.

Please scroll below for more stories :-)