Lessons from the past.

A little while ago, I stumbled across an article on the Chatelaine website entitled ‘Nine money tips from Grandma’. The article offered nine old-timey money saving tips, which ranged from ‘duh’ to ‘hmm..good idea’, but more importantly, got me thinking about my grandparents and finances back in the day. My grandparents lived through the Great Depression, a World War, and a few recessions without credit cards, massive quantities of debt or winning the lottery. They managed to do this while raising big families (8 kids!), have a farm, build a house, retire, build a retirement house and have a place in Florida. They lived my dream (except for the 8 kids bit)!

How did they manage life and money? I decided to visit my grandma and asked her about it. Here’s her pearls of wisdom:

  • She said she never felt entitled to anything. Money had to be earned and earning money involved hard work, therefore, it wasn’t spent on frivolous things.
  • Nothing went to waste: hand-me-downs were handed down until they couldn’t be and then they were turned into rags for cleaning; old linens were cut into rags too, or cut up and used to make quilts. I have a quilt my grandmother made from my grandfather’s old jeans (a great idea and makes a super heirloom!)
  • They saved money by growing most of their food, canning and preserving extras for winter. There’s a way to can everything. Canned peaches are my favourite!
  • Always live within your means and remember the priorities: roof over your head and food on the table. The rest is extra.

I know I’m bad for throwing things out instead of trying to fix them or re-use them, and buying frivolous things. Do I really need more shoes? Earrings? An ipad? No, I’m pretty sure I will survive without those things. This summer I plan on taking full advantage of the garden and grandma’s canning recipes. My grandparents have inspired me to be much more aware of how I spend my money and to fight the temptation to spend, spend, spend.

Do you have any money-saving or money-managing tips from your grandparents?

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