10 Money-Saving Actions You Should Adopt From Your Grandparents


Time is running out. Two of the most beloved generations are fading away fast and taking their hard-earned financial wisdom with them.

Members of the G.I. Generation, otherwise known as “The Greatest Generation” (born 1901-1924), were children during World War One and young adults during World War Two and the Great Depression.  They learned the importance of frugal living out of necessity and taught their children, members of the“Silent Generation” (born 1925-1945), the importance of living within their means—especially since how little their “means” were.

Somewhere along the way, those financially-conservative values were forgotten.  The Boomers were born between 1946 to 1964 and this generation became known as rebellious, suspicious, greedy, and materialistic.  Often referred to as “workaholics,” they worked a lot, made plenty of money, and quickly developed reckless, self-centered spending habits.  Now, they have little left as they approach retirement.

While we still have time, it’s in our best interest to draw as much financial wisdom as we can from the G.I. and Silent Generations.  After all, no-one can teach us more about how to live better with less than they can.

10 Money-Saving Actions You Should Adopt From Your Grandparents

  1. Cash not credit. When you’re debt-free, you’re free indeed. If you do not have the cash to foot the bill, then you have no business making the purchase.
  2. Borrow don’t buy. Want to read a great new book? Borrow it from the library.  Need a tool for a home improvement project you’ll only do once?  Instead of running to Home Depot and slapping down your friend Visa to pay for it, rent it.  Or better yet, ask a friend to loan it to you.
  3. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Do you really need to buy a new 4K TV because your HDTV is no longer good enough?  Truth is, it’s actually very difficult for most viewers to detect any difference in the sharpness of the picture once it’s installed in your house. So why spend the money? And what about that iPhone? You can’t seriously need a new one already. Am I right?
  4. Save first. Spend later. So you got a bonus at work or a refund from Uncle Sam, huh?  Don’t let it burn a hole in your pocket! Before you book your vacation to Hawaii or put down a pretty penny on that convertible you’ve been eyeballing, make sure you have a solid stash in your savings account.  Rainy days have a way of surprising us, especially when we least expect it.
  5. Buy only what you need. Back in 1936, it was common for families to have 3-4 kids living with both parents in a house that was less than 1000 square feet.  Today the average house in America is more than 2400 square feet, yet only 2.54 people live in each household.  When you really think about it, do you really need your bonus room and formal dining room?  I can think of a million better ways to spend your money.
  6. Track your spending. What you are purchasing is irrelevant.  Whether it’s a pack of gum or a new computer, keep track of every penny you spend. It will make you far more aware of where your money is going.  At the same time, it will give you the knowledge you need to make smart purchasing decisions.
  7. Wear it out. Before you buy anything new, wear out anything you already own. This includes anything from cars to clothes and everything in between. Be hesitant to replace things that can be fixed.
  8. Do It Yourself. Learn to lay tile, can your own preserves, and change the oil in your car.  Instead of going out and buying a brand new dining room table, buy a used one and refinish it yourself. Rather than buying a box of laundry detergent for $18 next time you go to the store, pick up a box of good, old-fashioned borax, baking soda, and a bar of soap and make your own. It will last longer, probably clean better, and cost far less.
  9. Buy quality. When you do buy, invest in things that are made to last. Reliable cars, leather purses/shoes, energy-efficient appliances, and well-built furniture are examples of purchases that are worth the investment of spending more for good quality.
  10. Trade Often. Trade Much. Are you good at fixing stuff? Let your hairdresser know you’ll fix her broken drawer in exchange for a free haircut. Are you a wizard in the kitchen? Offer to trade free food for IT services from your favorite geek. Do kids love you? You can trade babysitting services for almost anything. Seriously.

What money-saving lessons have you learned from the previous generations?  Please share in the comments.  Any tip that can stretch a dollar is a good tip indeed!


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