Learning financial lessons from your grandparents is something everyone should do. Our grandparents' generation rarely got themselves into the kind of pickle all too common today. Debt was seen as shameful, rather than the way it is accepted today. Our grannies knew how to stretch a small budget, and never dreamed of having everything new. We can definitely learn a lot from them. Here are some of the most important financial lessons from your grandparents (or great-grandparents)…
Admittedly, our grandparents didn't have access to credit cards, and the only loans they would consider getting was a mortgage, but one of the essential financial lessons from your grandparents is to avoid borrowing money. The only other loan you should consider is to fund your education, and only if the chances of getting a better job are high. Never take a loan for anything frivolous like a holiday or gadgets. Instead, scale down your aspirations and buy only what you can afford.
Have you ever heard the phrase 'living a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget'? This is one our grannies would have recognised, and refers to people who want a lifestyle they can't afford. Sure, we'd all like to live in luxury, but we can't afford it. Be realistic and accept that you can't have everything you want. Are those things really important anyway?
Does the thought of buying anything second-hand fill you with horror? Our grandparents accepted that this was the only means of getting things they needed. Most items are perfectly fine when bought second-hand; you can get some great items at thrift stores and yard sales. Second-hand furniture can be perfectly serviceable as well and last you for years.
Gran certainly knew how to make every cent or penny work hard - you wouldn't catch her wasting money! If you're going to spend money, spend it wisely. Use it for things you can really benefit from or that you genuinely need. Make sensible choices when buying new clothing and pick items you'll get a lot of wear from. Also try making your own clothes or buying from thrift stores.
Utility bills keep going up and up - why give the companies even more of your money? Granny wouldn't have allowed heat or light to be wasted, so teach your family to turn off lights. In the days before central heating, your grandparents had use simpler ways to stay warm; put on a jumper if you're a bit chilly and save the heating for when you really need it.
Our grandparents knew the importance of saving and always made sure they had a bit put by 'just in case'. Get into the savings habit just like them. Put some money into a savings account every month after you've paid your bills; then you won't be tempted to spend all your money on fun things.
The older generation were sensible about special occasions as well. They saved up for weddings, and put a bit away throughout the year for Christmas. When she went to a wedding, Gran bought an outfit that she could wear again, or wore something that she already had. She didn't spend a fortune on her own wedding either.
It might seem boring to adopt our grandparents' attitude towards money. But if you follow their example you'll soon find yourself on a much better financial footing. It's no fun getting into debt, or wondering how you're going to pay the bills. So learn some financial lessons from your grandparents; they may not have had much, but they knew how to look after it. What is the best lesson about money you've ever learned?
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