Sticking to a budget has always been a challenge for generations before us, but one might argue that it’s tougher now than ever. With constant access to online shopping, one-click app purchases and quick debit card swipes, technology has made it all too easy to splurge and derail your budget.
Decades ago, our parents or grandparents had no choice but to be frugal. Resources were thin after World War I and further affected by the collapse of the U.S. market in 1929. Soon, years of struggle would return with another war. The destruction was so much greater than the first that 1945 was called “Year Zero,” a sign that the UK had to rebuild from the ground up.1 Britain had largely bankrupted itself fighting the war, leading to years of economic tribulation.
Although times are not nearly as rough as the mid-1900s, the lessons learned during that time are still applicable today. The classic saving practices of earlier generations can help you meet your savings goals and improve your budgeting in ways you may not have considered before. Here are the best savings tips from the older generation.
1.Maintain What You Have
The first step to avoiding new purchases is by taking care of what you already have, effectively removing the need for a replacement. The longer you have something, the more you’ll save! Use this maintenance schedule to help you keep track of these tasks and space them out so they don’t overwhelm you all at once.
2. Invest in the Right Quality Products
You’ve probably heard your parents say “things aren’t made like they used to be,” which can be true. It’s easy to buy something cheap and feel like you’re saving, but if it’s something that you know you will get a lot of use out of, it’s potentially cheaper in the long run to invest in something that will last rather than replacing it year after year. Do you use it on a regular basis? Have you bought this more than twice in the last three years? Will you use it in five years? Is it trendy or classic? These are questions you should consider if you find yourself debating your purchase. Here are a few things we’d recommend saving up for rather than purchasing cheap:
- Everyday cookware (frying pan, knives, spatula, etc.)
- Fall-proof mobile case
- Shoes you wear everyday
3. Buy Secondhand
Some things are timeless: a little black dress, white dress shirts, silver serving platters, wooden bookshelves. Many basic things you need — from clothes to houseware — can be found at a resale shop. Even if you’re not into the vintage aesthetic, that doesn’t mean you can’t find useful things like basic silverware, scarves, lamps and much, much more. If you are frustrated by the effort it takes to weed through the aisles at a resale shop, there are also online options. Sites like Poshmark and the Facebook Marketplace make it a lot easier to find what you need with search options and categories.
4. Preserve Your Food
You probably know that dining at home rather than at a restaurant saves you a tonne, but what above saving once you get those groceries home? Use these strategies to ensure you’re not throwing your food (and your money) in the bin:
- Ethylene is a gas that fruits and vegetables naturally emit as they ripen. This causes other produce sensitive to ethylene to go bad prematurely. Prevent this by storing your ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive produce
- When a fruit or vegetable is out of season, their prices tend to skyrocket as supplies decrease. Find out-of-season produce in the canned or frozen section instead, where they tend to be significantly cheaper.
- Overestimated how much you need? Don’t just let it go bad and throw it out — freeze it! This works especially well when a recipe calls for a pinch of an herb and you are stuck buying a whole bundle. Use this guide for herbal ice cubes you can use year-round.
1MacMillan, M. (11 September 2009). Rebuilding the world after the second world war. Retrieved 6 March 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/sep/11/second-world-war-rebuilding
The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.