How Thinking Like Your Grandma Can Save You Money

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Those who’ve lived through times of war, depression, migration or famine remember what it’s like to have very little. Many of our grandparents dealt with hardships that taught them to be careful with their money and to be resourceful; two things that have become more rare since the rise of credit cards and the need to possess the latest technology. Here are a few tips from Nana that can help you spend smarter and save better.

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Live Within Your Means

Back in Gran’s day, people weren’t racking up credit cards or going on spending sprees like they are now. Of course, back then, things like housing or an education were more affordable, but the same principle should apply today; don’t buy things you can’t afford, track your purchases, make a budget and stick to it. Get out of the red and you’ll be better off for it.

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Waste Not, Want Not

Anyone who experienced wartime rationing could show you how to pinch a penny or two, especially in the kitchen. Food waste is a huge problem in the United States and it’s estimated that the average American family throws out around $1,365 – $2,275 worth of food every year. Make use of every scrap you can and don’t over shop to stop food from going bad before you can eat it. There are plenty of ways to eliminate waste outside the kitchen too, like cutting the cord and canceling your cable or replacing your disposable products with reusable ones.

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Buy It Used

Grandma may have been doing it because “things aren’t made like they used to be” but buying used also happens to be a great way to save money and reduce your ecological footprint. Instead of falling into the trap of needing everything to be brand new; start reducing, reusing and recycling. Everything from furniture to clothes can be bought secondhand which can cost substantially less and help the environment. Whether you’re buying used items through eBay or at your local charity consignment shop, everything old can be new again when you buy used. Call it “buying vintage” if you need to make it sound cooler.

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Buy It for Life

Some things are still made like they used to be, but now they just cost more. Don’t be afraid to follow Grandma’s advice and start looking at your purchases as investments. If there’s something you really need, take the time to shop around and buy the best quality you can afford. Take good care of the possessions that you do have to make them last. What you purchase now might be future heirlooms for your own grandchildren some day.

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Get Crafty

Granny believes that anything you can make at home shouldn’t be bought. Whether its cooking, crafting or handyman-ing, upping your skillset can be a great way to pass the time and save some money. Cook a fancy meal for your date instead of dining out or try making your Christmas presents instead of buying them. You can probably do better than that wonky sweater Nan knit for you last year.

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Score Freebies

Your grandma is onto something with all those senior discounts and coupon clippings. There are plenty of free samples, prizes, contests and sales out there to take advantage of if you know how to spot them. A lot of companies give out free products or special deals on your birthday. Don’t be embarrassed to claim them, because everything is better when it’s free.

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Remember That Money Isn’t Everything

Nana might be frugal, but she’s also familiar with the adage, “you can’t take it with you.” Money isn’t as important as the memories you make along the way, so while you should certainly keep one eye on your finances, be sure to stop and smell the roses every now and again. Oh, and call your Grandma!