Wellbeing

5 Money Hacks To Learn From Your Grandparents

Our grandparents are awesome for many reasons. They give the best hugs, dish out great (often, hilarious) life advice and know that cold, hard cash makes the best birthday present. But what many of us tend to forget about our oldies is that they’re a wealth of knowledge when it comes to money advice.

Many of our grandparents lived through some of the toughest financial times in history but still managed to keep themselves out of the red and buy themselves a nice little house. Granted, the property market was very different back then, but the point is – our grandparents know a thing or two about making a little bit of moolah go a long way.

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Read on for five saving lessons your grandparents could teach you:

#1 Keep your money where you can’t touch it

Chances are, somewhere in your grandparents’ place, there’s one of those old-school piggy banks you have to smash to open. While this may seem like an outdated way to save money, it’s still a valuable lesson that can be applied to our modern lives. That is, the more of a pain in the butt it is to access your savings, the less tempted you’re going to be to spend it!

By keeping your savings separate to your transaction account, you’ll forget it’s even there. You know what they say — out of sight, out of mind!

#2 Don’t spend what you don’t have

Back in our grandparents’ heyday, it was much harder to spend more than you had in your bank account. Credit cards weren’t a thing and while lay-by existed, it definitely wasn’t as easy as just clicking a few times on your favourite online store to pay off your shopping in instalments. Obviously, we live in different times, and credit cards and loans can be useful in certain situations. However, there’s still a valuable lesson to be learned — don’t live beyond your means!

#3 Save for a rainy day

Here’s one you’ve likely heard from your Nanny or Pop before. But next time, rather than rolling your eyes, it’s actually worth listening. Us millennials tend to feel like we need a specific goal to put money away — whether it’s buying our first home or going on that Europe trip.

While it’s great to have these goals to motivate us, it can mean that if we find ourselves in a tricky situation (say, your car gets damaged or one of your teeth gets knocked out), we don’t have a financial safety net. This is why it can be a good idea to have multiple savings accounts — say, one for short-term goals, one for long-term goals and one for emergencies.

#4 Pay with cash

We know that in the era of automated bank transactions, it’s not always practical to pay for everything with cash. But the older generation are onto something with their cash-only approach — it makes it so much easier to keep track of what you’re spending. You could even give an envelope budget system a go!

#5 Know the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’

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How often do you say you ‘need’ that new pair of Nikes, or a holiday, or that second latte? Yep, we’re all guilty of it — but it’s important to understand that these things are wants, not needs.

Our grandparents don’t use the phrase ‘need’ lightly. They know it applies only to food, shelter and water, and that everything else is a luxury. That’s not to say you shouldn’t splash out on luxuries that make you feel good. But it’s worth being aware that you’re treating yourself (rather than just spending mindlessly out of habit), so that you can actually savour and appreciate it.

Next time gramps trots out advice about savings, listen up!


Emma Norris is a Sydney-based freelance writer and the owner of copywriting business, Content in the City. When she’s not playing with words, she’s either doing pushups or stuffing her face with pizza. You can follow her on Instagram @emmajanenorris.