Past experiences: Why some old fashioned money tips make sense today

Plenty of discussions abound about money with a then and now nostalgia feel, specifically the difference between your parents or grandparents and how they managed their finances versus the modern day ability to do so.

Today’s budgeting and subsequent propensity to save is met with grim results. Despite having apps that center on budgeting and saving money, the average savings account is about $1,000, if there is one at all.

That isn’t exactly the best prognosis, so you’d think maybe you could learn a thing or two (or several) from generations past that maybe didn’t have $20,000 in credit card debt or spend money freely on things that they really don’t need.

Granted, the discussion is met with the same argument as to why you can’t compare two separate ages: everything “back then” cost less. That’s true, but wages weren’t nearly what they are today, either, even if you believe that today’s wage doesn’t match up to the price hikes we’ve seen on everything from groceries to insurance.

That said, your grandparents and even mom and dad did get more than a few things right, and if you take wages out of the equation, you can take from them a few tips and tricks on how to save money, the same way they did years ago.

The one that is most glaring, and that you probably remember when you were younger, is the lack of time you spent in a restaurant or drive thru window, and that’s because meal planning was a top priority. Aside from my grandmother taking me to a fast food place once a week as a “treat,” we’d always be eating at home, and that was both with my grandparents and parents. The focus was on grocery shopping, and making sure eating at home was done with regularity, including packed lunches and breakfast on some level.

Again, you can argue that families had one parent working and another staying home 30 or 40 years ago, but that doesn’t excuse a lack of budgeting for groceries and meal prepping on a weekend or one night per week for the entire week. It is done in small doses and those who have instituted that plan have found great success saving money.

Here’s another money saving move that we tend to overlook, and that’s not settling on price from one purchase to the next. A competitive marketplace is one that benefits you, the consumer, and your grandparents and parents had it right by not settling on price. Today, this includes anything from your car payment to which store you choose. Don’t just settle and opt for convenience when price matters, too.

Times have changed and in some ways for the better, but not if you’re ignoring just how good those “good, old” days were in relationship to saving money smarter.