For those that lived through The Great Depression and the World Wars, saving money became second nature. We can learn a lot from them including ways to save money. Learning how to save money like Grandma did may just be what your budgeting game needs!
For folks who grew up during the Great Depression or the World Wars, saving money was more than a want. It was a necessity. Those people either did what they could to stretch a penny until it squeezed or they did not survive. It was as simple as that.
But just because times are a bit easier these days, does not mean that the lessons they learned need to fade into obscurity as time passes. In fact, we would do better if we would take the time to learn from them.
Learning how to save money like Grandma did is only one of those lessons, but as the world today faces rising inflation and other issues that test us, it may be one of the most important things we can do for our family.
Why Is Saving Money Like Grandma Important?
Aside from the fact that our Grandparents were masters at pinching pennies, learning their methods does more than pad our bank accounts.
It also helps to keep their traditions alive.
Whether it be a recipe or something else that is passed down, keeping our histories alive will ensure that our children and their children will always know where they came from.
What Was the Great Depression Motto?
Most American families lived by a very specific motto during the Great Depression; “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.”
Because money was often incredibly hard to come by during the years of the Great Depression, our grandparents learned to live what we would call these days a zero waste lifestyle. Very little went to waste during those years.
If we can learn to live our lives by the Great Depression motto, we will learn to save money like our grandparents and in return for the work we’ve done, our bank accounts will be full.
Use It Up
A few months ago, I opened the cabinet under the sink to find that my kids had opened not one, but six bottles of all-purpose cleaner. Now, we have a soft rule in our home that says once one thing is opened, we don’t open another but apparently I have allowed that rule to become way too soft.
It may not seem as if that second bottle of cleaner or box of shampoo is costing you much, but the truth is that what it does cost is adding up. How many bottles are in your bathroom that have been opened and only used once or twice before you moved on? How many boxes of cereal have you tossed because they’ve gone stale?
Instead of allowing that waste to happen, take a page from your grandparents and use every drop of something before moving onto the next product. Not only will you reduce waste, but you will also save yourself a little bit of money each time.
And eventually that money will add up.
Wear It Out
Another thing we can do to save money like grandma is to use what we have until it wears out. And then, if possible, use it again until we can’t anymore.
We have become such a disposable society that for the most part, we don’t even consider using things until it wears out. We get a wild burr up our butts and bam; new car, new clothes, new phone or even a new home.
All of that replacement costs us money at a time when we should all be working to save it.
Instead of wasting that money, take a page from generations that came before you and use that item until it breaks.
Then, you can check to see if you can find a way to use it again.
A few great ideas for reusing things are:
- Ways to Use Old Towels
- Ways to Use Empty Bottles and Jars
- Ways to Use Empty Milk Jugs
- Ways to Use Old Sheets
- Ways to Use Old Denim
- 52 Things to Reuse to Save Money
Making do with what you have is a lesson that goes hand in hand with wearing it out. It means that you put off buying something because you make do with what you have. It means finding a cooking substitution when you’re out of an ingredient rather than rushing out to buy it. It means waiting until you can truly afford something instead of spending money on that item without thinking.
It means only spending money on your true needs versus including wants in there.
This was a lesson that a lot of people learned during the shortages of 2020. When the stores are empty, you make do with what you have at home. If we lived our lives like this more often, we would learn to save money like Grandma and Grandpa and be better off financially for it.
Pro Tip: For cooking, check out Great Depression recipes such as what Clara offers in her Great Depression Cookbook. It will help you learn to think outside of the box when it comes to making do in the kitchen.
Finally and I would say the best way to save money like Grandma that is on this list is to simply do without. The simple truth is that most of what we all spend money on are wants and are things we could stand to do without for a bit.
My husband is famous for telling me “you can’t save money if you’re spending money” and while he and I have differing opinions as to how this relates to some pretty specific things, he’s right. If you are spending money on things you could stand to do without?
You’re not saving money at all.
If you’re considering spending money, take a hint from your grandparents. Double check then triple check that you absolutely need to spend that cash. Otherwise, it absolutely won’t kill you to do without.