Although it might sometimes seem that our parents and grandparents only tell us stories of hardship from times past in order to horrify the younger generation into being grateful for modern day wonders such as indoor plumbing and local anesthetic, today's guest post writer Agnes Jimenez, has discovered a far more useful interpretation. Thanks for sharing Agnes! Foo.
The other day I was talking to my grandparents, asking them how they "made it." My grandmother stayed home and raised the children while my grandfather worked as a security guard. Yet somehow they managed to raise three children, own their own home, have a summer cottage, and now retire to a very nice retirement community. To me, that just did not make economic sense.
My grandmother explained how simple and frugal things were back then. They did not even own a television until they had been married for several years. There were no cell phones with data plans or computers. A fun night out consisted of walking to the neighbor's house and playing cards. My grandmother made clothing for her family, got most of her food from the garden, and all three kids were expected to work and save for college themselves. They had money because they did not spend it needlessly.
This conversation made me think about my own life. I realized how I was already drooling over the new cell phone due to be released. With absolutely no cooking skills, I was a chronic restaurant customer. Shopping for new clothing was something I did almost every Friday, whether I needed new clothes or not. Suddenly all these things I believed I needed started to seem like an absolute waste.
While we cannot go back in time to my grandparent's era, we can simplify our lives. Learning traditional skills has been a huge help for me when it comes to saving money. I was lucky enough to have my grandmother to guide me, but there are plenty of resources online as well.
Learning to cook was very important. By cooking I mean from scratch with fresh ingredients, not throwing a processed meal into the microwave. By shopping at farmer markets or using produce from my own garden, my food costs were greatly cut down. Use websites like the Daily Bread for recipe ideas.
Sewing was another huge step. Knowing how to sew allows you to repair old clothing, as well as make your own. Instead of running out and buying new pants, I was able to repair old ones. Clothing that did not fit right was able to be adjusted.
Most importantly, think about the difference between want and need. Many of the things I told myself I needed in order to be happy actually made my life more complicated. They added to bills, cluttered my living space, and only temporarily filled a void. Look back at how your grandparents lived, not out of pity or disgust, but with an open and inquisitive mind. There is plenty you can learn from their lifestyle.
About the Guest Author
Agnes Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer. She writes for many online establishments and supports those ones that offer alternative lifestyles to consumers. She's currently raising awareness about frugal living and basic preparedness through the help of DailyBread.com.