We can all certainly take a leaf or two from our grandparents' books when it comes to being frugal and thrifty.

Live Within Your Means
Living within your means is something easily said and a lot harder to follow. To do it, it is just a question of making a budget and spending less than what you earn (net after taxes). The main thing is to focus on your needs, not your wants, because it is easy to let our impulse spending get out of control. In addition, our grandparents certainly knew how to avoid lifestyle inflation. If you have already lived happily with a set amount of money before, why change now? You will not really miss the extra income if you do not get used to it and it is a lot more satisfying to see your retirement account grow.

"Use It up, Wear It out, Make It Do or Do Without"
This rather catchy phrase was used quite a number of times during the Great Depression and is the perfect counterpart to the word 'frugal.'

Use It Up
As a society that enjoys stockpiling, trying different things and always being dazzled by the next new must-have, it can be hard to shut out all the marketing noise. However, if you've stockpiled a whole range of products such as shampoos, use up your stash before trying a new brand or going out to buy yet another 10 on sale.

Wear It Out
The best example of this would be an automobile purchase. When you buy a car, buy it until it is absolutely worn out and destined for recycling at the junk heap. Don't fall into the trap of wanting a new car every 3 years just to keep up with the Joneses.

Make It Do
What you have may not be perfect, but if it is able to do the job with a little coaxing, don't bother buying anything. For instance, let's say you run out of your favorite brand of ketchup in the house, but you have an old generic bottle that has been sitting around for a while that you don't really like. Make it do by adding flavorings such as spices to change what you don't like about it.

Do Without
If you simply have nothing that is usable, find a creative way to do use something else. Perhaps you ran out of that commercial fertilizer for your plants. Why not try making your own at home by using egg shells, which are full of calcium, or your old coffee grounds? It would certainly help the environment.

Cook at Home
During the Great Depression, eating out was a rare treat. Today, it has turned from a treat to a routine habit, as seen in 2011 where 40.6% of American food budgets in general was spent on eating food away from home. If you must go to a restaurant, at least cut back on how frequently you go. Ask for water rather than an overpriced alcoholic beverage.

Free Things
There's no need to feel like staying at home is a punishment rather than a treat. Our grandparents were just trying to keep food on the table and didn't have the luxury of big-box malls to shop at. It can be nice to wind down and relax rather than always being on the go. Find free things to do like playing a sport with your friends, trying a new recipe at home, taking a book out of a library, or learning a new skill such as a new language that could potentially increase your earning income in the future.

The Bottom Line
Being frugal doesn't mean being cheap, it means being smart with how you spend your money so you are able to save more for your future. After all, you spent a lot of time earning it. Our grandparents know best.

Related Articles
  1. Savings

    Best 7 Money Saving Tips for Your Electric Bill

    Learn how to make simple changes around the home to save on your electric bill, such as fixing drafty windows and switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  2. Budgeting

    Preventing Medical Bankruptcy

    If you’re worried medical expenses could overwhelm you, there are some thing you can do to ease your concerns.
  3. Personal Finance

    How Tech Can Help with 3 Behavioral Finance Biases

    Even if you’re a finance or statistics expert, you’re not immune to common decision-making mistakes that can negatively impact your finances.
  4. Taxes

    10 Money-Saving Year-End Tax Tips

    Getting organized well before the deadline will curb your frustration and your tax liability.
  5. Retirement

    How to Stretch Your Retirement Savings

    What does "nest egg" mean for your personal situation? Will you deplete it, or will you nurture it to generate income that lasts throughout retirement?
  6. Budgeting

    Save Money by Avoiding these Expensive Organic Products

    Save money on your next trip to the grocery store by not paying extra 10 organic products.
  7. Wealth Management

    How To Open And Access An Offshore Bank Account

    Opening an offshore bank account does not require a high level of financial sophistication. It’s a lot like opening an account at your neighborhood bank.
  8. Taxes

    Which Receipts Save Big Money at Tax Time

    Don't wait to April 13th to set up a smart receipt-filing system. These 7 categories could save you some significant money.
  9. Personal Finance

    5 Reasons Inmates Should Be Taught Financial Literacy

    Learn five reasons why financial literacy is a great way to prevent inmates from relapsing into a life of crime after release from prison.
  10. Investing

    This Millennial Investing Trend Could Hurt One Day

    A recent Investor Pulse Survey finds that my fellow millennials and I are doing some things right and some things wrong when it comes to our investments.
  1. Can mutual funds outperform savings accounts?

    A mutual fund can – and should – outperform a savings account. In most cases, it should not even be a close race. Savings ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my IRA savings to start my own savings?

    While there is no legal reason why you cannot withdraw funds from your IRA to start a traditional savings account, it is ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How soon should I start saving for retirement?

    The best answer to the question, "How soon should I start saving for retirement?", is probably, "yesterday," and the second ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can I use my 401(k) as a collateral for a loan?

    Although federal Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, regulations prohibit using a 401(k) account as collateral for a loan, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why do economists think it is important to track discretionary income?

    Economists track discretionary, and disposable, income as a proxy for the growth in the financial health of average citizens ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What proportion of my income should I put into my demand deposit account?

    Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center