As much as I loved my Nan when I was growing up I always thought she was a bit of a skinflint.
I have vivid memories from my teenage years of being embarrassed when she’d take me into charity shops, and annoyed when she’d nag me to switch off lights. I’d roll my eyes and sigh; 14-year-old me just didn’t care about saving money.
Twenty years later and I understand why she was always being thrifty: she believed in saving on the little things in life so that she could build a nest egg. Sadly my Nan is no longer with us, but I think some of the budgeting tips she taught me are timeless.
If my Nan broke things she’d try and repair them before running out to the shops to replace them. She’d darn old socks, patch jeans and re-heel shoes, making do with old things before spending money. Next time you think about replacing something, repair it instead.
Nan also tried to teach me how to make the most of my food budget; planning meals before the ‘big shop’, making her own sauces, and avoiding food wastage. Even when she did bin food, it would go on the compost heap for her garden if it could. Make the most of all of the food you buy.
I used to get told off a lot by Nan for being wasteful with utilities. Now I try to remember to switch off lights when they’re not in use, conserve water and pop a jumper on rather than running the central heating constantly. Learn to be frugal with utilities.
Nan also taught me to use more public services – taking the bus to work instead of driving; joining the library instead of paying for books; and visiting parks and free entry museums. Use public services to save money.
During her retirement Nan would meet her friends in town and they’d trawl the charity shops together. She’d find new clothes, children’s toys and books while giving to good causes at the same time. Now when I visit somewhere new I always have a little look at the local charity shops, just in case I find a bargain. Love your charity shop!
Before credit cards or overdrafts were available my Nan saved up for almost everything. I’ve always relied on credit and never been great with saving but I’m beginning to start an emergency fund for big unexpected expenses. Save for a rainy day to avoid taking out credit in emergencies.
Nan loved making things like her own jams or pickles, and knitting jumpers; if she thought she could make something herself she’d have a go. Try learning a new recipe online or getting to know a craft skill through a YouTube tutorial. Don’t be afraid of trying to make things yourself.
My Nan was obsessed with coach trips! I used to laugh at her but there’s a lot to be said for getting out there with a picnic and going to the seaside for a day. Services like Megabus or National Express also mean you can visit other UK cities or even get a bargain break abroad. Give organised trips and budget transport a chance.
When I visited my Nan she seemed to have a hectic social life; she went to bowling, helped out at church and had a coffee morning addiction. She was proof that you don’t need an expensive gym membership or lots of money to stay active and meet people. Join some local clubs and don’t let living on a budget make you feel like you can’t go out.
My Nan had a garden and grew lots of things, it was a great hobby that helped her stay active, healthy and positive. If like me, you don’t have access to a garden, why not think about getting an allotment? You could also create a windowsill herb garden? Grow your own veg and herbs to boost your wellbeing.
What did your grandparents teach you about budgeting? Comment below and let us know.