Some sage wisdom is generally passed down throughout every generation, much of which is financial advice. It’s impossible to deny that our upbringing and environment largely helps to shape our attitudes about money and all it entails; budgeting, saving & debt. But what key pieces of advice have really proven to be sound, despite the varying financial climates of each generation? Is there any one piece of wisdom that holds true to every decade, or is there nothing constant?
The good news is that the best financial advice can be appropriately molded to fit whatever financial situation you find yourself in (or combating). They’re generally basic life principles as well: behavioural tactics that can be learned early on, and will reap benefits in other areas of your life, not just in your pocketbook.
Without further delay, here are the top bits of financial advice from our grand-folks. Tried and true wisdom for all ages.
Think about every purchase!
We sometimes joke about the end-of-the-month credit card statement, but is the spending shock really worth the very real consequences of being out money that you could have saved (or spent better elsewhere)? Thinking through every action is always a good thing, and applying this to your spending is no different. You work very hard for the money you have, so why are many of us so lackadaisical when spending it? Whether they’re little purchases every morning (like that double-espresso with three pumps of vanilla – yeah, we see you), or a bigger purchase like a T.V or golf clubs, you need to think about whether or not you can a) afford the item, b) if you have a bigger or more important spending goal to reach and c) if you actually need it. If you don’t, then you can probably do without for a little while longer. Impulse buying is never a good idea.
If you don’t have to pay full price, then why would you?
If, keeping in the spirit of the previous point, you know there is going to be a sale on the thing you’ve been saving up for in a few weeks or maybe even later in the year at a clearance blow-out, why would you buy it now? Just because you’ve now earned the money, saved it and kept restraint on yourself for the other little spends doesn’t mean you have to blow it all now. Extend your smart choice and wait. This works with every purchase. If common house items are going on sale at your grocers next week, wait! If you need new clothes but an end-of-season sale is coming up and you can cycle through options until then, wait! If you know your car is due for a tune up but you can (safely!) get by until the seasonal special, wait! You know what you’ll have earned by waiting? More patience and saved money.
Spend your money smartly.
This sounds pretty vague, but what this means is don’t spend your money extravagantly. Many people misunderstand this to mean “don’t be generous”. On the contrary. If you make intelligent spending decisions in your every day life, you’ll be able to afford to be generous when it’s merited!
Sacrifice. And sacrifice again.
Just like there’s virtue in patience, there’s virtue to be found in giving things up for a greater good. This is tied into each of the previous points. Give up a little bit of comfort or joy that is temporary for a much longer lasting gain. We always use the coffee example, but it’s a good one: give up your morning coffee shop run for a month and put that money aside and then spend it on something you really actually want or put it towards your debt. We guarantee that feeling will be far more rewarding and will serve you better in the long run.
Want some more financial wisdom? Head over to our Finance 101 page to check out tools, tips & tricks to keeping yourself in financial health.