Have you ever wondered how the money nerds of yesteryear fared without all the conveniences we have today? For the most part, they made do with what they had and found ways to save with the tools at their disposal.
There’s wisdom in some old-school financial approaches. Sometimes, simpler is better. Of course, we’d be foolish not to take advantage of the tools we have to make our lives — and managing our money — easier.
When it comes to your finances, how many of these 5 old-fashioned money tips are part of your life? Read them and see why they should be.
1. Stash Money in a Piggy Bank
Saving has come a long way. Once upon a time, grown adults stashed spare cash in jars in their homes. Or maybe they got really stealthy and hid it under a mattress.
Hey, they were trying to save, and I salute them. The only surefire way to build wealth is to consistently spend less than you earn and save (preferably invest) the difference.
But as great as putting aside spare change is, relying on a piggy bank to house your savings is a big mistake. For one thing, it’s not secure. And there’s no interest, which means money in a piggy bank will never grow. In fact, because the price of goods and services generally increases over time (inflation), money sitting around for years actually decreases in purchasing power. Ouch!
The biggest issue with a savings strategy that relies on identifying spare money and consciously putting it aside is that you won’t do it consistently. Sorry, you won’t. That applies to piggy banks, but it also applies when you plan to move money manually into your savings account. Something always gets in the way and pulls your money elsewhere.
You can bypass the noise when you automate your savings. No effort, no problem.
Automate Your Savings with Acorn
If you love the idea of saving spare change but want to make it automatic, Acorn is the investing tool for you. When you connect your spending accounts, it rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference. The amounts are so small you don’t miss the money, but because it’s automatic and consistent, it really adds up.
2. Save Money with the Envelope Method
Nothing says old-school-money-habit like the envelope budgeting method. You label an envelope for each of your spending categories and stuff it with only enough money to cover your budget in those areas. When the envelope is empty, that’s it. If you need to spend more in one category, you’ll have to take it from another envelope. With this method, forget the debit or credit cards: It’s a cash-only system.
Operating in cash keeps things tangible and makes people more mindful of their money. It’s so much easier to tap a credit or debit card than it is to part with cold, hard cash. Sticking with cash usually means spending less and saving more. Don’t believe me? Try it for a month and see.
- Related: 9 Essential Dave Ramsey Tips
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3. Borrow Instead of Buy
I love how resourceful people used to be. Our grandparents didn’t pop online and buy everything they needed as soon as they needed it. They checked with their family, friends, and neighbors to see if they could borrow it, instead.
If you want to spend less, try embracing this mindset. Why buy when you can borrow, either for free or for a fraction of the cost?
This especially applies to one-time projects or things you’re trying out for the first time. Don’t buy a table saw because you have one woodworking task on your to-do list. Borrow one and save your money.
Grow Your Social Media Network for Maximum Reach
Our grandparents were limited to hitting up their immediate social circles, but we have social media circles on our side. Tap into your friends and followers on social media and join local Facebook groups for borrowing, lending, and renting.
Maybe you want to build some bookshelves but don’t have any tools. Put out a call on Facebook saying you would like to borrow or rent a hammer, drill, and saw. You can reach hundreds of people with a single post and get what you need for free or at a steep discount.
4. When You Make Purchases, Buy for the Long Term
If you have to make a purchase, buy quality. Back in the day, products were built to last. Similar quality still exists, but it’s hiding amidst a heap of dirt-cheap junk. Learn to tell the difference, and don’t get sucked in by too-good-to-be-true pricing.
Hint: If it seems unbelievably cheap, there’s probably a good reason. You’re not saving any money if you purchase an inferior pair of shoes only to have to replace them in a month. There are times when cheap buys make sense, but when it comes to clothes, shoes, and appliances, look for quality items that will deliver lifetime value, not short-term savings.
Choose Sites with High-Quality Review Systems and Do Your Research
Shop on reputable sites with lots of reviews from verified buyers, and actually read those reviews. Before you spend money on a high-quality product, spend a little time researching your purchase. Look at overall ratings, but pay special attention to reviews of long-time owners. It’s cool that you love that new vacuum out of the box, but how is it holding up a year later?
And don’t forget to use your Rakuten account to get a great price for the quality product you are purchasing.
- Related: 7 Bad Money Habits to Break
5. Clip Those Coupons and Keep Your Cash
For a long time, the only way to save money on routine purchases was to clip coupons and shop sales. Don’t get it twisted, there’s nothing wrong with a good coupon. But reliably saving money that way takes a bit of work.
For in-store shopping, you’ve got to clip the coupons from flyers in your mailbox or print them off from online sites. For online shopping, you’ve got to find a code that works, and a lot of them don’t because they are outdated and expired. If you ask me, it’s almost more trouble than it’s worth.
Thankfully, there’s a better way to capitalize when it comes to shopping online.
Take Smart Shopping to the Next Level with Capital One Shopping
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When you download the free Capital One Shopping browser extension, you will save time and money in three ways:
- It finds and applies coupon codes that actually work (yay!)
- It compares prices across websites to see if you can get a better deal, and
- It pays you Capital One Shopping Credits (redeemable for gift cards) when you shop at retail partners.
Capital One Shopping is100% free — download the extension now and watch the savings roll in — automatically.
Save More Money. Read These Next …
- Living Off One Income? No Problem. Check Out These 43 Frugal Tips
- Ready to Really Start Saving Serious Cash? Here’s the Ultimate Guide
- Here are 7 Habits of Women Who Are Never (Ever) Broke
How to Save at Your Favorite Stores. Check these out ….
- You’ll Want to Read This Before You Shop at Trader Joe’s
- Here’s the 9 Target Hacks You Wished You Knew Sooner
- Plan on Shopping at Walmart Soon? Read These 6 Hacks Before You Do
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*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the Capital One Shopping extension using the links we provided*
Sandra Parsons is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, travel, and health & psychology. Her work has been featured on sites like Club Thrifty, MoneyTips, and Credit Knocks. She also freelances for Wooster Media Group LLC. Sandra lives in Eastern Canada with her husband and son.