My husband laughs at me when I pull out my crinkled-up envelop that contains my "fun money" for the week. He knows I like using the envelop system for budget, even though it's completely old school. When it comes to managing my personal finances, I still rely on several old-fashioned money tricks to stay on track. My grandparents, who were of the "Greatest Generation," taught me some of the money tricks. Other tricks I picked up from reading personal finance books by Dave Ramsey and others. I recently read an article by Daily Finance that talked about old-school money tricks that still work.
Crowning cash as king
The article suggests making a withdrawal from a no-fee ATM once a week to keep spending in check. Since I tend to use the credit card for impulse purchases without thinking, it's better for me to carry cash. I'm reluctant to let go of my cash. However, plastic credit cards don't feel like real money to me so I spend more than I should.
Saving my spare change
Although I used to keep spare change for laundry machines and toll roads, I rarely need my nickels and quarters anymore. The toll road I travel bills me when I use the road. And, I own a washer and dryer. Still, I toss change into a savings piggy bank. At the end of the year, my family uses the money for Christmas presents. I also signed up for my bank's "Keep the Change," program which automatically moves "spare change" from checking to savings when I use my debit card.
Paying myself first or last
My grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression, taught me to always pay myself first. Before paying my bills, they suggested I set aside 10 percent of any money I earned. After living through the Great Recession, I have no desire to live on the edge with my personal finances. I can understand now why my grandparents were so adamant about saving for the future. I found it also works just as well to pay myself last. The key is to make sure I pay myself, which means putting money aside in savings.
Buying what I need
My grandparents also taught me that the way to get ahead financially is to buy what I need as opposed to what I want. I had a difficult time distinguishing between my wants and needs. If I face any hard times in the future, I'll have more money to survive the economic turmoil. In addition to only buying what I need, I only buy what I can afford. If I have to use a credit card, it's a clear sign that I can't truly afford something.
Growing a garden
By growing my own lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers in my backyard garden, I am less tempted to go out to eat. I also don't have to shop produce stands and the expensive health food stores because I'm growing my own produce just as my grandparents did.
Other old-school ways of saving money include buying used, making my own things and taking advantage of free entertainment such as the public library and parks. It never cost my grandmother a lot of money to entertain herself.
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