In an age where we have more credit cards in the country than people and “Buy now, pay later,” is almost the catch phrase of the High Street, more of us are finding ourselves in need of a little debt advice. And there’s no shortage of places you can go for it either…. banks, debt management companies like us, Citizens Advice Bureaux and a number of other places will all teach you about budgeting, negotiating with creditors and your options for getting out of the red!
But sometimes all we really need is a good talking to from Nanna!
Yes, our grandparent’s generally don’t beat around the bush when it comes to doling out advice. They’re not qualified hair stylists, but they’ll happily tell you that your barnet is bonkers. They’re not health professionals but they’ll prescribe homemade cures for just about any ailment you complain about… and they’re not professional financial advisors either, but they don’t half know a thing or two about money.
Let’s not forget that our grandparents grew up before the credit card boom a time when (can you believe i?t) you had to physically have the money to buy something before actually buying it. Of course, with a consumer society now driven to some extent by credit, it’s pretty unrealistic to expect us all to cut up the credit cards and stop borrowing, but that’s not to say we couldn’t use a bit of an old fashioned approach when it comes to managing our money. Here are a few tips we’ve gathered up courtesy of our Grans and Grandads:-
Get It Written Down!
Most of the Grandparents we know write everything down! Not a bad idea really….
Less than 30% of us actually have a budget that we regularly stick to. Pretty shocking really considering that budgeting is the only sure fire to know exactly what you’ve got coming in and going out. Ok, ok, so you can check your bank balance in a few clicks thanks to the evolution of online banking, but it can be a pain going through the dates that all those direct debits are due out. Write down what you’ve got coming in and what you’ve got going out on what dates. This will give you a good idea of what you have to spend on you. Of course, it needn’t be a pen and paper job. A regularly updated spreadsheet does the trick perfectly well, but having the information quickly to hand rather than guess-timating your bank balance everytime you make a purchase might just be the difference between sticking in the black and incurring a nasty unauthorised overdraft charge!
Don’t Need It? Don’t Buy It!
This might seem simple enough but largely thanks to the credit happy society we live in, it isn’t something we have to apply anymore. Prior to hire purchase, interest-free 12 month hire purchase deals, credit cards and overdrafts, you could only buy what you had the money for and that meant sticking to what you needed as a priority. For those of us who regularly overspend on plastic, how many of those purchases are actually essential items? Granted, it’s much easier said than done, but if you’re someone who regularly finds themselves spending way too much each month, perhaps a little of that old fashioned advice might just come in handy.
Why Buy New?
Nannas love charity shops and second hand shops and while we’re not suggesting that you should never buy anything brand new again, there are some items you can really save on by not buying brand new. And the best part? Thanks to the Internet you don’t even need to go rummaging through bargain bins anymore. Take laptops, for example. You can get a refurbished (as opposed to a new) laptop from PC World online and it will come with the same warranty that a new one would – and a far more attractive price tag. The same can apply to a number of electrical goods.
Put it in your Piggy Bank
If you don’t have a jar of some description in which you throw all the loose change that might otherwise end up in the bin/stuck in the washing machine/left lying around the house gathering dust, then get one! You might be surprised how quickly that loose change adds up. Take it a step further. Every single time you don’t buy something you were going to buy or make a saving somewhere, put that money into the same jar – or even into a savings account. Whether you use it to pay off a credit card bill or treat yourself, you’ll certainly benefit.
Priority Pay Off
The Grandparents that we know despise debt. If they happen to run into it in any way then their priority becomes paying it off. Whether it’s an item bought on credit or a tenner borrowed from the next door neighbour, an old fashioned (and somewhat sensible) approach to money management would see them prioritise paying that off above all else. It makes sense. If you have savings, use them to pay off credit card bills or other debts. The interest you might accrue while the money is in a savings account could be easily outweighed by the interest you could end up paying on outstanding debts.
So while we can’t deny that the way we spend has changed since our grandparents were growing up, some of the attitudes towards money that applied in a time before the credit boom really should still be applied to ensure the most effective management of your bank account and to help you stay in the black. Struggling to make ends meet this month? Maybe you should go ask Nan for some advice….