The generation that survived World War II and the Great Depression definitely has some life wisdom that would be worth sharing. That is why they are referred to as the Greatest Generation, and rightfully so. We all could learn a lesson from them, about life, love, and money. We did just that, we sat down with some of our assisted living residents and asked them what financial advice they could give us after being faced with some of the most pressing economic times in American history.
The following were four of the reoccurring bits of advice we received:
1. Save Food
During the Depression, families were forced to be frugal to make ends meet and with their meat. According to the Living History Farm people relied heavily on farming and self-sufficiency just to be able to feed their families. Hunting was another resource for food, and every part of the animals would be used; for food, fur, or for other means such as soap. Rabbits were a great resource for hunting or farming, they would reproduce rather quickly, and the meat was quite delicious. Families had to learn how to stretch their meals into a budget, as seen with casseroles, chili, and soups. The main financial tip we learned was to repurpose leftovers - do not throw away uneaten food after a meal.
2. Stop Throwing Things Away
One of the members of our assisted living communities remarked that the younger generation is so wasteful. Unfortunately, they are not too far from the truth. One publication even stated, “Millennials – The Generation of Waste.” It used to be when something broke you were forced to fix it or find someone who knew how. Nowadays, people are more accustomed to just throwing away an old cell phone instead of taking it to be fixed or, better yet, recycling it. The main financial tip we learned was to stop being wasteful. Do not buy paper plates – use regular dishes and wash them for re-use.
3. Stop Mindless Spending
Another assisted living resident asked why do people buy things they can’t afford? At first, it seemed that the question did not make sense, but when applied to credit cards it became clear. Have you ever gone out to dinner and just put it on the credit card, when you know you have a kitchen with food in it at home? This financial issue can be avoided by using the credit card only for emergencies, but our society has become so used to buying whatever they want without thinking of the consequences. The main financial tip we learned was to spend money on things you truly need and then budget a small amount each month for treating yourself.
4. Stop Watching TV
Have you ever heard an older loved one yelling about watching too much TV? Our residents do enjoy watching television, but when they were younger they had too much to do besides sitting around for hours on end. If you want to learn something or escape for a few hours, try visiting a library and read a book for free. If you can break yourself away from bingeing episodes, you will have more time to be productive; you could make a bracelet and sell it online or make dinner instead of ordering it. The main financial tip we learned was to spend more time being productive. Who knows? Maybe you will even want to cancel your cable and save even more money.
The Greatest Generation
We all could try to practice these four financial tips we received from these residents in assisted living. The Greatest Generation went through some harsh times and were able to survive and still be able to afford life after work. We are so thankful to have such wisdom to learn from and appreciate all of our HarborChase family members.
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