What Does Grandpa Know That You Don’t?
If your grandparents are old enough, their memories of great depression bread lines and high unemployment make today’s economic woes look like a picnic. They recall WIN buttons from the seventies when inflation was so bad the government started a marketing campaign to “Whip Inflation Now!” They lived through Reagonomics, government cheese and the gas crisis in the eighties. They have seen several recessions and a few hard years in between.
What do old folks know? They know a lot, how to save money and spend less, to tighten belts and save pennies. They did whatever they had to do and followed lots of rules to get them through tough times.They did green before it was Green.
Old Rules For Today’s Tough Times
Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa and even the old guy next door have always tried to teach you a thing or two. Old folks have lots of rules, old school rules you might not have paid much attention to before now. Grandma didn’t call it recycling but the things she did to get by in the thirties and forties can help save the planet today. She reused everything. Of course she didn’t have to worry about plastic; but glass jelly jars became water glasses, old bedsheets became cleaning cloths and paper bags became school book covers. Those items her family couldn’t use, she passed on to others.
Just in case you didn’t listen back then, now is a good time to take stock of a few old school rules. These rules can help you save a few dollars and go green if that’s what you want to do.
1- “Close the door, I’m not trying to heat outdoors!”(Dad)
He was trying to tell you- Furnaces and air conditioners work harder to heat bigger spaces and that costs money:
Dad-inspired 2009 resolutions:
-Close vents in rooms you don’t use.
-Seal drafty windows with an insulating kit or plastic sheeting and duct tape. (Cheaper)
-Keep cold air from seeping in by adding furring strips to the edges and bottoms of doors.
-If you stay in one room more than the others, keep only that room at a temperature you deem comfortable.
-Layer on extra clothing and turn down the thermostat.
2- “Clean your plate. There are people starving all over the world.” (Grandma)
She was trying to say- Production of even the simplest food involves labor and manpower to grow, harvest, process, package, ship and stock. Wasted food equals money wasted.
Your Grandma-inspired 2009 Resolutions:
-Buy large packages wherever possible. The cost per ounce is usually less.
-Purchase bulk meat items to save money. Repackage, chicken or ground beef, etc. into smaller portions as soon as you get home from the grocer. Double wrap each portion to protect against freezer burn, then store immediately. You won’t have waste with thawed meat you can’t use right away.
-Cook no more than you can reasonably expect to use.
-The more convenient the packaging, the more food processing and the more expensive the serving. Buy fresh and cook it yourself.
-Serve smaller portions.
-Meat is expensive, stretch it with casseroles, stews and stir fries.
3- “Turn out the lights when you leave the room.”(Dad)
Dad should have said- It doesn’t cost a lot to power a single light bulb, but when you have lots of bulbs and leave them on all the time, that’s a waste of power. And money.
Your 2009 Resolutions to honor dad:
-Buy energy saving bulbs to help reduce the overall cost.
-Install a motion detector light instead of an outside porch light that stays on all night long.
-Unplug appliances you’re not using. Many have features that burn energy, coffee pots with clocks and timers, radios with alarm clock features you don’t use.
-Use your cell phone as your alarm clock.
-Unplug your computer to save energy when you’re not using it.
-Be mindful of power strips, appliances with instant-on features and “Vampires,” the chunky plugs on cell phone chargers and other appliances that drain energy when you leave them plugged in.
4- “You don’t need every expensive toy in the store.”(Dad)
What Dad was trying to say – Even though you feel entitled, no eight year old needs Mr. Gameshow, a Nintendo Power Glove or Barbie’s townhouse. (Remember we’re talking old school.)
Your 2009 Resolutions can be:
-If you must have high-end “toys” opt for models with fewer features and save a little money.
-Flat TVs have come down in price over the last few years. Buy one, but don’t go into debt for one you can’t afford.
-If your computer is white and you want a black one with a bigger monitor, consider buying the big monitor if you must, then upgrade your old computer and keep it a year or two longer.
-New cars are great, but if your old one starts faithfully every morning, keep it a few years longer. There will be maintenance costs but the collision and comprehensive insurance will cost far less than on a newer model.
5. “Slow down. You drive like you have a lead foot.” (Dad)
What he should have said- Driving at lower speeds saves gasoline. That’s why they reduced the speed limit to 55 back during the last gas crisis.
Your gas-saving, driving resolutions can be:
-When stopped, ease into the appropriate speed limit. When you slam on the gas and take off like rocket, it uses more gasoline.
-You also save gas and money when you ease into a stop or pace yourself between green lights so you don’t have to stop at all.
-Proper tire inflation saves gasoline as well. The car has to work harder on improperly inflated tires. The proper PSI (Pounds of pressure per square inch) is listed on the tire side wall. Buy a tire gauge, check it often and keep the correct PSI.
-Better still, park your car and take public transportation; you save on gas, parking fees, insurance and traffic headaches.
6- “It’s bedtime, go to sleep!”(Mom)
What she meant:
If you go to sleep earlier, you will be rested for the next day; and you will save energy costs from not watching television, cooking, playing pong (the seventies, remember) and turning the lights off and on.
Your 2009 Resolutions:
Go to bed earlier, you will be rested, save energy…. not much has changed except that you’re grown. If you stay up, try reading instead of all those energy draining toys.
Keep these old school rules. Make them the basis of your 2009 resolutions and they can help you cut back on expenses and save money, which is exactly what you need during these tough economic times.
Here are a few more rules to think of.
7- “Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.”(Grandma)
8- “Don’t spend money like it’s burning a hole in your pocket.”(Grandpa)
9- “A penny saved is a penny earned.”(The Old Guy Next Door. He always has to have the last word.)