Personal Finance Tips from My Grandma

#2 Make budgets and stick to them like it’s your religion.

Content-looking grandma, with short hair, white blouse with flowery pattern, standing outside in a residential flower garden.
Content-looking grandma, with short hair, white blouse with flowery pattern, standing outside in a residential flower garden.
Photo by Damir Bosnjak on Unsplash

Back in the days

In the 1950s, women were considered unable to work as soon as they married someone and had to hand in their resignation according to an “incapacity” law that was in effect in the Netherlands until 1957. By saying “I do”, women submitted to the husband’s legal authority. In case of disputes, decisions about the kids, how to spend the money; the man boasted the highest word*.

Opulence despite “hole in the hand”?

Oftentimes she jokes that her husband had no money keeping skills. In Dutch, we use the expression “a hole in the hand”. If you have a big, fat, gaping hole in your hand, money disappears right through it.

  1. She makes budgets and sticks to them like it’s her religion. In rare cases where more money is needed for an unexpected expense, the funds in this (or next) month’s budget are shifted around to cover it.
  2. She tracks every single cent.
  3. She follows frugality as a lifestyle. With every purchase, she taught me to question whether I need it or not. To use what we already have, be satisfied with that, and make more with that, where we can. As long as devices are working, and they’re not slowing us down in our tracks, we keep using them. We don’t upgrade furniture to match the latest housing trends.
  4. She does thorough research before spending anything. This should be self-evident anywhere, especially for bigger purchases. You don’t need discipline with your finances only; you need discipline to succeed in all areas of life.
  5. Bills are paid immediately. Or the amount on the next one will increase and you’re losing money for no reason.
  6. She’s immune to Shiny Object Syndrome. New gadgets? Fancy designer clothes? The newest Super Pan Hydro Cooking Turbo Whatever? She doesn’t care.

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Writing my way to progress. Topics: personal growth, life lessons, tooling & (failed) ventures.

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