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Learn money saving lessons from your Grandparents

Whilst we may have looked down on their coupon-cutting antics and fear of taking on credit, our grandparents had it right when it came to money saving. An era of easy credit and massive consumer spending has left our current generation struggling with debt and negative equity.

Over the last 18 months, the sceptre of economic recession has loomed heavily over families all around the UK. With unemployment rising and credit suddenly drying up, people have found themselves in real difficulties. Whereas once it was almost a badge of honour to be walking around with several credit cards, suddenly the reality of owing expensive debts is hitting home and credit card companies are hiking up interest rates. Whereas not so long ago it was acceptable to list 'shopping' as a hobby and change home decor schemes every other month, suddenly such behaviour looks reckless and ill-advised.

The nation has been forced to wake up very suddenly to the harsh reality of their personal finances. Although we have lived in an aspirational culture, we rarely had the means to achieve it in real terms. Designer clothes, luxury holidays, three cars per family - all were being funded by loans and credit cards. Salaries certainly weren't rising in response to our lifestyle demands and people were over-extending themselves with very little thought to the repercussions.

With the onset of the credit crunch however, the mood has changed and reality has hit. Consumers are no longer on a non-stop spending spree with no thought for the consequences. Individuals are focusing on paying off debts and putting something aside. People are working extra jobs or taking on overtime. Being thrifty has become the new cool. And suddenly the tips that our grandparents passed on are ringing in our ears.

Don't buy more than you need. Buy food in bulk and cook meals from scratch instead of wasting pennies on expensive ready meals. Shop in the sales for things you really need. Look for quality and invest in something that will last. Think about what will really make you happy - spending time with friends and family is free! Our grandparents generation didn't have expensive outings to theme parks or foreign holidays, they enjoyed trips to the seaside and spent their holidays in the UK. Find activities which don't cost anything such as going for walks, to museums or entertaining at home.

Most importantly of all - keep a budget and know where your money's going. As your grandparents said - if you take care of the pennies, the pounds will take care of themselves! Never has this advice been so pertinent as we all grapple to take control of our financial future. The good news however is with a little planning, common sense and restraint, we can make our grandparents proud with a sensible approach that doesn't take the joy out of life but rather ensures we don't waste our valuable and hard earned cash!

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