Recently, my friend Dave and I were visiting a burrito establishment for their BOGO offer and discussing life and money-matters. The subject soon turned to “things we purchase today that our grandparents would shake their heads at”. Knowing the generation that came before us has endured quite a bit by way of the Great Depression and war – thriftiness became a way of life for most.
While pondering this question for awhile – here's a few things we came up with.
This one is a no-brainer. I can't imagine our great-grandparents thinking this was a brilliant idea. They'd be like, “You actually pay for water? Who raised you?!” Though, our water does seem to have a lot more pollutants in it than previous times. But, some reports have indicated that bottled water is no better for you than tap.
“You what? You pay to go to a gym to work-out?! Pshh.” Our great-grandparents probably worked too hard out in the fields or at their jobs doing physical labor to even need a gym membership. With many of our jobs being ‘sit-at-the-desk-for-8-hours-in-a-day-with-only-a-few-breaks', we have to get some exercise. Unless you have one of these at your desks (which, an old co-worker of mine once had).
Dog sweaters (or any animal clothing for that matter)
Dave came up with this charmer. I know some people just love their animals – but come on. These creatures don't need any clothing! As our great-grandparents would say, “What in tarnation?”
My grandmother talked about how they rarely ate out – if ever. I liken it to drinking pop (soda) today. Even when I was younger, drinking pop was something you might get once-a-week – if that. It was a treat. Today eating out is almost an everyday event for many of us.
When I went to stay with my grandparents, we would often go “up-town” (as they liked to call it) to the grocery store/diner. The farmers would be meeting for breakfast, sipping on their coffees that were provided by the grocer. I think there was a jar were you could donate a nickel if you felt so benevolent that day. “$4 for a cup o' Joe! That's nonsense!”
“Put em in the tub and warsh em out!” I'm not old – well, sorta – but even I grew up on cloth diapers. Today it seems, it's all about convenience. And, really, who am I to say – I haven't had to change many diapers. (Ruser has though and prefers the cloth diaper).
Anything new that replaces a functional item
I got this idea from the Reddit post that I submitted on this topic (there were some great ideas!). I'm reminded of this whenever I go to upgrade this gadget or that do-dad – when the one I'm using is in working condition.
I'd love to hear some things you think your great-grandparents would be giving us the ol' shake of the head on for purchasing today.
This is funny, but if we followed their thinking more we’d keep more money in our pockets. We’ve definitely moved to paying a lot for convenience.
I love how my parents are satisfied with their belongings. I know that they could afford newer cars and nicer furniture but they are satisfied with what they have. Hope I learn the same lesson sooner rather than later.
I agree wholeheartedly on the ridiculousness of buying new stuff to replace existing stuff. I’ve been trying to just use and reuse everything until it absolutely wears out. It’s kind of a freeing experience because it means, on the whole, we own less stuff. A win all around and certainly something our grandparents did.
Great list! I think technology really contributes to our need to replace or “upgrade” gadgets that are working fine. I’m guilty of it, but I at least try to sell the older one to get most of my money back.
Yeah, that’s true. With tech – everything keeps getting smaller and faster – so you feel like you need to “keep up”.
Smart phones along with replacing them every time a new version comes out. My in-laws had the same old heavy black dial phone they got when phones first came out.
In the realm of housing…..when wall to wall carpet was developed, they rushed to cover their old hardwood floors. Now people pay a premium for hardwood. Same thing with so-called farm sinks. I lived on farms as did relatives and not one of them had anything like what is called farm sinks.
What’s a farm sink, Kathy?
It is usually a single longer rectangular bowl sink that sits in a base kitchen cabinet that is cut out to reveal the front side. I think they are also called apron sinks. Makes no sense to me…..
Some stuffs you mentioned makes our grand parents laugh. Maybe they think if we spend our money in buying those things that we only wants but not really need, we are just wasting our money. BTW, nice post.
I think about this lots, being a student of the Great Depression. Even when I was a kid, I only remember going out to eat a couple of times during my whole childhood. And we never, ever had pop or chips or that kind of stuff. I think most of our great-grandparents would go into shock if they saw the way most people waste money these days. Which reminds me, great job on taking advantage of the bogo burrito offer with Dave – that is a truly wonderful frugal friendship. :-)
We can learn a lot from the Great Depression, for sure. Yes, gotta take advantage of those deals! ;)