Budget Categories That Our Grandmothers Didn’t Have To Worry About

When talk of saving money comes up, it usually leads to talk of the “good old days” when things were simpler and less expensive. Many people reminisce about the days when a stamp was ten cents, a loaf of bread was twenty-five cents, and a gallon of gas was fifty cents. Oh, the good old days, indeed. Not only were things less expensive then, we had far less on which to spend our money. Money went further simply because we had fewer temptations and “necessities.”

I was going through my files in Quicken the other day and looking at the budget categories I have set up. I noticed something: Most of these categories are things that my grandmother would not have had to worry


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13 Responses to Budget Categories That Our Grandmothers Didn’t Have To Worry About

  1. Another budget category that wasn’t needed when I was a teen-ager, but was a separate expense by the time my daughter graduated: driver’s education classes.

    That’s right. In many places where driver’s ed was once a high school class and free to the students … it’s now an out-of-pocket expense for the families.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I thought of one more after I wrote this: Homeowner’s Association dues. Most of my relatives would have been appalled at the idea of paying someone to police your property, but today it’s hard to find a place that doesn’t have an HOA.

  3. Eleanor says:

    Your comment about convenience foods brought back a memory of my grandmother. When she reached the point that grocery shopping was becoming an overwhelming task, my Mother thought she’d help out by purchasing a variety of frozen meals which my grandmother could simply heat and eat. My grandmother had a FIT and told my Mother on no uncertain terms that she was NOT eating prepared foods and my Mother could take those things back to the store. She shortly thereafter moved to an assisted living center where she could eat “real food” in the dining room.

  4. A Marino says:

    OUTDOOR LIVING AREAS: Our parents and grandparents were fortunate if they could furnish their home much less furnish the outside with high-end furniture, expensive barbeque cooking surfaces, outside refrigerators, outside canopy (unless it was for a special party or wedding).

    TECH EQUIPTMENT: Most parents today furnish their college bound kids with computers, TV’s, MP3’s, etc. So, there would have to be a category for that outside of the college fund.

    WEDDING AND SPECIAL DAY FUNDS: Our families never gave away a bag with goodies to incoming guests who were attending parties. I guess this would be under the wedding list, but I just see it as another add-on for the categories.

  5. Tara says:

    It seems to me that a lot of those savings required women to have pretty much NO leisure time. Women still have statistically less leisure time then men. Who knows, if men picked up more of the cooking, sewing, maintenance, child care etc, maybe we could all have more leisure time *and* more savings.

  6. Jackie says:

    My grandparents have a minivan (to hold my Grampy’s oxygen tank) and a little beater truck to haul limbs and whatnot to the city compost. For awhile though, they just had the minivan. My Grammy is out and about quite a bit with her various groups and my Grampy threw a big fit about how she’s leaving stranded at home when she has the vehicle most of the day. Now, my grandparents are fairly 1950s standard in many ways, but as my Grammy has gotten older she bucks the 1950s system more often. She pitched that fit right back in his face by reminding him of all the years when she was home by herself with their 5 children with no car to get around while he was on the road selling. lol, it was pretty funny once the dust settled. They did buy that truck, but only because it served two purposes: 1) an extra vehicle to get around in and 2)as a work truck to haul things that are too big or dirty for the minivan. :)

    Another budget buster for me are all the gift giving occassions: birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mother/Father’s Day, Boss’s Day, Valentines, etc. Way back when, middle to lower income children might have gotten one gift on a birthday, maybe 2 or 3 on Christmas and that was pretty much it. Now, my nieces and nephews get probably 20 gifts each at Christmas and maybe 5 or 6 at their birthdays, plus cash. Plus, a basket and small gift at Easter, plus candy at Valentines, etc. Plus, the stuff they get throughout the rest of the year for no reason. Kids 50 years ago didn’t get this much largesse unless they came from pretty affluent families or were unusually spoiled.

  7. Tom says:

    One came to my mind after reading this…I am pretty sure my Grandmother didn’t have a Quicken category for whether or not to upgrade Quicken every year :)

  8. asmom says:

    Health Insurance: If you got very sick you died often from simple stuff that today could be cured in your doctor’s office.

    High Utility Bills: In the winter, they lit a fire and froze their butts off when they walked out of the room. In the summer, they roasted.

    I don’t mind paying a little more. I would hate to sew my own clothes and I like the idea of traveling. What in the heck is the point of saving money but for some of the modern conveniences?

  9. baselle says:

    Sports equipment/gym membership – you usually got a lot of exercise living your daily life. I got into a discussion once about the fact that gym muscles are for looks rather than for the doing. For example, take stacking hay bales in a barn. Its about the same motion as a bicep curl, but 20 reps and 3 sets in a usual workout would only give you 60 hay bales. A hay wagon usually had hundreds of bales.

  10. Granddad says:

    ? To Tara ?
    Being over 50 I have been around awhile and I have seen a lot.
    Never before have I seen men doing more cooking, cleaning, childcare, and other domestic chores as I have witnessed now days.
    I have seen them grocery shopping with their children, without the wife or mother. And a lot of the children are still in diapers which is why so many of the men restrooms have diaper changing facilities in them now (in case you didn’t know that). :)

    There have been movies made from “Mr. Mom” to “Daddy Day Care” that poke fun, but it has become a reality.

    When I and my spouse were raising our children, we worked separate shifts so that one of us was constantly home.
    Believe me, I did my share of the cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, etc., AND saving money. Now I am doing the cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, etc. with my grandchildren.

    Anyway, I just feel that you did not give the male species a fair shake with your comment and I wanted to share my thoughts with you on the subject and hopefully open your eyes, if not but just a bit.

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  12. minny says:

    Compared with my mother and grandmother the extras I pay are to run a car, have the internet. In the 1950’s and 1960’s here in Britain few had cars and there were no home computers.

    We have a caravan bought cheaply because it is 20 years old. A sailing boat which was 39 years old when we bought it – but people had these things back then. These provide vacations and leisure activities as we are retired.

    I eat different food – but I make it myself – convenience food tastes strange and I like to know what I’m eating.

    We rarely eat out and never eat fast food.

    I have a cell phone but use pay as you go and it costs me about $50 a year, the phone itself was very cheap to buy. This goes for both of us, in fact our daughter gave us one of our cell phones.

    I don’t make clothes as they are cheaper to buy now – in fact in real terms both food and clothes are much cheaper now than they were in the 50’s and 60’s. Now we have more competition and the generic and cheap brands of basic foodstuffs.

    We don’t pay for extra channels on the TV. We have a cheap computer and will use it until it dies. We only replace any item when it dies or wears out.

    We use the library and from time to time buy cheap DVDs.

    Many of the additional items we have that were not in 50’s and 60’s budgets are mainly chosen and are not necessary. Many of the new techie stuff is having a bad effect on the family – each in their own rooms, family meals neglected.

    It is such a shame.

  13. Cindy M says:

    It’s sure good not to have to be politically correct; you can sure save quite a bit that way and very much enjoy your everyday life with a little planning ahead, imagination and keeping your eyes open. In order to work at home, I do have to have highspeed internet, and I keep a tracfone for babysitting the grandnephews and so I’m always available for my aging mother who lives nearby; both of these I’d do without but can’t right now. On the plus side, I personally do without a car (can use my mother’s to run the kids if necessary), do 99% of my own cooking using very little convenience food, no cable TV, do my own yard work, cut my own hair. My latest “fun” has been discovering a place in my community that offers free clothes and some household goods; I donate things and have taken things I can use and would volunteer there if I had more time to do so. On the days we babysit, we’ve got the grandnephews enthused about what we do for entertainment, and it hasn’t hurt them a bit; great parks system here, visiting some relatives, cooking together and checking out other nearly freebies. I think we are all just so spoiled these days we don’t know how to enjoy fairly simple things and are working are rear-ends off for expensive things that don’t necessarily bring all that much happiness. I think my grandmothers would be proud of me, ha-ha.

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