Often our mums think differently to us because they grew up in a different time –money was scarce and being frugal was non-negotiable. Yet so many of those principles still apply today. This Mother’s Day we pay tribute to mums everywhere with these 10 timeless tips.

1. Save things you can re-use

There’s a fine line between hoarding – and keeping useful things. If you do have quality items, and the room to store them, then it’s a very sound idea to save them in case somebody needs them down the track. Like classic furniture that might help a daughter or son set up their first apartment for instance. Just make sure you do a stocktake regularly (ask “will anyone really use this?”) so the pile doesn’t grow too high.

2. You don’t need to constantly trade up

If a gadget still works, you don’t need to dump it or sell it just because a new model comes out, whether that’s a mobile phone or a car. True friends don’t care if your iPhone is 3 years old – as long as they can still text you on it.

3. Use your washing line

After a long week at work, the idea of hanging all your towels and sheets on the line might be challenging. But think what you can save on energy bills by using the dryer less. (And if you hate the feel of crunchy towels straight from the line, pop them in the dryer briefly to soften them up.)

4. Start saving young

A lot of our mums started building a nest egg from their first job. My mum bought a piece of land in her early 20s using savings from her small secretary’s wage. Sure, property is more expensive now, but there are other ways to invest smaller amounts – and who doesn’t love the sexy benefits of compound interest!

5. Shop around

A lot of mums pore over catalogues when they arrive in the letterbox, looking for discounts on their groceries and other essentials. They know that a few dollars saved here, and a few more saved there, add up. Today you’ve got no excuse for not seeking out bargains because there are so many online tools to help you.

6. Put a bit away for a rainy day

There were lots of rainy days in decades gone by – people lost jobs, recessions happened, cars broke down – and today it’s no different. That’s why an emergency fund is essential – for everyone, so you don’t need to beg or borrow if the worst comes to pass.

7. Eat everything on your plate

Being conscious of waste is a great lesson. It can reduce your footprint on the planet, and reduce your monthly bills in a million different ways – from energy consumption to grocery spending. Start with plating up smaller portions at dinner time and eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow…

8. You don’t need to use that much toilet paper!

Ok, maybe this was just my family (!) but the principle applies to most things. Whether it’s laundry powder, dishwashing liquid or squares of toilet paper – if you can use the minimum required to get the job done, it will save you money over time.

9. Pay off your credit card every month

There are ways to make a credit card work for you, i.e., using the full interest-free periods, storing up rewards points and the most important one – paying it off completely by the due date every month. No self-respecting money-conscious mum wants to be giving a bank her hard-earned pennies in interest if she can help it.

10. And the big one: live within your means

Lots of us spend money we don’t have. We use credit cards and loans to buy things we believe we need. Many of our mothers (and certainly our grandmothers) lived without credit cards for a lot of years and they were used to buying what they could afford, rather than what they wanted RIGHT NOW. There’s a lot of wisdom in that.

Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday!

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