27 Tips From Grandma That Work

Grandmas are famous for their little tips. They have tips for how to eat, when to shop, who to date and which dish soap has the longest-lasting bubbles. While some of Grandma’s advice is best taken with a grain of salt, many wise words from grandma can come in handy throughout your life.

We’ve been listening to these experienced ladies when they drop their pearls of wisdom here and there. Here’s our list of 27 tips from Grandma that work.

1. Save Some Money Every Week

Grandma was onto something when she told you to save a little bit of your earnings each week. We used a savings calculator from the Investing Answers online financial guide to see how much cash we would have in the bank right now if we had truly listened to this tip from Grandma when we entered the workforce.

Let’s assume that Granny drove you to the bank, at 17 miles per hour, and set you up with $100 to open your savings account. Then, she patted you on the head and told you that this money was all yours if you promised to add $50 from each weekly paycheck to the balance, invest it well and not touch it until you were 66 years old.

At a 10 percent annual rate of return, you would have close to $3.5 million in the bank after 50 years of saving as dear old Grandma suggested. Not bad advice at all.

2. Don’t Use Credit Cards

As a general rule, grandmas aren’t big fans of credit cards. I recall my late grandmother saying, “Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it.” Credit cards may be convenient, and their ads are enticing, but the interest rates, annual fees and hidden charges can add up and eventually ruin your financial plans.

3. Live Within Your Means

Anyone who is of grandparenting age will almost always advise you to live within your means. Grandmas seem to say phrases like this in their sleep. Living within your means is choosing not to go out and eat with a friend when you should be brown-bagging it, driving a garage sale car when you’d rather be rolling in an S-Class Mercedes, and living in a home that’s easy for you to afford on your current income. You know, stuff grandmas do.

4. Invest in Real Estate

Grandma was never interested in the latest tech stock. Rather, she paid her mortgage on time and threw an extra payment toward the balance whenever it was possible. Although home values go up and down, people will always need a place to live. Owning real estate outright is generally a solid investment that will pay off in the future.

5. Buy Cars With Cash

Financing a car is not the only way to get around town. Grandma says to buy an inexpensive car, no matter what it looks like. Drive it for as long as you can while you save for something a little better. Once you’ve saved a substantial amount, sell the car, add the proceeds to your savings and buy a nicer set of wheels. Continue in this fashion until you’re driving a decent, reliable vehicle that doesn’t leave oil stains on your driveway. No payments, no problem.

Grandma’s Advice on Frugality

6. Make Gifts

Grandma recommends making homemade gifts for your friends instead of buying them. While a handmade gift doesn’t normally cost much money to make, the recipient knows that you spent your ever so valuable time putting it together. Thoughtful, handcrafted gifts are often well-received and cherished for years.

7. Shop the Clearance Aisle

I always run into older ladies at the clearance section of my grocery store. Because of the grandmotherly advice of Amy Dacyczyn, author of “The Tightwad Gazette” series, I know the location of the clearance aisle in every store near my home. I save boatloads of money each week on groceries and other household goods.

8. Brew Your Coffee at Home

Yeah, your grandmother would never have dreamed of buying coffee from a shop on her way to work each morning. Follow her lead, and you’ll save a bundle brewing at home.

9. Learn Basic Sewing

If you’ve never learned to sew, pull up a free, online tutorial and get started. If your favorite T-shirt has a rip in the seam, sew it up and save yourself from having to purchase a new one.

10. Put on a Sweater

Are you chilly in the wintertime at home? Grandma says, “Keep your sweet little hands off that blessed thermostat and bundle up.” Don’t make her repeat it.

Grandma’s Advice on Relationships

Grandmas generally have much to say about your relationships. Here are a few of their best tips on how to get along with the most important people in your life.

11. Never Go to Bed Angry

Always talk it out and kiss goodnight.

12. You’ve Got Two Ears and One Mouth

Which, of course, means you should listen twice as much as you talk.

13. If It Won’t Matter in 10 Years, Don’t Fuss About It

Overlook the small stuff.

14. This Too Shall Pass

With this phrase, Grandma reminds us that there are tough times in life. These challenges are worth working through, and they will pass. Happier days will come.

15. Not Every Truth Should Be Spoken

Never speak of the fact that you’ve always disliked the smell of your mother-in-law’s hand cream or that you think Starbucks makes better coffee than your wife. There are certain truths that should be taken to your grave.

Grandma’s Advice on Food

16. Grow a Garden

Grandma always had tomatoes growing and a big potted green bean plant. Gardening sensibly can help keep certain food costs low.

17. Make It From Scratch

Did you know you could make your own mayonnaise quicker than you can run to the store and buy it? It also costs much less and tastes better than store-bought. Same with ketchup, simple salad dressing, ranch-style dressing, and salsa. Search online for recipes and make these items from scratch as Grandma does.

18. Keep a List of Ingredient Substitutions

Grandma knows that if she’s short one egg for her famous chocolate cake, that she can substitute 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise in a pinch. If she needs 1 cup of cake flour, she can use 3/4 cup of sifted all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. A cup of plain yogurt can stand in for a cup of buttermilk when she’s making fluffy pancakes.

If you keep a list of common substitutions posted inside one of your kitchen cabinet doors, it’ll save you the time and money of running out to purchase something you may need for a recipe.

19. Chop and Freeze

Grandma has a fabulous freezer full of goodies. When you find yourself with an abundance of nearly any type of produce, chop and freeze it for future recipes.

Grandma’s Advice on the Environment

20. Reuse It

Don’t even think about throwing away the empty coffee can. Grandma could find 400 different uses for that treasure. This means that Grandma also didn’t have to buy plastic containers from the store. Smart lady.

21. Use a Clothesline

Save energy, get some exercise and enjoy clothes that last longer due to being dried in a gentle breeze.

22. Repurpose Old Clothing

Instead of using paper towels or napkins, do what your grandma did and cut up old T-shirts and towels to use as rags.

Grandma’s Employment Advice

23. Never Let Them See You Sweat

Grandma would advise nothing but professionalism at work. Scream into a pillow at home, cry in the bathroom stall or pour your heart out into a private journal, but never let your emotions take over at work.

24. If You’re Not Early, You’re Late

Once upon a time, a grandmotherly type told my 16-year-old self, “If you can show up to work five minutes late consistently, then you can show up to work five minutes early consistently.”

25. If a Job Is Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well

Grandma wanted you to put your heart and soul into whatever you have decided is worthwhile to do. That’s good advice.

Grandma’s Advice on Technology

26. Go Slowly

Grandma isn’t an early adopter by any means. She would advise you to go slowly when diving into new technology. If you’ve got a Google Glass system or a Betamax player in your garage, you understand why.

27. Remember to Call

In our text-friendly, social media-focused, gadget-rich culture, it’s easy to forget to pick up the phone and have conversations with loved ones. Grandmas all around the globe want to hear the voices of their family members once in a while. If your grandma is still around, consider giving her a jingle. It might be the best part of her day.

Listen to Grandma’s Advice

Grandmothers are a sapient bunch, full of timeless wisdom. Much of their advice is worth heeding. Lean in the next time you hear a woman with a head full of gray hair start to talk. You could very well gain some valuable insights for life.

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