When I think about my Grandma I recall her working out money on scraps on paper always aware of incomings and outgoings. She had different concerns than I do today in a lot of ways but of course we were both raising families on a budget.
They grew a lot of food themselvesand would buy from farms, neighbours and local grocers. Cooking meals took time. I can remember well as a kid peeling potatoes, shelling peas, rolling pastry lots of work just for one meal. It was slower more effort filled world then. Did we appreciate those meals more I wonder?
Coal and wool were important items on Grandmas budget. Keeping warm was a big deal. My granddad use to tell me tales of when they were young they used to have to race after the coal cart and if a bit fell off they must grab it and run home. They were absolutely forbidden from stealing it however. Wool made blankets, gifts and scarves and jumpers. Grandma’s generation knew a lot about layering and could teach us a thing or two about using up heat whilst we sit around in t-shirts!
Holidays and day trips
My dad used to go off to poor boys camp (yes that’s really what it was called) each summer for a little holiday. Even though he had totally normal clothes he had to wear a brown sack thing. How horrid. Grandma budgeted for a holiday for the family where shoe could be days out at the seaside were more the norm and a VERY big treat.
Grandma liked her bingo with the girls. This was her equivalent of a working men’s club, they would laugh gossips, share tips and advice and have a good laugh down at the bingo. Bingo games were sometimes lucrative too and I will never forget when she won a holiday to Great Yarmouth whilst playing.
Everyone used to save for Christmas clubs and there would be lots of oohing and ahhing over the various hampers when they arrived. All I remember is she always had this horrid pink luncheon meat thingy arrive and it was icky looking but meant be a treat.
Grandma did not have to budget for hair and nails she did her own or friends helped, she walked almost everywhere so she had no petrol costs , family were always around so she never needed to pay a babysitter. She wasn’t constantly tempted to buy things form magazines and TV adverts. She didn’t have a phone so no phone bill and the house had been passed down for generations Grandma never seemed stressed or rushing and in my memoires she was always smiley. Outfits lasted her years but she still looked chic. Kids clothes were always passed on and items were pawned or sold if there were debts. They didn’t just go about amassing more debts.
Who was better off? Well we have more worries but more stuff.
It all depends how you define wealth.