Father’s Day: Budgeting Tips from My Father’s Generation

2017-06-16   minute read

Leah Drewcock

Debt Solutions

With Father’s Day around the corner, I find myself reflecting on some of the financial lessons I learned from my father over the years.


My dad just celebrated his 75th birthday this month. When we asked him what he wanted his birthday he said ‘I have everything I need.’ He didn’t say ‘I really want a new ….’ Is this a generational response or is it the response of a man with good financial health who understands the value and the cost of ‘things’? Perhaps it’s both.

My father’s generation, also known as the” Silent Generation” or the “WWII Babies,” didn’t have the benefit of easily accessible credit. In fact, the cost of borrowing when my father was 40 years old was at a record high of 21 per cent on a 25-year mortgage. Yet my parents have raised two healthy, financially stable children, own their home, have fully paid off their vehicles, have recreational property and can save enough to travel a bit in their retirement years. So just how did they do it?

When I was growing up, my parents didn’t drive new vehicles. My Dad is a handy guy and always drove older vehicles but serviced them regularly and maintained their good condition so they would last longer. Not having a monthly car payment allowed my parents to put money into savings for repairs and they earned interest on their savings instead of paying interest on vehicle loans.

We didn’t eat out at restaurants unless it was a very special occasion. When we did go out for dinner at a local restaurant it was a memorable occasion and more meaningful than if we had regularly eaten out.

My mother is a bargain shopper and didn’t spend frivolously on candy, toys or meaningless gifts. Still we NEVER went without what we needed and we were happy. We still had family vacations and regular trips to the local ski hill. Sure, my parents had tough times and occasionally had to shuffle bills, but they always thought about the ‘budget’ and lived within their financial means.

I guess you could call my dad vintage or a classic now. You have probably noticed that many things ‘classic’ or ‘vintage’ have come back in style. I like to think that some classic budgeting and money management techniques never went out of style. When we stray from the budget and decide to ‘buy now, pay later,’ the result is often ‘buy now, pain later’.

Proper budgeting is a trend should never go out of style.

Here are a few ‘classic’ tips for proper budgeting;

  • Set realistic goals – write them down (i.e. need a new hot water tank in next 12 months – to save $900 you must put away $75 / month).
  • Estimate your income and expenses and start tracking them (don’t guess, keep receipts and write everything down).
  • Develop your budget –adjust spending so expenses don’t exceed your income; include savings towards your goals as an expense.
  • Put your plan into action – continue tracking expenses and pay bills on time.
  • Adjust your plan whenever there is a significant change in your financial situation.
  • Start an Emergency Fund (somewhere between 3 and 6 months of expenses is a good guideline for emergency savings).
  • Don’t spend more on consumer credit than you can repay in the same month.

When it comes to maintaining financial health and achieving your short and long-term financial goals, old school budgeting techniques never really go out of style.

Leah Drewcock is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee serving our Prince George region. For more information on how MNP Debt can help, contact our office at 250.596.4901.

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