Our forebears lived through hard times and, if they were alive today, would no doubt remark that we live in luxury by comparison. Despite their meagre household incomes and large families, by enlarge they were able to provide the essentials of life for their families without handouts from the Government and without going broke. Their expectations were simple – a roof over their heads, good food to eat, an education for their children and a few short years of rest at the end of their working years.
Theirs was a life without money machines and credit cards, where if you wanted to buy something you paid cash, and if you didn’t have the cash on hand, you saved hard until you did or went without. Borrowing money meant a visit to the bank manager who would take considerable convincing to approve a loan. Yes, you could have accounts with the local grocer or butcher, but they would be settled on payday. Trust and integrity meant that payment reminders were seldom required.
Saving was imperative, because there was little help available by way of Government benefits and it was considered shameful to ask for handouts. Everything was made to last, and if it didn’t, you mended it or recycled it, whether it was a pair of socks or left over scraps of soap. Work hours were long and there was no time, let alone money, to go wining and dining or taking long holidays. Entertainment was home grown, within the family or the community. It didn’t cost money to have fun and people were more important than possessions.
The standard of living that was acceptable a hundred years ago is certainly not acceptable now, but if we applied the same money values as our forebears, imagine how much wealthier we would be.