Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Budgeting to Make a House a Home

Moneysaving + Renovation = Not a Good Combination
(An Introduction)

Many people dream of owning their own home. Thoughts drift towards a comfortable, uncomplicated life of debt free bliss - no mortgage, no rent, no worries. A pretty, country cottage with white picket fence and roses growing around the door... It's all so far removed from reality for most of us that we barely give it a passing thought, lest we sink into the depths of despair at the impossibility of it all. We can't help but think of the dire, economic climate in which we all seem to be living at the moment, probably overlooking the simple fact that it doesn't need to be like that!

Here I am, writing and blogging on a daily basis about money saving, frugal living and a variety of attempts to earn a little extra, when I have overlooked one major storyline: the consequences of all this and where to go from here!

It has taken 10 years of skrimping and saving, many temporary work contracts and enough house moves to make me think I'd have been better towing a mobile home. Then the opportunity arose to sink everything into buying a property to renovate into something that could be called home - a pretty white cottage with about a quarter acre of garden and room at the front for a picket fence and roses round the front door! OK, so it's an end terrace in a rural village, rather than a detached country property and, to be honest, 'village' isn't quite the correct term. Here, we have one street with nothing more than a phone box and a post box, so it's fairly rural.

The roof leaks, none of the doors fit properly, one of the windows was held in place with cobwebs, there are holes in the floors and the garden hadn't been cultivated in years. The fusebox had been burned out, the wiring was old-style and most of the pipes were burst. The toilet cistern had frozen and thawed so often that its internal workings were non-existent, the "kitchen" looks like the ceiling may cave in and the outbuildings were so delapidated that storing anything in them wasn't an option. But we threw in our lot and took a chance on making it home.

We had only two months to make the place habitable before we had to move in and give up the rental. In that time, we had to strip out the worst of the interior, dig up and transfer an entire garden, move the ducks, hens and quail plus bring the cat and the rabbit, get the plumbing and wiring fixed and gut the 'kitchen' to rid it of the rotten flooring. During that time, the car 'died' and we lost 50% of our income. The budget was well and truly screwed! How bad can things get?

But we'd bought a house that could be renovated into a home.

Now, the real work begins. Researching the most frugal ways of surviving this dire economic climate while renovating our house into a home. It is proving to be time consuming and, at times, soul-destroying, but every day is worth it and every day takes us one step closer to achieving our longterm goals.

Is the good life all that it's cracked up to be? Can people still realise their dreams without being swallowed up by a system that dictates we MUST earn X amount of money? I certainly hope so, because it seems like we have stepped out of the system to find that it's all a bit of a myth. Society cannot function without cash because society has forgotten how to function without it and we all eed to pay taxes. Thanks to this, (and the fact that we couldn't afford a smallholding,) my concept of frugaldom has developed as a lifestyle and any cash earned online from home will, for me, forever be known as cyberdosh.

Blah, blah, blah... let's get onto the good part - budgeting to make a house a home.

Follow the tales and exploits of Frugaldom, as we continue our quest for financial freedom. For the cyberdosh side of things, I've introduce a second blog HERE.

It's best to know right from the outset that frugaldom means adaptability and being prepared to make changes whenever or wherever necessary. I may write one thing one day and then retract it the next. There is no brand loyalty in Frugaldom, nor is there much room for error. It's very much about finding opportunities and making the most of everything because, as sure as I sit here typing this, this type of lifestyle falls through almost every safety net I can imagine.

If you find yourself pining for the good life, you need to grasp every opportunity available and sometimes that means leaping before you look, or accepting that gift horse without first inspecting its teeth. It's all about being prepared, but for what, I do not know! Home's home, afterall.

Back soon, and don't forget to +1 any posts you like so I know where to focus my attention. Thanks.


  1. I think you should be amazingly proud of yourself for all you have achieved :0) truly inspirational x

  2. Thanks, Linzi. :)

    However, with such slippery slopes, huge obstacles to overcome and so many ways of losing track of things, this path isn't the safest place to be when risking a fall, so I'll save pride for much, much later. LOL

  3. It's thanks to you and a few others that we took the leap of faith and bought our little cottage..with the roses and white picket fence...
    And that we can stay focused on paying off our mortgage and saving for travel.

    You should be so proud of the amazing journey you've made. You have inspired us all!

    Sft x

  4. It seems to me that self-sufficiency in the 21st Century will always be one with the need for money, because as you say, we live in a society in which it is impossible to function without dosh. But there are no hard and fast rules and we make it work for us the way we can. I have been inspired by many of the frugal living blogs including this one, and although I am still at the start of my journey (thanks to my flat in the city not selling), the simpler way in which I am already living is providing benefits of a new sort of calm and tranquillity in my life that I never had before. Thanks for your blog.

  5. Thank you for all your lovely comments. This is a long journey with no end in sight, but I love the lifestyle, so who really wants that to end?

    Glad to be able to share the Frugaldom tales and I love hearing how others are managing to follow a similar path, regardless of location. :)


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