Frugal living blog about all things thrifty: money saving, DIY, crafts, gardens, food, fitness, woodland, wildlife and making the good life affordable! It's about the freedom to enjoy a frugal lifestyle while pursuing a lifelong ambition... and sharing it with you all.
As suggested in Part I, the real 'troubles' at NYK towers didn't really begin until after Y2K had arrived. 1999 was similar to 2012, in as much as there were doomsday soothsayers whining and groaning about the end of the world being nigh. Apparently, they thought all computer technology would halt on the last stroke of midnight, as we went through Hogmanay 1999 and into the 21st Century. Satellites would crash from the sky, communications and utilities systems would crash and all sorts of apocalyptic nasties would occur.
My 11 year-old son had met with a nasty playground accident late in 1999 that led to him needing home care for several months. This had meant handing over the NYK reins to a third party, providing them with transport, laptop and access to all the relevant information.
Someone was recommended to me, I did what research I could, I checked out their credentials, I took them on freelance, then discovered the truth! The first I knew was when said individual met with some sort of accident in which the provided laptop was wrecked, losing all the files. This was followed shortly afterwards by a series of even more extraordinary events, ranging from the emergence of bogus advertising clients to written threats and the implementation of a funded campaign to put us out of business. (Campbell, if you are reading this, thank you! You opened my eyes to the truth once and for all - trust nobody!) But lest anyone gets confused, the newspaper company responsible for the put-us-out-of-business campaign was NOT the Financial Times, but I'm getting to that.
We pulled the entire publishing project after distributing several thousand free copies over Christmas 1999, then switched everything online, kicking up a gear on the money challenges, Cyberdosh in particular. It really made my day when I read the following quote in the FT.com that same month:
"... readers interested in value-enhancing ideas
should log on at firstname.lastname@example.org..."
this written by none other than the chairman of W. H. Smith, himself! I was inundated with enquiries and offers!
Y2K saw the dawning of a new era. I travelled south with a friend and met with some business people who, in true Dragons' Den style, assured me that Cyberdosh was worthy of major investment - I was stunned by the names of the proposed investors! Figures were mentioned, directorships discussed and certain conditions laid down that would need to be met. For the uninitiated, these business angels may look good on TV when they invest small fortunes in new businesses, but we see only the edited highlights. We never hear of the legalities or formalities that can tear families apart, wreck marriages and create merry hell in so many ways that it's best I don't even begin to explain here.
2001 - Did I make the right decision?
2003 - Relocated - Divorce finalised
2007 - Debts almost cleared and most of my 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 challenges are still online for anyone to read.
2011 - Threw every penny I had into a joint-savings pot to buy a fixy-up that I named 'Thrift Cottage'. This became my 10th address in ten years, having moved around Britain from Lanarkshire to Aberdeenshire to Suffolk to Wigtownshire. You can do the arithmetic for yourself.
At the top of the Merrick for my 48th birthday
So, here I am, a debt free divorcee, fast approaching 50, still housesharing, but now as part-owner of a 200-year-old, partially-renovated, terraced cottage on a quiet street that has nothing more than a post box and a 'no coins accepted' phone box. The household of three dropped to two earlier this year, I have a tiny (self-employed) income and a massive chip on my shoulder that's made up of many smaller chips. A few weeks ago, the car got scrapped and it isn't being replaced.
2013 brings a whole new set of challenges, none less than attempting to manage without a car when there's no bus service and the nearest shop is over 3 miles from here. To replace the car, we have secondhand bikes. Work is slow, income is falling, prices of most things are rising, rural living doesn't lend itself to finding bargains, home repairs need doing, the house needs heating and we still need to live.
I will try my best to document the progress as honestly as possible throughout the coming year and if anyone wants to share the challenge of frugal living and/or working, please join me in the daily forums at frugaldom.myfreeforum.org
As you'll have guessed, come hell or high water, I fought to keep NYK Media - and won! But in so doing, lost home, husband and the small fortune I'd have made if only I'd been able to meet those blasted terms and conditions.
29th December 2012 - I'm still asking myself the same question! Did I make the right decision?
Who knows! Only time will tell.
For the coming year, I have set my household challenge budget, once again, at £4,000 for the full year - breakdown of costs listed in the forums - but this time, I'm including council tax. This accounts for almost 25% of the entire budget. Energy costs account for even more and groceries for almost as much, so it's an extremely tight budget. We all need a challenge in life and proving that money isn't the be all and end all of everything is mine. I hate the stuff, but we can't live without it!
Coupled with the frugal living challenge, I have my frugal working challenge, knowing as the Frugaleur Challenge. This entails earning extra income from home by way of a brand new business idea. For 2013, my new business revolves around McGonks - handmade Scottish gonks. But their tale will be told elsewhere.