Saturday, 21 March 2015

Money Saving Experts

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Are you a money saving expert or are you a frugal living expert? There is a world of differences between the two and both can be crushed by debt. Real frugal living frees you from debt before you start saving any money.

It's the pennies that make the pounds

This is a quick blog post in my own defence, after my being subjected, once again, to what one may refer to as criticism against my frugal lifestyle. I just want to make one thing clear - make no mistakes, I actually love being frugal! Get it into your head that some of us don't need to be part of the general 9 to 5, or a salaried slave to the system that we call 'normal' society. Some of us actually enjoy our freedom and we will happily go without what others consider to be absolute essentials in order to afford simple living. I have no fear of losing my income or my home, I earn my own pittance and have the skills to create a home from wherever I may be at the time. Again, don't get me wrong, what I do pays very little, as I'm mostly writing and publishing free content, attempting to grow some food from the kitchen garden or assisting those whose budgets (or wisdom)  [prevent them from seeking professionals. I don't mind non-cash payments by way of some pickle, veggies, a bag of apples or a cake. I just need to earn sufficient to pay the essential bills and this is made possible by squeezing them as low as possible and seeing beyond the goal of 'living within my means'.

Some people assume that it is a basic human right to be able to afford certain things that I would consider absolute luxuries, but let's get this straight - paying for all these things as cheaply as possible in order to save cash in a tin, jar or bank while having any form of debt or money worries, in my opinion, is just plain dumb! Absolute debt freedom allows you the luxury to continue following a very frugal lifestyle while saving and investing in your own futures. I know there are other ways of doing things but this is mine and it works for me.

Frugal living allows those of us on low incomes to speculate a little in the hope that we will accumulate sufficient to afford to continue our stress free lifestyle, right through to retirement and beyond. That is not to say that we will ever reach a point when we can easily live off the interest from our savings but at no point will we get into the unsustainable situation whereby we have more going out than coming in - that is the gist of this story. It's about living within lowly means in a way that demonstrates how it is affordable to all and making the most of every penny to grow it into a pound.

It's the pennies that make the pounds that make moneysaving possible

Money saving - it is such an ambiguous phrase. Is it money-saving or is it simply saving money? Are you saving by shaving a percentage off the overall cost of what you buy or are you living well within your means in order to save what's leftover by way of cash and other investments. For the past ten years, I have been living a fairly frugal life, primarily to clear debts like credit cards and a couple of contracts I had locked myself into and then to free myself from the rent trap, as I prefer the security of owning over the pressure of earning hundreds of pounds extra each and every month in order to sustain rent payments. Personally, I feel I could make a home anywhere, as it's about how you feel and not the material 'stuff' that's built up around you. Personally, I don't care if what's around me is built from stone, brick, wood or mud. I don't care if the roof is slate, tile, shingle, tin or felt. Affording to feel comfortable, relaxed and secure within that space is what matters, free from the worry of how to pay for it.

So, when someone grumbles to me that their savings are dwindling, their out-goings are far greater than their income, their home isn't worth selling because they won't get back what they paid for it and they are worried about how they will afford to keep the roof over their head in the future, don't expect me to wave a magic wand and say, "There, there, everything will work out somehow." My answer is blunt and to the point - quit spending, quit throwing good money after bad and downsize instead of playing silly games of 'what will friends and neighbours think?'

Yes, I did say it as I saw it and do you know what their utterly disgusted response was, fellow frugal lifestyle fans?

"I could never live like you!"

www.frugalforums.co.uk

Money Saving Experts

18 comments:

  1. The straight talking on your blog and other frugal blogs have given me the push that I needed to sort out my family's finances. Whilst I couldn't live your particular lifestyle right now, because my children are young and my husband's job causes us to move every couple of years, so we aren't in our own house, that doesn't mean that I don't admire your lifestyle for its simplicity. I'm looking forward to a much more simple lifestyle, once we actually live in a house for longer than 2 years and the children are older.

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    1. I fully understand where you are coming from, as this was my 9th address in 10 years, at which point we said to hell with it and moved into a complete and utter catastrophe of a fixy-up (as per the frugal renovations posts,) It has been totally worth it, even although few people are happy to visit, let alone stay. There have been the brave few. Good luck with your plans - follow your own budget path and the only piece of advice I could safely give is never be ashamed of your lifestyle if you are living within your means and causing harm to no one. It is an achievement to be proud of, not one to be frowned upon by those whose lives revolve around what they think they own. :)

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  2. Well they don't need to, and they also don't need to insult your lifestyle. It is no one else's business how you choose to live your life. Hope you are well and I hope to get back to the forums on a regular basis soon xx

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    1. Thanks, Samfan, I'm looking forward to seeing you back there and here! Hope you aren't working too hard and that you'll have time for a visit this summer. :)

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  3. You are lucky to have H who is in the same frame of mind as yourself.
    Someone said to my DH last week how can you afford to do this and than? Well it's by watching my money and being frugal. I keep a book on my monthly groceries. My DH asked yesterday when are we going to the Chinese supermarket and was ok with my answer. Lol
    Not so bed being a pensioner.
    Sylvia

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    1. Indeed, I am most fortunate to house share with someone who has similar views to me on the financial front but it may be that it's because H is for house share and not for husband. LOL I did have a husband some years ago but, from what I remember, he cared more about appearances and what his mates may think than about careful planning and budgeting. My frugal lifestyle fits in well with that of a potential eternal bachelor artist and writer, much more so than a slave-to-the-salary type. Like you, I keep records of everything I spend and have done so for most of my independent life. The books haven't always balanced but I always gave it my best shot to afford what others perceived as extravagances. :)

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  4. I love your blog, it's a great read and no one has to be frugal xxx

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    1. Thanks, FQ, although I do tend to think differently about your comment regarding 'no one has to be frugal' as I can think of plenty who have to be, myself included. LOL

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  5. Wow - I am really surprised at people criticizing you (whether in real life and on the blog.) You are living proof of all that you wrote here (from my experience reading your blog). I can definitely echo what that person said, "I could never live like you" but it certainly isn't said with disgust - more like respect. Frankly, I think it amazing all that you do on what you have and why you do it. You know what you want and that is fab.

    Personally, I can't imagine living off of $6,000 annually. Literally cannot imagine a place in the U.S. that would be safe and not super ignorant where I could survive on that amount of money. (Sad to say and hopefully I'm wrong.)

    I consider my mortgage to be bad debt (as all debt is) and it's why I paid for my car in cash. I didn't want more debt. I'd so love to not be part of the 9-5 but my fear holds me back. (Well my fear and my mortgage!) I worry about health care and so many other things. Given this, I do relish reading blogs like yours because they show that it can be done.

    Keep fighting the good fight NYK!
    ~ Pru

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    1. Thanks Pru. We are very, very lucky here in UK to have such a fabulous (and free) National Health Service, despite how much criticism it takes from certain sectors of society. Our lifestyle is one that as well as being affordable is also, hopefully, a healthy one that involves good basic nutrition, regular exercise and plenty of fresh air, even if it is just nipping out to the garden to hand laundry on the line. Life on the £4k budget is now purely based on what it costs us to run the household and live, it isn't any reflection on combined household income. To be totally honest, I have no idea what that may be but I do know that the latest Government budget here will, ultimately, free up at least another £280 between us once they abolish the Class 2 National Insurance contributions and several more pounds when the lower earnings threshold for income tax increases. We don't drink, smoke (I used to smoke) or gamble, nor do we holiday overseas, eat out or attend many social events, so the potential for spending is limited to immediate locality, family and Internet. I love it! :) However... I do still save the pennies that make the pounds so that I have some form of assurance to cover major emergencies, like my funeral costs, when that day inevitably arrives. Here's hoping I get to plant many more trees between now and then and maybe even live long enough to see them grow.

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  6. They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold and I deem
    them mad that they think my days have a price - Khalil Gibran

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  7. PLEASE dont say that the Health Service in the U.K. is free ! It is paid for through direct taxation and National Health Contributions.

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    1. The NHS is free to use by anyone who needs health treatment. We pay tax and National Insurance Contributions.

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  8. You are awesome.never boring and we all can learn a lot form you.

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    1. Much as I would love to be awesome, (or perhaps not) I still don't have the answer to the problems of over spending . Advertising and media have most of society exactly where it wants them and helping those who need it most is still next to impossible as long as money is the only solution. Thank you for your comment. I hope you are a fellow frugaler seeking the life you will most enjoy. :)

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  9. So many people must get into financial difficulties trying to keep up with friends and family. We don't play that game as we're the ones who would have to live with the consequences. We say ' no' to invitations if we can't afford to attend, and yet another person was aghast last week when they found out that we don't have a car. It's lucky we don't care what other people think about how we live!
    Hoping to be back on the forums soon. With ill-health rearing its ugly head again, helping family, crafting and selling stuff on-line, months seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye.

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    1. Oh no, I hope you are starting to feel better now. We were wondering about our MIA challengers last night in the chat room. Can you believe yesterday marked the new forums being 1 year old already? I was quite shocked to realise that it has been 15 years since I started this, much longer that I actually thought! :) Get well soon and keep on fighting the good fight. We've now been without a car for a couple of years now and have saved a small fortune. It's only now that we're looking to get back on the road as the work involved at the Frugaldom Project simply doesn't allow for 4 or 5 hours cycling there & back during inclement weather, short days or under par days.

      See you in the forums soon and thanks for commenting. :)

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