Part 1 of 2: Getting right back to basics - this blog is about frugal living in a way that affords you a simple life of freedom from debts and the luxury to choose how and when you earn and spend your own money. You aren't completely free until every penny is your own. A complete, photo free 'rantathon' to get the penny rolling.
Let's get one thing straight - you don't own your own home if you have a mortgage, just as you don't own your own car if it was 'bought' on finance. It simply means you have borrowed these goods and made a personal pledge to pay over the odds for them while you use them and continue to pay over the odds for them even if you don't. It is a contractual obligation which is meant to keep you making payments that, in turn, bind you to earning whatever amount of money is needed to service the debts and live your life - whatever that may be. Likewise with everything you have in your possession - it isn't your own until you have zero debt and are no longer making payments of any description. It always baffles me how some folks can't see a mortgage as debt.
The battle cry I hear most often is that I (me, myself, I) cannot be frugal if I can afford to make major purchases for cash. Well, folks, it is by being frugal that we can afford such things in life and they are not so major when you look at the whole picture. I would go as far as declare myself a frugal living expert, having trained in the art for decades, learning by experience and honing my skills. Over and over again, I have show what does and does not work for me. Getting a 9 to 5 dead-end job and living in fear of interest rate or rent increases just doesn't cut it for me and I fail to understand why anyone in their right mind would want to torture themselves enduring that for fifty years of their life only to retire with nothing. Kudos to those of you who enjoy or endure that lifestyle, it's just not for me. I'm neither lucky nor privileged, I simply made a choice in my own life and stuck with it.
Absolute essentials, in my opinion, are shelter, suitable clothing and good basic nutrition that contributes towards your overall wellbeing. If you can get to a point that you can meet these needs with enough of your income left over to service all your debts, you have succeeded in the first step. The next step is to cut out absolutely everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that you really don't need and start saving to invest in your own future. Some really tough choices need to be made - if you can't afford a car but really need one for work, can you relocate then walk or cycle? Failing that, can you change jobs to one within walking or cycling distance? I don't really understand sentimentality towards bricks and mortar, it's a stupid concept to me. Yes, by all means love your home, but if it's just a millstone around your neck filled with memories, pack up those memories and take them with you to some place you can afford to relax indefinitely without checking your bank balance every other week.
Why worry about what others think of you? Something like that is learned behaviour and is a rather evil trait to instil in any child, in my opinion. It's also one that is really difficult to free yourself from, but it is worth it in the end. Learning one's own worth based on non-monetary values is far more revealing than finances and fripperies.
Very little money is needed to live my chosen lifestyle. For me, understanding how anyone ends up in debt when earning what I'd consider a small fortune is intriguing, despite having seen the facts and figures for myself. There really is nobody to blame but the individuals who got there in the first place and more shame them if they choose to ignore it or, worse still, pass on that burden to others.
This blog isn't about becoming a superstar, a guru or a celebrity, it's about sharing my own journey to freedom. Knowing where you want to be is the difficult part but once you have established that, everything becomes so much clearer and easier. It's all down to budgeting - knowing exactly what you need every penny to do and making it happen, come what may.
Home is where the heart is and the heart shouldn't give a stuff what friends, relatives or neighbours think. It may be a glorified shed, a caravan, a bed-sit, a tumbledown cottage, a boat or even an underground bunker conversion! For some obscure reason, people attribute worth and status to bricks and mortar, but that's not for the frugalers starting from scratch. Financial riches may come later, but in the beginning, you need to liquidate everything and clear your minds, your schedules and your debts so you can begin again, frugal living from scratch.
There are always excuses for why this 'can't' be done - but I'm telling you it can, even if it means finding someone with a spare room to rent while you work several crappy jobs and save your way out of the red and into the black. Room renting isn't ideal for families, I can appreciate that, but it isn't impossible if it gives you a base from which to establish your plan. Being free to control the vision of your own destiny is paramount to success but I would always recommend seeing much further beyond that, to the next challenge. Frugal living is a skill that absolutely anyone can afford to master - it cannot be bought, it has to be lived!
How long have you gone without buying a non-essential in an effort to pay every extra penny into the debt pot or savings plan?
NYK in Frugaldom