Thursday, 31 December 2009

Before the year begins.......

I thought I would start this blog just before the New Year actually begins......basically we have had debt problems in the past - by stopping spending, using every frugal tip on the web we managed to pay off all our debts (which ran into thousands and thousands on credit cards and loans) - became debt free in December 2003 and have remained debt free ever since.

Since then I have been frugal but as is the case, the more complacent you get the more the spending creeps up on you. Don't get me wrong - I still have no debt and don't spend over my means but I'm finding "recreational spending" is getting more of a habit and am spending more on groceries as I haven't been doing my monthly menus, cooking from scratch or doing an online shop (helps me chucking treats in my trolley!)

Being frugal is hard work - it has to be worked at constantly and although I know probably ever frugal tip ever written I dont always follow them (hangs head in shame!)

I dont have a huge income by any means - being frugal for me is living comfortably within my means with money left over for treats now and then. We had a horrible year last year due to family health issues which left me thinking about what I want in life - a show house home would be nice but to be able to go away in our caravan for wee family breaks would be much better. I cant remember how many times my mum and dad wallpapered when I was a kid but remember all our holidays.

So thats the whole point of this blog - I want to be able to go away for a minimum of a long weekend EVERY MONTH in the caravan! Bit of a tall order you might think but if I think back to when I was paying every penny we had back to pay of our debts I'm sure I can manage it.

Hence the title of the Blog - this year I will only buy "needs" and not treat myself to all those little (and large!) "wants" that eat up your income because you think will improve your life so much but actually dont.

When I was in real frugal mode paying off my debts being frugal wasnt the fashionable buzz word it is now - I felt isolated and strange as I couldnt really talk to anyone about some of the stuff I did (making my own soap liquid for clothes etc) - that where the internet really came into its own as there always have been loads of American frugal sites. Now due to the credit crunch making do and saving money has become fashionable again and due to sites like everyone can admit to being mean and frugal and not be treated like a leper!

Its going to be hard and a challenge as you get used to a certain lifestyle and trying to change any habit is hard but if I blog about it then it might be easier to do!

So the first day starts tomorrow - I am going to see how long it is before I have to go food shopping as we have plenty in the fridge/freezer/cupboards but not the nice things we have been eating. Was very pleased over Xmas as the only thing that went in the bin was some left over stuffing (and that was the 13p packet of Smart price sage and onion!)

I have been to the sales and bought next years cards, crackers and quite a few presents. I also have a few presents for my "gift box" - which I always have as it comes in really handy for when my youngest daughter informs me there is a birthday party in an hour and she desperatley needs a gift! These were all budgeted for as I put money away every month for Xmas so if I come across a bargain I can get it.

I havent made any resolutions this year but there are also a couple of things I would like to try out -

1 - Re-cycle more (we are very good at this but as usual, could be better) and cut out the amount of waste to go into landfill
2 - Hand make cards and gifts (as I am not crafty this should be a challenge)

So I am now off to get ready for the festivities to begin (spending nothing tonight as we are going to a friends and taking any drinks that we havent used over Christmas)

Heres to a frugal and Happy 2010!