An explanation of how I became frugal - 10 years ago we were drowning in debt - my partner had an accident and couldn't work, we were living off just child benefit as he was self employed and couldn't (or wouldn't) claim anything) - it got so bad we were buying groceries on our credit cards (which were all maxed out) I hid my head in the sand. Then I managed to get a full time job - not well paid but we claimed Working Tax credit to make up the money. At long last I added up every debt and with the help of an American frugal website I discovered the Snowball debt calculator and started understanding how much credit cost and the idea of the Freedom account. I started work in 2000 - we cut up all the credit cards, sold our jeep and caravan to start paying off some of the debts and were left with just over £14,000 (including interest) to pay back. For 3 years we bought nothing except clothes for my daughter when she grew out of hers (and these were bought second hand). We never went out,decorated, had a holiday, even had a takeaway of any kind. Neither of us bought clothes. We made every meal from scratch from reduced food wherever we could - my cheapest meal was a 19p pack of spaghetti with a 9p tin of chicken soup. I used vinegar and water to clean everything, made my own soap liquid for clothes and never used anything deemed throwaway - even made my own washable sanitary towels.
Bear in mind this was in the days before Frugality was the buzz word it its now - everyone is now interested in saving money and getting the best deal. I felt completely and utterly alone - we were ashamed of getting in that much debt in the first place. I know I could have gone bankrupt but I didn't want to do that - I had got myself in that mess (with OH's help!) and I was going to get us out of it. It got to the stage my friends were no longer coming round as they couldn't cope with our weirdness of not spending anything - every spare penny was thrown at that debt.
And finally in December 2003 we became debt free!!!! It was the most unbelievable feeling as the huge burden had been lifted from our shoulders. I continued my frugal ways until I had a reasonable bank balance but over the last couple of years I'm afraid my frugalness has kind of retreated. We are not in any kind of debt - my income now I have a better job more than covers our outgoings and I have available money to spend on what I want.
Why is it that I am trying to cut back? It doesn't feel right to be spending this much on, as my blog says, wants and not needs. Spending quietly creeps up on you. You get sucked in to consumerism.
Our dream is eventually to sell our house and buy a small holding and run a small caravan/tent area - we know we wont make a huge income by doing this but if we just keep ticking over it would be great. I know I can live on very little - I did it for 3 years. Trouble is that dream seems to be very far away...
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