Sunday, 5 February 2012


I choose to life frugally by choice.  It wasn't always that way or was it. I'm a mother of 4 who has always had to be careful with money, and with 4 children in tow had to be organised. Then gradually as my off spring have grown up, l found life to be easier and easier, because financially l had the freedom following college as a 'mature' student to work for our living. We didn't lose out on luxuries not did l squander money on frivolous things for the children.  My children had special treats for birthdays, Easter and Christmas, with occasional rewards in between.

As they all entered education to the point where they were secure enough for me to work longer hours, thus earning more money we started having more days out. Living at the time next to the local railway station, gave us the door step facility to explore the area around us. So armed with a timetable l would ask the children where they wanted to go, anywhere on the timetable that didn't mean changing trains ie Penzance to London in a straight line. We usually ended up at the seaside, where the rules were - we would have chippy lunch, stay on the beach all day, then an ice cream before heading back home. No other money was spent. Even the rail ticket at the time was discounted as l benefited from the Lone Parent  travel scheme.

My children grew up and started fleeing the nest, yet the household income increased even more, through working more. Until my third child announced suddenly, unexpectedly that she was going to leave the security of home to house share.  Our income dropped a fair bit which was a shock- as l had become quite complacent that all this money was here to be used. I had of course been a stickler for paying bills, rent, heating, electric etc, they had and still are as organised as ever. However, we being just 2 of us now, with animals, were in a position where we could buy new, or very good second hand items, and we enjoyed life.  Before no.3 had left home we even went on our first ever  abroad holiday, 2 weeks in Crete and not just once either - but twice. We loved it.  Then we'd come home with post holiday blues, was life over here so dull, was our lifestyle so different to our Cretan way- yes it was!

The reality is we do not have the weather that Crete has, we do not have the fresh produce that Crete has, we do not have the mentality and relaxed way about us that the Cretans have.  Yet their way of life is extremely frugal and they are extremely happy, as we were when we were there. Was this the start of my frugal way of thinking, were those holidays the seeds in my brain- because we are talking about 6 years ago . Yet it was the events of just 2 years ago that stopped me in my tracks.

My youngest turned 18 and overnight my/ our finances crashed as she officially became an adult so was therefore no longer my responsibility- (these the words of officials!!!)  Oh - Ok ! What to do?, what to think? How to carry on living the complacent way we had . Wasn't going to happen anymore- or was it?

After the initial shock and blind panic of the situation, l became rather flippant about it. Then as l have always done, went to bed on a Sunday and woke up saying this is a new start, a new week so therefore l have to think with refreshed new thoughts. I quickly reverted to my earlier days, when l'd first become a lone parent- the same blind panic had set in then - oh my god l cant raise 4 children on my own.But l did it, it wasn't easy, but l like to think I've successfully raised 4 well balanced, happy children. And  here l was again,  back in a situation thinking -oh my god how are we going to live now.  But calmly  and surely l restored my earlier ways of thinking. Do everything regularly and methodically, be organised - be frugal out of necessity.  And it worked.

The final icing on the cake came just last Summer, my youngest and l went on a very, long coach trip up to the far flung edges of Scotland. We stayed with a very wise couple who are my Dads oldest friend and my God mother. They live an extremely happy frugal life in a self built bungalow overlooking the most amazing scenery, they experience on a regular basis extreme weather conditions, their food shop is a 4 hour round trip, they are now elderly yet they still do it. Those few days we had up there, we did not spend a single penny, as my wise old Aunt said "there are no shops dear, there is nothing to spend money on"!!  And we came away totally relaxed, refreshed, with a brain full of wise, brilliant tips on living a frugal life. We did not come home with post holiday blues, like we had from Crete. We did not experience the heat extremes of Crete, we did catch the sun, we had no rain at all - (which is rare up where we were), we came home with enthusiasm and excitement and a renewed sense of well being. We were going to live frugally and be extremely happy. We/ l have embraced this lifestyle so much so that l am about to cut my hours of working for little satisfaction to a life style of living my life my way. I  will write, create, photograph, research enjoy life the frugal way from now on in.

I do not need to be extravagant, l do not need loads of money, l do not need the stress of having lots of any thing taken away. If you don't have it you cant miss it - well actually it means you didn't need it in the first place.  I was meant to go out into town last night on a rare night of extravagance, but due to extreme weather conditions in some parts of the country my companion had to go home, so the night out didn't happen. I did, I'll be honest feel abit cheesed off as l was looking forward to it.  But in the cold light of this morning- actually sunny fresh light- l am more cross about having raised money l would've squandered on a night out where drunken rugby fans would've been rowdy and possibly violent. Now that money can go back in the bank and back to where it should've gone in the first place thereby eliminating the stress of not paying something minor.

What l am trying to say is if being extravagant, and wanton for things we don't 'need', makes you stressed - why do it ? why want it? Why put yourself in a position where you make yourself unhappy.? Being frugal you live life with what you have, you  make your own happiness and the result you become fulfilled and content and its FREE.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo, Julie! You've listened, observed and taken to heart what you've seen lived!