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As I said in Meanqueen's thread, I'm not doing anything special for Frugal Feb. Frugality is so ingrained that I have to be careful not to be mean.
So this thread will be my musings on frugality.
Start young - I watched my parents struggle. I think everyone did after the war, things were rationed and the consumer society hadn't begun. But we had coupons for sweets that we didn't use. My father worked as a hospital chef £7 a week in the 50s. My mother didn't get a part time job till my younger sister started school but did odd bits to make money. Dress-making, soft toys, Christmas & wedding cakes (she iced them, my father made them). They wanted their own house rather than renting and when we got that they wanted to pay extra off the mortgage as quickly as they could so that all the repayments weren't going on interest. We had a lodger in our 3 bed house for years, I had to share a room with little sister, though the idea that the lodger could have the big room and we'd share a 3/4 size bed in the small room didn't last long.
So, according to Richard's article their frugality was type 1 - very little money + type 2 - saving for a purpose - to pay down the mortgage.
People seem to react to their parents frugality in 2 ways. Either - had enough scrimping when I was young, so now I can spend. Or learning from it and keeping the habits. For me it was the second.
My father had a great dislike for debt, though he saw a morgage as saving on rent so OK. When a neighbour persuaded my mother that the tallyman who she shopped with had some nice things and she bought a step-stool he was furious and insisted that she paid the whole of it at once rather than installments.
I agree in a way. I found it amusing to see a poster offering new clothes for your holiday - 3 years to pay. So what happens when you are wanting new clothes for next years holiday and still paying for this years? Not that I never borrow - it can be a bit of a game, me against the bank or car manufacturer. If they offer an interest free loan I'll take it and earn interest on the money meanwhile. But not use it to buy more or better or change my car sooner than I need. I suppose if you need something like a car for work - then you have to borrow, but if I was in that position I would be looking for a way out of it using all my frugal tricks. Not sure I'd want to take lodgers though (could tell some stories there)
I'm lucky to be in a position where I don't need to scrimp - though part of that position is through frugality in the past.
Love your thinking Mo & some great points made!
We are lucky we don't HAVE to scrimp but we class ourselves as living a very simple life. We overpaid on our mortgage & paid it off five & half yrs early. When we bought a new car just over 2 yrs ago we bought a pre-registered car thus saving VAT & registration fees but the car is still new. We had a bank loan for it over 4 yrs but it was flexible to be able to overpay, which we do & it will be paid off in April, 18 months early thus saving interest. The other car had to be changed last year as it wasn't viable to repair, we bought one 3.5 yrs old with extended manufacturers warranty so it was like buying a new car. We needed to borrow some for this so went for a 0% credit card, we are paying the minimum on this & putting the rest of what we should pay to the loan hence its paid off even quicker than just overpaying. There will be no benefit in paying the 0% off early so I will work out how much needs to be paid each month to clear it by the time the 0% finishes & bank the rest that we will be saving from the loan gone. My parents were like yours Mo & it's funny how you say which way do the children go, I am obviously the same as my parents yet my sister has been in no end of debt & sold her house to clear it, so now at 55 she just rents a house.
It is all about what you want out of life, we love going to Scotland on holiday so save for that & go as often as time & money allows as when we get older we probably won't want to do that amount of travelling. We do what we can while we can, life is precious so we try & enjoy it while we can whilst not living beyond our means. Sorry to hijack your thread Mo!!!
Those of us born before and during the War were bought up to be careful with everything.
As there were ration books and you were allowed very little.
So our Mothers and Fathers grew their own veggies and we all had chickens in the back garden. Make do and Mend !
My Dad worked hard, making instruments for planes, so all hours God sent and my Mum never went out to work. She worked hard enough bringing the 5 of us up.
They never owned their own house or had a car. Debt was a dirty word as was the Tallyman, as Mo said. Funny you say Mo about your sleeping arrangements. We were 4 girls and 1 boy. So our brother got a bedroom and us 4 girls had to share. We had 2 double beds one coming from one side and one the other. So to get across the room we had to climb over the end of the beds Yes we were incredible poor, but very loved and never went without. Just didn't have luxuries.
It becomes ingrained in you, as that was your childhood.
So our mentality is if we cannot afford it, we don't get it. The only 'debt' we have had is the mortgage. But everything else has been saved for.
So for frugal February, I am trying not to buy anything other than food.
If you can't be a good example........
you will just have to be a horrible warning
Good posts to read. My parents were teachers, living in a tied house, so they saved hard for their retirement in order to buy their own place. They also had my Mother's parents living with them until they died. My other Grandmother, who had been a widow for many years was also taken care of by my Father, who apparently sent her a ten shilling note every week - this I didn't know until an aunt told me years later, and when she moved into our village, they paid for her to have a home help, as she was frail by that time.
We lived simply, though we did have a "maid", who shared a small bedroom with me. We were more like sisters, when she married I missed her terribly. My Mother had been very ill as a student, and was not strong, so physical work and teaching were beyond her capabilities, hence help in the house.
Birthday and Christmas presents were frugal, one year I was given a manicure set, we had an annual seaside holiday at my uncle's lodgings, when my Mother ran the place in the absence of the owner. Credit was unheard of in our home, and I had two sets of clothes, apart from school uniform, Sunday best, and everyday wear.
As a village child, I had freedom to roam and as it always seemed fine in the summer time, a friend and I went on long bike rides, out all day, and just enjoying our surroundings. She was an only child, and had a bike inherited from her cousin, my bike was a 1930's sit up and beg, inherited from my Mother.
For my twenty first birthday, my uncle and brother clubbed together and bought me a radio, which I thought was great luxury, after the huge old wooden set passed on to me when my parents replaced it with a smaller model. I made my own clothes for years and years, and am thankful for the lifestyle of thrift.
Not at all - I intended to start a discussion.
Yes. For a while we lived with my grandparents - grandma had a bad heart and it was a case of 'Kath will look after her' - my mother being the youngest daughter! So my parents sold the house they'd scrimped for and we moved in with them.
Grandad had an allotment at the end of the garden, and a hen house/run in the garden. Then when we moved out my mother grew veg.
And our clothes were home-made. I remember at Secondary school wearing summer dresses that weren't exactly the same as those from the official suppliers though they obeyed the rules in the uniform list (check in one one of the house colours - red, green, yellow or blue). The supplier was the head's brother-in-law and everyone complained that the clothes were dear and not best quality.
I don't remember Christmas as being frugal - there seemed to be unending piles of goodies. Though I would never have expected anything expensive. What I do remember was saving wrapping paper for reuse, using a minimum sliver of sellotape on the parcels. Christmas was a time for giving - and preparing for. I was encouraged to make things and fill a suitcase with home sown kettle-holders, tray cloths, spill-holders or soap-savers.
I had a second-hand bike when we moved to a slightly less busy part of London @ age 12. Only rich people bought new bikes. My father bought a tandem so we'd go off on a Saturday or in school holidays with little sister of the child seat. My legs were always covered with chain oil.
Summer holidays were a fortnight at the seaside - I saved all year for my ice creams and donkey rides, but had to spend carefully. Probably not much of a holiday for my mother as we usually self catered. At Primary school they took me off in June, but you could miss 2 weeks of grammar school. Probably cheaper then. And we often stayed somewhere inland a bit - not 'seaview' - again probably cheaper.
Part 2 Teenage years
I must have been given some money before I was 11, I can remember buying Saving Stamps at school, or looking in shop windows wondering whether to add to my toy farm or buy fudge from Woolies. And buying Christmas presents for parents. Yardleys Lavender water (was that 2s11d or 3/11?)
At Secondary school I had a certain amount each week - to cover dinner money, bus fares to school, Sunday collections and spending. I had a Post Office savings book and tried to put as much as I could in every week. Sometimes walked home from school to save money. My parents had also bought me £30 worth of Defence Bonds when they inherited a bit from Grandad, so I learnt about different interest rates, and when there was enough in the blue book I'd move it to get a better rate.
I think it is important to teach children the value of money young.
When mine were preschool 3p would buy a bag of crisps or a tiny paper storybook, 15p a Dinky car or a Ladybird book (if I remember right). So (I told you I was mean) each week there was a choice - spend your 3p now or save up. Those Dinky toys were chosen with care and valued. And it was a way of teaching counting, tens and units.
Then when they were teenage they also had a clothes allowance - so much a week to cover everything. Though if they needed shoes, or school clothes they could ask for an advance. I think the habits have stuck with them too - in some respects.
Drat - spotted the mistakes above now it's too late to edit. "Home sewn tray cloths" "You couldn't miss 2 weeks of Grammar school"
Part 3 managing on a grant
When my parents were considering whether they could afford to let me go to University they discovered that I would qualify for almost a full grant.
I didn't know if I would be able to manage on that. I'd done a summer holiday job at Ponds (packing the Christmas boxes, mostly) - it was fun as the students sat together at lunch (I think the regulars thought we were a bit odd - we had a different colour overall). So had bought some clothes and saved a bit.
Actually there was not much managing to do - we queued up, were given our grant cheques, on to the next table to open a bank account with the campus bank (National Provincial) and pay them in, then at the next we wrote our first cheque to pay hall fees. That covered all our meals except Sunday evenings, there were kitchens in the halls, so we made meals for each other - Sunday tea-parties. And coffee parties after meals.
So other than books and the odd carton of milk there wasn't much we needed. many societies on campus not charging much. I didn't expect to be able to afford to go out drinking or spend on tea & cakes in the Union. I was quite surprised that I had money left over at the end of term.
One habit I started then was record keeping. I bought a little notebook and every penny I spent was noted down. I kept this going when I left college and when I got married, until I was sure how the spending was going.
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