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LL, thank you for that well written post and Stef, thank you for your response. We are at the stage where we too ought to be beginning to sit back and enjoy life, but because of circumstances we have little in the way of savings and Hubby is still working (such as he can get - 9 hours a week doesnt go too far, especially when he has to travel 90 miles each way for three of them). So where to cut back? We cant, simple as that. But when I look round at the housefull of clutter I have, I know I could sell some stuff to make way for a calmer home. That, of course, is only a one off - it doesnt go to pay the bills more than once or twice.
So we have a dream that we hope will find fruition in the next year or so - sell this house and build ourselves another, eco-friendly house, in Scotland. Grow as much as we can fruit and veg-wise; have our own pigs, lambs and chickens for meat and eggs, selling surplus so they are 'cost neutral' and have our own small business to supplement the income. In a week or so, we will be going to Scotland for our holidays. This year we have the motorhome instead of the tent. Hopefully, we will find that dream plot of land We found one last summer, but it sold so quickly we didnt get a look in Maybe this year will be our lucky year. It seems it will be the only way we can 'make ends meet' and not have to work throughout our entire retirement.
34.If someone can’t accept you at your worst, they don’t deserve you at your best
lancashirelass - I really enjoyed reading your post. I think computers and internet access are an economy saving part of the home. Its not only about being able to shop around and get the best price for things, but I can also make money (ebay, amazon for example). The cost of running a computer pays for itself and I would have to be starving to give up broadband. Not only that, but I have learned so much being able to access the internet daily. How to cook and shop frugally, where the good deals are, how to make things, how to mend things, where to take the kids for free...etc. Yes we can get internet free from libraries, but for most people this wouldn't be a practical substitute.
Stef - conspicuous consumption brilliant! I will use that more often, it will make me look clever I like to think we are heading towards a less modern lifestyle. The car is for essential journeys only, we use our legs or bike when we can. We have the oldest telly in the world and refuse to give it up until its totally gone (much to my daughters embarrassment). During the recent Yorkshire monsoon season the tumble dryer packed in, leaving me with a lot of wet washing, the part we needed to mend it was very expensive. At one time we would have rushed out to buy another as though our lives depended on it, put it on the credit card and deal with it later. But instead I splashed out on an extra clothes airer and learned to be more organised with my laundry My mum or grandma never had a tumble dryer to rely on, I'm sure we'll survive.
I'm sorry some people are struggling. I think the reason I'm finding things easier after giving up some of our income is that I'm not being as wasteful as I was, and thinking differently regarding need vs want. But you can only cut back so much, and sometimes there is nothing left to cut back on, you are right back to the basics, then what? Its a worry.
I've enjoyed the last posts on this - I keep trying to form a reply, but the words won't come out properly.
There seems to be a big difference between what is good for 'the economy' (an entity that is spoken about as though it were a living, breathing creature) and what is good for us as families or individuals.
"Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder..." Thoreau.
A phrase oft quoted by my parents was 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'. I translate that to the economy. I think if more people bought what they needed rather than what they wanted (or consider needs when they really arent, like 42" TVs to replace a perfectly serviceable one that's smaller), then the economy would eventually take care of itself. We cant go on and on buying regardless of cost, value, and 'wants' without there being a knock-on effect somewhere else. Bit like the butterfly in Africa flapping its wings and causing a storm in the UK - everything has a consequence somewhere, even if not immediately obvious at the time. People living within their means might cause a blip to begin with and the politicians would be raving about how we need to get out and spend more, but then we would realise just how much we can do for ourselves and how little we actually need to import from abroad. Our personal (UK) economy would then become based on our UK needs and would balance itself. At least, that's my theory! Basically, we managed before; why cant we manage again?
34.If someone can’t accept you at your worst, they don’t deserve you at your best
*mumbles something incomprehensible about progress - then runs away before RuthG can slap her (quite rightly too )*
1 dumbo rat still without a name; 2 top eared rats Octavia and Ursula
1 Rhode Rock, 1 Sussex Star, 1 Blue Ranger - The New Monochrome Set
My crafty blog, it's Frugal too http://relovedremnants.blogspot.co.uk/
This is going to start off sounding like one long whinge - but bear with me because it'll get better :)
18 months ago I was working as a solicitor, earning a darn good wage and never really thinking about money. We bought what we wanted when we wanted it and didn't think twice about running up credit card bills because we knew we could pay them off.
Then, out of the blue, hello redundancy. After the housing market crash, the crackdown on legal aid and the spiraling costs of legal insurance, I was one of the many hundreds of solicitors who were out on their ear.
Anyway, I spent a long while on the dole because, strangely, there aren't many jobs for redundant solicitors out there. I applied for everything from cleaning jobs to managerial positions but kept getting told that I was "over qualified" whatever the heck that means. Then, after six months, my JSA stopped because I'm married and apparently hubby and I have to sink or swim on our own with no help from the State, despite having both paid into it all our lives. (grumble grumble)
Anyway, I've finally managed to find another job - at just under half the salary I was on before. My credit card bills are still huge and going for all that time with no salary has meant that our savings have almost totally gone. We lurch from one month to the next trying to juggle the bills but strangely I've never been happier in my life.
I used to be so stressed that I couldn't sleep at night for worrying about my job. Now, I leave work behind as soon as I leave the office and don't think about it. I sleep like a baby. I work half the hours and am home with my hubby a heck of a lot more. And when I'm home I'm *really* home, if you know what I mean. I bake bread, make wine, cook all my own food from scratch, make my own washing powder, grow veggies and play with my chooks.
We don't have money for the big holidays and posh cars anymore, but we're a lot happier and much closer than we used to be simply because we spend time together doing nice, happy, simple things.
So, no, I can't make ends meet most months. We're usually living on whatever scraps I've got left in the freezer for the last week of the month. But as long as the bills and mortgage are paid and my credit card bills keep going down a little bit each month then I'm content.
I wouldn't go back to my old life now for anything.
Gosh, I sound like an American made for tv movie don't I, but it's true. Money isn't everything.
Thank you for a very interesting and honest post skywise.
Keep at it.
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I'm going to sound like a total witch now, and I'm sorry if that's the case but I'll post anyway.
I'm 44 and have a small part time pet food shop within an auction centre in York. Bought my house in '89 and struggled like mad alone to pay the mortgage for about ten years until it became easier. Had upto 3 part time jobs at once within those difficult years.
Fast forward and the house is paid for and I have a stable yard I built from scratch in '99/2000, a part share in a house that's rented out and cash in the bank.
How? I never had credit cards, didn't sell up and move to a larger home when prices went up, never bothered with big cars until I could afford to buy them cash, never bought what I couldn't afford in cash, never had loans othert than my mortgage, etc, etc.
In short, work HARD and don't spend more than you have, and you cannot go wrong.
You'd have to be pretty blind to NEED a 42 inch TV and a very bad driver to NEED a new car every three years, surely?
By the way, I sold my Jaguar V6 for an old (53) Ford KA recently because I want to build a new house on my land and need to save hard for that. Sucked it up and took a step back by choice - something so few people seem to be able to do these days. It's not as painful as you'd think!
My horrible dog's a Twit(ter)
Well done to you Hazel. Every success for your future plans.
I wish my three sons who are all in their forties had your ethic. It sickens us when we listen to what they have bought, are going to buy, etc.
Just recently we have from necessity, had our house re-roofed. I was chatting to a friend, who said enviously "we couldn't afford to do that". The friend owns a property, lives in a council bungalow, has spent and spent and spent on what I would consider huge luxuries, and is now pleading poverty, even on benefit - don't ask me how or why the latter and the council bungalow are allowed. We have hung on to our resources like grim death, knowing that the roof would need doing, and I personally took a dim view of the comment.
The word sensible appears to be missing from so many lives nowadays.
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