Review of 2010

 This has been a monumental year for me! At the beginning of the year, after trying and failing before, I decided this was THE year that I would really make a financial difference. I had read the Tightwad Gazette, every article written on Moneysavingexpert.com, anything by Suze Orman and Dave Ramsay. I was going to do it! I had already cut up my cards early in 2009, but wasn’t really as committed as I needed to be to getting rid of my debts.

It started with the small things. I stopped carrying any money at all! In fact, I stopped carrying a purse of any description. No occasional snack, coffee or soft drink. If I only spend £5 a week, then I was saving £260 a year. Dearly Beloved gave up his 75p a day newspaper, which saved us £273.75 a year. They all add up!
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 The takeaways stopped – we were only down to a takeaway on payday. We used to have a ‘Chinese’ a month and it would cost us £20, plus a bottle of wine £25 – we stopped that completely and saved £300 a year. Are you keeping up? That’s £833 by not having junk or reading the usual diatribe!!! All of a sudden, money saving is well within our grasp.

 We switched energy tariffs, got rid of the top loading washer and matching dryer, bought an ‘eco’ washing machine, got a water meter and turned off every light, anything on stand by and became really conscious of our spending. Last year, our monthly payments on Gas and electricity, reached £150 a month = £1800 a year! We’ve now got that down to £63 a month a saving of £1044 a year! Our water used to cost £1400 for un metered water and now we have it down to £400 a year! Yep, you got it, if it’s yellow!

 We have sold every spare book, DVD, non fitting clothes, collected cr*p and anything we don’t need! With that we have bought, anything we did need! We both have bought lap tops this year, both ‘used’ but needed for our jobs and none cost us anything, because we did so with ‘ebay money’. All of our shoes, clothing and anything we’ve needed has been paid for from ‘ebay money’.

 We have shopped really carefully. Never without a list, everything is cooked from scratch. We use our mini oven, batch cook and freeze. We ate from the garden. We made jam and chutney that have become Christmas presents and has supplemented our diet. In fact, anything we bought for Christmas, came out of our weekly food budget, or from our ‘ebay’ money.

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I now have no personal credit card debt. I am now paying off Dearly Beloved’s credit card. We have everything we can on 0% and we have reduced our debts by almost 18K this year. We are on track to be debt free by 2012! When the Olympic flame is lit in London; we won’t owe anyone any money!
I have cultivated hobbies. I have joined a scrap store and made patchwork, I’ve knitted and I’ve become a home cook, pickle and preserve maker.

 I’ve had a completely homemade Christmas. I haven’t spend a penny on a credit card in almost two years and it’s been a fantastic year.

The biggest thing I’ve done this year, is admitted that I’m in debt and dealt with it! I’ve talked to lots of people about it, some of whom have been inspired to make a hole in their own debt. Today, like every day, is a challenge. I could so easily pop on a train, head to Plymouth and wander around the shops, but I don’t need to. I’ve accepted that possessions do not make some one interesting, entertaining or worth knowing. I’ve had an entire year of living within my means and I intend to do this for the rest of my life. You’ve followed me through my first year and I have one and a half more years to go before I am debt free. The journey is far from over; who’s coming with me?

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38 thoughts on “Review of 2010

  1. Yayyyy, you have doben fantastic, i have followed yoru blog all this year, and you have kept me on track in my own debt free journey. I will be joining you again in the years to come, i still have a way to go, but fot me, liek you this is not just about being debt free but changing my way of life for the better.

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  2. I'll be with you !! I'm proud to say that although we still have debts to pay off, I saved over the year for this Christmas and did online surveys etc to make money. For the first time EVER, I won't be worrying about credit card bills or extra debt in January.
    Twiggy x

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  3. I'll be joining you for 2011, FQ! I don't own a credit card,
    and am pretty thrifty, but I can always do with being a bit more so. I will be dropping by for tips and inspiration for the New Year. x

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  4. Just wonderful. I can't add any more. You are a shining example of how it can be done.

    I have lost your e mail address. Could you please send it to me again (I've changed mine)
    ekvillagevoice@aol.com

    I've been corresponding with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation about poverty in the UK, and want to show you the correspondence between them and me. And wonder if you are anyone on here would like to send them you comments? They really should be given some facts, from the horses mouth, about frugal living.

    I can't paste it here, for I'm only allowed to post so many words!

    Blessings
    Lobma

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  5. I am mortgage free and should have far less worries, but managing cash flow and retirement saving and making sure the credit card is not run up still takes planning. I have learned to make do, be less concerned about “things”, and am now working out how to borrow to reroof our house, frugally. Your blog is thought provoking and reminds me how i can reduce the stress.
    Have a wonderful Xmas 🙂

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  6. super!!!!im with you, im doing well with not spending, but youve just got me going about selling books etc that i no longer need, that is going to be my project…sort out what i dont need and get it on line. thanks for that prompt

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  7. Thought of you at teatime. Made chicken pie for tea, with homemade pastry of course. Usually I throw out what is left of the trimmings!! Not tonite. We had 4 homemade mince pies for afters!!! Yum… Thanks, Julie

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  8. I applaud your determination – and wish you continued success. I do hope that some of your pupils have given you presents like shower gel and chocolates so you can indulge a little. Whilst we were not in debt like you two, we did take on a mortgage for the first time in 2009 and have been even more frugal since then.
    I LOVE reading your adventures in thrift
    Do read Judith Levine's 'Not Buying It' [and feel smug, cos you are WAY better than she is at this game!!]
    blessings xx

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  9. I am with you all the way, I came up short when I realised how much our move had cost us. I need to shed quite a bit…….

    I have always cooked from scratch, it was part of my gowing up, but like many got sidetracked on the journey, it has to stop and in fact starting from the begining of next month I have a budget to which I am determined to stick to. I read your blog every day……it is so inspring…….

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  10. Hi, I'm a follower but never commented until now. WELL DONE!!
    We try to be as frugal as we can;hubby was out of work for a while, our house needs renovating, and we have 13 rescue cats and three pigeons who cannot live frugally. We splurge on homemade treats at Christmas but do not have gifts. One day, I hope we get to debt freeland too! You always cheer me up as many people think that we are wierd for being frugal.
    take care
    I'll be following in 2011!
    Jane x

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  11. Thanks peeps! lovely comments and you all keep me going. As an English teacher, and Eng Lit grad….I love Dickens. Being Frugal is the 'best of time and the worst of times' it's a 'Tale of two lives' I carry on, in my funny way, knowing I'm paying back what I owe and making a difference to the planet too. Keep posting, it really keeps me going on the bad days.

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  12. Well done, I've enjoyed your exploits and will continue to join you through next year too.
    Thanks for some truly enjoyable posts throughout the year. Merry Christmas and a Happy Frugal New Year xx

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  13. Hi, I'm a new follower, you've had a fabulous year by the sounds of it. My NYR is to be more frugal and cut down, eat less, cook more, we hope to start growing our own veggies too in 2011. I'll b e keeping up with your blog for tips. Merry Christmas!

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  14. You have done so well and inspired so many, I wish I could commit so wholeheartedly as you have done. I might be able to get out of the place I'm in and live a freer life. I wish you the best with next years savings too as I can tell from your blog that it isn't always easy.x

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  15. You are a true inspiration and Ive enjoyed the journey with you. We only have 1 card left now and plan to get rid of that over the next 9 months. I actually think that money saving and frugalness is much more fun than spending. xxxxxx

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  16. You have inspired me all year, I have read every detail with admiration, I have seen your highs and occasional lows and begged you to continue with your blog as I enjoy it so much. Looking forward to 2011 and more debt payed off!!! Chris xx

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  17. I love your blog and have finally got my head around saving instead of spending. I'll be with you all the way in 2011 and I know your inspiration will help keep me on track. Have a lovely Christmas.

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  18. Hi there grain of salt – SW Water is the highest in the country and the area suffers from water poverty. I save water all year and flush the loo with shower water, I stand in a 'baby bath' when I shower and then flush the loo with it! my house rates are just under 2K a year and the water was 1400! my water, and i barely use any is 400 a year metered

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  19. love your blog and especially your cooking style – your meals very appetizing. This was how I was raised to use up everything to make tasty nourishing food.
    My goal is to sell some things on ebay – I dont know what is holding me back – just procrastination I guess.
    You have done brilliantly on your bills and I love your spa night idea. Keep writing you are an inspiration.

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  20. I have looked forward to reading your blog every day, and I applaud you. It is NOT easy to do what you are doing and you make it seem so effortless. I do hope you achieve your ultimate goal.
    Oddny x

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  21. I found your blog after someone on down the lane was in my opinion unecessarily harsh with you about something you wrote so I let them (and everyone else reading I suppose) that I thought it unacceptable. I never could tollerate bullying! I read most days and whilst I'm not wildly extravagant I intend to economize in 2011 in order to set money aside and also to get used to living on less. I do this for ethical reasons and also because having worked full-time my entire adult life even when my children were babies I'd like to have the chance to work part-time and devote more time to my animal charity work. I can only do this if I have savings to fall back on and if I learn to love on less. Good luck with your quest in 2011!

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  22. It is inspiring to read what can be done on a budget – and to find people who really want to do that too. So many people still seem to think that there is something 'not nice' about bargains, as if the product were in someway inferior.

    I know you stop by my blog sometimes, but there was something which changed our financial situation greatly and it happened so long ago that you may not have read about it at the time. Craig is self employed. He has run his business for over twenty years. It was very successful and although I've always been careful, I have to say I could have been more so when it came to some areas of spending. Cut a long story short, our livelihood burnt down during the night, the insurance company refused to pay out upon a technicality of policy wording regarding industrial process. As you know, I stay home and educate the kids. Sheesh, whole household income gone overnight.

    It's two and a half years on now and the insurance company still haven't paid up. The only people making money out of it are lawyers and scientists! Great thing is though that we have survived. We still live in the same house, we've managed to pay the bills and the kids haven't missed out on much. We've had to think very creatively but it's worked. Goodness knows how as we have considerable finacial outgoings, but we've managed. We've found so many ways to save and Craig has had to forgae a new way of doing business – a business he could operate without the need for reinstatement monies from the insurance company – and some how he has managed and is now working hand in hand with some charities which otherwise he would not have approached. It really is possible to make massive changes when you have to. The changes can make you think in a different way so that you can forge more mutually benefcial arrangements too – like Craig working hand in hand with charities which helps to make money for them and us. It can help you step 'out of the box'.

    Goodenss, what a long and rambly comment. In short what I was trying to say is that people like you inspire me to do what I thought I never could – but then circumstances forced me to and now I don't feel there will ever be a way back. Even were our finances restored to what their once were I'll continue to shop in Lidl, sell bits on Ebay, grow my veg, keep my hens etc etc.

    Warm wishes for the new year and keep up the good blog!

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