Onwards and upwards.

 Apparently, if you do something every day for 30 days, then you have made it a habit. I’ve successfully become a habitual frugal, so now I need to keep going with my long walk to financial freedom. I have no choice but to work for the rest of my life as my pension estimate is 3K a year so far!!!! I also have no hope of paying off the mortgage on the house I live in, so I need to make plans to move as soon as the financial market improves.

One of the joys of being older,is that I’ve seen it all before and this is my second recession. I was young and in a dodgy job market in the 80’s and I learnt then to do ANYTHING to earn money and that motivation to pay the bills has always stayed with me. I know we’re probably in for another five years of hardship and then a period of slow growth.

For some people, the future may not be visible or even imaginable. I’m holding onto my future and my resolution is to continue to be proactive to make it happen. Here’s the plan to continue to nurture my ‘green shoots that will eventually grow into a simpler life with financial freedom.

 1. Maintain the house and garden to the best standard I can. The house will continue to depreciate and whoever buys it in 2012, will drive a hard bargain. I can not afford to go into negative equity, or to leave with out a deposit, so I need to do what I can, to make it lovely. I need to fill up the borders in the garden to make the garden look as lush and beautiful as I possibly can. If I plant small, cheap flowering shrubs this year, then they will be bigger and in flower by 2012. I need to fill the backs of the borders with tall, bright green bamboo, so it looks verdant and tropical.

2. Use what I have. I have plenty of paint, white gloss, filler etc so I need to maintain what I have. I must sand down door frames, doors and keep everything shiny and new looking. It’s amazing how far a £20 pot of magnolia paint will do. I need to do this over the coming year so I am ready for 2012 when it happens and not be in a mad rush when I get there.

3. Keep things clean. It’s amazing how longer things last if you look after them, sometimes that simply means giving what you have a good scrub. Fascias often need a scrub and don’t need painting or replacing. Drive ways and patios also can look brand new with some hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush on a long handle. I also need to build this into my maintenance regime.

4. Work on the lawn. I don’t usually and it’s really a collection of green weeds more than a lawn. It will also be good exercise. I need to scarify, stab it with a garden fork, brush compost into it and rake it so the weeds don’t build up again. I need to remove the moss on a regular basis and make sure it greens up by 2012 and putting it off won’t work…….it’s a long old job without chemicals so I better make a start in the spring.

This may all sound like a lot of hard work when I have no intention of staying. The deeper the recession, the harder any job is. It’s going to be harder to pay off my debts with increasing prices. I am going to have to shop even less, use less water, less energy, use the car less, give up any thoughts of going out any where at all and really, really knuckle down for a year or else my downsizing dreams will remain nothing more than a dream. My dream is to buy the smallest property I can find, and to pay off the mortgage in five years, even if I go without heat and light to do it. When I’ve done that…..I will be 53 and then and only then can I consider working part time and actually living the real life that I’ve longed for, for so long!

It’s going to be another hard year, in fact, harder than this year but I am going to look back at the end of 2011 and see that it was worth it.

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12 thoughts on “Onwards and upwards.

  1. I do admire you so much and i hope that you manage to achieve what you want to at the end of 2011.

    I am just starting on the journey to reduce the debt we ran up when we moved, looking at my budget it will take me 3 years to be completely debt free, but I am going to try and do it in 2, wish me luck!!

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  2. Oh you are so inspiring and encouraging!
    I am currently looking to save as much as I can and over pay on my mortgage – I know there's so much more I can do than I have so far. 2011 is going to be real, serious, knuckle-down-hard-work in terms of frugality, budgeting, savings etc…
    Good luck with your year – your plans sound wonderful. I can't wait to see how your year goes! 🙂 xxx

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  3. For a lawn that needs no maintenance, no watering (even in drought conditions) and is hard wearing try creeping thyme. Invest in a few small plants and plant them as soon as growing conditions allow( here in Canada our last frost date is May 24th;I can't remember conditions in England I have been away too long). The plants will spread rapidly, will stay green all year, and will have pretty tiny flowers in the summer. We did this in our last house and it looked great. Much better than trying to look after a lawn.
    Jane x

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  4. here here frugal…you go for it..we have a council house and want to move to a smaller place..so this one got revamped as cheap as possible.the garden is quite large but we got lots of cuttings from family and friends..my debt plan was to pay it all off 6 yrs ago..well in march next yr i will be officially debt-free..hubby will be 6 months later…hopefully we can exchange to somewhere we want to be,smaller house larger garden..we had a chat and have decided that as of 1st of january we are going to have a “not buy anything new” year..try a make do and mend year..
    keep blogging and inspiring all us wannabe frugalites
    sara

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  5. If you have the right attitude it is very hard to tell your blessings from your trials! I didn't think of that, I read it in a book.
    I look forward to 2011 and living a frugal life along with you and loads of others.

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  6. Bamboo can be very expenive to buy. Willow is a reasonable alternative and grows very fast. I planted some to soften the back of our borders and it has grown over six feet in three years. You have to keep trimming it otherwise it will bush out as well as up. Only downside is it's not evergreen.

    The branches I trim off I soak and then bend into wreath shapes and various other things to give as gifts.

    Anyone with willow will surely give you cttings. It grows so fast. This is the time of year to plant it. You just get a stick of willow, preferably a couple of feet long, plant it in quite a deep hole and come summer it should be shooting away.

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  7. poundland are now starting to get their plants and shrubs in stock and they have some great bulbs in at the moment if you have one near you they also have blueberry bushes and raspberry canes

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  8. You are doing so well in even having such a plan. It all sounds wondefully like old fashioned work but the oldies are often the ones who have succeeded through tough times and it sounds like you will too. Don't forget to play Pollyanna's 'glad game' while you live through your plans as I am sure there are many good things in amongst all the difficult ones. Cherrie

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  9. You are an inspiration. I love reading your blog. Canada was not hit nearly as hard as the U.S or Great Britain, however prices continue to rise, but salaries do not. I am setting a goal to pay off my credit card this year. We have always had some amount of debt, but I want the satisfaction of paying something off:)

    Looking forward to reading more of your wisdom.

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