No spend day 11!

 Hi everyone,

I didn’t realise that clotted cream would stir up such strong emotions. It also lasts all week when you’ve opened it. If it then gets a little buttery, then use it in mashed potatoes instead of butter. As promised the third day of the sprouting tutorial. Today, they have started to sprout.

 Take them out of the cupboard and rinse them, swish them around but don’t be rough with them. Put them back in the cupboard and check again tomorrow morning.

 Today, I spent the day with mum and dad. Dad has a tiny ex-council house garden in their ‘old people’s bungalow’ and every inch, from either side of the front path, to the very boundaries, is full of vegetables and fruit bushes. Every window sill has seedlings in pots and old sacks show initial signs of early potatoes that are ranged up and down the garden path so you have so sidle your way to the front door. Even the inside of the house is an opportunity to garden. Mum has a floor to ceiling lemon tree in her conservatory, it is smothered in lemons, which mum harvests and makes lemon curd or lemonade from.

Usually, when I visit mum, I take her out for a walk around Fowey but it was so windy that we decided to just stay in and chat, which meant this was another no spend day……hence the day 11!

 I’m now digging really deep into the backs of the cupboards to use up what I have. The tinned chilli con carne  is massive and will feed us tonight and me for lunch tomorrow. I’m going to have to give in any day now and go and buy some fresh food. Eating out of a store cupboard is vital for a while longer and my shopping will dictated by contents and what I can do with them.

 I’m having to grit my teeth through this challenge as only 11 days in and I’m bored. But, today’s talk with mum and dad has really, really strengthened my resolve to live on as little as possible. We spent the time chatting about pensions and the cost of living. They get by just fine, but they worry about their three grown up children who will have pensions numerically comparable with their income, but in many years from now, our pensions will not be worth as much as theirs. My money saving journey is going to be life long. I’ll have to scrimp constantly to firstly pay off debts, secondly pay off the mortgage and finally to put every penny I have after that to put towards our pension fund. The end result is hopefully, as my parents have made sure, will be enough to live on.

We’re managing to live on very little, and although the days can repeat themselves, we’re living in style. Money  will only go so far, if you spend it whilst you are young (which I did!), you can’t have it whilst you are older. We’re both in our mid forties, so we only have twenty years left to make enough money to keep us going when we’re older. To do that, we have to go without now and today was a real reminder that our lifestyle has a very real purpose and has reinvigorated my resolve to carry on not spending.


25 thoughts on “No spend day 11!

  1. Froogs,

    I am not a financial advisor and I don't know the details of the Teachers' pension scheme, but I do know that it used to offer the ability to pay extra contributions to buy extra years of pension.

    If it still does then it might be worth reordering your priorities and paying for extra years in preference to paying off the mortgage. There is a limit on how much you can put into the scheme each year and you have to buy whole numbers of additional years. It becomes more expensive as you get older. My DH (who is not a teacher but is in another former public sector scheme) is now too old to be able to buy a single additional year even if he makes the maximum contributions allowed.

    So this is a time critical strategy. It would be worth contacting your union for advice


  2. And scimping I do now… for my retirement as the pension will not be enough. I used it all when I was young and now that I'm 40 it's time to buckle up.

    But I'm enjoying the ride with people like you on my side. It's a good journey, bumpy but enjoyable. And the destination is a wonderful place of ease and comfort.


  3. Hi Mary – I didn't start teaching until I was 37, so I'll always have a pitiful pension, I can afford to contribute about 5 years to the 20 years I will have, even so, it won't be much more numerically than my mum and dad live on now, in short, i've left it too late and if i don't over pay my mortgage, then i'll still be paying it after 65! I need to pay off early so I can afford to live when I have a very small income to live on.


  4. Fair do's – and the problem with final salary schemes is that if the stress gets to you and you can't maximise your income in the last years of your career, then it has a knock on effect on your pension. I know that you want to step back from the stress in a year or so.


  5. Frugal Queen, whatever you serve up always looks so scrummy I could do with you in my kitchen, I am severely lacking in ideas. Have you thought of writing a frugal cook book? And I love the sound of your parents garden, it just goes to show you can grow in very small spaces.


  6. My husband has been retired for seven and a half years. Our house and the cars are paid for, but the taxes keep on. We have kids out of work that we are helping. His cousin, who has spent money like water all her life called for a $2400 “loan” that we don't have and never will because we must save for our “older” age. She drained her mother before she died and now she is on to the rest of the family because her kids can't help. It's distressing. I wish she had figured out before her mother died that the rest of the world doesn't hand out money, even if they are related. Thanks for letting me vent.


  7. Another thought-provoking post, your parents also sound inspiring and a great example. Beloved does not have a pension and I suspended mine when I was training for my current job, over 8 years ago – also public sector. I do worry about the future and what will happen to us – how do you stop this getting to you? x


  8. Hi Dubgirl – I do worry about it, and know my parents have a quality of life that I won't be able to afford but I'll be well versed in living off less than most people without feeling hard up


  9. Froogs and others,
    A bit of advice for those of you starting to save for retirement. Every time I got a raise, I would take a little bit out of it for me, and add the rest to my retirement savings. I figured that I had lived for quite a while without that extra money, and so could put away most of it. And it really worked! My co-workers laughed at me, but I think I had the last laugh!


  10. Thought provoking as always Froogs.I have a public sector pension but it won't be full contributions as I've only worked part time for the last 11 years.
    Anyway I don't trust the polititions not to muck about with it so it's worth a lot less than they used to be worth.
    Jacquie x


  11. Hi Froogs – I too have a pitiful teachers pension due to only working part time, and have been paying additional contributions for a while BUT seeing an advisor [for free] next month because it seems likely that with changes to teachers pensions, actually avcs may NOT be a sensible option anymore, and using the money NOW to pay off my mortgage quicker might be better. I will get back to you on that one when I have seen the bloke!
    blessings xx


  12. Hi FQ! I am retired and I used to be a teacher–in the end I had about 26 years service, just about what you will have if you buy added years. It's not so bad you know. There IS enough to live on and your needs are fewer. Life gets simpler and you can factor out quite a few expenses from your budget-travelling to work for one thing and work clothes. I live fairly simply and enjoy it. I am pretty sure that with your resourceful qualities you will manage. And you will be time rich–something well worth having. M


  13. That's such a worry for me too. I was only in a pension for 2 years before having children, and now at 36 I feel like I'm getting too old to start a decent one – particularly as I won't go back to work for at least another year. I can only hope to save enough once the mortgage is paid off.


  14. Hi Angela, I can cope with a small income if I don't have a mortgage, I'm interested in advice too and will look very soon at the options, I may have so little more that it might not be worth buying any extra pension, I'll be interested in your advice too angela


  15. Very timely post for us on a topic which is relevant no matter where you are. We too are going to seek financial advice, currently pay extra into our superannuation and pay extra on our mortgage, but not sure that we shouldn't be putting it all into the mortgage until such time as the mortgage is paid off. Will watch with interest what others have to say. We are currently very lucky compared to some but also conscious that things can change in a blink, both for ourselves and those we care about.

    Looking forward to seeing what else comes out of your cupboard this month, very inspiring. xxx Teresa


  16. we believe there wont be a pension for us.65 is the retirement age at the moment in NZ there is talk of it going up in age till 70. i think we need to pay off the mortgage, save, and live really simply, no car, no tripping around the country side, big garden, days spent at the beach fishing and collecting clams etc. and odd jobs for cash.


  17. My husband retired 9 years ago and I retired 8 years ago while we were both in our 50's. We didn't pay our house off and that's the only constant bill we have, our retirement was set up so we could do that.
    Your frugality is an inspiration to us and your meals always look delicious.


  18. Your efforts are commendable, especially when you take compounding into account. I always say it's easy to live on less now, not so easy when you're older and not as hearty!

    One thing I am doing now, is spending money on dental work. I have insurance and I'd rather spend money on crowns now than be toothless in my old age. Spending $500 to save a tooth makes more sense than buy in a designer handbag! I read an article where it said the average American woman spends $250 on her handbag. That's more than I am paying for an upper crown I'm having done nex month. Yes people are dumb!


  19. On a slightly different topic, are you able to down size your house in the near future, so that you can pay your mortgage off even quicker. It seems the housing market is very slowly starting to move again in this country. I know you mentioned somewhere earlier in your Blog posts that there was a reason for not being able to do this, and wondered if that still stands.

    I just thought if you could move to a smaller, cheaper house to both buy and run (and one with a garden big enough to grow your own and maybe have a couple of chickens), you could be setting yourself up for a slightly easier future.

    Absolutely brilliant that you have got to Day 11 without spending.

    Sue xx


  20. Love your thoughts – they sustain me on my way at reducing unnecessary spending. I hope the comments sustain you?

    For tinned food your chilli looks yummy. Maybe it's your photo work or maybe it's that I'm hungry. Have a vegetable and chick pea curry on the stove. With homemade yoghurt (and my luxury of mango chutney – to keep rest of family happy).

    I have been working on my husand that to realise that we don't need to go food shopping every week – that we can wait until we've used up our food rather than throw it away. This, and menu planning, has seen us spend and throw away less. I cringe at the thought of how much we used to throw out. And I feel pain if we do so now – speaks of carelessness and unnecessary waste.


  21. Hi froogs..well you have set my mind going about pensions..hopefully hubbys will be enough to see us right..mine is suspended as i'm not working at mo..neither is hubby but we have reduced the payments into it so we have something…
    food looks good as always..
    til later


  22. Excellent post again Froogs, plenty of good comments here today as well. Trying to balance the here and now with the future is always hard, especially as the future is closed to our eyes. But you advice is excellent and is inspiring me to do so much more Frugal things, I'm slow but I am getting there me dear..
    Best regards,


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