Hello Dear Reader,
In answer to a query, why is someone ‘middle class’ with a good job and plenty of money frugal? I’ll try and explain.
I grew up in the council house my parents still live in, where we seldom had enough of anything. My fantastic and loving parents are resourceful people who grew veg, made clothes, caught fish and could bring us up on next to nothing. We often didn’t have enough food, heat or clothing and sometimes hid behind the furniture in the dark to stay out of sight of the rent man. Mum and dad did their very very best and are struggling to this day. I know what it’s like to be skint.
I didn’t have a ‘proper job’ until I was thirty seven and it took me years to pay off debts accumulated and now I’m able to save. I can only do so by living carefully. If I ran a bath every day, if I had the central heating on every day, if I shopped without budgeting, then I wouldn’t be able to save money. Un-metered water costs £1400 a year in Cornwall (so I save money with a meter and rationing what we use) Our local tax is £1800! I still have to be careful.(I have to pay this and I save up for it annually) I don’t have that many working years left in me as my profession is not for the old. You can’t slow down but have to keep going at a rapid pace, keep up to date, keep changing and moving forward and that will not be that easy when I’m in my 50’s. I need to be ready to downsize and do a different job, which will pay less, which means I have to save every penny I earn now and to do that, I have to be frugal.
I’m also disheartened by consumerism. There are more important issues to worry about. No one needs to worry about a new sofa or TV. Let’s just focus on looking after our friends and family and those around us in our local communities. We are constantly bombarded with advertising that tries to convince us to consume. Day time TV talks about the ‘must have look for the party season’. We must all go on a diet to get into the ‘LBD’ and get the ‘smoky eyes’ that look ‘oh so seductive’.
We save all we can and pay off as much mortgage capital as we can as I’d rather do that than waste it. I do buy what I need. Last year I bought sensible flat shoes and a waterproof coat of good quality which will last for years. I also bought new work clothes that will equally last a few years. When we’ve bought white goods in the past, we’ve bough AAA rated goods and we still have them and they have lasted years.
I was a mum at 19 and my son was 18 before I got a ‘proper job’ so I brought two children up on minimum wage. At one stage, to get by I worked in a school as a teaching assistant, evenings in telesales and weekends in care work and fitted in university, just to get by. I’ve worked as a cook, cleaner, bar maid, care worker, nanny, farm labourer, shop assistant, beach cleaner as well as fitting in being a mum. I’ve always had to budget, to save, to put money by for school uniforms and shoes, school trips, kid’s hair cuts and birthdays, for camping weekends and books. It was only very recently that I’ve been able to put away money for out future. We’ve just faced DB’s salary being cut by 10% and we’re both public sector workers who will have to put more money into our pensions and will get less at the end, meaning we have to more than double our own contributions to get what we originally hoped for. We will have to be even more frugal in the future!
We all have our own reasons for being frugal and I appreciate it isn’t what most people would have chosen. I always thought that I would have holidays, posh clothes, hair dos and meals out when I got a ‘proper job’ but in reality, I can’t do that and save for the future. We all have our reasons.