Cash diets!

 Hello Dear Readers,

Especially you! The new one, the reader who’s reading this site for the first time today. My stats have grown recently showing footfall has increased by hundreds visitors a day. I can only guess it’s because people have had the ‘Oh Fuck!’ moment when they’ve looked at their finances this January. Don’t worry, you will get through it. I did! I survived and I’m going to tell you how I got out of the deepest shit and made it to where I am today.

 I started, like many of you will, with complete cold turkey. I cut up every credit card and stopped spending any money. A lot had to to go. I looked at the stupid money wasting first. I looked at mobile phone contracts and gave notice, then I looked at satellite TV and gave them notice. I looked at contracts I was in that I could get out of, or get a better deal for. I looked at gas and electricity suppliers and got a new, cheaper supplier. I moved debts to 0% transfer deals and I turned the central heating timer……….off! I crossed everything off the shopping list that wasn’t part of a ‘meal’ and I stopped eating between meals.

 I then looked at every bill, which in my case, back in 2009, were mainly debts and looked at our income. I paid the maximum I could afford to pay on every single one and on one debt, I over paid massively and I got rid of debts, just one at a time. Most importantly, I made a budget. If I had £20 a week to spend on diesel, then I would get £20 a week out of the bank and buy £20 worth of diesel, then drive like a granny to make it get me to work and back all week. For a very long time, I could get a weekly train ticket for the price of diesel, so I did. It saved me money on tyres and wear and tear. I cancelled holidays, I know I lost the deposits, but I decided that I was not going to go on holiday ever again, until I was debt free. I stuck to that and it’s one of the reasons I paid off my debts sooner.

I stopped kidding myself that ‘I deserved it’ or ‘I didn’t have time’ or ‘I needed it’. I used to think ‘I don’t have time to cook from scratch, what bollocks that was! Of course I did, just watch less TV! I didn’t need hairdressers, a total stranger to de-hair my hairy bits, or a new set of clothes every year! If you, like I was, are in debt, you have to get on a cash diet and cook every thing………because it makes economic sense, holiday at home………..because it makes economic sense and buy a pack of 21p value razors! I stopped kidding myself that I needed to go to weddings, parties, the work do, the retirement do. I couldn’t afford it. If I couldn’t afford to celebrate my own birthday and we’d given up buying each other presents then we really couldn’t afford to go to anyone else’s! After a while, saying ‘sorry but no’ is your standard answer. If you think you can go, but you’re still in debt then you are deluding yourself!

 One of the hard things to do, which I feel liberated from now as I don’t do it any more, is giving up ‘going to the shops’. If you still do this, just stand back and watch the zombies shuffling round for want of anything better to do. Get a hobby. Get your bike out of the garage and get on it. Take up a craft, grow veg, become a volunteer in your community. These don’t cost any money. You can borrow ordinance survey maps from the library, do so and get out for a walk. Any sturdy shoes will do………..don’t get suckered into needing an expensive bike, or expensive walking boots – just do with what you have.

 Well, I’m not in debt any more. I still budget, I still have the lights and heating switched off. I still have a five minute shower every other day. I still wash in a plastic bowl full of water and then flush the loo with that water, we still stand in a plastic stacking box in the shower and use that water to flush the loo. We still use our mini oven, we still go to the supermarket with a list which we devised from a menu plan. I still sell stuff on ebay to make a bit more money. I still use the library and don’t buy books. I still dry washing outside or in front of my wood fire. I still don’t use the central heating.

 I know how hard it is to set your mind to do something and stick to it! It is hard to not spend money, it is hard to not have holidays, it’s hard to live in a cool house (I don’t freeze, but it’s certainly not hot). I understand perfectly well what it’s like to go without and sometimes it is completely and utterly shite! I’ll give you and example. I went on a medical appointment in a town and went for a walk round that town as I was early. I went in the charity shops for a look and even they were stupidly expensive. I did see some lovely jeans, I saw some vintage china and I saw some crafty items and I could have bought any of them. I went in some real shops, which is something I rarely do, I gasped audibly when I saw a lovely dress and it was £75! I know a cash diet is very very hard.

To those of you, in desperate need of help to stick to a financial plan, that you’ve got the sense to make yourself, all I can say is that years later, it’s still hard. Giving up spending is as hard as giving up smoking and eating! It’s what we do! It’s what everyone else is doing around you when you’re not doing it. I can’t lie to you, it will always be hard. It was hard for me not to shop and it’s going to be hard for you too.

If you’ve turned the heating timer down, it will be hard to get used to a cooler house. If you go shopping to Tesco with a list, guess what……….that’ll be hard too. However, it’s not as hard as the options of staying in debt and just throwing money at the interest which just keeps growing and growing. The only way to get on top of finance and, essentially, your future is to go on a cash diet and stick to it.

If you’re a new reader, then leave me a comment, become a follower and let me know who you are. Email me if you want any first hand advice or if I can help in any way. If truth be told, I wish I’d had someone to talk to when it was really really rough. Any one else out there on a cash diet? Leave a comment and tell us all how you’re getting on.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

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40 thoughts on “Cash diets!

  1. We are on a cash diet. We are not big spenders and we do not have massive debts but we do have an overdraft and a small credit card debt, which will be paid in a few months. However I want to live on less. One thing though, how come the minute you start on a spend less resolution I get invited to a wedding that I need to go to (it's not mine), an evening out with work colleagues, meal, and to breakfast with friends at a local restaurant, with friends who have plenty of money. I know I could just not go, but it's not really on. I call this 'sod's law'. I know I should say no, but.. Keep inspiring Froogs. Currently reading 'The Moneyless Man' by Mark Boyle. Brilliant.

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  2. “…the 'Oh Fuck!' moment when they've looked at their finances this January” – quite…

    Top post – only very recently started following your blog and looking forward to reading more!

    Jim

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  3. Quality post Froogs ~ says it as it is especially your comment about how we convince ourselves that 'we deserve it' when attempting to justify a treat.

    Keep on doing what you're doing lady where would we be without you

    -s-

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  4. Great post again, very timely. We're not in unmanageable debt – just a small mortgage (friends laugh and tell me it's petty cash) and two credit cards accounts that I ran up debt on when I was ill and on SSP for a few months (both on 0% deals & scheduled to be paid off by the end of the deals and both cards cut up a long time ago and filed under “B”), but I did some maths today and worked out that if I didn't have the mortgage and cards to pay I could work for 4 days a week instead of 5 and still have more spending money than I have now. So … the cash diet it is. My goal? To have the mortgage and the cards paid off in two years and a few £k put by for emergencies and to then go to a 4 day week for 3 years. After 3 years I plan to drop to a 3 day week. I want to live my life not service my debts, I live in a beautiful part of the country and I want to walk the coastal path, climb the mountains and cycle on the country lanes. I want to have the time to read books I've wanted to read for years and take up a craft – the list goes on and on. So when my cash diet gets hard I'm going to remind myself of why I'm doing this – I'm going to get financially skinny enough to slip through the bars of the gaol that is the prison of debt and Froogs, you and a few other bloggers like you have no idea of the massive help you are when things are tough. Thanks Froogs.

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  5. Been reading for a while. I've got to say that knowing your wants from your needs is the biggest thing that will keep your money in your purse.

    I don't care if I don't use the clothes dryer, there is enough room in the basement to line dry nearly everything. I'd rather save that electric to use to run the dishwasher when I work three days in a row and am too knackered to stand and wash up.

    I cook from scratch and I eat leftovers. I have a weakness for chocolate and yes, I do indulge but only when my favourite is on sale.

    One of the biggest mistakes people make is not using store loyalty cards. This past Christmas I saved a bundle. Shoppers Drug Mart (think Boots) does a great redeemption at the start of December. I had 250CDN$ worth of merchandise from them. Two different grocery stores wound up with 75CDN$ worth of food and a third provided a “free” turkey. I have to shop somewhere, so I do where I get points and I only shop on specials.

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  6. Thanks Frugal Queen – top advice, as always!

    We're on a “cash diet” too – cutting back where we can and re-jigging our finances to spare what we can to clear our feet once and for all.

    Thank you for the continued inspiration!

    Best Wishes
    Frugal Wife

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  7. I think it ate my post?

    So in a nutshell.

    Use your store loyalty points and cash them in at Christmas. “free” turkey and over $350CDN in December tops up the budget nicely.

    Learn what is a “want” and what is a “need”. Amazing how much money stays in your purse that way.

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  8. Froogs, you are inspiration to many, and I am not in the least surprised your following is on the up.

    Countrylover is right – theres always the unexpected expense round the corner – but I think if you are being careful all the rest of the time, it is manageable [just about] and an unexpected blessing will turn up as well as the nasty thing.

    keep up the blog. please!!

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  9. Great post! I find I enjoy staying at home with a book, a project or just watching a movie. And watching TV! Cut out half and I will have plenty of free time for housework and cooking. I smile more at my life.

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  10. yes!we are on a cash diet and have been for a while now,we saw the light and realised that, if we didn't have debt we wouldn't have to work so hard and would have more time to spend together, it all has a knock on effect, and thankyou for all your interesting advice!

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  11. I'm a newbie to your blog – I started following at the beginning of this year. At the moment I'm still studying, so without a steady income, and with barely enough money from the government to pay rent, I'm pretty much treading water. I graduate in June though, and with a proper income I plan to use your blog as inspiration to quickly rid myself of my debts.

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  12. Hello! Ive been reading your blog for a couple of months and have recently started up my own (http://emmaemilysblog.blogspot.com/). Ive given up a life of financial security and taken voluntary redundancy (which is nice as its paid off all my debts except the mortgage). I cant profess to be living as frugally as your good self but im doing my own little bit…. i started my blog as i thought people may be interested in what its like to give up a well-paid job, which i loved and was successful in, so that i can concentrate on training for a new career. let me know what you think? Any advice/thoughts would be most welcome!

    keep up the good work 🙂

    Em

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  13. Countrylover – im going to put my counsellor head on here and maybe this will help….when you say that you cant/must/should do something you are taking away the fact that you have a choice. We always have a choice, you CAN say no to something. You need to sit and reflect on what is making you say 'cant'. If you dont want to go then dont. But if you decide to go then recognise it for what it is – its your choice. I find that when you start to think like this then its actually really liberating!

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  14. My DH and I are retired so we need to watch our money very closely. We don't have any debts except a mortgage and utilities. Last year I cut out a lot of “useless” spending and now I'm addicted to putting more money in our savings. We even leased a new vehicle last year instead of buying one. We only drive about 7,000-9,000 miles a year so leasing was a good decision for us. No more Netflix or renting movies. Have not eaten out in ages…and don't miss it 🙂 I will say that a couple days ago KFC had a coupon in our local paper for a 4-pc. dinner. If you bought one, you got one free…so we did. We had 8 pieces of chicken, potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, and biscuits…enough for 2 days…for $8.00.

    Taking a hard look at what you spend every month is a good way to trim down expenses.

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  15. I haven't been reading your blog for long but find I have to pop in daily . I need to be frugal as we swim in debts, I start the month off with good intentions but by the end of the month we have fallen off the wagon again. I'm not taking on new debts but can't seem to bottom the debts we have. This is the year mind. Keep Up the good work, your an inspiration.
    Sarah x

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  16. I have been a follower for a few months but 1st Jan I cut up a M&S store card. I never used it it was there 'just in case'. I do not need it. You are a true inspiration. Wavy Davy and the rest should listen to you. Do we need a new faster train – no – just get up earlier and catch the early train!!! What will they charge for the tickets? I dread to think. You are a true inspiration – keep it up.

    Dianne – Hereford

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  17. Have been reading for a couple of months now. I'm not in debt apart from a smallish mortgage (which I'm overpaying)and don't have a credit card. As a single person I only have one income to rely on and therefore I'm careful. Pay as you go mobile only used for texting, no Sky etc. a 10yr old car, and no holidays for 3 yrs now. I did buy a pair of boots this year which were £85 but I haven't had a long pair since 1979 so reckon I really DO deserve them! Keep writing your money saving tips, I love to read them.
    x

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  18. My wife and I are on a cash diet as well. It's liberating! We've got less than $10,000 left on Student loans, and that's it for debt! We can't wait. Just found your blog and enjoy it. Thanks! Feel free to follow ours: thevellemas.blogspot.com

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  19. Soon I will be debt free but due to a divorce do not own my own home. So saving is the only option for now. I have to live tight but we do have the odd treat. One thing I must recommend is the local library. Ours id great but there are other advantages it is cool when it is a steamy summer day out side and warm when it is cold. Do libraries in other countries supply games, even x box, dvds, etc as well as books and magazines and papers?

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  20. Very good blog! A couple of things came to mind when I read it: I have been living frugally most of the time for a few years and seriously for the last year but when I got to Christmas and had “extra” to spend I found that I was no longer comfortable spending–so maybe, if it doesn't get easier, it does become a habit. I like the feeling of sense prevailing and I agree that you see other people's spending in quite a different way. It's not money or spending that gives the most satisfaction in life; it's feeling that you have done the best you can. Spending leaves you feeling empty when the thrill has passed.
    And secondly, even although I have a tight food budget I always seem to have a full freezer because I waste nothing. Leftovers are all used in various ways to provide parts of other meals. We actually eat better than we used to. I have £30 a week as a food budget but always underspend it and keep the “in hand ” money to restock cupboards and freezer supplies in bulk once in a while. It works really well. At the end of last year I had £250 in hand to buy some quality foods to help out this year. Thanks for your blog–it's inspirational. m

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  21. Very inspiring words Froogs now if I could just convince my 23 year old daughter!!! They really are a generation of 'have now' and it frustrates me seeing her get into more debt for the sake of a new 'must have' dress that will only be worn once!! Do you have any ideas on helping our young adult children coping in this consumer world?

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  22. Love your blog. I put it on my blog list a little while ago. This might explain an increase in traffic from Australia? Anyway, I found you via Make Do Style and I am inspired by you to really embrace the new frugality and also to stop self gifting. I am really into decluttering and am convinced that decluttering and saving are somehow intertwined. Keep up the good work x

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  23. I am retired. Alive with long experience. Remember to keep some money aside for the emergencies which will hit you when least expected. Yes, one day you will have to travel faraway for surgery that can not be done well where you live. Yes, you will need to go to your sister's funeral and will have to stay somewhere for weeks. In your budget allow for this slush fund. Keep it in a special account if you like, but keep it.

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  24. Great post Froogs…I've been knuckling down hard this year and already making a dent with selling more on ebay/etsy and packing my lunch for work every day…it is tough to say no to parties and chip-ins at work…but my financial well being must come first!

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  25. Cash diet has become a way of life for us now.
    Reflecting on my previous wasteful debt-filled lifestyle, I had 42 credit cards (Yes – 42) all active, a mortgage, new car complete with loan, 60-80 a day cigarette habit, 8 pints a night and a bottle of port when I got home habit, exotic holidays, expensive restaurants, all the latest electric gadgets my then wife couldn't live without in a nice detached bungalow, and a stress-filled 60-70 hour week.
    Then my ex-wife of 35 years decided she would prefer life without me, and a very unsympathetic judge awarded her just about everything.
    I started my “new” life with no home, no work, no credit cards and no money, just debt, at 55.
    An instant cash diet, which after 5 years has become normality, the up-side is having so much time to do all the things I didn't seem to be able to fit in.
    And despite having about one-seventh of my previous imcome and living with my second wife in rented accommodation, seem to be so much better off, we actually spend less than our income. I don't miss the ciggies, the drink, the waste, or the stress.

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  26. Wow, straight down the line! Just what I needed to hear, not that we have any debt, except a smallish mortgage, but my working hours have suddenly reduced-I work freelance-and part of me thought it would be ok and part of me was a bit scared. But now I KNOW we will be ok, and that I won't be permanently exhausted, and I'll have time for veggie growing, cooking from scratch etc. Thanks so much for spelling it out.

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  27. I am married and trying so hard to get my husband to be more frugal. I have many medical bills and they frighten me. He loves to shop and spend. Nothing outrageous, but it alllll adds up. I am trying to cut where I can and praying he will continue to see the difference. My problem is getting the extra money paid on bills and not on unneeded expenses. It has been frustrating but I am continuing on. He works hard and I am trying to get him to understand that I am thinking of him as well as me and my fears. We live in the states. Thank you for your sharing.

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  28. I am married and trying so hard to get my husband to be more frugal. I have many medical bills and they frighten me. He loves to shop and spend. Nothing outrageous, but it alllll adds up. I am trying to cut where I can and praying he will continue to see the difference. My problem is getting the extra money paid on bills and not on unneeded expenses. It has been frustrating but I am continuing on. He works hard and I am trying to get him to understand that I am thinking of him as well as me and my fears. We live in the states. Thank you for your sharing.

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  29. thank you for the ''pep talk '' even though you are a complete stranger i was moved . this year has started pretty crappy due to declining health both mine and my husbands wages are less than half , 3 kids still home bills still the same life seems scary
    thanks again !

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  30. Have been a cash-fan for many years. Found out years ago that credit cards and I do not mix, so I set up a weekly budget to get out of debt. Worked out how much spare cash I had each week, divided it by the debts and began to clear them. When a little debt was gone, the calculation was revised, so each debt gradually disappeared until all the was left was the biggest one. Now all gone. I shop once a week, pay the bills in weekly installments, save all coins, use the Fly Buys points to get a bonus cash-card at Chistmas, etc. And I am not a fan of bank accounts, having had mine raided by the bank without permission – so no cash stays in the bank either. Bought plane tickets with cash recently, flew on cash and had a wonderful holiday, all using cash. On the plane people were buying their snacks with credit cards!! My guess is their trip was on the card totally, otherwise a $10 purchase on a card is absurd. So much freedom to be in control and not under control. My feeling is that cash 'breeds' cash – debt 'breeds' debt. One gives a life without fear, the other does not.

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