Somethings are always difficult 

Hello Dear Reader,

Somethings in life are just really difficult. These are tough times. Families are finding it difficult to make ends meets, people find it difficult to rent or buy a house, getting a college education after 18 is a debt for years and finding a job is hard. I think it’s going to get harder still and a whole generation of an entire nation are going to have an complete culture change. 

Many of us had the luxury of leaving school and finding a job that paid enough, even at sixteen, to rent a share of a house. No references, no credit checks, just the rent up front and move in. Wages were weekly, paid in cash in a little brown envelope and there was little or no chance if running up any debt. I sound like a total moaning old fart but you genuinely could pay the rent, a share of the bills, feed yourself, buy a pair of jeans now and then and a few pints of cider on a Friday. If I’d have known I was living the dream, I’d have enjoyed it more. If, like me, you had a rubbish job then you could get another job in the evening, waiting tables or serving in a pub. We didn’t do it to save up for holidays but so we could have a winter coat

Life was simple, I don’t remember the vicious consumerism and couldn’t have pointed out a brand label if I’d have tried. We wore jeans and a white t-shirt….everywhere, no matter if we were male or female and in the midst of comfortable self confidence, had no need for throw away fashion which needs replacing weekly. Beauty products were a bar of soap, a Mum roll-on and a quick squirt of Impulse which was the height of sophistication. There was little or no pressure to look good and character was more important than your clothes. Life was simple. Things were ‘easier’ as we expected so little and when we got it were grateful. 

Life is different now and those easy days are over. I don’t think we’ll ever see them again. We could all moan about it or even despair for our young people but that will neither help or change anything. These are times when more and more, who ever you are you have to take chances instead of having choices. It’s no longer going to be about desires but meeting needs instead. In short, it’s not about having fun, it’s about working harder. Shit, isn’t it!

What ever we want has to be worked for, with longer hours, in some cases for not a lot of pay and a lot of tough luck along the way. The younger you are, the tougher it is and just when you think it should be easy, fun and free then you’ll actually be working for what feels like nothing more than surviving. There is so ‘little’ money when high expectations can make people feel they have so much less than folk on social media. 

In spite of all that we can’t be down, feel sorry for ourselves, or our youngsters and just have to make do with as little as possible, live simply, adjust the way we live and make our own happiness without it costing us. We’re owed nothing and we’re entitled to even less.

I’m hopeful that these lengthy difficult times will have a lasting social change and there will be a collective shift to wanting and expecting less. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx 


36 thoughts on “Somethings are always difficult 

  1. Oh my I couldn’t have put that better – you have just described my entire life especially the bit about saving up for a winter coat, and at 16 I was not allowed to wear makeup, can you imagine telling a teenager today they couldn’t wear makeup, thanks for a lovely blog


  2. I love your writing Froogs, no sugar coating, just tell it how it is. This next generation needs to hear this kind of message, not the tripe that is being peddled just about everywhere you look, newspapers, magazines, catalogues, social media and TV. I do feel dispair when looking at how some people live. I am not a shopper however when I do have to brave the shops for an errand I am always gobsmacked at what I see. Unemployable, Obese, couldn’t care how they look, ferals and their poor little children, that are being being dragged up, not raised in a caring, nurturing environment. This is the generation that thinks that life owes them big time and that they don’t have to work one day for it. They are, in turn teaching their children this is how you live your life.

    I am the same generation as you and I laughed out loud at you describing your young life, it’s a photocopy of mine! They were good times and we all worked hard, that’s just the way it was. I would like to think that there will be a big shift in attitudes, and there seems to be a big swing back to minimalism and frugal living, here’s hoping!


  3. I agree. Nothing was so simple and fitting as the years I waitressed, wore my second hand boots, leggings and baggy black hand knitted jumper…it was so simple and I was so grateful.oh to be fourteen again. Still, our wealth of knowledge and experience can hopefully, ably assist our young ones. Oh I love your blog!


  4. It makes me feel better to realise that I’m not the only one who notices these things! When I had a school disco at age 11, we wore jeans and teeshirts from British Home Stores, ate some party rings, danced about to Blame It On The Boogie and didn’t have to think about selfies on social media or even ever having a photo of that party. Now I’m 32, working hard hard hard, and trying to plan financially for a small flat with my husband and another college degree to take myself further. It’s good to know there are people that recognise that life is hard graft and not just about comfort. Like you say, life owes me nothing. It’s all about the journey.


  5. I had that life too – and yet now here I am trying to clean up debt and with two teenagers struggling to make their way in this murderous world.
    I just have the slim, tiny hope, that the world will turn back, and one day there will be long straight hair, cheap jeans and a white tee shirt again – but sadly my teens will have missed out. Here’s to the future and a new age of simplicity. When it comes, maybe you will be hailed as its prophet?!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this post so much that I am commenting for the first time! We’re in our 30’s in the midst of raising 3 children and committed to living on one income so that I can stay at home with the kids. We’re blessed in that inheritance has afforded us a house bug enough to have a spare room to rent and to pay off my student debt. I’m of the generation where everyone got a degree in something and guess what, none of us have the amazing salaries or lifestyles we were “promised”. The advice we’ll be giving our kids about swanning off and getting degrees in any old thing will not be the advice we were given and the reality is that if they don’t want debt they will have to stay local, live at home and work on the side! My hubby is awaiting a 1% pay rise which we’ll squirrel aside for our pensions, the first time we have been able to save since baby 3 declared her existence on that little stick nearly 3 years ago. I thank the Lord that we’re raising the kids in North Wales and not a big city, at least fashion/gadgets etc is not too out of control here! Love the honesty of your blog-keep up the good work xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The good old days were brill, because of the lack of money in the 70’s due to another ressesion it has armed us with good basics on how to survive this one,we are trying to teach our teeagers how difficult life is ,but the biggest hindrance is the social media telling them “you don’t have to work for anything”.How wrong! this is when community is torn apart, people are so frightened to say they have no money and times are hard,for fear of being ridiculed, we all need help to fight and survive a common goal,and working together helping each other is the only way forward, and that means you earn it you don’t get it given to you.Going back to a simpler life is not a falier it’s a ” V”s up to consumerism and a pat on the back to knowing we are going to be OK.


  8. There are some people and families that spend more than they have, or waste money on vapid consumerism, but there are just as many families, if not more, working full time, forking out for childcare, taking home tax credits because the wage they earn isn’t enough to live on, and are lying awake at night wondering how they are going to pay the rent this month, never mind christmas or new clothes, and wondering if they have saved up enough money to buy tampons this month. In the 70s my mum and dad bought a semi detached house on a council workers and housewifes income, which they sold and upgraded to a really lovely detached house in a wonderful area, which they sold 6 years ago to buy land and build their own house in Anglesey. Both have taken early retirement (my Mum is now only 58). They have both worked hard for what they have, but have rewards for that hard work, They most soul destroying thing for my generation is that no matter how hard my husband and I work, we are never going to be able to afford a deposit on a terraced house in Liverpool, never mind in a decent area, and after working hard until near 70, we aren’t going to have much in the way of rewards. This isn’t a “poor me” rant at all, just the reality of a generation. We are fortunate that the sleepless worry filled nights are few and far between, and, because I am careful, we can afford everything we need, but theer are plenty that aren’t that fortunate. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rubbish isn’t it. The best advice I can give to young people is never have children unless you can have two in your late thirties early 40s until then work three jobs if you have to and save every penny until you can get a house. Failing that my advice to people starting over now is to say you can have a house if you don’t have children.


  9. Thanks for reminding me of Mum deodorant! 🙂 When I was young my friends and I were dressed in secondhand clothes. Most of us had one pair of Doc Martens that lasted years and the only lipstick to wear was Rimmel’s Heather Shimmer! I dyed my hair with 99p henna and trimmed the ends myself. I’d hate to be a skint 19 year old now, there’s so much pressure to be groomed and waxed and exfoliated and have the right handbag and all that nonsense. I’m more presentable now that I’m a 40something with an office job and have long since hung up my Doc Martens but I’m glad I had the freedom to be scruffy when I was young.


    • Froogs, you have hit the nail on the head. Oh Wow, I remember Rimmel’s Heather Shimmer! Also, the mahogany coloured harmony hair colours in the triangular boxes – we all would persuade our mums that they were wash in, wash out but really if you left them on your hair for a few hours they would be nearly permanent!! I am lucky, in my late 40s, used to dress from the local jumble and look cool and different, I was not interested in the latest labels although did use to love an occasional treat in Miss Selfridge! My oldest son who is now 16 seems to take after me, does not care a jot that he does not own labels and puts together his own style from charity shops. He says, please do not buy me anything like Superdry – my friends all look the same! Long may it last!! I do worry for the future for my children as their lives will never be as carefree as my own – lovely to read your comments everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did just that – left the ‘wash in, wash out’ hair dye on for ages – it was a permanent mahogany and I loved it, my mother had a fit!


  10. I’m now forty with a fifteen year old daughter it makes me glad to have been a teenager in the 80s when I just had to buy a mascara and lipstick to feel good. Now it’s all fake tans, eyelashes, mac makeup, £50 perfumes. There is pressure to carry the right bag, wear the right brands and have the latest phone. I try and encourage her to be herself but every where there are adverts and TV shows telling women they have to look a certain way. I hate it!


    • I’m slightly older, but I remember feeling some pressure when I was 15. Comic Relief Day, a school trip to Alton Towers, the school disco…

      I basically had my school uniform and my home clothes and that was it. Mostly hand-me-downs from the cousins. My ‘best’ clothes came from the market and I knew they didn’t pass muster. These events where I had to be faced with my peers were a nightmare. A ‘Next’ had opened in the town, and everyone was mad about the catalogues with real fabric swatches, but most of us could barely even afford the £3 they cost.

      But then some groups of girls who had richer parents started wearing the checked coats from Next. It didn’t matter that they looked like 3 piece suites, all decked in the same upholstery. what mattered was they knew they had the expensive brand. They reeked of Body Shop Dewberry too, which had also just opened in the town.

      (I found you could go into Body Shop, wipe some of the tester oil on your scarf and it would last for days, so your friends thought you could afford it too. and I decided to be a White Musk girl)

      Before these aspirational shops opened, we’d had fashions seep the school, but it was okay if you had market version of Moon Boots, snoods, herringbone coats, or bangles. Now, you couldn’t just have a sports bag, it had to be Head. You couldn’t just have a black t-shirt off the market… it had to be a Benetton one with the rainbow logo.

      I came home in tears after having the pee taken out of me all day we were in mufty for Comic Relief – the first one they did. School trip came round, my mom scrimped and got me a Benetton t-shirt. I was so happy! But I still got sneered at because my jeans were still off the market, not Levis. Ah well!

      It was pretty 50-50 between the rich brand peeps and the realistic clothes wearing peeps, and I was so happy to realise that my music taste meant indie fashion, charity shop clothes, Pretty in Pink-style wear what the damn I like and what I can damn well afford too. I found my tribe. Also leaving school took a lot of the pressure off.

      A smatter of blue eyeshadow on a Friday, a bit of mascara, and yes, heather shimmer lippie, progressing to an ear-tinting wodge of Directions hair colour in rose red (lasted ages), some waxy purple colour lip tint from Avon, and a squirt of Exclamation! – or the even cheaper fake equivalent. I didn’t bother with foundation until my mid twenties, when I first noticed I had patchy skin, though I see in photos now I had it all my life and it never bothered me or anyone else.

      I am a lot mellower in middle age, mainly cos I have a responsible office job, but I miss my pink hair. Still wear DMs though!


  11. I think very low expectations are the key to happiness. I can find extreme joy in ironing and pottering in the garden and I cannot believe my luck that I have my own home and a family. Love the blog x


  12. I don’t think I conscientiously did anything right but all three of my kids are on their own nonconsumer driven path. Shared rent, second hand, home cooking are the norm. However, all want to travel which costs so much these days. Trade offs.


  13. I am glad in many ways that my youth was spent in the 80’s. My first proper wage was just over £60 per week and nearly half of that went on renting a room in a shared house. Many of us bought jeans and makeup off the outdoor markets. My treat if anything was left over would be to go to the record shops for a couple of pieces of vinyl and the height of perfumed sophistication came from a can of Limara bodyspray! We never had much and finding a new job could often be hard but we just got on with it.


  14. I have been living like this all through the years of hedonistic pleasures/live for today generation. It has been a lonely path as I very rarely encountered like minded people until I discovered the internet and all the amazing people like frugal queen and others who are comfortable in their skins and look after their own.

    The one thing that has upset me are the people who dismiss my simple pleasures in order to big up the fact (that they are in enormous debt to pay for) their overseas holidays are bigger and what they perceive as better destinations than everyone else.

    I am never happier than when I can come home close the door on all of the above displays be it bigger car, holidays, houses, clothes blah bah blah. make us a nice meal collect the dog and get out in the country side……… and breathe.


  15. Good post. Do you think with all the bullying etc people (of all sorts of ages) don’t get the chance to different? Its conform or else out there! We need more people to be different; so that difference is the norm! As for House or children? Surely the choices are not that simple?


  16. Hear,hear! Brilliant blog post, and sadly so so true. My daughter will leave uni with at least £40000 in debt. Her degree will be in French, Italian and European Studies. She loves the course , finds it fascinating and will spend next year abroad. I think this is what education should be about, broadening minds and experiences. However, she is worried about her choice. If we leave Europe, then what? She wishes she’d done a science degree ,even though science is not her thing!


  17. Heather Shimmer hey, the worrying thing is that I actually went and brought just that shade the other week and I am 50. Time for a cheap make over I think. I agree with all your sentiments. When I was 21 I brought my own house with Hubbie. It cost £14,000 and was all we could afford. We both worked but were usually skint by the time bills were paid. Everything we had was second hand or donated. I still remember the purple wall and that red staricase, it was the 80s you know and we were crap at decorating. My own daughter is 21 and her and her boyfriend seem not to have that opportunity. It will take them years to save even for a deposit. It looks like they will be with us for a while longer. But thats ok. Families need to stick together to get by these days.


  18. Froogs, I love your posts like this – the daily thrift ones are great, and I love hearing about your French adventures – but a lot of people need a great, huge kick in the arse. While social media is a great way to keep in touch, I believe it also fuels a great deal of not-so-good stuff, such as making “keeping up with the Joneses” even more vital for some people. I’m reading a book about the Great Recession (as the 2008 downturn is called in the US). I had a job (all through the downturn (I started there in 2006 and still work for the same company). I’m lucky. So many weren’t and are still trying to put their lives back together into some normalcy. I think the push for everyone to go to university is misguided. So many young people aren’t made for it. Here the US, the trades (carpentry, electrical, plumbing, auto mechanic, etc.) have fallen on hard times. They are hurting for people. Yes, there is some schooling required, but it’s not as long as university would be, and not as expensive. Those types of jobs will always be required. I’m just a few years younger than you. I remember how it was in the 80s, as well. I wore very little makeup. Smelling good seemed to be more important than anything else! I doubt that I will be able to every afford even a small flat to buy, as I’m a single woman living in an expensive area. I like not having to worry about maintenance and the thought that I could move whenever I wanted to at the end of my year-long leases. Right now, I’m within maybe 6 months of paying off my credit card debt, and then I start on my car. I should be debt free by the end of 2017. I’m currently putting away retirement money, then I will really start, as well as to have a nice emergency fund. I can’t count the government will be there to take care of me, as I doubt it will be. Too many people these days expect the government to catch them, but you can’t count on it. Being frugal and enjoying the simple life is the way to go these days. I just hope more people realize it.


  19. Glad you have written this, I don’t think my now-grown-up kids believe me about growing up in the 70s! Especially the bit where I tell them that a Kit-Kat or a packet of crisps was a once-a-month treat. But have to add – I was the one in jeans and a black & silver t-shirt – we hadn’t invented Goths but I would have been one!


  20. My daughter is 9 and being brought up with my core values, very similar to yours. She agrees with me and doesn’t value money at all. He father throws it at her and she hates it. I was saddened last Friday on sports relief day when she got upset because she didn’t have the right clothes. I asked her what it was she wanted and she said nothing. She likes her clothes and exactly how she is. But, and this is the upsetting bit, she was afraid of going to school because the other girls, some as young as 8, would make fun of her. My daughter is happy how she is but it will be her peers who break her. I just hope she has a strong enough character to withstand it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It parents like you who give their children a fantastic start, all you can do is build her confidence up to such a level that she rejoices in being the one that is slightly different. Sadly it’s peer pressure that can undo years of good solid parenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I read your post a few days ago and I have been thinking about it and other articles with similar slants. I’m not convinced that my generation are entitled. Here in Australia, and in the UK people often wait until their mid to late twenties to get a job. Houses cost 11 times the averages salary versus 3 times when I was a child. The public housing list is ridiculous in its size. Rent is no longer cheap and people on unemployment benefits struggle without family and friends. Smart phones and cheap electronics and stuff do not make up for the genuine struggle many face without opportunity. The basics have never been so expensive. That being said, I do think that criteria for retirement and family benefits, and amounts could change, and pay for an increase to the unemployed. I do think young families are generously supplied.


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