Hello Dear Reader,
Can anyone really afford to save? Would anyone really want to? I mean you only live once, so if I save all I have and die next week do I want to be the wealthiest corpse in the graveyard? I could get run over by a bus tomorrow! What’s the point of working if I can’t have a good time? Do I really want to be a killjoy? Wouldn’t you rather have the money when you’re young rather than when you’re old?
You know what? I’ve heard it all and I still don’t give a ****!
People live a lot longer and are making the most of their lives no matter what age they are so I’m not going to listen to the naysayers and I’m not only going to save but I’m going to increase my savings.
I was struck by the recent findings that many British people have less than £100 of savings whilst some people with an income of £13,000 per year have on around £1000 of savings. I’ve had some tough financial times in my life and struggled to get from one end of the month to the next, keep a roof over my head and feed my children. I used to have to save to buy them clothes, shoes, Christmas and birthday presents. All my savings went to buying the everyday things that we needed. We then had times in our lives where we earned more, played the rising property market and borrowed only to have to face a property crash and a lot of debt that we had to pay back. Now our life is level and we can save for tomorrow, rainy days and a big storm if we need to.
We’ve made the choice to spend less than half of our earnings so we can save. Our savings could be spent on a new car every other year, or a much better car. Our savings could be spent on long haul holidays, clothes, meals in restaurants, a newer house, a bigger house or a house in a much better postcode. Instead, we choose to live in a cheap neighbourhood, to have a modest car, to cook at home, to have what we need and live what might seem to some as a simple life.
This month, as every year is my frugal reset. I’ve pressed the default button and need to really get back to spending less and saving more. It’s also about putting something aside for later.
Now I know life is really tough for some of you. It’s shit it truly is! You work all hours, your husband works all hours and still you just make the mortgage payment every month! I can’t suggest for one moment that you save, make any more adjustments and I wouldn’t dream of it! I can only talk about me and from experience.
When we had to make every penny count as we had no choice. We did what ever it took! DB worked the day shift and I worked two week nights and two late day shifts on the weekend in a care home. That was the only way as our incomes didn’t stretch to day care or baby sitters for the children. It was, at the time, the only way. There was no fun money. There was money for clothes for growing children, the mortgage, the bills and nothing else. We went no where, we did nothing and no, it wasn’t any fun for our children and I’m sure looking back at their childhoods it was really quite austere with parents who just worked and survived. When I hear of families doing the same now with not so much as a cinema trip to look forward to, I truly know how crap that is. So, before I get any comments that some families can’t save……………I know, I’ve been there, we all just got by!
Now things are different and we have choices. We choose to live in a small cottage that’s heated by one wood stove, we choose to get pallets of the industrial estate and cut them down for kindling, we choose to chop our own wood, we choose to save for holidays which are a luxury that once I only dreamed of.
I’m going to keep my no spend month going. I really need very little. I know how lucky I am, how comfortable I am. We live debt free with two incomes and can afford to save. We also over pay the mortgage which we see as another form of saving. Even now, supermarket own brand tea bags will do, value products will do, discount store clothing will do, homemade and second hand will do. You see, I can remember like it was yesterday when we couldn’t afford anything for DB or myself at all, I also grew up with very little, had very little until I was 37 when I started work as a teacher and got a monthly salary. Before then, I earned minimum wage, had irregular hours and relied on getting extra shifts if I was lucky. It’s that perspective that makes me realise how lucky I am to have the choices I have.
If you have choices, if you earn a bit more than minimum wage and you can cut back there are ways you can get into a savings habit. It’s really important to save regularly and then live on what you have after savings have been deducted. You could start by building an emergency fund and what you decide is an emergency is up to you. Our dishwasher died after twelve years and two repairs and it wasn’t an emergency to replace it, we now wash up in a bowl and boil the kettle on the gas stove or wood stove if it’s lit. However, if the car needed a major repair, that’d be an emergency or we wouldn’t be able to get to work and we’d dip into savings for that.
Currently I’m saving for: tax bill on our French home (Fonciere already paid, habitation bill yet to arrive), four ferry trips to France over the next twelve months and to build some dividing walls. We are also putting money aside to repair and replace anything in our home here. Our life is so different now and our saving priorities are about preparing for our long term future.
I can’t suggest that everyone can save, I know that’s not a choice everyone has but if you can, I hope you do.
Love Froogs xxxx