Should I increase the amount I save?

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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.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

 

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22 thoughts on “Should I increase the amount I save?

      • I’d like some interest on my saved money too! However, that would mean interest rates on debts would rise as well. Not a problem for me, since I am not in any kind of debt, but I’m rather afraid scores of people (at least over here in the Netherlands) will get into some serious trouble. Is this likley to happen in the UK as well?
        Kind regards, Carolina

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  1. I appreciate your no nonsense, shoot straight from the hip approach. In antiipation of some major life changes, I downsized my housing (I rent), my furnishings and my cost of living/monthly budget as a result. I am currently off work, collecting full salary on medical leave, until I officially retire in March, at which time, my income on will be approx 52% of what I am currently taking in. I am living off of what I’ll call my retirment level of income, banking the rest as life happens. More changes are looming ahead: I am back at college, getting training to enter a new field. Although I can live on my retirement income, medical insurance is a major issue here in the USA. I will work to pay for medical insurance (I prepaid for a year through my current employer)which I will need come Sept ’17. All extra income beyond medical ins and OOP costs for medical care, will also be saved. Once the dust settles, as more of my kids leave the nest, I hope to purchase real estate. I am in no rush, to many what ifs. I am debt free beyond a bit of medical debt, which I am chipping away at, anticipating having it all paid off before I retire in March. I take care of what I have (clothes, shoes, car etc)shopping second hand whenever possible, cook from scratch, shop alternative shops, pick up the marked downs, choose store labels such as at Aldi’s, do what I can myself before hiring out, etc. Great post.

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  2. Good thinking. When we retired we decided on a minimum savings not to drop below. It would be enough to cover a roof, or a boiler or a funeral! Anything else in life would be budgeted from state pensions. Wish we were getting a little bit of interest – we would spend it on luxuries!

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  3. My husband and l both work,having 3 teenagers to clothe and feed is a nightmare, they grow overnight.We do manage to save but it is always a considered luxury and it should not be!!!.We work crappy shifts with no possible restbite due to our commitment to the children, we budget,grow our own, don’t owe any money to anyone except for the mortgage, we have 17 yrs until we retire and it scares me” am l going to have to budget till l die”? Well l can budget, l can grow my own and l won’t let it get me down because the only way is up!.

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  4. love this post…here in the States it’s the medical bills that hold many of us back, even with insurance I rack up some incredible prescription. costs…all my extra money is divided between student loan, retirement and mortgage over payment…I have few needs and less wants so being frugal is more fun than necessary…

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  5. Great post. I think it’s terrifying how many people don’t even have £100 in savings, so if there was any kind of emergency they could end up in debt. Saving is so important for anyone who does have the spare cash to make choices, and doesn’t have their back completely to the wall. I’ve been trying to think about small changes I can make each day to set aside some savings, but most of them require time, even if they don’t require money, and that can be really tough.

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  6. I was a single person on a low income for many years but managed to save a small amount and was never in debt although it was a huge struggle at times and I went without things many people take forgranted. My situation wasn’t helped by having to pay higher rates of car and household insurance as insurers deem single people as feckless and irresponsible. In actual fact I had to be more responsible as without a second income coming into the house it was down to me to manage everything. I ‘m thankfully no longer in this position but resent the years where I effectively subsidised duel income households and was diiscrimminated against through no fault of my own. I also still save and go without as you never know what the future holds.

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  7. Do you find that most people don’t like to talk about their finances? It’s like sex, private to them ( right too! ). I have some very good friends ,some for about 30 years but we none of us no each others financial status, it’s almost like a self preservation and comfort thing! I do get a little annoyed when people say ” I can’t afford fresh veg” or whatever, whilst smoking with a cafe latte in their hand, it’s more the way they choose to spend their money! I suppose we all have a choice and I choose to live within my means and am extremely lucky to have no mortgage but we now live on a limited income, I was a single parent for a year following a divorce ( remarried now) and it wasn’t easy but we did it, made a Christmas twig painted white and hung the baubles on that, now all the rage! There is a balance and we all do what we feel is right for us and your advice and inspirational story has probably helped a lot of people sort themselves out.

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  8. I know Froogs, you’re right of course. For the first time ever I have “higher” salary, but guess what, my lifestyle grew with it! More work, less time, more stress, more luxuries!! I went to the bank and decided to put 1/3 of it on another account every month. I want to increase that eventually. Who knows when I’ll have such a salary ever again!

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  9. I couldn’t agree more. Like you, I discovered this rather late in life but I save as much as I can now. I am trying to impress upon my daughters to do this but they clearly think getting old is such s long way off they have plenty of time. I tell them to put money away and maybe one day they will have a good deposit in a house but the amount they need is so intimidating they can’t seem to get started. One day… I will keep plugging away.
    Jane

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  10. I live by what my Grandma taught me. She used to say ‘Even if you only earn £5 a week, always put a pound away, keep it to yourself and don’t tell a soul, that way, if you need a new coat, you can buy one without having to ask your husband for the money!’. Old words, but the meaning is profound. I have done that all my life, small amounts. No husband, but that philosophy for saving has allowed me to buy my home and raise my children and keep my head above water on a low income. Even saving a pound is better than nothing!

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  11. I have a savings account with our bank called Save the Change which rounds up to the nearest pound when I switch on my main account and all these parts of a pound add up over the months and lets you add to your savings without thinking.
    It may not be a great deal of money but it lets you start and you can always add.

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  12. I totally agree with you, frugal queen! When my children were young I would look in the local parenting newspaper to find fun, free things to do. We have many county parks as well as state parks that we could enjoy and most for free. Packing a picnic and going to a big estate and enjoy the kids playing on the great lawn or going to municipal parks that has brand new playgrouds. Don’t forget the libraries where you can fill up on books and movies. So much to do that doesn’t have to cost a bit.

    During the energy crisis in the USA in the 1970’s my mother-in-law was if you were cold were a sweater. And we had the joke of “throwing another blankie on the granny.”

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  13. We’re on the same journey as you Froogs, and because of it our mortgage is on track to be paid off next year.

    True we might all die tomorrow but equally we might all live until we are 95 … some folks choose not to think of that!! I just know that I want as comfortable old age if possible, so a bit of saving now is like our own extra insurance for the future 😊

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