Does budgeting make life better?


Hello Dear Reader,

Being a blogger and living as if I were on the Truman show means I open myself to criticism. It goes with the territory. Some people ask: how do you do it? Or, why do you do it? Or ask whether it’s all worth it or how can you live like that? The way we live isn’t for everybody. You see, we live on a tight budget. We choose to do that. We are not hard up, low paid, scrimping because there’s no choice but because we want to live that way.

Living on a budget means we don’t spend without planning and we plan, each day, each week, each month, each year and the next few years of our finances. That means we don’t just up and go on mini-breaks, city breaks or cheap deals on Groupon, not because we don’t want to travel but because they are not part of the immediate plans. We don’t ever just think, ‘I’d like that’ and up and off and buy it. We never hear of a new restaurant locally and think, ‘let’s go off and try that place’. We live, what might seems as a very austere life but it’s purposeful and keeping us on track to have a mortgage free life, with a comfortable retirement and adequate savings to buffer any possible difficulties.

So, what does our budgeting by choice mean day by day? We are, to be honest, complete tightwads and proud of it. We get what we can for free, secondhand or at the lowest available prices. We home cook every day with the exception of twice last year in France. We don’t eat takeaways or ready meals and cook from scratch. We believe that a baked potato and beans is a fantastic meal. Our house isn’t cold but don’t think of sitting around without thick jumpers and some woolly socks. We’re clean and tidy but that’s thank to quick timed showers to save on gas and water. I smell nice when I can get perfume at the giveaway price of free and we stay fresh with toiletries, at low cost, from a budget supermarket. As I said, tightwads and proud of it.

Budgeting in the immediate doesn’t look a lot of fun does it? Budgets are not for the here and now, they are for the long term. We’re in this for the long haul and have make the best of our day to day life in all its simplicity. A home cooked meal, the warmth of our wood stove, a walk in the forest or a snooze in the garden in the summer. Budgeting in the long term means, for us, a house as an investment to rent out to supplement two pensions, a house to live in and in comparison to many, an early retirement. You can have comfort when you’re young or when you’re retired and you’d have had a very blessed life if you could have comfort for both. We’ll take the penny pinching now rather when I’m older thank you very much. 

So, in answer to the question, does budgeting make life better, we believe it does. It might look a bit dusty round the edges to some people but we’re perfectly happy to play the long game.

Over to you, do you get questions asked of your thrifty life?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

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18 thoughts on “Does budgeting make life better?

  1. Budgeting each and every month for our household works for us. Nothing fancy – just a note book and a calendar is all I need to balance the books. It’s not a necessity as such and we have no big plans. We’ve lived in the same property for nearly 30 years – we chose to stay put as it suited our family and moving is expensive! So we have no mortgage but still we find a good budget essential.

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  2. We live very well on our pensions by having a budget. We save for our two sunshine holidays each year. Yes people think and say we are rich and how can we holiday abroad twice a year. We can do it by looking after our money weekly, monthly,yearly.
    We follow your way of life.
    Sylvia

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  3. I don’t budget but I am cheap in my way….we lower the heat, put on an extra layer. We have towels and blankets to cut out the drafts. 90% of what I buy is on sale. I shop my house and my Dad’s house as much as I can. Every paycheck we put money in the restaurant can and the Paris can…..
    I cook most of our food from scratch…..thank Gok we are mostly debt free

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  4. I don’t think I could be as disciplined as you when it comes to budgeting. Or, put it another way, I choose not to be as disciplined as you. I think it’d make me miserable not to indulge in the odd impulse buy or frivolous purchase. My impulses are budget ones though. A nice lip balm, a dress or book from a charity shop.
    It’d worry me hugely if my spending was out of control. I don’t know how people sleep who don’t know what they’ve got in the bank and how much their debts amount to.
    Whether people are ultra strict about their budgets or keep looser reins on it, I think it’s important to be a Conscious Consumer. Mindless consuming is as bad for the planet as it is for the wallet.

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  5. I started sticking to a tight budget and reading your blog a few years back when I wanted to reduce my environmental impact and became more disparaging about our consumerist society. I was in a well paid job at this point and I put the money I had left in to paying off my mortgage and savings. Four years ago I developed a neurological disease which restricted my ability to work. I now work part time at a lower grade, a third of my salary was wiped out per month. Thanks to previous budgeting, I am able to manage (single person), yes because my mortgage was lower, but also because I was very well used to budgeting by this point, I just squeezed the money I had harder and I still manage to over pay a little bit of my mortgage every month. I should reach my initial target set 9 years ago this summer. I am over 2 years later than my original forecast but I will get there. I suppose that I just wanted to say, you never know whats around the corner.

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  6. Yes budgeting does make life better – you can achieve more if you know where your money is going.

    We don’t budget every cent as we are both in defined benefit superannuation schemes and in our early fifties, own our house and are paying off an investment home but without a budget this would have not been possible.

    We do treat ourselves within reason, breakfast out on the weekend and I usually buy a coffee a few times a week as well as a overseas holiday every two years but we would never have even considered doing things like this when we had a mortgage.

    I do despair of our children though – huge mortgages but never seem to go without anything, they just don’t seem to understand the concept of saving for a rainy day.

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  7. Yes I budget, I say i because i’m the one that takes care of our finances, his wages and mine, DH has nothing to do with it.
    I save for what we want and holidays and any weekends away we might have and sit down with a book and pen when it’s payday and work out what money goes where, not because i have too but because i want to, i don’t like waste, i do like to know where the money goes.
    I agree with Valerie, she put it very well, I like to treat myself, (or someone else) sometimes too, but I do try and budget for anything i might ‘fancy’.
    The reason I couldn’t be as strict as you are and have retirement as my main goal is because my dad never got to retire, he was only 61 when he died, 30 years ago now, but he never got to do such lot of things and he never ever wasted money. So while i budget and save every month, and like to be thrifty when I can i’m not going to deny myself or my family something that we want occasionally, life is too short.

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  8. A good post Froogs!! I’m getting a bit sick of the nit pickers and false accusations flying around in blog world just recently. We are all frugal,tight or just mildly money saving for our own reasons and I think your frugal ways have paid off in dividends for you, all due to careful consideration and paring things to the absolute minimum.

    It’s nice to know we could go and ‘splash the cash’ but it’s even nicer to know we really don’t feel the need to, as life is very good the way we have made it for ourselves … and the future is looking rosier too.

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  9. Yes Froogs, I think budgeting does make life better. I, like you, want to make the very most out of what is a very scare resource, money. Security is what drives me, not allowing short term pleasures to outweigh long term security. I believe you can have a high quality, well balanced, low environmental impact life with a moderate income. You do have to be very intentional though. For some that is second hand, freecycled, charity shop purchases, and I applaud and agree with you. All. Truly. For me it is to buy the best quality I can afford in a classic style and to wear/drive/use it to its natural end. I am just as happy to drive my Audi when it is 10 year old /buy last season’s classic fashions/learn to sew with organic cottons and linens, etc. But also keep in mind what makes each day of life sweet…..a favourite podcast or blog, a library book, a good (I say good, not expensive) bottle of wine, a coffee with a friend, a walk in the park with your dogs, a movie with your son….and include it in your budget. As Lottiecat said above, you really do not know what is around the corner.

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    • I like the word’ intentional’ – that’s really what budgeting is all about, not just living on auto pilot and hoping for the best!

      Madeleine

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  10. I recently overhead a colleague saying that they think I may have won the lottery! Made me chuckle because in fact I’ve been frugal all my 40 years enabling me to not have any debt other than a small mortgage. My friends laugh at how careful I am with money but they come to me for financial advice.

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  11. We planned for 30 years to be ready for early retirement. We still traveled but those niggling little daily expenses were budgeted and carefully considered. No fancy coffee out when a good pot at home was less. No redecorating to fit into the “current fashion”.

    We met and actually exceeded all our goals and retired very early. Still live the same way. Helped to have a husband on board with the plans.

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  12. We don’t budget but we spend wisely. We discuss purchases (both large and small) and this method keeps us mindful and accountable in terms of our spending. We check our finances monthly and at the end of the month, if there are savings, then we get a percentage each to spend on whatever we like. However, if there is nothing left over then we don’t get any “fun money”. This keeps my husband focussed on not overspending throughout the money. I’m the natural saver whilst he is a reformed spender!

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  13. Yes, it does! We spend more on food and the occasional takeout meal than you do, but only if it’s in the budget. We have a plan for every dollar right into retirement!

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  14. Does budgeting make life better ? Absolutely!

    I was asked the other day why I didn’t take a taxi to and from the mechanic when I had my car fixed. It’s about a 30 minute walk and it honestly didn’t cross my mind to take a taxi – the only thing that would have made me consider it would have been if I couldn’t get to work on time. It is funny to discover how we have different perceptions of things like needs, wants, luxuries etc…

    Madeleine.x

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  15. I have a spreadsheet for a spreadsheet. I want to retire earlier than the Government want me to. I therefore have to be careful. Like you say, to live intentionally. We practice what I call concientious frugality. Our sofas are 18 years old. They are leather and only just breaking in! They are a classic style, no need to change. We tend to buy classic look furniture and clothes as everything we have we look after.

    like Madeline says, its all perception of what people think is too tight with the money and what is frivolous. Some would say my dogs are my frivolous spend, but they are company, they make me walk A LOT (lol) so no need for a gym and they make me happy. My little car is 7 years old and I still love it. I am saving for when I do need to replace it. Hopefully it will last as long as the last one 14 years, until it became uneconomical to fix anymore.

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