Want less, own less, live more

                                                      

Hello Dear Reader,

When someone new comes into our lives, and they know nothing about us and they live very differently from us, they can be surprised. They are surprised that we don’t eat out and choose to live as cheaply as possible. They are surprised we are scrimping when we have two good jobs and we’re saving for retirement even though that’s a very long way in the future. They are stunned that we spend so little on food, clothes and household items. They were shocked that we use free cycle, free ads and always aim to get what we need for free first. They didn’t understand why we bothered.

Then we learned about them. Seven day working weeks, away from family, two weeks of holiday a year but an income much much higher than average. They made very different choices and had ‘the best’ as it wasn’t much more in cost than cheaper. Every thing new, replaced regularly and bought now with the pay later method because life their way was important to them. Every one lives their own way and it’s entirely their choice.

If I could give any advice it would be simply to want less. Enjoy what you already have  and don’t compare your life to another. If you are happy living your way then don’t worry what anyone else thinks. People will be surprised, stunned and even shocked but if they are happy living their life and you are happy living yours then just carry on.

Today, I’ll split some logs for winter, cook for the week, go for a walk and do the ironing and that’s just fine.

Over to you. Does your lifestyle raise eyebrows ?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

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34 thoughts on “Want less, own less, live more

  1. Like you we once had a different lifestyle and credit cards and borrowed, re mortgage etc. Now we are so happy living a simple life, we don’t go to the pub we prefer to stay in, we have a few days out and a holiday every year but that’s it, we are happy pottering around at home, we no longer worry/don’t care what people think, it’s our life and we love it. The simple life is just perfect.

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  2. Yes, having “retired” to Spain with my (quite a bit) older husband, our life in the wilds of inland Alicante, miles from anywhere, eking out his state pension by living very very simply, causes many people to raise an eyebrow or two! I’m often asked why, and how come we aren’t bored rigid. Visitors can be……..”interesting” shall we say 😂😂
    Suits us though…….just hoping it doesn’t get ****** up by the ongoing shenanigans 😖😖

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  3. I am pretty certain that my choices have raised a few eyebrows over the years. Somethings that come to mind: annual back to school shopping sprees were something that I never engaged in with my 4 children. As a teacher, come August, the coffers were low, so only absolute needs were acquired to get them through until Oct.when clothing sales were on, the cold weather came (they would were shorts well into Sept/Oct so I saw no need to buy pants)and I’d have 2 months to shop off of my list at second hand shops. I also deprived my children by not having spendy weekends at events every week. Instead, they were to choose one activity, besides religious education, to participate in: pick the sport/club/scouts etc. for the semester. They could read books or watch DVD’s-all borrowed from the library, not purchased. We rarely eat out, and when we do, it’s planned for. Colleagues would discuss having to buy a whole new wardrobe for work this year; meanwhile, I’ve already gone thru my clothing and created a must have, and a would be nice list for toting to the second hand shops. I do get my hair professionally done, but spend 1/3 of what others do. I often get compliments on my hair, so I must be doing something right. I needed a new car, paid cash for a used hybrid. I divorced, leaving no debt behind and remained debt free, outside of medical debt that I paid off over time at zero interest. I also retired from a 30 year career, due to health, and many questioned this, due to my age, assuming that I’d be penniless somewhere, however I was able to recently purchase a modest home, which I have been busy getting remodeled/upgraded. Most of my remodeling monies went towards mechanicals(electrical, plumbing), appliances, redoing wood floors, repairing rotted floors in bathrooms and the laundry, replacing the last window (all others were upgraded with energy efficient windows by the original owner) and an ill fitting set of sliders, gutting and redoing 2 bathrooms while adding a 1/2 bath, paint, adding ceiling fans, adding pot lights in the kitchen and hallway, replacing the dining fixture and one bathroom light fixture. I choose quality items over the latest fad, as well as energy efficiency. I reused whatever materials I could such as one of the existing toilets, a large beveled glass mirror from one of the original baths is now the 1/2 bath’s sink mirror, the shower drain assembly in one bathroom, the kitchen cabinets, sink and faucet, counter, the crown moulding in the dining room, living room and entry (now painted to update them), 2 handicapped accessible ramps were removed but the wood repurposed to make stairs. I have additional salvaged wood from those ramps for future projects (compost bin, small kitchen garden fence and planters). I have more to do, will accomplish that (hopefully) as monies as amassed from an upcoming part time job I will be seeking. I also take advantage of offers and energy conservation programs and incentives. I’ve had a handyman use spray foam to fill numerous holes in the vinyl siding, then topping these newly patches areas with white silicone to cover it over (I have white, vinyl siding from 1970). I will have an energy audit which will ultimately rebate me for 1/2 of the cost to reinsulate the attic. I installed an on demand, propane water heater and a propane kitchen range. When the work was done, I had them add the 4th manifold for a future fireplace conversion to an on demand/instant on, gas log fireplace insert. This is a well built, solid home that simply wasn’t maintained by the original owner (and he had the means, leaving $5.5 million to charity at his death) When I worked, I rarely (once a year?) bought anything at work for lunch, instead choosing to tote leftovers, homemade soup to work while others easily dropped $10 US a day. I brought coffee from home, in a travel mug while most stopped at coffee shops, dropping another $8-$10 US a day (I am in a very expensive part of the US) I continue to live carefully, and purposefully. I eat soup or leftovers for lunch daily, and for dinner 2 nights/week. We have very little actual trash, we recycle more than we toss out. I do not buy disposibles for the kitchen such as paper towels, paper napkins, paper/plastic cups/plates or plastic flatware. What little “picnic goods” I have on hand are kept in a small caddy, and are sourced from the kid’s take out extras. Although I have a beautiful, commercial grade clothes dryer, I line dry clothes (currently on clothes horses as I wait until I have my monthly pension monies come in, so as to engage the handyman to set up my pulley and line system), I mend clothing/household goods, reuse what I can, use Habitat for humanity, I participate in Freecycle as a giver and a recipient, I seek alternative shops, buy second hand, select what you call “yellow sticker” grocery items, stock up when I see a good deal. I recently bought a shank ham while we were having 90 degree F heat. No one else was interested in this offer but I wisely grabbed a 10 lb ham, and stuck it into the chest freezer. In a few months, it will make for a lovely, Sunday supper. This evening, we are celebrating my twin’s birthday. No dinner out, we are having a cookout of hamburgers, hot dogs (bought on sale and frozen), coleslaw, Calico beans, macaroni salad. I will be making all of the salads and beans from scratch. Dessert will be cakes that DD bought as her birthday gift to the boys. What is important is our time together, not the $200 (easily spent around here) for a dinner out for 6. With my retirement came a further reduction in my monthly budget; the boys will receive $ from me as their gift (it’s what they want) just a slightly smaller amount than in years past and tucked into Dollar store purchased cards.

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  4. We too are happy living a simpler life, we have worked very hard but managed to retire earlier. We are at the stage where we don’t really want things, we do like travelling, and this was factored in to our savings plan. We are trying to say no to things to friends who have an entirely different outlook on life and spend like there is no tomorrow. I feel at some point some of these ” friends” might drift away, it will be sad, but at our age we have learned not to be people pleasers any more.

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  5. Been the brunt of many jokes and comments over the years. But our frugality allowed us to retire early and to travel now. Besides, it was and is fun.

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  6. I’m sure a few eyebrows are raised within our family with our preference for second hand and hubby’s DIY. These 2 things alone save us loads of money. He’s been fitting us a bathroom suite this weekend – and whilst it takes longer as he also works elsewhere – it’s saved us about £1,500. Nothing fancy, plain white and simple – just the way I like things.

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  7. Oh boy, do they ever raise their eyebrows. I am a third generation college educated SAHM. People don’t understand why I value higher education so when I don’t “use” it. My mother used to say “If you have to ask the question, you’ll never understand the answer.” I didn’t know if I would have kids, but knew I wouldn’t before I was married, and then, if I did have kids, I wanted one of us to be home with them. Obviously I wouldn’t have married a man who didn’t support this idea. As DH was older, closer to retirement, higher $, flexible hours and great benefits, he kept his job. When we discussed having kids, everything we did was in preparation of going on one income. Now, it’s a habit, yet our lives are so rich. We have two, beautiful homes, paid for, and our kids, as I was before, will never worry about how to afford college. That I-phone? Hahaha. Everybody has one, you say? Well, everybody but you! (Wait, I *am* my mother.)
    Kids do eventually come around. For instance, we afforded eldest DH the chance to take his driver’s ed. class and get his license the instant he was able…it’s not cheap, but we think that is an important thing to do of he chooses. He allowed as how the other kids who claim it cost too much, so they can’t do it could have easily paid for it by packing their own lunches for school, or using the money they spent on getting a nose piercing for the course. DS was the first in his year to get his license, and that has given him an edge on getting a summer job!
    Transportation is no issue! And, he learned a valuable lesson in personal finance. But, as you alluded to, you can’t align someone else’s priorities, only your own. As my parents taught me, every dollar you spend on something represents a dollar you can’t spend on something else or better yet, save.

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  8. All the time!!, Just dug up the first of new potatoes, 2very large bowls of blackcurrants picked ready for pies and jams, jep they just look at me like I’ve gone out?

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  9. Froogs, how do you manage when your dogs need veterinary treatment? Are they insured or do you save for treatment? We only have one dog at the moment (have had up to three dogs,two rescued from awful conditions) and would love to rescue again but fearful of expense. I would be interested to know how you manage on a tight budget. Kindest regards.

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  10. All my colleagues are still travelling abroad for holidays, purchasing cars, wearing fashionable clothes, eating out and having drinking nights. I am scrimping and saving and I am so glad as I have been made to take a big pay cut if I wish to keep my job. I am still going to try to save as you just don’t know what’s round the corner.

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  11. We aren’t living as simply as your family does but……..more so than in the past. I would willing to be that the new friends aren’t as happy as they appear to be or what they want others to think. But like you said we all live the way we want. If they are smart they will take notice and begin to incorporate some of your frugal habits in their lives!

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  12. I’m sure people initially thought we were nuts downsizing in our thirties but it has allowed me to stay at home with my children and the dog, and has allowed my husband to work part-time. People often ask when I’ll go back to work; get new flooring (to replace that eye sore [comment by my mother]); remodel the house etc. but it’s just not important in my eyes. We are at peace and spend money on things that are important to us.

    Others often show interest in the things we do, such as, making our own soap, home cooking, having an organised house, exercising, meditating, practising yoga, buying second hand, having one car, repairing not replacing, and eating leftovers but very rarely does anyone actually try any of these things themselves. They would rather work to buy more stuff/services rather than enjoy what they already have.

    Our lifestyle does raise eyebrows but it allows us to live the way we wish and hopefully helps reduce our impact on the Earth.

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  13. I’ve always raised eyebrows. I am a college educated woman with a disability who worked, often at lower rung jobs which I was happy to get because about 75 percent of those with disabilities still find it hard to get hired despite laws here. As a younger person on a night shift job that I went to after evening classes, I would often read when time allowed and most of what I read concerned personal finance for women and learning to save. Now that I am older I can look back and see the seeds of frugality planted by grandparents who are the only people I have ever known to have a mortgage burning party in retirement. I also embraced minimalism and have steadily winnowed my possessions with time, especially as I now have to move about in a small flat in a wheelchair, and many of my medical costs are not covered by our Medicare system. I am lucky to be able to modify my flat which I am doing with the current kitchen renovation, all on a budget. That is expensive because I’ve had to hire someone to do the work, and the modifications are small, but I hope worthwhile.

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  14. I live in a rural part of the UK where folk tend to live a a simpler life. Expectations don’t seem so high so it feels easier to live frugally. Since my husband died I have learned a lot of new skills as I try to fix things that break … YouTube is great! I work full time as a woodland ecologist and my two school age daughters are having to learn to be resilient and they understand the importance of saving. The things I save for are a little travel, ensuring my dog is healthy, keeping the car and house in good order, sourcing wood for the stoves and the girls . If people raise their eyebrows I probably don’t notice. Too busy having enjoying the sort of life we like to lead. Dog walking, swimming in the sea, growing my veg, reading, enjoying the odd home cooked meal with a friend, having special times with my parents and craft cost little or nothing. And I am very fortunate that my work is fulfilling and I have it. Frugality equals resilience in my book and that for me is important.

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  15. I’m sure I have raised some eye brows, and I know some think some of my habits are a bit quaint. I am never seen at school with anything but a packed lunch and a thermos, and have even stopped in the driveway of the private school where I used to teach to pick up kindling and pine cones for the fire!

    If friends are critical it’s probably time to find some new ones. You want a friend who will admire the room you’ve just painted yourself or admire the repair job on your best sweater. You want friends who will swap seeds or garden produce with you, and be thrilled to be invited over for a cup of tea and home made cake. They are what I call ‘quality’ friends, and I am fortunate to have some in my life 🙂

    Madeleine.x

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  16. 5 years ago I looked at my mortgage statement if said I was due to pay it off when I was 67!. I knew that as was the only way as a single person at 42 I was then , could buy my house putting proceeds of my little flat in to it.
    5 years later after buying the house, reading the projected date of paying of the mortgage I thought hell no, I want to retire at 55 with my NHS pension.
    So I sat down with pen and paper and counted for every penny!. Phoned all utility companies saved £150 a month instantly.
    Decided to make a game of spending as little as possible, having a lodger, yellow sticker shopping etc.
    So in 2 months the house will be mine 14 years early!.
    Time to build a retirement fund.
    Sure there have been some comments, mainly from people a work who spend all their salary on stuff at midnight when we get paid, Why dont you buy a mobile phone?, oh you would like getting your hair done, why not go with contact lenses, we are getting a curry delivered only £10 each. Is that the red shoes you wore last year?. The pocket is torn on your coat go on buy a new one, me no it’s cause my flask fits in it now.
    Has not been easy but almost there then fun can begin saving, OK may buy a coat and some flowers for the garden 😀.
    Has become normal for me , but admit this last few months is hard I so need not want new underwear, pj,s, but hey I reackon after 5 years of buying nothing I will be allowed m n s pants n bras n primark pj,s😀
    Kirrie

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  17. We have lost friends (if you can call them that!) due to our frugal lifestyle and colleagues have laughed in our faces and behind our backs and even made snide comments about our frugal lifestyle, but at the end of the day we are the winners. We have always bought our furniture from emmaus or other charity shops and we love DIY and up-cycling and I love to sew and make my own clothes.
    We both have good jobs, but during the few years I took time out from teaching to look after our children when they were young, we learnt to live on just my husbands wage. He also teaches and so to make sure we had plenty of cheap fun time with our boys in the school holidays we would house swap with other families and have a free holiday for five or six weeks at at a time. We got to spend summers in New York and Florida for the price of cheap air tickets, and often we used up air miles towards the cost. It was a win win for everyone involved, we swapped homes with some lovely families who got to live in our house in Cambridge and use our family car for trips out and about. Whilst we were having a cheap holiday our friends and colleagues would be jetting off on expensive holidays that had cost them a small fortune and then moaning about how they were going to pay for it when they got home.

    For us, being frugal is all about living a simple and uncluttered life. We don’t buy things for the sake of buying them, or keeping up with the neighbours, we make the most of what we have and we are proud of our lifestyle (even if our colleagues think we are nuts!l)

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  18. I am so pleased to be part of this community. Thank you all for sharing your amazing stories and thank you Frugalqueen for hosting this wonderful site.

    Blessings to all,
    Nx

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  19. I have one very good friend who I love dearly but who drives me mad with her incessant spending. ‘I have no clothes’ she wails whereas I know what she means is ‘I have three wardrobes full of clothes but I’m fed up of them so I want new stuff instead.’ I actually don’t tell her of a lot of my frugal choices, she wouldn’t understand. I used to take the same tactics with my work colleagues, told them I got claustrophobic in bars/at parties etc and used that as my excuse for not joining them for the 2-for-1 cocktails on Friday after work, or the over the top birthday parties. And now that I’ve retired 6 years earlier than they’ll all be able to, well, it’s not a problem any more! I love my quiet little life, reading, walking, meeting my friends for lunch or a coffee, and yes, I do treat myself to those, I’m not a thermos and home made sandwich person. I don’t criticise those who are, we’re all frugal in our own ways and with our own treats in sight. I’m actually back at work a couple of days a week at the moment, just for a four week period to help out a busy time, and everyone is saying the same thing ‘You look so well.’ Tempted to reply ‘this is what not weighing yourself down with credit card debt looks like!’

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    • Your post made me smile,Years ago I used to make excuses to avoid meals out with colleagues in expensive restaurants, but then one day I decided to tell the truth and come clean about our life style and that was the day they started to view me as some kind of alien from planet skinflint. Following that i was forever, and still am occasionally, bombarded with quips such as ‘It’s only money’, ‘Just spend your money, you might be run over by a bus tomorrow’ and so many other reasons they feel that we should blow our pay cheque each month on frivolous items. I sometimes wonder if I am the only woman in the world who has so few pairs of shoes – two for work, one for going out, one pair of beach shoes and one pair of sneakers – oh, and a pair of boots for the winter (seven years old and still looking good lol)

      Like you, we don’t go without our little treats – my husband is a serious chocoholic, I love to see a vase of fresh flowers on the dining table, the kids have their hobbies and we all love to swim at the local pool and that doesn’t come free.

      I have friends who are always complaining they have ‘nothing to wear’ yet their wardrobes are jammed packed with clothes, shoes and handbags. The same people complain they have nothing in the house to cook for dinner when they get home and need to order a take away even though they are spending a couple of hundred pound a week at the supermarket! I don’t despair when they make these comments, instead I feel a bit smug that we are not in the same boat as them.

      I stumbled upon this blog by accident and don’t always have enough time to check in, but on the days that I do get a chance to catch up with fellow frugallers I always feel content in the knowledge that there are plenty of us around if you know where to look, and we are not as rare as some people might believe.

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  20. A real community here celebrating effort, hard work, self will and fun while being frugal. It’s uplifting to see the great support, ideas and tips. This is my favourite site. Such honest and great advice

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  21. A friend and I recently toured the home of a very wealthy lady who donated much money to the community, buildings at schools etc. and did many wonderful things for others. Her children had taken what they wanted and were selling her home and the contents at auction (we were at the pre-auction look-see) Every room was full of memorabilia, souvenirs, elegant furniture and much more. As we left we commented that even for one so wealthy – all that she collected is reduced to junk for others to paw through. It just seemed like such a lesson on what it all truly means in the long run. The old joke about the u-haul trailer attached to the hearse!

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  22. Your plans for the day sound lovely. Just pottering around in your own time with appreciation of the little things in life.
    I like to spend time on these ordinary tasks thinking about how blessed I am.
    I once read that instead of saying, “I have to do the ironing” I should say, “I get to do the ironing”. I get to do the ironing because I have a family to iron for.
    Makes me see daily tasks in a different light. 🙂

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  23. Hello from Finland! I found your blog when I was looking for blogs about Cornwall and I have been following for a few months now. I fell in love with Cornwall first reading books and then visiting there when I was young and made Inter Rail trips. Years have passed, I have had family and very seldom time or money to travel any more. Still Cornwall fascinates me and I dream I can travel there some time in the future.

    Your blog interests me, because I have to manage on a small budget. My husband has been on disability pension for years and although I have a permanent job, it is sometimes hard to make ends meet. Teen-age boys consume a lot! I’ve always wanted to give children as much I can and have saved in other thing. I have not always made very wise choices but for a few years I have tried to be frugal. It has sometimes made me feel miserable, not having this or that… In your blog I can see that being frugal can be fun, a way of life, a hobby, an achievement…

    I think some people look down on me and our family, because we have an old car, an old house, we don’t really decorate our house and I, for example, do not colour my hair or use make up. I hardly never buy clothes if they are not on sale. Fortunately my hobbies are cheap or useful: I walk, read library books, knit clothes and weave rag rugs from old fabrics. My number first thing now is to cook healthy food and not to waste anything. Having to put food in the bin is my weak spot, that happens too often. An food is expensive here in Finland, I can only wonder reading the prices you buy food!

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