Good financial habits


Hello Dear Reader,

In 2009, I decided to change the way we lived to pay off our debts and even though we remained debt free (with the exception of our mortgage) since 2011 we’ve maintained the life style that got us out of debt and now affords us the ability to save half our income.

It only takes thirty day to break old habits and form good new habits. These are mine and I know lots of you will share these simple ideas that save you and I a fortune. They all add up.

I cook from scratch. It might sound like a lot of effort but I’m no Gordon Ramsay, I’m not a fancy cook and we eat simple homemade dishes that don’t take long and don’t cost much. 

We repair things whether that’s clothes or appliances and we’ll always repair before we ever consider replacing. We can afford new but we stick to the habit of keeping what we have going for as long as we can.

We have productive hobbies. I make curtains, soft furnishings, quilts. DB refurbishes and resells vintage radios, he dismantles pallets and we both do DIY and enjoy our hobbies.

We use every last drop, ever last bit, every time. Years later, I’m still cutting tooth paste tubes open, leave sauce bottles stand upside down to get every drop, laundry liquid bottles, shampoo bottles and dishwash liquid are all rinsed out and the diluted liquid is used. Slithers of bars of soap are dampened and squished together. It might seem crazy to scrimp when we can afford not to but these habits stick with us.

We never shop for entertainment. In fact, I hate shopping. We don’t charity shop or car boot sale for the fun of it even though we know it could be fun. I don’t shop unless I need something. We can afford to bimble around antique fairs, flea markets and charity shops but don’t unless we specifically need something and are actively looking.

We enjoy being at home. When we were forced to stay home to save money and it wasn’t any sort of hardship. We like our own company and entertaining ourselves. Now, we can afford to eat out, go to the theatre and events but we choose to make long term financial decisions instead of here and now decisions.

If we need to buy anything we do so thoughtfully and with planning. First, we always try to get something for free or secondhand. We could go into any shop and buy whatever we want but that’s no longer our financial priority. When I do buy new, we make sure we get it at a sale price, for a discount or the very best product for our budget.

We save regularly. Our monthly minimum is 30% but our optimum is 50%. This means we always have a financial cushion so if the dogs get sick, we need new glasses, something needs repairing, the boiler or car needs servicing or to pay for our trips to our French home; we have the budget set aside for this as well as long term savings. We used to have to save up for every little thing but now we do this as it’s an entrenched good financial habit. You might call this an emergency fund, we just call it savings.

We stick to old tech. There really isn’t a big difference between one smart phone and the next so when we do replace every five years or so, we buy secondhand old tech but techy enough for us. We don’t upgrade as we leave that to brand loyal, new, tech needing people and don’t stand in that queue. 

We save pennies every where we can. We check fuel prices, switch and swap energy and insurance suppliers. We shop around for food and anything we need. We don’t need to do this but it’s a habit that we just can’t shake off. I check my supermarket for food prices, I stick to discount supermarkets and I save money wherever and whenever I can.

All of this scrimping and saving means we are on track to retire seven years early at 60, have a house to rent out to pay towards our retirement, have two occupational pensions, no mortgage and no debt. Personally, I think all of that is worth all the belt tightening.

Over to you my lovelies, what habits are new because you wanted to change or sustained as they make sense to you? As always, I love hearing from you. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

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32 thoughts on “Good financial habits

  1. On personal care and beauty-I know you’ve used Aldi buys in the past. Do you still do that? What about make up and such?

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      • I was invited to a fund-raising Weleda make up party this evening. It was in aid of a charity I want to support. But instead of buying something expensive that I didn’t want, I stayed at home with a glass of wine and told my friend I’ll give her a cash donation tomorrow. Instead of getting 15% off my unnecessary purchase, she’ll get 100% of my donation. And that’ll make us both happy.
        I’m with you on using Aldi moisturiser. I just wish they would bring back their lipsticks.

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  2. We do a lot of this too. I hate spending money replacing electricals unless I have to. Last week the doorbell died and OH managed to repair it, and the shower needed a new valve (second time that’s gone) so we were without it for a week whilst waiting for the part to arrive and OH to have time to repair it. (He trained as a TV repair man but can turn his hand to other electricals with the help of you tube) Cost £45 for the part, so many people said just replace the shower but to replace with the same shower would have cost £200 plus. We need a shower as we are on a water meter. Money for the part came from the house decoration and repair budget. For some reason I find it hard to just save randomly but can save if it’s part of a budget. Seems strange but it works for me!

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  3. Unless I need something, I avoid shopping. Usually, it’s simply the weekly food from the local veg stand and Aldi and then food and litter for the cat. I do have an achilles heal when it comes to books, so have decided to institute a moratorium on buying indefinitely. I was given a Kindle reader as a gift and have amassed a TBR pile that should see me through the next few months. I can also get books from my library electronically now, and read from my Kindle, eliminating the cost of a trip as well as the cost of a book.I no longer own a stereo, radio or television. The Internet suffices and I’ve no need of a DVD player as the computer handles that as well. No smart phone as my basic phone and pay as you go service suffice. Also, little make up and hair is natural, no coloring or salon here. will do an energy audit to see how else to save money there but as I live in a hot climate, air conditioning is highly desirable. I have no car, and pay to use bus or taxi, so trips are limited to trice weekly unless I have an appointment for something.

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  4. Dear Frugal Queen,
    Have been reading your blog for ages as a silent reader. Thoroughly enjoy it and have practised many of your ideas for years. My husband will be 80 next year and loves his work ( 3 days per week) so we save for great overseas holidays as our future is already looked after. I would prefer to enjoy a coffee in an overseas town or city rather than buying one in my own suburb of Sydney. Keep up the good work. Robyn

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  5. Hi. I am very glad that someone else feels that new tech is a non fulfilling cycle. I set myself a challenge at Christmas to ditch my smart phone for a dumb phone. I was spending more and more time on my smart phone and losing hours in the days, the contract price was going up and up as was the cost of a new handset, mine was knackered (I blame planned obsolescence). I got a £4.99 dumb phone taking me straight back to the 90s and a cheap sim only deal. The staff said I would be back in a month but I have carried on with it. Its much cheaper, I am not worried that if I break it it will be a costly repair fee, no constant checking any updates etc I am happier with the situation, just using my trusty old desk top once a day.

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  6. I used to totally ignore financial advice about switching companies, thinking loyalty pays. Ha! Companies don’t reward long standing customers, I’ve learnt that new financial rule. This year I needed to renew some insurance. My previous provider offered renewal at nearly £50 dearer. I rang to cancel. They offered the same policy at £60 cheaper. I cancelled anyway, and got another company to provide cover at about £187 cheaper.
    Those kind of large savings are great, but so are the small ones. I walk or cycle if I can, saving on bus fares. I’ll take a bottle of water with me, instead of buying a cold drink from a shop. I pretty much only buy 2nd hand books. I don’t bother with Netflix or Sky, and still have a DVD player and lots of charity shop DVDs from all those techy folk moving to streaming services and having a clear-out. I wear supermarket brand make up and am perfectly happy with shower gel, soap etc coming from Aldi / Lidl. I used to think I had champagne tastes on a lemonade budget, but now I think maybe I’m a Lemonade kinda gal after all.

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  7. Having lost much in a nasty divorce I am trying to save for my future. Even if I manage save $10 a week it is better than nothing. We are a family of three and we do break some rules for instance we do have cable. But it is not really for me. Being fairly deaf I enjoy my quiet times so very much. It is exhausting trying to follow people’s speech and I thank God for the text of television shows. But I would rather read, knit or sew. I have quite a hoard and I am trying to use this up until it is gone. I also love my Kindle. My local library service will not use Kindle but I have some sites that I use. I look forward to seeing what I can acquire for free. If I don’t like the story there is no harm done and I delete it. This is my indulgence and I love it. I am thankful that I can guzzle the internet while I am my local shop and I can find free entertainment if I need too.

    I wish I had saved more when I was younger but in my situation I would have lost even more.

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  8. Dear frugal queen: I love to read your blog; being a like minded soul, I do not have internet but when I can use public wifi I download blogs to documents and enjoy reading them later at home.In addition to all your thrifty tips, what I most appreciate is your attitude. It takes courage to go against the barrage of advertising and just be true to oneself. Thriftyness is the key to security but more importantly it will be the salvation of the planet ( if that is still possible). I tell anyone whenever I can that I am a non consumer…buy me nothing. I stay at home for as long as possible before shopping. I am retired and 150 kilometers from the city where I do business. I have gone 11 weeks without shopping. You can imagine how much gas I have kept in the ground because of this. I am one person but the world can be changed one person at a time. Your tips and encouragement will be sure to influence many more likeminded people to stop the shopping frenzy and appreciate what one has. The best things in life are clean air and clean water not more shoes!
    Thanks for all you do.

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    • This post brought a tear to my eye. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I also believe that the world can be changed one person at a time and you never know who you might influence along the way! Glad to know I’m not the only one out there with this view (although sometimes I feel like I am when I see the overconsumption of so many around me).

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      • I agree too. Can’t stand mindless consumption of stuff but love to watch birds, enjoy trees and plants, walk and watch – all worth more to me than a new pair of shoes.

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  9. Hubby and I live much the same way as yourself and DB. Hubby and I are minimalists now only having what we need and it works really well for us, retirement is a about ten years away and we have a small mortgage to pay off as we came into home ownership late in our lives but we have followed your example and pay more than the required amount off every month. I have health issues which forced me to give up full-time work but this past couple of years I have established myself as the local pet-sitter for my immediate neighbours who willingly pay me a small fee to look after their cats, dogs, birds and suchlike whenever they go away on business or holidays, this allows me to contribute a few extra dollars to our income plus I get plenty of exercise walking the dogs. You have been a wonderful inspiration and guide for us Froogs. Thank you.

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  10. Thanks as always for sharing and offering advice.
    Does the U.K. Have an old age pension? In the US we are eligible for Social security pension at age 67.

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      • I wish schools would do more when it comes to teaching children how to cook from scratch. My youngest son was recently given a list of ingredients to take into school to make a cottage pie, BUT, there was an alternative list he could use if his parents didn’t want to purchase the ‘make from scratch’ list. He could, instead, take supermarket ready made mashed potato, a couple of tins of cooked mince and onions and some ready grated cheese. Needless to say the make it from scratch list was a lot longer and far more healthier, but quite a few of the children turned up for school with the ready made stuff! All those children needed was a tin opener to prepare their meal!

        Cookery lessons when I went to school were so different – everything was prepared from scratch and we learnt so much. I guess its a sign of the times – we live in a throw away society. I see shoppers in the supermarket grabbing packs of ready prepared vegetables/salad/ fruit etc They are beautifully packaged, but they cost a fortune!

        My sister teaches in a lower school that offers after school cookery lessons to the children in years one to six – all meals are cooked from scratch and the children learn loads of skills, and how to cook and eat healthily. It’s such a popular club – the kids love it.

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      • That is quite shocking! Ready mash for school cooking? What hope is there for the next generation 😂. I never really learnt and I wish my skills were better.

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      • I think cooking is a basic skill taught by parents along with many life skills. I speak as a teacher here, I’m not there to replace parents but teach an academic subject. I teach a English and for students to have good literacy skills. If you can read, you can use a cookery book or website.

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      • My parents didn’t teach me (many parents fail at this, I think), so I am left with little in the way of kitchen skills. I have two degrees, under and post grad, so I can clearly read a cookery book, but the art of preparing genuinely good tasting food eludes me, sadly. No teacher should replace a parent, but where parents fail I would hope a good home economics teacher might be able to teach a little more than heating up mash in a plastic pot. Or maybe not, lol!!

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  11. We lead a very similar life, too and are on track to retire early. A few years back, when we purchased our house, we stumbled upon a couple of ways of making some extra money. We live in an old Victorian property which has large windows and no shops sold ‘off the peg’ curtains to fit them.Having them professionally made was going to use up money we couldn’t spare and so I bought discount and second hand fabric and designed and made all of my curtains and blinds. I decided to find out if anyone in our neighbourhood was interested in having curtains made up by myself – all they had to do was provide the measurements and fabric and I would spend a few happy hours sewing. fourteen years on and I’m still earning money from making curtains and blinds. My husband loves DIY and he transformed one of our old pine doors into a dining table for the patio. So many people liked it, they asked him to make them a table too, and he’s been making furniture from scraps of wood ever since.
    I believe everyone of us has a talent that could make us money. Quite often we stumble upon it by chance. I have a neighbour who makes the most amazing celebration cakes, she turned her hobby into a money spinner when she needed to make some extra cash after her husband was made redundant. We also have a retired neighbour who offers a dog walking service and another who offers gardening and one of my students bought himself a small van and makes enough to ward off his student debts by offering his ‘man with van’ services on e-bay. He actually has to turn down work because he gets so many offers 😉

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  12. yes, I also have no mortgage and a second home at the age of 50 through being sensible. will be retiring at 55. great eh :0

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  13. We also do these things and as you say, after a while, they become second nature and you just do them. In the home, I clean with vinegar, bleach and a little essential oil. After some experimentation I also only use a quarter dishwasher tablet in the dishwasher.

    In terms of repair I took your advice from a previous post and although I didn’t like my shabby bed sheets I decided to take better care of them. After I had given them their weekly launder, I repaired the hole in the seem of my husband’s pillow case and ironed all of the sheets and hey presto they looked much better! It really is the little things that make the difference.

    With that said, you’ve inspired me to look again at how we might become even more frugal!

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  14. Someone thanked me this morning, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, how a simple word or two can make such a difference. I’ve been following your blog for years Froogs, but never messaged before. You are an inspiration, and I have very similar feelings and philosophies (maybe its because we’re Cornish…). Whenever I’m struggling to remember why I’m doing it all, I always check in on the adventures of Froogs, DB and the Fluffies to reminder myself that it’ll be worth it in the end. You are a few years further ahead in the game than I am, and doing it on my own isn’t always as easy as it would be if there were two of me. But I pay all the bills on payday, over pay the mortgage every month, have set up a DD for savings so I can’t be tempted to miss a month or two. Most holidays are at my mum’s in Falmouth, so apart from travel costs, I need minimal spending money. As a coeliac, all my food is prepared from scratch, and cheap, and I’ve tried and tested many of your recipes, with great success (I particularly love your homity pie), thank you. We don’t share our gratitude often enough, and I am grateful to you and just wanted to let you know. Happy Friday Froogs!

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  15. I think when I finally reolised pay myself first!. A light bulb went on brightly!.
    At the end of the month I was skint!. This was 5 years ago.
    Would get taxi,s to and from-work cause I,m tired! Marks n Spencer’s food filled my fridge, yum, yeah ok. Had someone come and clean. Would buy a new outfit monsoon cause I deserved it!. Ouch.
    Never ever checked household bills just paid them!.
    With pay myself first have freed up well over£1500 a month adding in lodger.
    Bus for me just at end of road . No cleaner. Food Tesco Morrisons no Aldi nearby, do yellow sticker hunt!. Have a lodger £500 a month.have a smart gas and electric meter. Haggled with BT Got all you can eat internet essential with lodger and anytime phone calls free for £30 a month.
    Halifax insurance went from £62 to £17 for same cover, swines I just let it roll!.
    All means in 2 months mortgage will be paid 14 years early allowing me to retire at 55 with NHS pension, not huge but do able.

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