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.
Love Froogs xxxxx