Froog’s autumn budget

froogs autumn budget statement

Hello Dear Reader,

The autumn budget statement was released today and what a surprise, no significant benefits for health, social care or education. You’re on your own so from one day to the next, you’ll just have to keep scrimping and scraping to get by! Froggin’ wonderful isn’t it. So, just don’t get sick, have any children or get old as basically you’re in the deep stuff unless you’re minted which none of us are!

Nothing new about my autumn budgetary advice as it’s all about strapping yourself down, battening down the hatches and managing to survive in the continuous financial strife. I’m always aware that someone reading this could be here for the first time and have difficult decisions to make and went looking for advice. I’m also aware that many of us are old hands at this and have been peering out from behind the frugal ramparts for as long as we can remember. However, just like the chancellor’s autumn budget statement we all have to readdress our finances and make some sort of pledge in terms of how we will distribute our own money over the next year.

Let me explain. A budget statement for any family is where you or this case, I will make financial projections for the next year and decide where I will make savings, where I will spend money and where I will freeze spending or continue to freeze spending. Here’ s my financial decisions that I will do everything I can to stick to over the next financial year.

  • In real terms, neither of us are earning anymore as the cost of living is increasing and our incomes have not caught up with those increases. That means, every year you and I are financially worse off. To counteract that, every year we have to cut back our outgoings to stay afloat. Here’s where we’ll have to make savings.
  • Keep our food budget the same. This means we’ll have to buyer cheaper and buy less of the same food. There is no extra allowance here and as food prices are galloping, we are having to be more creative all the time.
  • Keep our energy costs the same. To do this, we’ll have to use our heating sparingly and our thermostat is set at 18 degrees C and we’ll have to wrap up. Our heating goes on for one hour only to take the chill off the entire house and keep it from getting damp.
  • Make sure our curtains are closed as soon as we get home, wear slippers and socks indoors, I’ve brought out the old duvet covers and safety pinned them to the back of the curtains so they are effectively triple lines.
  • Turn off all lights in the rooms and corridors we’re not in.
  • Five minute showers and yes, that does include washing my hair. I now use budget supermarket spray in conditioner at 89p and that lasts me a month.
  • Go to bed half an hour earlier and read, it’s the warmest place in the house.
  • No increase in clothing budget so as usual we mix charity shop finds with budget finds, my Matalan work trousers at £14 will last me a couple of years.
  • My clothes are hung to dry outside, or on a hanger in the window locked ajar and will dry indoors or in front of the wood stove in the lounge.
  • Personal wash clothes and towels are hung up to dry and used again then washed weekly.
  • All errands in the car are done on the way to and from work so no extra journeys.

 

Savings targets.

These are difficult times and I know so many people can’t save anything at all but if you can even if it’s just £1 a week then save everything you can. If you can, try the 1p a day saving challenge. On the first day, you’ll put 1p aside, may be in a large jar, then next 2p, the tenth day, 10p, the 60th day 60p and the 365th day £3.65. You could do it in reverse and start with the largest amounts and work backwards. By the end of the year, you’ll have £667.95. Another challenge is the monthly challenge of £50 a month which is massive to some families but that’s £600 at the end of the year. Any savings are important and I’d do anything I can to get as many of you having a regular savings habit.

Our savings targets still remain as saving half of my income, over paying the mortgage even if only  by 2% of the capital balance each year and aim to pay off another 5% of the balance of the capital each year.

Personal spending allowance. We don’t wear hair shirts nor do we want to bore ourselves to tears so our French adventures will continue and our savings go towards that including the renovations but we will still watch the budget very carefully. We will continue to do all of the work ourselves and are going over at Christmas with the intention of doing some painting and insulating. We have paint, insulation, indoor building materials to save for and will do the sensible stuff first even though I’m itching to make it pretty but that will have to wait. More importantly, we’ll seek all the legal permissions to rent it out, get tax registered, change our insurance and have our investment making money for us. Before long, you’ll see a link to a booking page right here on this blog. The house needs to pay its own way

We have no plans for any major expenses over the next year so if anything breaks, it’ll be repaired or retired and we’ll have to go without unless we can replace it with freecyle or ebay.

We will continue with our 2012 budget as that’s when we froze any increases in our spending to try and offset the ever increasing prices by being more careful this coming year than we were last year and even more careful than we were the year before that.

I know! It gets on my pip too!

So Phil and the message from your red handbag, thanks for nothing for the ordinary people and we’ll have to just keep scrimping and saving whilst you and the Etonians ignore the families in crisis. Cheers old mate!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

 

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Are we saving enough for retirement?

Pension-saving

Hello Dear Reader,

Whilst we’re in the middle of our month long fiscal fast we take the time to re-evaluate our long term finances. As retirement in the UK is at 67 year, then our desires to retire at 60 are effectively hoping to take early retirement. We know we’ll have to revisit those desires nearer the time but our aim is to be financially able to put our feet up sooner than most working people. In the meantime, we carry on as if we might have to work until we’re 67 so we’re not disappointed if we can’t.

Currently, we have made the decision to live on a lot less so we are used to having to do with less money. I’m sure it must be a real shock if people lose their job, get made redundant or retire on a small income if they are not used to budgeting at best or in some cases being frugal to make a small income go a long way. We’ve lived this way since 2009 and always take the cheapest low cost route to what ever we hope to achieve so we can put aside as much as we can into savings and investments. We don’t take the ‘we’ve worked for it, so we deserve it’ attitude and keep reminding ourselves that we can have the money now or when we’ve retired but we can’t have both. Whilst we’re young and fit we can chop wood, dismantle pallets, make the physical time and effort to buy second hand or get what we need for free. We may not have the health for that in our seventies so are making the most of the masses of energy we have now.

So, we live with free TV (no Sky package), get the cheapest energy tariffs, reduce our water and energy consumption, only buy what we really need and then supplement that we freecycle, charity shops and gumtree. We mend everything and always shop in the cheapest supermarkets. Every month, we manage to over pay the mortgage, even if it’s only by £75 off the capital and aim most months to over pay another £100. We aim to pay off our mortgage as soon as we can so we can then direct the money we would have previously put into our mortgage into further topping up our pensions. We also add a proportion of our salaries into savings every month and budget judiciously for every penny we spend.

Pensions always look good at the time but as they are a fixed income well into the future, we know however much we’ll have put aside, it’s probably not going to be enough and we’ll have to spend the rest of our lives economising, making do and being as thrifty as possible. So, there’s no use us getting used to wall to wall central heating, deep hot baths and frequent new clothes as we’ll not be able to afford them when we’re retired.

Also, like a lot of people, we didn’t start paying into pensions early enough. Just the same as a lot of people, we didn’t have decent well paid jobs and there were no pensions attached to our jobs that we could pay in to. Now, all employers have to provide a pension service and everyone should pay in although we all know the reality isn’t that great for everyone. If I was going to give advice it would be, if you have spare money that you would choose to spend on a holiday or new car, then it might be better off going into a pension unless you can afford both a ‘treat based’ life style and a pension. It’s probably likely that most people need to make some tough financial decisions that they may not like if they don’t want to live hand to mouth as a pensioner.

If you can, start early at least earlier that I did at 38! The sooner you start then the sooner you can retire as you’ll have a private pension that you’ll have saved into. I’m not counting how long I have until I retire as I don’t want to wish away my days so I’ll take each one as it comes and just keep saving.

In case you’ve arrived here today for the first time, we are not all dull. We lost a very close relative and took some money we inherited (£25K) and bought a second home with it. We didn’t just put the lot into our mortgage as we wanted a life as well as saving. We also spend £1600 a year on ferries and as little as we can on renovating our second home in our holidays. We’ll then rent out our UK property when we retire and add that income towards our pensions. Frugal I can do, penury I can’t.

On balance, we have a bit of fun, spend a bit of money on ten weeks of holidays a year and balance that out with saving the rest and doing what we do as that ideal of retiring at 60 is still a real dream for us. It’s not all dull, I think we’d curl up with boredom if we saved every possible penny every single month and have trips away to look forward to. I know we’re lucky that we can make these decisions but we could choose to live it up every month, have new clothes every month, live in a bigger house, have the central heating on when ever and eat steak at the weekend but we choose to save for the long term instead of spending in the immediate.

Now over to you, share your retirement stories, your retirement plans. Is anyone living really frugally now in necessary preparation so you can afford to retire at all? We all work so hard in this busy modern world, we’ll all need a break sooner or later and there’s a tiny minority who don’t have to make financial sacrifices to afford that.

I always look forward to hearing from you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Welcome to my no-spend month

keep-calm-and-don-t-spend-money

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s October and doesn’t it come round really quickly. Every year, I have a fiscal fast in October. I buy food from the supermarket which I cook at home and fuel for the car to get to work and that’s it. I don’t take any cash from the cash point and neither of us spend any money on anything except: direct debits for bills and household running costs, food,  and fuel until the 1st of November. Our autumn half term break is in October and we don’t spend any money then either. No charity shops, no ebay buys, no outlet purchases no matter how much of a bargain. Any sales that pop up in emails will be deleted unopened and our purses will stay firmly shut.

We’ve prepared with toiletries and cleaning materials for the month and there’s nothing we need that we don’t already have. We don’t eat out more than once in a very blue moon anyway and the same goes for a takeaway. I bought some new work shoes yesterday from Clarks online outlet so if you see me collecting them (click and collect doesn’t incur a delivery charge) from the local store, I’ve already confessed that all £28 of them (half price) was paid for on the last day of September.

You might wonder why we do this. When we were seriously in debt from 2009 –  2011, we lived like this every day. We stopped spending on anything but necessities completely until we were debt free and this month of non-spending realigns our priorities towards saving. Most weeks for us are non-spend weeks and our only expenses are food and fuel but we all have our downfalls. We love books and trawl charity shops for books and we’ve got plenty we haven’t read yet so we don’t need any more. I’m a quilter and have enough fabric for current projects and I aim to complete some unfinished projects this month. So, like anyone, I’m liable to spend money when I don’t need to and this month reminds me that I already have all I need.

Don’t feel any need to join in or tell me why you can’t join in as what you spend or don’t spend is entirely up to you. I will however share with you how I’ll manage this for the month. I must admit that I do most of them any way.

  1. Take tea bags and coffee to work everyday and make my own.
  2. Take my own lunch to work every day.
  3. If we go out, take a flask and packed lunch. We love a car picnic even if it’s wet and cold.
  4. Complete craft projects with resources we already have.
  5. Invite friends to share our food with us and accept invitations to share with them.
  6. Use up what we have: toiletries, fragrance, cleaning materials and long life food such as tins.
  7. Don’t go into any shops other than the supermarket for a month.
  8. Keep busy with the jobs that need doing at home.
  9. Long weekend walks on the moors or beaches at low tide.
  10. We moved any money we didn’t need when we were paid in September straight into savings so we didn’t have any money to spend other than food and fuel. We know the exact amount each month that goes out of direct debits, including standing orders to savings accounts so we always know the amount that can be spent. We moved that amount.

 

It won’t be easy, it never is! Sometimes, I forget and start to plan meeting up with friends and then have to rethink with a no-spend alternative such as a walk and then back to their place or my place for coffee and something homemade. Something will be needed and I’ll just have to grin and bear it until the end of the month.

So, he’s to a month of tight waddery, skin flintery and frugality. Let the annual no spend month commence.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

 

Still frugal after all these years?

proud to be different

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been at this money saving malarky for quite a while now to the point that I forget that I might be a bit different. You see, I don’t consider that I live a frugal, austere life with any deprivations at all. I live, in my own opinion, really well. I have hot water every day, I eat three healthy meals a day, I put on clean clothes every day, we are warm, we have hobbies, ten weeks holiday and have savings. I’m more than happy with that lot and consider that we are very fortunate indeed.

I’m a delayed gratifier. I don’t need a take out to save me from cooking, I don’t need new clothes to cheer me up, I don’t need a bit or retail therapy to brighten my day and I don’t need bought and paid for entertainment. My gratification will come one day in the future when I’ve saved for it and don’t owe Santander any money for our mortgage. It’ll also come when we’ve paid fully into our pensions and savings funds. I have nine years until I retire and that might seem a very long term to get the rewards of all that saving but I’m patient enough to just keep on keeping on until I get there.

You might think, it’s ok having holidays but what about the other 42 weeks of the year……who wants to stay home and just amuse themselves for 42 weeks? Well, that’ll be me! I can amuse myself for hours without spending any money and can’t think of anything nicer that being at home or getting out for a walk somewhere quiet and natural.

It seems increasingly less popular to save and to wait and go without. I don’t mind that I’m the odd one out, when other than our mortgage, we have no debts of any kind and haven’t since 2011. We’ve been five and a half years debt free and have no intention of ever borrowing any money ever again. If we can’t afford it then we can’t have it until we’ve saved up for it.

That changes all of our perspectives. Now, if we need a ‘new’ household item, we’ll go without for months waiting to see if we can get one on freecycle, one of the bigger charity shops that sell reconditioned or being sold locally and for very little on ebay. We really only buy what we need and then make do with what we have making a point of not replacing something until it’s beyond repair. If something needs doing then we just have to do it ourselves. Changing our perspectives means we never have to keep up with the Jones. That’s a relief I can tell you.

As I was saying, I forget most of the time that I’m any different but when I remember I know it’s ok.

Over to you my lovely. Do you forget that being thrifty, frugal, prudent or financially cautious makes you different?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up to your neck in it?

drwoing-in-debt

 

Hello Dear Reader,

Thank you for emailing me, I’ll do all I can to help. You told me about your debts and asked if I could give any advice. I’ll do my best.

You’ll need to pick your moment as a family to do this. A quiet evening, when the children are tucked up and away. You will need to decide, based on their ages, how much you share. If they are young, or even if they are older, they don’t need the bare details. Just as much as they can bear. You will need to be brave and take a deep breath.

Then promise each other you’re both going to be totally honest.

To start, make sure you know the total of all the money coming in: wages/salary, child benefit, any tax credits or maintenance. Include everything and come to a monthly figure.

Next, work out everything that goes out and don’t miss anything out. You may have to do this by keeping every receipt for a week and then multiplying that by four to approximate a month’s spending. You’ll also need to know of every bill you pay and work out what that will be monthly. A notepad, pencil and, if you wish, a calculator is required.

Things you may not have included: sweets, treats for the children, school trips, charity donations, for example Christmas Jumper day, red nose day, Children in need….they all add up. School lunches, bus fares, car repairs, coffee with a friend, birthday presents, Christmas presents, dog food, vets bills, home maintenance and repairs. Some of these will be good guesses but always over guess and not under.

You’ll then have two figures. One will be less than you thought and the other will be more than you thought.

You will have a holy **** moment here. It’s ok, really, it’ll be ok……..eventually.

If your outgoings are more than your incomings then you are going to have to start trimming anything you both consider to be unnecessary immediately. If your outgoings equal your incomings then you will have to do exactly the same. My advice to anyone even if they are not in debt is to make sure they have a contingency each month for savings even if that’s just 1 or 2% of your after tax income. Anything is a start.

Savings (bit like ****ing Brexit!) can be hard of soft. We chose rock ****ing hard and paid our debts off as quickly as possible. You can choose the hard debt repayment or the softer option. With children, you might need somewhere in between.

So, tough mother version of debt repayment?

Mortgage/rent has to be paid.

Council tax has to be paid.

Minimum payments on any debts have to be paid or you could face the courts.

Gas/electricity/water has to be paid BUT! you can seriously cut these easily. 1. Make sure you are on the lowest tariff available 2. If you have a small family and can be disciplined get a water meter and drastically reduce your water consumption. 3. Turn off lights in rooms you are not in 4. Don’t heat rooms you don’t use 5. Reduce the hours of heating by five minutes a day until you’ve reduced it by 30 minutes in just six days. After 20 days, you’ll have reduced it by two hours a day and you’ll have got used to it by minutes a day. 6 turn the heating thermostat down by one degree a day until you’ve all adjusted to living at 19 degrees C. 7. Indoors, wear slippers, jumpers, put another duvet on the bed. 8. go to bed a bit earlier each day. All a bit obvious I’m afraid.

Set a food budget of £2 a day per person. I promise you that’s enough. Get your basics cook books out and get cooking from scratch. Soups, veggies stews, hotpot, pies and good old fashioned recipes that’ll sustain, nourish. Get yourself to the local market, Lidl, Aldi or look out for the veg deals in Morrisons. Stock up your freezer with frozen food such a chicken pieces, frozen plain fish, minced meat like pork or beef. Go own brand, go bulk buy!

Set a budget of £5 a week for toiletries for the family – a quick trip round Poundland on pay day once a month. Look out for the toiletries in Lidl and Aldi. I never use any toiletries except Aldi’s as I think they are so good.

Set a £10 a month budget for cleaning/laundry products. I always get these from Lidl (my local Lidl and Aldi are on the same street – Union st in Plymouth – on my way home) I buy Lidl’s largest laundry liquid for about £2.75 and that lasts two of us a month. I also work on the basis that if it isn’t dirty, doesn’t smell then it doesn’t need washing.

To save money on laundry, judiciously watch the weather report and launder when there’s a gap in the weather and you can hang it outside. With a family, using a tumble drier might be inevitable but that’s just not in rock hard debt repayment…..the choice is yours.

So, that’s a roof over your head, the bills paid, the house and yourselves clean and warmish and fed…………..everything else is optional. You must decide from here on what is important.

I could tell you what we did but you must make your own choices.

In the rock hard repayment system, you take anything that’s left and throw everything at debts. We chose the smallest debt first. We paid the minimum payment on everything else and paid extra on one debt until that was paid. We then took that entire amount we’d paid on the smallest debt and added that to the next smallest debt and paid that plus the minimum repayment on that debt. We then just did that month after month after month until we’d paid everything back.

Whilst we did that we: got another job each, took over time, sold anything we didn’t need on ebay and bought nothing at all for almost a year. It’s amazing what you can do without.

You have children at home so you have to decide what’s right for you.

I’d also like you to investigate professional debt advice from Christians Against Poverty  or Step Change  as one or both might operate in your areas. Don’t go to anyone else please as they could charge your money and add to your debt instead of helping you work them out.

These really are just the basics but in summary; know how much you have, cut your spending to the absolute limit and direct as much as you can towards debt repayment.

You can but do your best and take care of yourselves.

I’ll speak to you all again on Saturday.

Until then,

Love Froogs xxxx

 

 

 

Tackling debt and money head on!!!





Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been to the slimming club tonight and I’m as inspired by the honesty of why people are not losing weight as I am with the weight loss. To be honest, I’m quite good at sticking to something and allowing myself the odd bit of cheese or a sweet as a small treat and when I’m focused I am totally ‘on it’! I learned that from paying off debt, I took it head on and mustered up all my discipline every day and totally stuck at it. Now, I’m comfortable, I can make measured and budgeted purchases. (I bought DB a new bike at the weekend and I just loved being able to do that as I’d saved the money to get it for him.)

In the main, I know I’m preaching to the choir but I’m always aware that you dear reader, may have searched online for help or advice about tackling debt and some how you arrived here. I don’t just write here but write for other websites too. 

Take a look here at – Three simple steps to tackle debt.

as we’ve got one coming up this weekend, take a look at Bank Holidays Don’t Mean a Trip to the Bank

and as everyone needs to look at their budget every now and then Take time to budget

And!!!! As there’s a school half term break next week think about how you can stretch the fun without stretching the budget 

School holiday part 1.

School holiday part 2.

Finally, think about how you keep a rein on the purse string and are literally The Chancellor of your own exchequer.

I hope you find any of this useful. You can leave a comment here and let me know if you don’t want it published. You can use the contact details above to get in touch with me. I know some of you are waiting to hear back and I will take time in my half term to answer in more detail. 

I always love hearing from you and feel free to get in touch.

Happy reading and I’ll be back tomorrow,

Oh…..the slimming club? I lost another 1.5lbs so 9lbs down in total. I hope to be a stone (14lbs) lighter by the end of June. Like paying down debt or controlling a budget, I know it can be done and I also know that it takes time and I have to stick at it.

Love Froogs xxxxx

Walk this way!




Hello Dear Reader,

As I promised you this morning, here is my reply to your email. Thanks for agreeing to me answering on here and allowing this ‘quandry’ to be thought about in the open. I’ll let that phrase ‘in the open’ rest with you a while and let you think about it.

Here without any details of who or where are the issues: decent job, a life style to maintain and most of it is for show and all funded by credit that you will pay later. It’s now amassed to thousands . One of the partnership feels duty bound to maintain this lifestyle whilst you, who wrote to me are worried and want a different way. The words that struck a chord with me and will with many who read this is that you are ‘at your wits end with worry’. So many people in debt lose sleep, their health suffers and their children are affected by the worry of their parents. Debt can and does cause severe mental health problems which can lead to more debt and more worry. It can be a downward spiral but here’s the positive thing. You’ve asked for help and here’s my public promise to you…….I’m with you every step of the way!

Your partner is still in the earn it, spend more that they earn and keep spending phase of this issue and you want advice. Well here it is! If he can’t help himself, if he’s spiraling ever downwards then you are going to have to use shock tactics and take control of the situation. You know how much the debt is so I assume from that that you are aware of: overdrafts, credit cards, car payments and loans. You must also be aware of monthly amounts and payment schedules. If not then, by any means, find out. Get all of the facts and figures and sorry to mention this, but the figure you think is the final amount may be smaller than you think. 

You are going to need to find out a set of figures: total monies coming in and total monies going out. You will need to track all spending for a month: fuel, car costs, running costs, all direct debits and keep every receipt. Where do you spend money? Do you eat takeaways? eat in restaurants? buy clothes? go on day trips? weekends away? have club memberships? wine club memberships? occasional spending…….those trips to Tesco for a top up soon stack up? You need to get a picture of who spends what, when and what are you buying?

The big part of this that most people avoid is confrontation, challenge and change and you are both going to have to face up to all of these. If you’ve never had a row about money before, then you are just about to. There will be upset, crying, door slamming and emotional purging. One of you is having an affair with spending and the other is being cheated on! For some people this is a deal breaker but a real, strong and truly loving relationship will survive this. If one of you has the financial control, spends everything and leaves the partner worrying about this then you’ve got one heck of a domestic on your hands. All you can do is put on your big girl’s knickers and your Wonder woman cape and dig in for a long slog.

The good news! Your debts are half your annual income. Ours were two thirds of our joint annual income (at the time, we earn less now) and with total determination and short term deprivation we made our way out of debt in less than two years. If you pledge one third of your after tax income per month to debt repayment, you can be out of debt in two years. Any one can suffer any lifestyle change for such a short space of time.

Now here’s the only tough bit if one of you is living a lie and that big fat smelly lie is trying to keep up with the Jones when you can’t afford it. Be honest!!! You can turn down invites for a couple of years because you are trying to improve your family’s finances. That’s all you need to say. Yes, some people will be numpties and challenge that but you don’t have to grace them with any sort of answer. Let them think what they like! We told people we were paying off debts and were not ashamed to say we are improving our family finances. If people didn’t like it then they can lump it! We didn’t go anywhere or do anything until we were debt free and now we are, we still mostly turn down invites as we still don’t have money to throw away. If I can’t turn up to your wedding in my ordinary clothes then you don’t want the real me so what am I going for? 

Yes, people, usually in debt themselves, will do the willy waving, look at my: car (on finance), holiday (on the credit card), flashy kitchen (on a bank loan) and try and impress you. If you are genuine friends, then carry on being genuine friends but start to weed out the chaff of the fakers, piss takers and hangers on and rid yourselves not only of debt but the dusty collection of people with bad habits who are more interested in what you have instead of a genuine friendship where people can be honest with each other. Think of it this way, if you’d given up alcohol, would you still stand in a boozy pub with a bunch of drunks whilst you were sipping on barley water? It’s just not compatible. You may need to move on and keep on moving.

So lovvie, here is the summary. Get the facts – what do you owe? what are the monthly repayments? what are you spending money on? The tough bit, you’ve got to woman up! He’s got his head up his **** and you’re worried sick. It’s time for you to have equal say and if you want the debts gone then you’ve really go to show him how it can be done by looking at what you can stop spending money on to free up money to pay off debts. Remember the figure, one third of your after tax income needs to go on debt repayment a month.

1. Build up an emergency fund first – we worked on £500 in the bank that was for real emergencies! Christmas is not an emergency, it’s an annual occurrence!!

2. List all your debts from smallest to largest.

3. Keep paying the minimum payment on all of them.

4. Take one third of your after tax income and throw it all the smallest debt first.

5. When that is all gone, take all the money you were paying on that debt and move it to the next and keep paying the minimum payment on that debt too (minimum payment + third of after tax income).

6. By my calculations, you should have all your debts gone in two years! If you have a good credit score then use interest free credit cards to move debts into and pay off debt quicker. Make sure you pay off the balance before the free credit is up. Use price comparison sites to get the best deals on this such as Go compare. 

With the two thirds of your after tax income break that down into:

1. Mortgage.
2. Utilities – switch and save – get the best deals
3. Insurances – use price comparison site and also cashback sites to get the best deals plus cashback.
4. Food – switch down, go down a brand, use generic, shop in the local market, Lidl, Aldi and buy supermarket basic. Home cook, bulk cook, menu plan and set a budget each week and stick to it.
5. Transport to work costs – you’ve got to keep your jobs. Find a price for servicing and start setting aside a monthly amount to cover the cost when it’s due. Cost £300 so you need to set aside £25 a month into an account to pay for this. if your bus fare, train pass is a regular amount to commute to work then this is at the top of your priorities. 
6. Clothes, your child is growing so clothe him/ her – there are good clothes for children in Primark, Tesco, Asda and you don’t need to spend much. You and your husband are not growing so make so with what you have! Sell excess clothes on ebay and keep clothes in a Paypal account to use for vitals such as new work shoes, bras, boxers or tights. 
7. Sell everything you don’t need – use the money to pay off debts.
8. Only buy birthday and Christmas presents for children, the adults can get by with a token….who doesn’t love a shower gel or bar of chocolate! If they need impressing then ask yourselves about the kind of shallow plonkers you hang round with! 
9. Set aside 5% from the two thirds of your after tax income for saving, this will pay for school trips, hair cuts and real necessities. Make up is not a necessity……….Mua in Superdrug or Aldi’s make up if it is vital to you but get used to buying 98% less than you every used to. 
10. Money left at the end of the month? Move it one month into a savings account and one month as a debt over payment. 


Now here’s the most important one! Earn extra money!!! All of that money will go to an ongoing emergency fund that needs topping up. If the washing machine breaks down, the car needs new tyres, your only shoes have a split in the sole, then you need to turn to savings as you can not add one penny to the debts. This is the first phase of the new way of living, you only spend real money. Your own, that you’ve earned that month or saved from previous months. This amount will be meagre to some but it’s the realistic amount of money that you have and be proud of it. You’ve earned it, it’s yours. It will be more than some but less than others. It will have to be enough as now, that’s all there is!

Here’s the target date, in May 2017, you will be debt free! You will have a disposable income of one third of your after tax salary per month. 

It is possible.

Now gird your loins, you’ve got a blinkered, stubborn, resistant to change man to nudge firmly in the right direction. Be loving, be charming, be kind but be firm! You will need to love each other more than ever over the next two years and at times, you both will be all you have to keep yourselves going. 

Keep in touch lovvie and good luck.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Quiet Restraint

Hello Dear Reader,

Life isn’t all about saving money, you only live once. Someone said to me recently. Well, we live everyday and we only die once. There are still plenty of thing that I can do one day that I don’t have to do immediately. We don’t have to go to the cinema, theatre, meals in restaurants and we can happily keep saving money and preparing for our future.
I was trying to explain UK politics to my young hairdresser ( as I’ve said before I will pinch every penny but I no longer skimp on my hair) who was worried about her long term financial future. It’s tricky one, I told her but you have to say no and go without. We only earn so much money and we can have it now or in the future but it won’t be enough for both. I didn’t have those choices at her age, I was at home with two small children and had no money whatsoever. I had no job so no money touched my hand – I was married and then, that was the way it was. Now, people seem ( in over hearing general chat in the hair dressers) busy having ‘fun’. Nights out, weekends away, clothes accessories, nails and hair for every occasion appear to be the norm for so many people. 
Now I don’t profess to know anyone else’s circumstances but who can genuinely afford it all. I explained to my incredulous hair dresser that she needs to pay one quarter of her income into a pension now and another quarter into savings. She then explianed that most of her income went on having a good time and life was for living. I gave my rather forlorn prediction that by the time she retired that state help may no longer exist and if she wanted to eat and keep a roof over her head without either rent or mortgage that she needed to make entire working life sacrifices to pay for it. 
What’s the answer?
I really don’t know but some solutions could be…
1. Whilst young, unmarried or still at home, save 3/4’s of your income.
2. House share or rent just a room for 5-10 years until you have a deposit.
3. Don’t assume you can ever get by with just one job.
4. Whilst you’re young and fit, work all hours and save.
5. Buy a house as soon as you can and keep that house for life- don’t upgrade, we’d all have paid off our mortgages by now if we’d stayed in our first homes.
6. Don’t expect to have your own home, a pension, savings and fancy holidays, cars, hobbies, meals out.
7. Keep taking qualifications and building your skill base, lots of these have to be supplied by employers.
8. When you get a home, furnish it second hand, learn to make do and mend.
9. If you can, buy a home with chimneys and when you can fit a wood burner. From then on, prepay for your heating and dry your laundry in front of the fire.
10. Other than a mortgage, never borrow any money.
11. Unless you have high incomes, or you are prepared to go without, don’t have children. Or have them anyway and pay someone else to bring them up? Tricky one. 
12. If you’re going to university, have a genuine reason why. Have a career path or take a degree in something useful such as a science, maths, engineering, medicine or business. I kid you not but you can rack up thousands in student debts on a degree in puppetry. If you have no genuine career path, then get a trade training. You can make a good living from electrical engineering without a degree.
13. The alternatives? Spend it all when young, never own your own home, have no pension and be At the mercy of charities? As there may be no ‘state’ when we get there.
Finally, learn to make your own fun and amusement. Go away with your friends to basic campsites in secondhand tents, entertain in your own homes, share homemade food with each other, make home brew. It doesn’t take money to have fun but it does take money to retire. Also, we won’t all die on our 68th birthday, nor will we become incontinent, get dementia or have a stroke two weeks after retiring so it’s always worth saving for the future.
I gave her a foldable tip and said……open a saving account with this and put every next tip in there too.  I have a feeling though that it might go into a nice outfit but each to their own.
Now, over to you. What advice would you give to yourself if you were young again?
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxxxxx

It’s time to stop doing what ever is holding you back!




Hello Dear Reader,

Over the last five years of my life, I have done more to change my life for the better than I’ve ever done before. Previously, I thought I was doing OK but actually I was just shuffling along quietly. Now, I look at every way I can improve my life. If something isn’t working then I literally bin it! I’ve not the time, energy or desire to do anything any more that doesn’t enhance my life. I’m acutely aware at 48 years old that I’ve lived longer than I’m going to live. I’ve no time to procrastinate and now is the time to get things done.

I put off getting fit for years and year and now, it’s part of my everyday life and there’s no stopping me. It’s proven that successful people do more exercise, eat more healthily, read more, move more, focus on achieving goals, volunteer more often and watch less TV. No one is ever going to achieve much in life sat on a sofa!  If you’re looking for tough love then you’ve come to the right place!


This may or may not be popular but I abhor laziness. I find great happiness in ‘getting it done’. I like to start my day at five thirty every morning so I can leave for work with a clean and tidy house, the laundry put away, dinner made and the bed turned down. I like to wash and blow dry my hair every morning and leave the house looking my best in pressed clothes and with my makeup on. I get great pleasure in coming home and working on a quilt, recipe plans or writing projects. A good day is one that leaves me exhausted but feeling smug in the knowledge that I leave others standing.


I take the same philosophy into the gym. I’m there to sweat, work hard and there is nothing better than leaving aching. I no longer have my trainer (he went off to join the Met) but as he would say, you know you’re working hard when you’re blowing out of your arse! No one ever lost weight, improved their health, reduced their BMI or wore considerably smaller clothes by just chatting to the person next to them on a static bike whilst updating Facebook!

I was once someone who genuinely thought I couldn’t do anything to improve my life. I was once at absolute rock bottom. We both earned minimum wage, neither of us could save and money just seemed to run away from us. It took a total change of our lives to begin to live the life we actually wanted to live. We now have that and it just gets better. 



We now know that it’s our good habits that create our financial stability. We now know that our choices cause the results of comfortable living. Luck has nothing to do with it and we’ve worked our way to where we are. None of it happened by sitting on the sofa. It happened because we were prepared to get our hands dirty.

This is my challenge to you Dear Reader. Ask yourself, what is holding you back? Why are you not earning more so you save or pay off debts? Why do you clear your debts only to create more? Why are you waking up at the last minute and getting to work in a rush? Why do you have no time for your family? Why is your house disorganised or cluttered? Why do you watch so much TV? Why are you promising to exercise and then you never do? If the reason is you: can’t be bothered to do two jobs, can’t be organised enough, can’t be motivated enough……….then you and you alone are the reason that you are not making the changes that will move your life forward.

Over to you Dear Reader, leave a comment in the confessional and literally leave it there and walk away! Walk away from what ever is holding you back and move forward with your life. It’s time to stop doing what ever is holding you back.

As ever, I look forward to hearing from you.

See you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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MAD Blog Awards

Some is plenty and enough is too much


Hello Dear Reader,

I had the very great pleasure of meeting Natalie Gavern, the Truro centre manager, from Christians Against Poverty. She came into Radio Cornwall to join the discussion with myself and Tracy Wilson about managing debt. I also had the honour of meeting a lovely young man called Craig who is currently working with CAP to repay debts. It was humbling to hear just how big a difference it made when someone supported him with paperwork, had time to listen and helped him cope with creditors as well as helping him set a budget and live within his means.

To hear this wonderful discussion and humbling example of the devastating effects of debts, then click HERE to listen to the radio programme. Move the cursor to the last hour and we’re on straight after the news.

For anyone who may be affected by issues raised in the radio programme today. Please call Christians Against Poverty on 0800 328 0006 from a land line. If  you only have a mobile, please call 03335 558800 – it will then give you the link to call the free phone number above and you will not be charged for the call. 


Craig, as an ordinary young man, had lost his job and was unable to pay debts. He openly said how hard it was to see everyone around with good clothes, a car, their own flat, holidays and nights out. It made me think of how much we think  people have. They seem to have so much and yet the likelihood it’s all being paid for with credit. That in turn made me ask the question; how much is enough?

I know I’m preaching to the choir here but I’m always aware that someone might be reading for the very first time. I’ll repeat what I said on the radio. It’s ok to make do with less. It’s ok to buy what you need from charity shops and car boot sales. It’s ok to collect pallets from the industrial estate to break up for firewood and kindling, it’s ok to upcycle, to use freecycle and to barter, haggle and get by with a lot less. It’s ok to make quilts from shirts bought on the £1 bargain rail from the local Woodside Animal Shelter shop. 

To anyone who has decided to make a real change in your life, feel free to never again have to have a catalogue delivered to your house. Feel free to cook everything at home and never order a takeaway again. Next week, find one day where you don’t carry money and don’t spend anything. In our thrifty world, we call that a ‘non-spend day’. Build them up so you can eat from the freezer and store cupboards and stretch your shopping so you only have to go once a fortnight. 

It’s also ok to have less than other people. I’m acutely aware that my car is aging fast, that my clothes are certainly neither fashionable or stylish. I’m fine that I don’t have a shoe, handbag or nail varnish collection. I’m ok with what I have and what I don’t have.

Listening to Craig today reminded me of the crippling insecurities that some people feel when they can’t keep up with the Jones family. It is hard. We lost friends along the way when we didn’t want to live our old life and gained new ones too. My message to Craig and anyone else who is young and feeling as if you must get swept along with the crowd is to believe in who you are and what you want to be. Take any job, any changes and any chances. Listen to reason and common sense and a lot less to trends and advertisements. If someone doesn’t like the fact that you are working in a bacon factory, meat processing plant or cleaning caravans then just remember you are working for you and not them! Build your self up from the ground and start again. If you fall over ten times then get back up eleven times. But most of all, remember this…………some is plenty!

Until tomorrow

Love Froogs