Saturday, 6 February 2016

I do my own thing.

Hello. I've been reading a lot just lately on the different methods people use to save money, on web sites, newspaper articles, forums, and blogs. It strikes me that there are a myriad of different ways to approach this living frugally lark, and no one has all the answers, me included. As a single person pensioner with a small income and no savings my ways are going to be different to those who are younger with a family. There isn't a one size fits all.

I know quite a few people who have no need to watch the pennies. Although no one likes to talk about their financial status it is obvious that they have managed to plan for the future and live in houses a lot nicer, bigger, and newer, than mine. I am assuming that as they drive around in brand new Chelsea Tractors, they must have been in good jobs to be able to splash the cash. I bet you are thinking that there is a touch of jealousy creeping in here, you'd be wrong. Anyone who has the cash to buy what they want can do so. It's when people spend money they haven't got and go into debt for it when the trouble starts. It's a downward spiral from there.

Money saving among the well off is different to the way I do it. I see wealth as a ball and chain around my neck. Ok, imagine you have accumulated £50,000 throughout your working life. What do you do with it? If you have won it or been given it, you wouldn't look on it in the same way as if you had earned it by sweating your nuts off in a job that bored the pants off you. There are thousands of crooks out there who are waiting to get their grubby hands on your nest egg, and I don't just mean scamming individuals as if that isn't bad enough, I mean the legitimate financial institutions who aim to confuse the hell out of you with their predictions, offers, accounts, investments, and personal finance advice. They tell you to put it in this account, invest in that company, buy an ISA or bonds, shift it around several bank accounts. What a load of faff just to hold onto your cash. Phew, I couldn't get my head round that, maths was never my strong point, in fact I am chuffin useless at it. I'm glad I don't have to worry about all that, my personal finances are a lot easier to work out. Juggling money about is one kind of money saving I don't have to bother with.

Extreme couponing has been in the news again. I was asked the question by a journalist, 'Do I collect coupons? My reply, no. Those who have a family to look after and buy a far wider range of products than I do, might save a few bob, but you have to remember, the only reason that companies give out coupons, is to make you buy more. The pictures you see of coupon shoppers pushing trolley loads of stuff back to their cars, then stockpiling it in their garage, makes me wonder if it is more of an obsession rather than an effort to save money. What I want to know is once they have accumulated all this stuff, at what point do they then stop spending altogether, and use up what they have? How do they decide when they have enough? The amount of time and effort they put into searching for the coupons would possibly make it pay less than the minimum wage. Another kind of money saving I don't want to bother with.

Cash back sites seem quite popular, whenever you want to buy something if you go through one of these sites eg, Quidco, they give you money back when you make purchases through their web site. I don't want to sign up to any more sites, and I don't want to do internet shopping because I don't trust the security of it. And what about that Groupon thing, is it still going? Sign up and get all these special offers. If I wanted something I would go out and look for it, I don't need another marketing ploy to get me to part with my cash.

Comparison sites, well they confuse the hell out of me. I want an easy life, if I am happy with what I am paying for goods and services I leave well alone. If I want to change and look for a cheaper deal I will first read Money Saving Expert, then go to the web sites of possible companies, and choose one for myself. Don't tell me to go to a comparison site, I can't be bothered.

So, I have my own methods of managing my money, and although some may say I go to extreme lengths to save a few pennies here and there, I have proved that over a period of time, those pennies mount up and make £'s. My simple way of thinking means that I buy what I need, and if there is anything left over, I can then move on to spend what's left on what I want. I will continue to search out cheap shops to buy food. I will not switch the heating on until I am cold,  it's lucky that I spent years working outdoors which got me acclimatized to lower temperatures. I will continue taking food and drink out with me and not buy it out. When I want or need something I will first see if I can make it, recycled materials are best, or look in a charity shop, or go to a car boot sale, and look in skips. I don't care if people think I am odd, I don't have to keep up with anyone, I do my own thing.

Right, off out to do three miles. There is a howling wind, should be fun.
Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip.

40 comments:

  1. Done five miles in the pouring rain first thing this morning- dedicated I am! I know what you mean about everyone money saving in their own way. I don't coupon (where do they get them from?!) or fill in surveys etc but I do use comparison sites and have made some significant savings. I do also use Groupon on occasions and have got some good deals. Hope Rocky and co are well,xxxx

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  2. I love that you have your own mind and own way of doing it Ilona, I truly believe as long as you are happy, which you certainly seem to be, what other people think or say really doesn't matter. Good for you! In our house we will never be rich, I have rich family all around me but as long as my beautiful children are happy I don't care (they are my wealth) xx

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  3. I think you are right. For me being frugal is to spend money on the areas that I want to, and saving in the areas that I have no passion for (if that makes sense). For other people frugality may be a result of necessity. I think frugality gone too far is when it becomes an obsession, or when we deprive ourselves just to get a buzz of saving money. There may also be an element of social responsibility to our frugality; buying second hand/charity clothes is the most ethical way of shopping as is using less petrol etc. Like you say - do your own thing for your own reasons.

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  4. As always ilona you have good commen sense with your attitude towards money. Unfortunately not all have this today xx

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  5. Why would you need to worry about keeping up with anybody. There are loads of peeps who would love to keep up with you. I am working on it, steadily. I am happy to walk to the beat of my own drummer regardless of what anyone else may think.

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  6. Buying in charity shops can also be addictive. It's not saving money if you don't need it in the first place.

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    1. Agree! One still has to be disciplined!

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  7. I agree entirely , Frugality means something different to everybody , I dont do coupons as they are usually for some processed food that we dont eat anyway , I but from jumble sales and car boots , furnished my home with finds mostly from there with the odd hugely discounted new items , I think as you get older its wise not to stash any savings in the bank too as if you need to be cared for they take your money towards it even selling your house you have worked hard for all your life so i have decided any spare money to put into collectables wich will be Antiques of the future.

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks Ilona. One thing we all have in common, I hope, is when we control our own finances the stresses disappear.

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  9. You are right to plough your own fiscal furrow, Ilona. If having just enough money to live on and you are happy, then that is right for you.
    I don't save coupons either because, for the most part, from what I can gather about them, they are linked to products that I wouldn't be buying in the first place.
    I would say we are 'comfortable', we don't need to watch every single penny, but we do watch the pennies because this is a lifetime's habit and in our pensionable years old habits die hard. And so we switch off the tap when we clean our teeth, switch of lights as we leave rooms ("Who are you working for?" my Dad would say in the 1950s if I left a light on, "the Electricity board?") and we don't buy clothes often, not even in charity shops. We only go shopping when we need things, not just to browse. However, when we do buy clothes and shoes we buy the very best we can afford in classical styles (that needn't mean boring, either) and they last for years and always look good. Style has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is here today, gone tomorrow. Style is, well, always stylish! Indeed, my husband spent what I thought was as a fortune around the time he retired on a pair of shoes, gorgeous tan leather half-brogues. Even though they have been mended many times in the past 20 years, they are still admired by people as they have been well looked after and have a lovely patina of polish.
    So, if I were handing out advice, I'd say to people, follow Iloans's example, but if you have a bit put by, then all well and good, but if you are thinking of buying cheap and cheerful, think again. Such things don't last and maybe in this awful throw-away society that a lot of us now inhabit, maybe we should save our pennies just a bit longer and buy something - clothes or furnishings - that bit better that will serve us well for many years to come and always look good? Our curtains in our home are what we bought in 1985 (we had them specially made) when we moved here, and having been cleaned, they now look as good as new. Buy quality if you can afford it.
    Margaret P

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    1. I would add -- buy quality at a thrift shop. We live in one of the wealthiest counties in Colorado, and what people donate to the local thrift shop is generally WAYYYY better quality than the stuff we could afford at Wal-Mart. So be careful wherever you purchase things, wear them for the long run, and yes, buy quality.
      I would think you would put us in your 'rich' category -- after all, we live in a bigger house, and we own it -- but honestly, it came by paying ahead on the mortgage, even in tight years, and when we got an inheritance from the Brick's mom, paying it off. (The people who advised us to invest all that money in the stock market instead are the ones who are still paying off their mortgages, after several downturns in the U.S.) We've furnished it very modestly -- nearly everything is from the thrift shop, garage sales or Craigslist. But once again, it's good quality. We plan to put it on the market soon (after fixing up the bathrooms and doing some tiling), buying an RV...and figuring out what's next.
      I found the section on your backyard summerhouse especially interesting...except I would have painted the whole thing one glorious color. Maybe purple or kelly green! I also really enjoy your adventures in finding food bargains. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

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  10. I also walk the road less travelled, I don't feel the need to keep up with anyone!
    We're in a very lucky position financially, but we worked very hard for what we've now got.
    Since we retired I have realised just how much money I wasted over the years, it was a case of we could afford it, so we bought it, whether we needed it or not!
    Now I've learned sense, I shop sensibly, instead of just chucking items in the trolley, I put some thought into it, the days of me keeping Tesco and Waitrose afloat are long gone!
    I do use Groupon, never for shopping, but for afternoon tea offers, lunch and dinner deals, and occasionally a couple of nights away. We spent our entire working lives hardly ever seeing one another, so now that we have the chance to spend time together, we make the most of it. It's very civilised having afternoon tea somewhere lovely, much better than slogging away in an office all day every day!

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  11. i agree with your couponing comment up to a point but if its something i buy and the coupon has a good date on i keep it until the items on offer then you can maximise the saving there, but the extreme couponing America style i find that obscene actually, and a lot must go off most of the time pure and simple, you are right about the institutions like banks ect they are just there to use you to best advantage if you take them up on it, must admit i find it hard to have sympathy for greedy people who get sucked in. i like to live frugally because i haven't got the money to waste in the first place so its simple ! i like charity shops because i can get brands that i wouldn't normally be able to afford.

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  12. You know as well as I do ,those Chelsea Tractors are probably on H. P. or whatever is the equivalent these days. I totally agree with you on finances. I think to some extent its the way we were brought up Ilona. We couldn't get H.P. anyway till we were 21yrs old . The first house that I bought with my first husband had to be in his name only. He was 21yrs old but I was only 19yrs old. (even though I was on piece work and earned more money than he did) He was still in his apprenticeship. They didn't take a woman's wage into consideration because you were expected to leave work when you had a baby. I did too.

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  13. Hi.There are so many ways to live life frugally.When it is turned into an obsessive,competitive bean counting entity with a life of it's own, I too think it can be an unhealthy and a destructive obsession.Like you Ilona,I do what works for me and our family.I'm not a couponer,shop according to needs within means recycle,reuse and donate and share.Garage sales.thrift stores,and auctions,freecycle,shopping retail etc.( are things I do when we need something)are not a recreational sport for me.On another note:Looking up stats on debt per household in Canada it soon becomes evident that the majority of households carry unsecured debt that is crippling them. To maintain a "certain" lifestyle,many live above their means, SEEM to be well to do but are actually in debt up to their eyeballs without any real way of paying it back,seniors included.Yikes!That is not good.I see with admiration, that wind,rain and cold are not stopping all you dedicated participants.You can do it,keep moving,best wishes everyone,D.

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  14. Love this post ilona. You are so wise ; )

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  15. I look carefully at my Sainbury's nectar points vouchers, and ignore the ones that are persuading me to buy something I normally wouldn't. I also ignore emails that are from companies I deal with but which are just there to persuade me to buy something I don't need. Much easier just to press delete! And I don't envy those who are better off than me. I actually enjoy the challenge that being not so well off brings!

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  16. You are a girl after my own (vampire) heart. Power to you! :) XX

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  17. Good for you! Do what makes you happy! And thanks for sharing your life with us.

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  18. another brilliant post...we are all frugal in our own way...as long as I'm making extra progress on the mortgage and student loans every month it's working...am lucky to have received some money for my birthday...with no wants or needs to spend it on...

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  19. I use coupons from time to time but was never an extreme couponer. I do use a cash-back credit card for expenses like gasoline (petrol), Rx, doctor visit co-pays and other things like auto repairs. I get back 1 1/2%. I like to keep more in savings because here in the U.S. medical expenses are very high and home repair costs are high, too.

    I like doing money-saving things online to "earn" a few extra bucks by clicking on certain websites a few times a day to earn Amazon giftcards. It isn't a chore because it is kind of fun watching it add up.

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  20. I so wish the government did not give every pensioner £200 plus before Christmas as heating allowance, as it is not spent on heating, you included, money is for heating,. Not savings or anything else!. Makes me angry when you say put heating on hour a day in winter!. You are actually paid to put heating on, but choose not to. Crazy.

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    1. Hello Kirrie. So how do you suggest the Government are to monitor what people spend their £200 on, and then decide who is entitled to it? My well off friends all get it, and so do all the rich people in their mansions. To make it means tested would cost more than just making blanket payments to all people of pensionable age.

      My £200 goes towards my heating and lighting bills for the whole year. All money coming into my house, whatever it's source, is divided into twelve months and is used to even out my outgoings for the year.

      And why are you getting your knickers in a twist about me managing my personal finances in a cost effective way? If you feel so strongly about it, maybe you could lobby the government to change the system, not moan to me about how I spend my money.

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    2. I am astonished at your reply Kirrie. If a single pensioner is not entitled to it who is?? My husband gets it and he is now retired at home in the daytime. As we live on a hill in a very exposed spot the wind keeps our small home well aired but boy is it cold. The heating allowance only lasts for 2 months in extreme weather. As Ilhona says she manages to eek hers out for 12 months. How I wish ours lasted that long. Sadly for a lot of people in this country it is Heat or Eat.

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    3. Erm...our £200 (the princely sum of £100 each) goes into the pot to fill our gas tank with LPG to keep us warm in winter. As our annual gas bill can be up to £1000 what else would we spend it on Kirrie? Gin? You too will be a pensioner one day. How angry will you be to receive your allowance?

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  21. had some foreign sounding chap on the phone yesterday- who got the pronunciation of my name wrong , so he doesn't know me, saying he was from a savings club. phone down immediately. it may have been legit but if they are phoning people on a Saturday afternoon, I wouldn't take a chance with what savings I do have -would you. NO I don't think so. great to keep on walking.

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    1. I always put the phone down rather quickly when I get these type of calls. I don't give them a chance, straight away it's, 'no thanks, not interested, goodbye.'

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    2. I just tell them I'm going to put them on "Hold" for a minute and then walk away. By the time I get back, they have hung up and usually don't call back. I used to tell them to take me off of their calling lists, but that never worked even after I put my number on the DNCL.

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  22. Groupon (Living Social, Wowcher and many others) are still going strong and can be brilliant.

    I know several folks who use them to get cut price meals out.

    I use the sites more often to buy myself treats at a bargain price. I work out in the gym a lot and I like the occasional massage. The going price for an hour's massage in London is anywhere from £30 to £70. Groupon frequently do introductory deals for local salon's for £15. So it makes sense for me to watch and bag the cheaper massage then I can have more than if I was paying the standard rate :)

    I also bit bite at the offer for "msucle food" a food supplier who have had really good reviews for providing high quality packs of protein (balance of chicken, turkey and meat). I reckon the pack I;m purchasing for £29 (a substantial reduction on their usual price) will last me for at least a month if not beyond. So again for me that would be a good buy!

    But you're right - there's no one size fits all for managing your finances - it all depends on individual circumstances!

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  23. I often find myself saying to my mother 'there are many ways to live a life', usually in response to her many criticisms of how people live, me included! Live your life as you wish I say. Members of my family have much more money than me and subsequently bigger and flashier cars, exotic holidays etc but they don't seem very happy to me.

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  24. I just want to add, Ilona, after reading everyone's comments, that I think you are living the lifestyle that YOU have chosen for yourself and that is real FREEDOM. You may not have unlimited resources, but you do more with what you have than a lot of other people.

    I admire you for the walking holidays you plan and the creative uses you find for items that other people cast off. We should all be so resourceful.

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  25. Interesting! After I commented on a blog I was told I was "jealous" of people with lots of money! That is the farthest thing from my mind. Like you, I am happy with what I have, and could, in fact, have more "stuff" if I wanted, which I do not! Peace of mind is so much better!

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  26. You're right that no one site will suit all as we each have different lifestyles. I enjoy reading all sorts of blogs, yours included.

    X x

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  27. I discovered your blog just a bit before Jo Brand's walk and have looked in every day since. It has really given me food for thought and started me on some maths. We are self employed caterers and have worked seven days a week at times to over pay our mortgage and get mortgage free before retirement. We finally paid off our mortgage and what we owed on our two vans last summer and have slowed down, trying not to work weekends any more. My husband will get his pension next January but as I was born in 1960 I now have to wait until I am 66, another ten years for mine. This peeves me a bit but there is nothing any of us can do about government changes (my husband does now get the winter fuel allowance). What your blog made me realise is that even with no mortgage and no debts (we also only spend what we have and no credit), we would also really struggle to live in our house on pension alone. We don't have holidays or go out other than special occasions but unfortunately my husband likes beer and I like wine. We will eventually go part time and just work less. It is all about how each individual chooses to live and what is important to you. Being self employed gives us more control and we are lucky to be able choose how much we want to work. We have our work kitchen on our property so no rent to pay. My husband would also find it difficult to not work at all as he likes to be busy. If it came to a point where we couldn't work at all we would have to be more frugal than we are now but we could always down size too if we had to.We have no savings and only keep a small amount in the bank for emergency's. I have now started keeping my supermarket reciepts to compare what I spend each week. The last two weeks were almost the same amount. I am picking up some tips from you and you have made get to grips with working everything out. I used to think that once mortgage free and debt free it would be simple but now realise that that alone doesn't mean you can manage on a pension without being frugal. Like you this isn't a moan, just fact. It's up to us to manage our affairs so that we can live a happy life and I also quite enjoy the challenge of making it work and have no need of any more material things in our life than we have already. I wouldn't want to do all the things that you do, we like meat, wine and hot water but every one has their own things that are more or less important and you have been an inspiration to me. Sorry this has got very long but I wanted you to know that you are helping and inspiring and also just plain old entertaining. By the way the retired friend that I introduced to your blog loves it too. Keep on blogging and thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hello Carol. What a fantastic comment, thank you for taking the time to write it. Well done for paying off your mortgage Watching every penny in and out need not be a chore. You will be familiar with the principal as a business owner, it's the same for managing the household budget.

      The message I am trying to put across with this blog, is that everyone has choices in the way they spend their money. I imagine you have already sussed that. You alone are responsible, if you want to buy wine and meat, that's your choice.

      I manage really well on my state pension and a small top up, amounting to just under £10,000 a year. It's second nature to me to consider every purchase I make, do I need it or want it. So simple. I walk by half the supermarket shelves, miss out whole aisles, because I know what I need. Nothing will sway me to part with my money if I don't want to.

      I wish you well for the future, and make sure you plan for it and not just wait for it to happen. You are in control.

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    2. Thank you so much for that reply. Sorry my comment was a big block of writing but I wanted to say this for a while but each post wasn't the right one for my background to emerge. You are right that the business has already shown us the way in many ways and that we alone are responsible. The fact you manage on what you do is good to know because that is about what we will have (my husband has a little top up pension from I.C.I.from years back) until my pension, which is 10 years on and seems long in the future ( not wishing my life away though). It is good to know that if you can do it I think we can do it. You are giving me a positive vibe which is so important in these times.

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  28. Message for Kearnygirl. My apologies, I deleted your comment after I read it. It came into the Spam box, and I wasn't paying attention. I should have clicked on 'Not spam' but wasn't concentrating and clicked delete. Sorry, my fault. Thank you for your kind words.

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  29. Hi Ilona, That's ok!! I didn't see my comments so I thought I did something wrong and I wasn't sure what. No problem. I love your blog! Thanks for all the info and thanks for showing us your yellow sticker purchases. That's my favorite part. Kearnygirl

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