Tuesday, 21 March 2017

It's all relevant

Hello. I often think that there are connections between saving money, losing weight, stopping smoking, and not over indulging on alcohol, chocolate, and chips. It seems to me that as soon as you tell everyone that you are on a diet, the first thing you think of is, what can I eat. If you mention that you are on the wagon and someone asks you to go for a drink, you then have to give yourself a stern talking to. Similarly, when you start to limit your spending the first thing you think of is what can I buy that's cheap. The old habits that you want to move away from seem to always loom in the background to give you a little dig now and again, making the job a lot harder to turn over a new leaf and change your lifestyle. It is so easy to give up and go with the flow.

A new year is always a bad time to take stock and declare you are going to make changes, we all do it, make promises to ourselves, but the odds of achieving your goals and sticking to your new regime is unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind past the first three months. That's unless you've got me to nag you into keep on walking, ha ha.

For some people the idea of not spending any money is completely alien to them. The habit of popping into a shop and coming out with a lot more than what they went in for is accepted as normal. Anyone who tries to lose weight quickly by starving themselves will eventually cave in and binge on junk food. Comfort spending is similar to comfort eating. If you deprive yourself completely you will get to the point where life seems intolerable. Cutting back to the extent that is making you miserable will weaken your defenses.

So, short term fixes don't work, there will be relapses. Living a frugal and simple life needs a change of mindset. Living within your means doesn't need to be painful. Small changes are best at the start, making notes of how much things cost, keeping check of your spending by keeping a diary. Little tweaks here and there, a little trimming, build yourself up towards budgeting every penny that comes into the house and every penny that goes out.

There will be mistakes made, ooops, spent too much, learn from it, be more vigilant next time. Budgeting does not mean you have to deprive yourself, it means you need to work out what your priorities are. Cut costs on what isn't important to you, so you have money for what is important. If you are a couple sit down together, get out the bills, the bank statements, work out where you want to spend your money. It will be an uphill struggle if you are battling against a partner who is not singing from the same songsheet.

Rules about what you spend your money on. There are no rules, you make up your own. Just because the folks down the street change their car every year, doesn't mean you have to. Don't be a sheep. I don't care what other people do, jealousy is a destructive emotion.

I love the fact that having less gives me more freedom. I started seriously on my frugal journey just over ten years ago. My finances were pretty low, but I didn't care. The challenge was to survive no matter what. I cut the spending to an acceptable level, my treats were super cheap, and therefore I valued them more. Now ten years later I am in a good place. I am looking forward to the next ten years.

I'll be off to Tesco in an hour to see what I can get in the way of cheap food. Haven't been for a while, need to restock the fridge.

Good luck on your journey to a frugal and simple life. If you want it, take some time to work out how to get there. It's all down to you.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip


31 comments:

  1. I am having so much fun in becoming more frugal and part of that is having a more minimalistic lifestyle X I can work less and I am more creative because I make presents and cards X thank you for your inspiration and to all the comments that people make X best wishes from Col

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  2. We have been so lucky that our frugal lifestyle over 30+ years makes life easier now that illness has struck

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    1. Hi. I am glad it's paying off for you now.

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  3. Hi Ilona I have been following you now for a few years and developed your mindset. I find I am taking pride in being frugal and careful but not miserly. I am just a few years younger than you so was brought up in a similar way. Being thrifty just means I have the money for my wicked vice! my horses! You are so right about developing good habits slowly and adding to them is the key to success. Thank you for your example. Su

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    1. Hi. A love of animals is not a vice, it's a pleasure.

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  4. Yourself and Frugal Queen started me on our journey, and I just love it, thankyou Ilona x

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  5. For me ,having dogs is my incentive not to spend on frippery.Vets bills are so expensive.So I think just having something that is important to me in my life makes me think before spending £3 or £4 on a magazine or new furniture ,carpets etc.Today my dogs playing with another 6 dogs made me so happy Seeing the little long tailed tits in my garden cost nothing.I got wet and muddy out walking yesterday it was great and bit of hail today and it was free x

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  6. Dear Ilona you have really helped me. I am saving because of what you say. God Bless you. kitx

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  7. an excellent post. covers so many important topics. I would add stay out of the shops, stop reading the magazines full of advertising, and stop watching tv shows that are all about changing decorating or showing off. I became much happier with what I had when I stopped comparing it to the TV decorated houses and magazine pictures. Ana USA

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    1. Hi. Those TV shows are just the same here. Have a look around a really posh place, ooooh look, I want one of those. Spend money - in debt. Crazy.

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  8. I suppose changing behaviour longterm is hard - it built up with years of practice after all. I grew up pretty thrifty and so that part comes naturally, my husband grew up solidly middle class and it took years of stopping and starting for it to become a default mindset. It OK to fall off the wagon, as long as yout get back on again. Living examples such as yours help!

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  9. Great post this Ilona, you have helped me a lot I have been following you for a few years now and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.x

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    1. Glad that you are here, Ray. We're all in it together. xxx

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  10. I like the idea of frugality and try to apply it in my life, but it's not always possible. Foods that are considered healthy and can help loosing weight/ maintaining normal weight ( I mean low calorie, low sugar/salt, low fat food, decaf. coffee etc..) are quite expensive where I live.

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    1. Hi Duta. I don't believe it's necessary to buy special food if you want to lose weight. We all need some calories, some sugar and salt, it's the quantities which are important. Low fat food has been mucked about with, has had something taken out of it, and something else added. Best to eat as little processed food as you can.

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  11. I want to thank you for your inspiration. Although always a saver and careful you have given me confidence that I can retire at 65 and enjoy a full and satisfying life on the pension. Thank you so much.

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    1. Good for you Margaret. All it takes is a little planning. get off that treadmill and enjoy the rest of your life. You can do it.

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  12. Yet another inspirational post x I love reading your blog..It keeps me on track!! Thanks Ilona x

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    1. Hi Linda. If you slip off, get back on again.

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  13. I know I am only repeating what everyone else has already said, but thank you Ilona. I love reading your posts and I need constant kicking in the butt to keep to my frugal goals. I have a tendency to start spending, especially on clothes, if I am not careful. Reading your blog keeps me on track and reminds me that there are more important things to do with my money than buy a new frock.

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    1. Lana, if you want a new frock and can afford to pay for it without going into debt, then do it. But make sure you get the pleasure of wearing it many times over. If there is something more pressing that you need to pay for, the frock will have to wait.

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    2. Buying clothes over the years has caused me so much bother.Always had to have it.Soon as I got it home the pleasure gone.Ridiculous.Luckily a lot from charity shops and I donate it back .But what a lot of stuff.Then of course ,never anything to wear for a special occasion.I am now at my happiest wearing plain clothes and comfy shoes.I'm bored with it all.Spending has not given me pleasure longterm really just a buzz or quick fix whilst I'm paying the cashier.My happiness now is being outside in the fresh air and coming home and snuggling up in my fleecy blanket with the dogs x

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  14. I enjoy it when you write these posts because it reminds me that I am not alone in wanting to prioritize and save. I'm on a fixed income in a country where the politicians seem hellbent on cutting needed services and so, it may be down to me to assume more financial responsibility beyond taxes for these things eventually. Additionally, though, there is the matter of saving for personal things like your days out, for example or for items not covered under insurance like glasses, the dentist, pet bills, etc. I have a lot of pet bills now having a geriatric cat, I also pay for transit and we have no NHS so prescriptions and the other things I've mentioned fall to me. The other day, I mentioned something about saving and was asked if finances were a problem. I told this person no and that saving was something I believed was necessary as I am a steward of money and not a slave to things. Thank you for your reminders.

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    1. Hi e, those politicians are the baddies, aren't they? Every day they want to beat us to a pulp, well don't let them. Juggle juggle juggle, get the best you can for your money.

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  15. I'm so glad that I happened upon your blog - it serves to confirm my personal beliefs in so many ways. My daughter and I lived in a "frugal" manner at first from necessity - now it's by choice. We work/study very hard to achieve our goals (not necessarily material) - I am happy to say that she will graduate law school next year debt free. "Inspiration" seems to be the key word here - you certainly are that! Hugs from Barbara (Canada)

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    1. Hi Barbara. That's a heartwarming story. I'm so glad you are teaching your daughter to manage her money. She will forever be grateful to you.

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  16. Great post, Ilona!

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  17. I love your blog because I admire your strength of character. Wealth should not measured by material possessions but by a rich lifestyle pursuing your interests with a luxury of choice of what to do with your time. A lifestyle that needs material possessions to make one happy is burdensome and hard to achieve.

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  18. I love the advice: "don't be a sheep". Be your own leader in whatever you do. Love reading your posts

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  19. Well Said. All true.

    My example, and not that it has shown benefit yet, but still I think it is the right way to go.

    I need to lose weight. In the past, I swear, as soon as I say the word diet, on goes a few pounds..sigh.

    Now, I am concentrating NOT on what I can and can't eat.
    I try to think "am I full?"/"am I hungry?"
    and
    I try to make a point to eat extra vegetables (not coated in sugar laden dressings)...

    It is small steps, sort of as you say above, but I am hoping it will help.

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