Thursday, 21 December 2017

Inspiration from Marigold

Hello. I have a new assistant, a reader who had no idea that she was going to be a guest writer when she sent me an email yesterday. I got such a lot of positive vibes from her that I decided her words were too inspiring to keep for myself and they should be shared with everyone. So with her permission I am able to copy and paste it here. Her name has been changed, I think Marigold suits her fine.

I have found several of your viewpoints have helped me to stop feeling like everything is hard and to enjoy the challenge of frugality.  I too now try to approach life with the view 'I'm beating the system".  I am watching how this happens as a part of a continuum rather than a one off instant change.

Once I started applying 'I'm beating the system" to my life i quickly realized how often i get conned/con myself into spending money...because it makes me feel better....magazines as an escape from the treadmill....all crap unreality lives and advertising.  So I stopped buying them and started to borrow them from the library.   A magazine while I had a coffee break.  Then I started to analyse the magazines....so many ads for high consumer style lives.   One magazine had an article listed on the front; it turned out to be the only thing I wanted to read in the magazine and it was so small that when I went through page by page (viewing ad after ad) I missed it.   But what I noticed by the time I came to the end of the magazine was a feeling of discontent and dis-ease...brought on by the comparison of my "small but content" life style to the consumer lifestyle.  

Even the alternative lifestyle mags so often seem to push a fanciful reality while making do.   I guess I'm trying to say that what I really appreciate about what you are doing is showing real life and what it is like to live a good life with few financial resources well used.  

I love that you list the things you find..to me that is the reality of how small things are acummulated and are actually important if we allow them to be. I saw a curtain hook on the path today and it wasn't till I got home that I thought, I should have picked that up as I am about to double up my curtains, as you suggested, and I'll need some. The idea that something so small is not important is very damaging to our lives and world...for the earth those unused resources become a burden of waste and replication.

I had a score today as I dropped off an unused item to our local community resource centre and because I popped in I heard that there was a sale, a $2 sale - fill a bag with as much clothing as you wanted.  

I had been looking for a bra in my size and had found about 7 in great condition, right size but was trying to tell myself not to spent too much and to hope that next time I need them they will still be there.  No need.  
Was told about the special so in the bag they went with some new knickers, a winter jersey, a black tee shirt, a flannette shirt, an exercise top, a black work top...all for $2....and as I was walking they had a box of donated buns and loaves...I restrained myself and took only a pack of pita bread as it was perfect for our tea tonight.  I left feeling so pleased.  Then was checking out Freecycle tonight (and putting on an offering) and have managed to get a new watch and a pile of necklaces that my flatmate loves working with to make new bracelets...all free too!

I love the way she is now 'beating the system,' after realizing that it isn't hard after all to lead a frugal life. Now she realizes that advertising is a con, business wants your money and they will do anything to get it. Setting yourself a challenge to live within your means can be fun. Spending money to make yourself feel better is a quick fix and has no long term effects except to roller coaster your life in and out of debt. You run to catch up, then you stumble and fall behind. Like yo yo dieting, it isn't the solution.

Marigold has embraced the second hand and freebie way of acquiring things that you need or want. Even small things that come your way are a bonus when they are free. It also means that sharing your excess with friends means they will share with you. We don't own anything while we are here on this planet, we borrow it for the duration of our stay. We can't take it with us so why not pass things on while we are still alive. Greed and the need for more is like a cancer which eats away at the soul. Being happy with what you have brings about a feeling of utter contentment. Being able to say, I have enough, takes away all insecurities and anxiety. I have lost account of how many times people have said to me, 'you could make more and sell them'.  I don't need any more money, I have enough. I will take some left over shopping bags to Tesco tonight and surprise people with a freebie. That will be fun.

Marigold wrote a very long email, this is only part of it. I will post more tomorrow, and maybe you will find some inspiration from her. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip   

52 comments:

  1. Gave me a very good feeling that. Well done Marigold - and you.

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  2. I love your new friend Ilona.She explains her lifestyle choices so well.Yourself & Marigold are helping me-thankyou x x

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  3. Brilliant, Marigold, thank you. Very wise words.
    J x

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  4. I have enjoyed reading this today. Marigold has learnt from you and so have I. xx

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  5. Marigold, you, and so many thrifty others... spot on! I enjoyed reading about her mindset turnaround. I have a little story to tell also, if you have the time. I had been wanting a Christmas wreath--with lights if possible, to hang above my couch. I first looked at a very nice area store, and found a nice wreath (no lights) but it cost $72. No way was I going to pay that! Then I found a bit of artificial greenery for $18 that I could doctor up with some of my things, but I still didn't want to pay that amount! I thought perhaps I had better forget the whole idea and then I stopped in at our local thrift store and they were having a half off sale on all Christmas decor. I decided to give my idea of a suitable wreath another shot. Amazingly... there was "my" wreath... perfect size, with lights, and only costing $2.50! When I got home, I took off a bow I didn't care for, plopped it on a different exterior Christmas decoration, and added my own Christmas ornaments. Hung up the wreath, plugged it in, and I am so happy to have found exactly what I wanted for such a fantastic price! Here's to frugality and 'beating the system' and that is what I truly feel it is as The System wants us to be discontent with what we have so we can buy what they are selling! Merry Christmas to all!

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    1. Perfect, if you wait long enough it will come to you.

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  6. This was a delight to read! JanF

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    1. What a great story! You saved $69.50, got exactly what you wanted and recycled. Happy Christmas!

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  7. I rarely buy magazines now, cant believe I'm paying about £4-6 pound for essentially a load of adverts. Grandad has the daily mail given to him by a neighbour and he reads it, if I'm there I have it when hes finished and I read it then recycle, bonus. I was reading some pension quotes of how much we might need in our old age, and we are quite okay on what we earn now and our pensions will give us a bit more than that so we should be okay, but a lot of people would look at the amount and say no way I need two or three times more than that just to live. I was reading a mse diary and got quite frustrated with the person, they earn between them over £4k a month, but couldn't manage, had loads of debt, she started the diary on about £34k debt plus mortgage, after reading a few pages I skipped to the end and she was on about £53k debt, wow the savings diary wasn't working it seems. why oh why when they earn that much that they cant manage, it beggars belief. Am I supposed to feel sorry for them when I'm on about a third of that and managing fine and no debt. I do want to earn more to get a detached as you know but apart from that I'm really quite frugal. interesting reading from your friend.

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    1. I treat myself to six copies of Stitch magazine per year. They are full of interesting projects, and I keep them for reference.

      I can't read those diaries, I know I would be shouting at the screen.

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    2. I agree. It's all about choices isn't it. I heard a sad story today...young woman on a very reduced income has had Christmas presents on layby since September and will not complete paying them off until the end of January...things like a $100 garden cauldron for her landlady! Instead of giving people a note to say "Your gift is on the way...soon be here" she has started going around trying to find gifts to give now; as well as later. This all seems so crazy to me. The feeling that she MUST buy for everyone around her has trapped and impoverished her. She now feels a failure because she tried to pay it all off by Christmas and will have to wait another 3 weeks, AND the retailers doubly benefit (and she suffers) because she will not sit with the discomfort and give a card with a note saying it's on the way. I wonder how the people who receive the gifts will feel knowing her situation is now worse because of these choices. Happy frugal Christmas everyone.

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  8. This was a lovely example of someone learning and passing it on. Thank you for sharing this. It is nice to read something positive. I hope you enjoy your Christmas, Ilona and the best to Marigold.

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  9. Thank you for sharing Marigold. It helps keep me going when I read about the frugal efforts of others.
    Here in the U.S. we've just been dealt an income tax scam that will enrich the corporations and the wealthy while punishing those on low incomes. No doubt I'll be needing to visit here for inspiration and encouragement more often. With careful planning and saving I never thought my retirement would play out the way it's going to. While the fat cats get fatter.

    Mimi

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    1. Sometimes it is hard to see how to keep going isn't it Mimi. I believe it is often our viewpoint that changes everything and that is why I appreciate the Mean Queen's Blog so much...she give practical ways to change my viewpoint.
      I'm reading a book at the moment: "The man who quit money". While I see Daniel Suelo is a long way from me on the money spectrum, this book does provide some very interesting and thought provoking ideas. Daniel is not opposed to service such as medicine and dentistry etc as long as the person giving the service does so voluntarily and isn't paid for the service. Somehow reading this book has helped me to see how 'threatened" I feel having to find rates and taxes on a limited income...I realised i was thinking of it as being endlessly stolen from me and that gave me a sense of lack and limitation. In a lightbulb moment I thought "I'm grateful to be able to share the town swimming pool, the roads and the lights, as well as all the other services and I can choose to gift this money (rather than pay it as a result of a demand). To prove the this is a gift from me to the community I have decided to pay a little more than requested (even $1 is more!)....worth it for the peace of mind. Of course if I feel the request for 'the gift" is too much I also give myself the right to negotiate and try to change it to what is reasonable. Happy Christmas and happy mindset for 2018. Marigold

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    2. Mimi, as a fellow American, I don't know how you know our new tax plan is a scam, except by listening to super wealthy politicians who want to stir discontent.
      I will wait and see the outcome down the road as to whether it was a good plan or not.
      Jo

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  10. My spirits have been lifted reading your email from Marigold. Reading your blog Ilona I always feel comforted knowing that there is a community of like minded people out there enjoying life and making the most of what they have. Merry Xmas to you and all your readers. Jane.

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  11. I love posts like this. It inspires me.
    Arilx

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  12. I get the point, but I would say that when clothes are sold so cheaply, the company selling them is not being altruistic; they will have been made by workers being exploited in the third world. I would sooner buy fewer things (seven bras??) but pay a fair price. Similarly if you don't like magazines full of glossy consumer adverts don't buy them, but if you like short stories it's better to buy the Fiction mags than get them from the library, because if the authors are to make a living the more copies sold the better. So my point of view is by all means bag a bargain, but be aware who is paying for your discount!

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    1. I agree and understand your point but remember she bought them at a resale shop and otherwise these would be in the landfill. So yes we should buy environmentally and pro-humanity clothing, etc. but in the meanwhile recycling goods is the next best thing.

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    2. I think the clothes were from a local community resourse centre...our charity shop often does a bag for $5 to clear out donated goods when they are getting over whelmed from donations. Better not to purchase sweat shop goods I totally agree, but if they have found their way to a recycling shop pragmatically isn't it better to buy them, support the charity and stop the purchase of new goods?

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    3. I just wrote a long, thoughtful reply to your comment, but the computer ate it. Anyway, there are many interesting issues you raise and I'm glad we're talking about them.

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    4. By the time things become second or third hand, I give no thought to where they originally came from. A lot of the clothes donated to charity shops here in the UK find their way back to third world countries, after passing through several hands and a new deal struck each time.

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    5. I've been horrified to read how many donated clothes still end up in the landfill (after being donated to charity shops0 as people don't want them. I have heard of a group of volunteers who are turning the goods they get into blanketsand new items: and are teaching others to use the waste to design new goods. Such a great initiative. I think making them into to carry bags to give away to the Charity shops and supermarkets helps also. We have local design challenge where people are challenged to upcycle garments in designer ways. they are evaluated based on how completely they use the recycled garments, styling and workmanship. Some gorgeous creations result.

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  13. I am very lucky to have an abundance of everything except health; true happiness to me is when my pets are all in and fed and happy warm and safe x

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    1. What a gift to experience abundance and may you know that in your health also. I'm like you too Maureen; I'll go without food to make sure the animals are fed and happy. I've been investigating lots of frugal pet food ideas lately. All the best for Christmas and the coming year. Marigold

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    2. Thank you for your kind words Marigold, love and good wishes to you xxx

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  14. AS I contemplate joining the ranks of the full time retired by the end of 2018, I see the importance of developing a mantra like "beating the system" to get into the frugal mindset needed for retiring on a smaller income (a LOT smaller!).Mine seems to be "I have enough" - which I repeat over and over when tempted to make another frivolous purchase ... New kitchen gadget? I have enough ... another book? I have enough, and so on. The one thing that you, Ilona, have illustrated time and time again is that with a minimum of materials, generous applications of imagination and materials and a bit of time can yield an end product that is often superior to a lot of the mass produced junk we are constantly lured into purchasing. So, when the time comes to actually take the plunge into the the retired lifestyle, by following your excellent example and utilizing what I already have, I firmly believe that I WILL have enough to have a terrific life after work. Thanks!

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    1. You could start practising now to live on your retired income...it would give the chance to try it out (with a backstop so you can tweak things if you need to) and the extra you are earning now could become valuable savings for the future. Happy thrifting.

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  15. A lovely story....good on you Marigold. Yes....I just want to agree that magazines can be a real suck on money, time and satisfaction. Even gardening magazines, although maybe full of good information, will also be full of adverts that can make gardening an expensive hobby when it can be managed for free.

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    1. Oh yes I hadn't noticed that I do feel gardening is expensive when I look at gardening mags. Thanks. I love swopping seeds and plants with friends. Makes it cheaper.

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  16. This evening my daughter and I went into our nearby city as part of out Xmas tradition. We went to look at the lights on the winter solstice as we did when she was little. She also wanted to do some late night shopping so I tagged along . Oh I had forgotten all the noise on the shops and people wanting more of more and the choices of thing X no wonder people are not contented. Queues of people X well some of it was lovely X being with her X having a laugh X the lights X the Xmas market stalls but the rest of it seemed so loud and pointless X was glad to get back home ! Col

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  17. Wonderful thought provoking post and beating the system is something I’m in total agreement with. I buy most of my stuff from charity shops. No need to buy new when we have so much surplus. Kristel

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    1. I'm trying to have a "buy nothing new year". Investigating a second hand oven at present and it looks like i'll save about $700.

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  18. I love the idea of 'beating the system' and I shall keep that in mind when I am being lured in with advertisements. Great post and thank you Marigold. Looking forward to part 2.

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    1. As Mean Queen says...I'm quite suprised that she is using my email like this...(of course she very kindly asked permission!)...especially as I feel I have so much to learn and apply. Have a Happy Christmas. Marigold

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  19. Oh I agree with all of this - I’m posting as anonymous now as when I comment as Jenette it never appears - not sure why - but I want to respond x

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  20. Add my name to the list of people who enjoyed this post. I have enough, too. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder.

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  21. Spot on. I have 2 magazine subscriptions that really promote the lifestyle I think I want, but it is based on acquiring the best, top of the range paint, furniture and other accessories, making me feel that I am lacking in some way, leaving me feeling the need to keep buying more to get my home looking picture perfect. I am really considering stopping my subscriptions and being more content with my own ideas. Love the idea of beating the system, it sounds like fun! Maz

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    1. Stop the subscriptions if the magazines don't bring you joy. Spend the money on what will make you happy.

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    2. ...or don't spend the money at all and that might make you happier.

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  22. When I was younger I did spend a lot of money on Xmas presents. Sometimes I received presents back which were nothing to the standard I had given. This would hurt me, and I would think “how could they do that to me”. Now older and wiser I understand more. I am still generous, but just accept what if anything comes back it is what the the person feels is ok to give and not to take it personal. Also a present back which I felt was better than the one I had given also hurt?? Feelings getting involved with presents. I now give what I want and receive whatever and be grateful. Glad I still have friends and family.

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    1. When we were kids mum made sure that we were all treated equally and had the same value in presents. A neighbour always gave my younger sister a big present because she was his favourite. Me and my brother got a book. I was a bit upset by this. Now, many years later, I don't care what everyone else has, we all grow up eventually.

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  23. we give very few presents now, only to partner and children, I have bought two for friends this year, from the new and food section of Oxfam shop, jams and pickles and chocs that sort of thing. Family tend to do amazon lists so they get mostly what they want with some surprises. Limit is 165 each child this year and about 100 for partner, both old teenagers so it seems to have crept up this year, I have to equal it out for both in money and wrapped pressies then I'm happy. Me as a person I don't want or need anything small, I can buy most things myself when I want and need to. I have cleared the house of knickknacks so don't really want any of those. When I get a new house I want to buy for that when I have it and know what space I have. We don't do Christmas cards to each other which saves about £10 a year, a few people of long distance get cards with short letters. No longer do I do neighbours friends, work colleagues milkman etc etc, I don't have loads coming back either like I used to which is great, I don't want to spend time threading them down walls, finding space for the neighbours card that's lives 10 houses down that I don't know other than hello. Family and special cards go on top of the tv now that's it. Suffice to say and sadly unless I know the person well and I like them, the cards go in the recycling sorry peeps. No more decorations outside the house for others to see not me but using my electricity. No more decorations in the porch this year, everything has been weeded down and is now in the lounge. Everything is being simplified and I'm starting to breathe easier, in the last few weeks, a extra xmas tree, a laundry box, a large sheesham cd unit, an office chair, slow cooker have all been freely given away on facebook sites and collected from the house, amazing how much stuff we have we don't need. The lady who had slow cooker, fed local needy families as part of a group. the lady who had office chair is hurting her back on her office chair she has now. The lady who had the cd unit, sent me a lovely photo, she had given it a oil coat and its in a corner with candles above and looks amazing and so it goes on. I love to hear where my stuff ends up and if its made a bit of a difference somewhere.

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    1. Oh, Julie Taylor, spot on! Isn't if amusing the traditions we think we have to blindly follow? Good insight on the Christmas card thing and porch decorations. I've scaled Christmas way back also and it makes for less stress and more money in the pocket!

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  24. There are currently two items in the news which demonstrate the wisdom of Ilona's theory that we are ripped off by big business. Water bought in plastic bottles is a complete waste of money on both packaging and transport costs, and the damage to the environment and wildlife caused by discarded plastic, is a scandal. We can quite easily drink tap water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water, but people buy an image when they pay for water in coloured bottles.
    Apple is admitting that they build obsolescence into their smart phones; just when the warranty runs out, the battery is timed to fade. Similarly, other digital devices suffer the same fate. I believe that the first nylons brought from the US were almost indestructible, but the manufacturers quickly realised that their profits would be much bigger if the stockings were less durable.
    Ilona is so right about so many things and she helps us to look beyond the blandishments of the advertising of big business and not to be taken in.

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    1. There is built in obsolescence in everything you buy, not just Apple products. All electronics have a BIO of about 7 years - your washer, your oven, your fridge etc. Manufacturers don't cark about what goes into the landfill or the ocean - it's almost as if they thing they and their families will find another planet to live on when this one implodes. Stupid is as stupid does.

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    2. i had a second hand stove installed recently. The electrician commented that he thought this was really wise as it will last about another 30 years (with parts availiable if needed). This compares to about 5 years for a new one (and 3x more expensive), with few spare parts available.

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  25. I always think hard if I am in the market for some article. Do I need it? I don’t really own very much but what I do have is kept well (and for years). I make use of what I have. I often rearrange things to refresh. For purchases, I always get the best for my money if I should need something - I compare quality/build strength etc - I never go for “well known” per se. I buy from independent traders too - better bargains to be had and money goes to actual people not faceless institutions. I make my own entertainment - walks, drawing, embroidery, sewing, endless reading - I love history so Tudor reading leads me into a vast exciting world.. For utilities, the first thing to do is not to consume too much - (do stuff by hand rather than a gadget). Check that you are getting the best deal and if not, ditch that company and find another one. Natalie

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  26. there'll be no Christmas treats in my house this year as i just don't have the money - fortunately i already have food in the freezer for me, and stocked up on pet food for my cats. I have sent cards & presents to a few loved ones. my fake christmas tree is up with old lights & baubles. i have a beautiful pine wreath on my door (rescued from the bins 3 yrs ago). So yes I would like some of the fancy food&drink others will be having, but i am determined to make the best of what I have - christmas day will be over soon enough anyway!go away green-eyed monster!

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  27. A brilliant email from Marigold.

    And I hope it has shown you Ilona how much you are influencing and helping people through the medium of your blog. You are truly a lovely and inspirational lady.

    Wishing you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year. xx

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