Thursday, 4 July 2019

No longer a tight arse

A recent comment has prompted me to write this post. A reader thought it was odd that I chose to throw money away in the form of money off vouchers from Tesco. I have written a reply, but I feel a wider explanation is needed. Similar comments have appeared in the past, one person was disgruntled that she didn't find zillions of posts on how to save money, because that is what she had come for.

Readers who have been following me from way back will know the story of how I cut down on my working hours when I was in my mid fifties, because I wasn't enjoying the job as much as I had been. This then of course reduced my income. I decided to manage my money in the best way I could, and stopped all frivolous spending on things I didn't need. When I got to 60, the age at which I was allowed to officially retire, I was skint. My bank account had hardly anything left in it.

My freedom from work was worth much more to me than splashing the cash. My new job entailed looking for lots of different ways to save money. I turned part of my garden over to growing vegetables. I monitored every penny I spent by keeping a spending diary. And yes, I did make use of any vouchers that Tesco sent me. I scrutinized my bank statements, and kept track of where my money was going. My state pension kicked in, and with a small private pension, I had to balance the books, money in v money out.

I still had a mortgage, I had a car, I had pets, I needed to pay Council Tax and utilities to keep a roof over my head. It was like a military operation, everything would be paid for out of my pensions, no borrowing. By imposing such strict rules on myself I was able to pay off my mortgage early.

Money saving and living within your means is by and large a lot of common sense. It comes naturally to me because I learnt it from my mother. I have often written about my weird and whacky ways to save money, some of it is a bit extreme, but it has worked for me. Wearing boys pants and limiting my use of toilet paper are two tips that I will be remembered for.

Some people think that living a simple frugal life is limiting, that couldn't further from the truth. Stopping all frivolous and impulsive spending frees up a lot of time which can be otherwise spent doing enjoyable things.

Now, after ten years of retirement people still come here to read about my money saving activities hoping to pick up some tips. My journey is all documented in the archives, but you might have noticed that I am in a better place now. I actually have savings, so I don't have to be so strict with myself. The pressure is off for me to account for every penny spent and that's a good feeling.

Life evolves, life moves on. If you are in a hole and make changes to get out of it, then eventually as you come out the other side you get to relax. My mind is conditioned to recognising what really makes me happy. I have moved on to the next stage.

My money saving antics are still there, I still buy yellow stickers. I am disciplined enough to walk away from advertising, and to ignore temptations put in front of me. I spend money on my terms. I no longer have to do a few calculations on my bank statement to make sure I have everything covered. Now it's a cursory glance at the bottom line, balance last month, balance this month, yes that's fine.

There are links on the sidebar to take you to the different topics that I write about. If your interest is in money saving, click on those. Have a look around the blog and read the bits you are interested in. My Meanqueen name is no longer an accurate description of me, but I am stuck with it. The Queen of Mean is no longer a tight arse.
Toodle pip.  ilona  


46 comments:

  1. I for one have great fun reading your archives. Tight arse you may have been, hilarious you most definitely are! Some of your money saving ideas have been way beyond anything I do but many give me food for thought.

    Thank you for continuing to write your blog.

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    1. As long as it makes you think about your spending, I'm happy with that.

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  2. I find it good fun to live frugally. Any twit can spend money they don't have and then worry themselves sick over the bills. Give me a frugal lifestyle any day.

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    1. I totally agree Cherie. Ilona you have inspired me. I no longer spend money on things I don't need. I can go shopping now and think do i need that.
      Keep up the good work. X

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  3. Those coupons would have cost me money in the long run. I think you do have money-saving posts.

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    1. There are plenty of money saving posts if people want that information. I don't feel the need to keep on going over the same ground over and over again.

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  4. I have never commented before, but frugality/thriftiness etc has many guises, there are things that you do that I wouldn't dream of and vice versa ( for example I don't have a car), that doesn't mean that either is 'right' or 'wrong'.
    I rarely (ever?) use vouchers because they are for things I wouldn't buy or because the spend is beyond my budget, spending money to save money is ridiculous. I live alone too and a £70 spend is most of my monthly food budget, so there's no way that I would be tempted to spend it in one, expensive, supermarket.

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    1. Thank you for your first comment, Su. I don't keep massive stocks of the same thing in my food cupboards, so I would struggle to spend £70 in one go.

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  5. Hi hope youre well. Ive read and re read your whole blog, i refer to it when needed its my bible lol. My aim? To overcome financal hardship gain back control and enjoy my life. With your help of course! Well done for getting where you are today.
    Xx

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    1. I agree, I go back to certain parts of Ilona's blog to keep me motivated especially food & health posts.

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  6. You have worked very hard for everything that you have and you deserve to spend it any way you see fit. I have learned a lot from you over the years but most of all - to be content and to take pleasure in small things and I thank you for that. Enjoy yourself!

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  7. I read your blog as I tend to think of you more as someone who has worked out there is more to life than money. I don't even see you as mean as you give your money to charity, help charities and are loving and kind to animals - that is not mean in my eyes. I live my life differently now because of your blog. Sharon

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    1. Nice to know I have been of some help. Thank you.

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  8. Although your on your blog you are mean queen, mean you are not, I like you live simply and cheaply day to day, as would rather spend money on holidays, days out etc.

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    1. You have your priorities sorted, that's the main thing.

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  9. I have read your blog for a long time and am always delighted when I read that you are treating yourself, for example to a nice B and B or hotel on your trips.

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    1. At the beginning of my frugal money saving journey my treats were few and far between, and the cheaper the better. Now I can splash out a bit.

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  10. a long time follower here and no need to explain yourself, we all choose to live our lives in different ways, no right or wrong way. I'm similar to you, re-use and recycle, a wood garden planter is rotten but we have a shed full of wood offcuts which hubby could re-use to repait it but he would rather click and buy one new plus P&P which costs money which to me we could use for other things like petrol in the car for a day out somewhere and pay for parking and meal in a cafe somewhere, seems a bit daft really...as you say common sense...Jo

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    1. As I have got older my priorities have changed. I used to love buying new things when I was working, but now I prefer to spend my money on experiences. I put petrol in the car because I want to see new places.

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  11. Hi Ilona Mayze Heidi and Oscar - just wish to say thank you so much for the wonderful frugal tips you give everyone. It has certainly worked out well - I am now a huge fan of frugality reusing recycling etc. and it is good for this planet too. Occasionally we all need a little treat e.g. cream cake ice cream glass of wine etc..... Life is to be enjoyed after all. You are so wise and creative. Enjoy your blog very much xxxx lOVE Liz Amy and Benny.xxxx He spends these hot days snoozing in next doors garden but comes back like clockwork for his meals.

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    1. Yes, I will have a glass of wine, and a cream cake, and a Magnum ice cream if I want one. But I won't waste money on a takeaway or fast food junk.

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  12. I'd noticed some time ago that you don't follow the frugal lifestyle you used to do, I suppose the frugalness served it's purpose and you can now spend differently. There are still lots of frugal blogs out there for those of us still on the frugal path. Personally I don't visit here quite so much now, in the same way I don't visit other blogs that don't live the frugal life I'm still following. Good for you though that you achieved your goal.

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    1. Tina I get what you are saying. You go where you find the information which is most relevant to your situation. MSE Forum is good for money saving ideas. I don't know how old you are but if you are at the beginning of your journey to debt free happiness, then search for everything that will help you achieve that goal.

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  13. Elaine (Oldham)4 July 2019 at 18:51

    I've read your blog since 2012-2013 and this last few days I've been delving into the archives as there is many good money saving ideas you have documented over the years. One of the handiest ones was the washing up liquid diluted in a spray-bottle. This idea alone must have saved me loads in cleaning products over time. I enjoy your 'throw it all together' recipes and photographs of nature of the changing seasons. It is good you don't have to be so frugal nowadays. Thank you for sharing with us.

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    1. Hello Elaine, thank you for your support. Yes, I still dilute most liquids, or use very sparingly. Dilute washing up liquid in a spray bottle will clean most things. I dilute my juices, these days I drink mostly coloured water with just a hint of fruit. Water from the tap of course. Tiny spots of shampoo when washing my hair. A drizzle of bleach in the toilet once a week, never squeeze the bottle. Money saved will buy me an ice cream.

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  14. I have a question for you Ilona, if you won the lottery, what do you think you'd spend it on?

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    1. I've been asked this before, and struggle to answer. First off I would buy a nicer, bit bigger house, but it would have to be closer to my cat sitter. That would be ok because she lives in a nice street. Then I would buy a motorhome so I could go off travelling.

      Then I would make sure my family had money to pay off their mortgages, buy new cars, and have a holiday.

      I would make some charitable donations, mainly animal charities. And divide what's left into the years I think I might have left to live, so I wouldn't run out of money at the end. If I became ill or really old, I would try very hard to spend the lot before I go.

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  15. You certainly aren’t mean!!!
    I personally have found you an inspiration in many ways, although I don’t always make the same choices as you. And that’s ok, we are all different aren’t we? What i take most from you is that we must all prioritise what is most important to us and make our choices accordingly, and then take responsibility for our choices!
    Thanks Ilona, see you soon! Xxx

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    1. Hi SS, I know you are very busy with work, and after having met you a few times now I would say you definitely do have your priorities sorted out. You have a lot of years ahead of you and I know you will be ahead of the game all the way. You are a good role model for your kids. If they follow your lead they won't go far wrong. xxx

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  16. Frankly I think people have a cheek expecting you to 'explain' yourself! You don't advertise yourself as a guru or a consultant, you are writing your own blog and giving out tips on how to manage on less money. The way you live is your business and if you want to go on a 5 star holiday to the Maldives it's no ones business but yours! I would say the fact you have been so frugal in the past actually entitles you to spend money now that you, yourself have saved, on whatever you wish. I don't understand why people who complain to bloggers about their content don't just go and find a blog that satisfies whatever it is they are looking for. I am now stepping down off my soapbox. I enjoy reading your blog, thankyou for taking the time to write it!

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    1. Don't worry Marksgran, The reader who prompted me to write this post did not expect me to explain myself. She just approached the idea of me not using money off vouchers, from a different perspective. Anyone who puts themselves out there in the media and on social networking should expect to get questioned about their motives.

      Those comments which are too intrusive, nitpicking, and smart arsing will get deleted straight away. I use my own judgement about who stays and who goes. Thank you for reading my blog.

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  17. Speaking for myself, when I found your blog a few years ago, I enjoyed going back to the start and reading it all from the beginning. It’s been a journey, and it’s been a pleasure to follow that, and learn from it. I’m just happy that you’ve survived it all, and can now loosen up a bit, if and when you choose to. Those frugal roots run deep though I think!
    Look forward to following your journey for many years to come, whatever route you choose to take!

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    1. And I don't know which way it will go next. Something will happen, there is always something around the corner.

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  18. Well I think every one has said it all.I will add that,although I have never met you,you really do come across as a very nice person!.And you have changed my life around so much,sharing with us your life and the things you do to save money.I dug up my first kitchen scrap onion this morning.This is the 3rd year I have grown them with success.My first thought was,I wish I could show Ilona this!!,xx

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    1. You could write a blog, Debi. In the meantime I shall just imagine your delight in discovering free onions.

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    2. Oh the excitement mounts as I dug another one out today,lol.Even Hubbys impressed by them!.They look like massive spring onions and if I had got a rosette I would wear it with pride.I might make one and wear it just to draw attention to myself...then when people ask me what its for,I can tell them about my free onions,lol,xx

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  19. I have to say Illona, I think you are wonderful and I love the meanqueen tag. It's not about being horrible it's about being frugal. Your blog is the only one I follow every day. I love the honesty and humour and the ingenuity you show. Plus you share such interesting stuff. Thank you

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    1. Not everyone gets my sense of humour. Grumps need not come here ;o)

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  20. You are a good example Ilona for anyone willing to read and learn. Sometimes people are just want to be spoon fed answers when they should take responsibility for themselves and their messes.

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    1. Oooh tell me about it. I get asked some questions which are common sense to me, but others are a tad confused. Just goes to show that everyone's brain is not wired up the same.

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  21. I think a lot of us go down the frugal road when times get tough for whatever reason, for me it was becoming a single parent of three children. Nearly thirty years later and in a much different position I had slipped into some, but not all, old habits. I found your blog and through reading it began to change back again, it’s not being mean, a lot of it is just common sense, why waste money, just leave it alone, the day will come when you will be thankful you did. I stopped working completely a year ago due to a severe episode of sciatica which is still ongoing, just after my husband retired. Things will get easier in a few months when I finally get my pension but I’m so happy I have been a saver rather than a spender. You give great advice Ilona, some I follow some is not for me, and that’s ok, you wouldn’t follow some of my habits too. Thank you for a great blog.

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  22. We've had some tough times, the 15% mortgage interest era comes to mind. I started a book of our ins and outs at the bank at that time and still do. It keeps me grounded I know what I have. I'm a baby boomer and totally sick and tired of the comments ...oh they're Ok got plenty coming in. The difference is we didn't have a credit card, we didn't have the latest gadgets,new furniture, holidays abroad etc etc. Certainly didn't have a new car. That's the difference they want it all nowadays at whatever cost...right now. I hope they can survive into retirement if they can afford it.

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  23. I've found your frugal tips very useful Ilona and I sometimes scroll through older posts for inspiration. I have to account for every penny as my pension age was extended to 66 - I took early retirement as I could no longer physically cope with my job. My choice and I knew it would mean a lot of economising. I enjoy the freedom and am very grateful to be out of retail which is awful nowadays. I would have liked my pension at 60 but it wasn't to be. A lot of women are having a very hard time because of this, much worse than me. Employers aren't interested in 60+ women. I have pointed a couple of friends in the direction of your blog, it is a real help to people.

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  24. Glad to hear you are in a good place financially and can relax the reins. You have worked hard to get to where you are and deserve to relax. I always enjoy reading about your adventures.

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  25. As some one who is rubbish at making money... but can stretch a pound. I love your blog.
    This is my blog about fixing up a house I bought... but with no money!
    www.thisishut.blogspot.co.uk

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