Thursday, 29 March 2012

Do I need one?

Wow, how do I follow that? I am not used to so many comments. Fiftyone up to now on yesterdays post, I am gobsmacked, and a little bit chuffed as well, ha ha. Thank you all very much for contributing and adding your experiences. If you haven't read all the comments I urge you to do that now. There are so many inspirational stories on there. I love it when my blog becomes a place where like minded people come together and share their experiences. There are some who have had it far tougher than I have, and they've still managed to turn their life around for the better. I salute you, keep on doing what you are doing. Let's all kick consumerism into touch, and aim for a simpler and happier life.

If anyone is about to embark on this money saving journey towards a frugal and simple life, it's a bit like going on a diet is the best way I can describe it. Yes, I have been on some diets in the past, I put a fair few pounds on when I was sat on my backside all day, scoffing chocolate and crisps, and swilling pints of beer down my neck at night. I got to almost 11 stone, and my bum was well spread out, ha ha. Thankfully I have seen the light and eat very little of the naughty stuff now.

What is the first thing you do when embarking on a weight loss diet, you start thinking about food a lot more often, about counting calories, or points if you go to Weight Watchers. You think about all the foods you can eat as part of your diet. You are constantly looking at your watch to see if it is time to eat. You become more focussed on food than you ever were before. Food is always there at the back of your mind. You are on a diet but start to crave all the food you shouldn't eat. It gets harder and harder to resist, and then you crack and fall off the wagon, and binge on stuff you shouldn't be eating, next thing you know is that you are out of control.

There are lots of things we can become addicted to, certain kinds of food, massive amounts of food, booze, smoking, drugs, sex, to name a few, and of course, shopping. If you are a shopoholic people make jokes about it, but it is no laughing matter when you are racking up loads of debt to feed your addiction. Trying to stop yourself from going shopping, is as hard as cutting down on the beer and fags.

I was reading a thread on a forum once, a woman was going to start a spending diary to help her keep tabs on where her money was going, as she couldn't understand why she was constantly running short. Guess what the first thing she did was, she went out and bought a notebook. SHE SPENT MONEY. Grrrr, I wanted to scream at her. Isn't there enough scrap paper floating around that you could use.

Someone else on the forum was recommending a great book she had found, all about money saving ideas. The book cost £17.99. She could have immediately saved £17.99 BY NOT BUYING IT, plenty of free information on the internet. You pay for your broadband so why not get maximum use out of it, it's like having a library at your finger tips.

The only way to be a true and dedicated money saver, is to consider each and every purchase very carefully. Think, think, think, before you open your purse, hand the plastic over the counter, write a cheque, or sign up for direct debit or standing order. Question yourself each time. Do I really need this? Will my life be better if I buy this? Can I manage without it? And Can I buy it cheaper elsewhere?

Yes it's very hard at first, especially if you are feeling low and want the boost that spending gives you. It's easy to slip back now and then, but the more you practice the easier it gets. Eventually you are able to ignore all the chocolate that is deliberately placed next to the checkout at the supermarket. Good for the purse and good for the diet.


  1. You are right it is like a diet and it is a way of life once you get into the swing of it. Good post again,

    Gill in Canada

  2. Ilona, with just a little shift in thinking you can get what you want/need.We are renovating our house simply...rethinking what we can do to fit in with finances ..we're happy with 'lentils' not 'truffles'.
    Jane x

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed your post from yesterday! You really seem to be a secure refreshing in this day and age. I wonder, has the boy gang been back around?

  4. Yes, it does get to become automatic, looking hard at the price of everything and thinking of possible alternatives. It just becomes second nature.

    In my previous (spendthrift) life I never felt comfortable without a big wedge of cash and several credit cards in my pocket. Now I don't usually have more than £20 in cash and no credit cards.

  5. Looking at your photo, I just can't think of you as having ever been nearly 11 stone weight.

    I agree that a "don't need" mindset is a very good tool.

  6. Hi Littlebit. I saw my boy gang yesterday, they were pedalling around the village as usual and stopped for a bit of banter. They asked me why I was wearing the same clothes as I had on the day before. I said, because they aren't dirty. I only wash them when they are dirty or smell. This brought them out in a fit of giggles. They seem to be a bit more respectfull now.

  7. Ohh, you are so wise Ilona! I love your posts. I'd say my sister is a shopaholic, or something close to it. She's alwaaaays got credit card debt although she has finally seen the light and is paying it back. It's worrying to see how often she buys some new dress or shoes though. She'd have money to do the things she wanted to DO if she didn't spend on things she wanted to HAVE!

  8. I know this sounds really silly, but I was addicted to buying magazines. I would go in a shop everyday and just buy them even right down when certain knitting ones were coming out, so I wouldnt forget. The urge is still there, but no I flick through the magazines and tell myself the reasons why I dont want to buy them as there is nothing useful etc in them. Im probably saving £30.00 a month on that.
    Ebay was another addiction too, that I've slowly withdrawn from, again saving a fortune.
    Your so inspirational I love your blogs.

  9. Victoria, I had the same addiction to magazines. I would buy knitting, sewing, photography magazines every week. I had to buy them in case I missed something! Gradually I realised that they repeated themselves every year. Easter bunny knitting patterns in the April issue, how to photograph autumn leaves in the October issue and Christmas, well that was the mothership issue! So in essence I was buying the same thing year on year just with different pictures. I also realised that if I continued with the buying I was never ever in my lifetime going to be able to make or photograph every thing featured. Finally when I added up what I spent I realised that the equivalent of 3 years of magazine buying would get me a 'new' secondhand car!

    I stopped immediately, just had to go cold turkey. It's the only thing that worked for me. I already had a couple of brilliant photography and craft books lurking at the back of the wardrobe, so I got them out and put them on the shelf in the bedroom where I could access them easily. The money I was spending I am now putting aside for a new sewing machine that does embroidery as well - the Singer Futura XL-400. I am about 2 weeks away from being able to afford it. If I had kept on buying the magazines that sewing machine would have remained an unfulfilled dream. Also now having stopped buying photography magazines I do not feel any cravings to rush out and buy the latest 100 million pixel camera! In fact a cherry blossom image taken on my 5 year old digital camera just made it in to the April edition of BBC Gardener's World magazine (page 11, image 5). So I'm contributing now, not buying :-)

    I remember once reading in a book about Richard Branson a paragraph about television. They didn't have one and his mother said better to be on tv than watch tv. Maybe we could draw that as a parallel to life, better to be living life than reading about it.

    Sorry I Ilona, long post, I do ramble sometimes xxxx

  10. Well I must admit to being a hobby shopper some time ago. Probably not a true shopaholic, but it was habitual. Boredom and low self esteem I think - if I could just find the right clothes/makeup/hair products I will feel great. But that great feeling doesn't last long enough and it starts over.

    When I have dieted I have had to change my attitude towards food. Food is there the nourish me when I am hungry. I eat good food when I am hungry and my body tells me I need it, not to reward myself, or make myself feel better or get short term pleasure. Its the same with money, its a change in attitude. Do I really need this "stuff"? Is it going to benefit me for years to come or improve my quality of life considerably. Or am I trying to make myself feel better, impress other people, gain self many free ways to boost self esteem.

    If I am honest I'm a bit of a scruff these days. I haven't bought any clothes (new or second hand) for over a year - maybe even two. It feels great to wear my surplus of clothes until they become worn and thin (I got my money's worth!) And when they are worn and thin I wonder what else I can do with them now. I paid for them, they are mine, I'm going to squeeze every penny out of them. I don't go to the hairdressers any more either. I've let my hair grow long and natural, I tie it up and forget about it (just do tiny trims every few months). Nobody has batted an eyelid to my new ways - I've come to the conclusion nobody really cares what I look like, and if they do its their problem.

    Glad those little tinkers are showing you some respect. Debs x

  11. As always I agree with all you say,you are an inspiration to me and have helped me alot in moneysaving, this is the first comment I have left, I am thinking of starting my own blog to help me and keep me inspired.

  12. I confess the only thing I am addicted to is fabric! but I do use it for useful and attractive creations, many of which are presents. Can't think of anything else I indulge in...nothing that's fit for public eyes anyway ha ha :-D

  13. Right on, girlfriend!!! When I worked, I thought nothing of spending money all the time for a new outfit for work. If only I had all that money I had spent back then...YIKES!!!

    Now that we are retired I (hopefully) am being much smarter with our money. I shop around (online and locally) if we REALLY need something for the house or ourselves. Cheap isn't always the best way to go for some things, but I try to do a lot of research before I buy anything.

    I am a quilter, so buying fabric was an obsession for me. I had stacks and stacks of fabric. I bought it because I liked it. Didn't have any idea what I'd use it for, but at least it was in my "stash", right?? Well, I got to thinking about this about 4 years ago when we moved from one state to another. Some of the fabric was years old and I'd never used it...and didn't even like it!! What was I thinking??? Well, I stopped buying fabric and only use what I have for projects.

    So, with that revelation, I started thinking about a lot of other things that could be cut out of trimmed way down in the spending category. Reading your blog and several others has made me re-think how I spend our money and what I spend it on. I ALWAYS ask this something that we REALLY need or is it something that I WANT??? Most of the time, I can talk myself out of buying it because it's just not needed.

    I also do couponing for groceries as much as I can. Yesterday I spent $51 and saved $27 with coupons. Sometimes I do better. It depends on what's on sale and IF we need it. I've really cut back on buying grocery items just because they're on sale that week. If I have enough of an item at home and we don't need it to be replaced within a couple weeks, the same item will be on sale again. I use to stockpile. But over the winter, I've used a lot from that stockpile and I don't think I'm going to keep so much on hand. I have enough left that I can use from it for another few months.

  14. I am learning from you. Certainly giving things more thought.

  15. It is hard work, dealing with debt is like fighting a battle everyday, well it is to me. I see myself as being a slave to debt now and repaying it sets me free. I'm addicted to crochet though x

  16. I know what you mean when people say they're saving, then go an spend on stuff of stupid things to "help" them save. A friend of mine decided to take up vege growing to save money. However after buying expensive potting mix, plant and every fertiliser product under the sun, they'd spent hundreds of dollars already. I always laugh when they tell me how expensive it is... and then I tell them I've spent about $10 on mine ;)

    1. Another great post!had to smile at the comment the boy gang made about your clothes,so cute!


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