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