* How do I start my frugal journey ?
* Is it worth all the fuss and hard work ?
In this post I'll answer the second question and leave the first question for another time.
Of course I'm going to say YES it's worth all the hard work but you probably want to know why ? For my family there are many reasons why we live the frugal life.
Money - We like money, we wish we could get our hands on more, we like spending and saving it too. But the reality is we don't earn very much. Our income is lower than what the government calls a low income. Far lower. Our low income is not from lack of work either. Darren works so hard to provide for us. Unfortunately the hospitality industry doesn't pay a lot and hours are cut when it's not busy I clean a couple of homes each week. Yes that pays well but I can't do cleaning work full time. I don't have the energy for such hard work. Living the frugal life gives me the chance to make the dollars we earn go a long way.
I don't have to work full time - Infact, I've never had to work full time. Being frugal gives me choices about my life. I chose to stay home to raise our daughters. I also chose quality time with my family feeding them home cooked food. Both Darren and I chose the smaller house, local holidays, keeping our cars for a long time, restaurants and movies as a rare treat and growing our own food. This lifestyle might not be for everyone but Darren and I didn't want to work long hours to support a lifestyle we didn't have time for.
Time - It doesn't take too much time to do the frugal tasks I do each week. For example
* Making Miracle Spray takes 5 minute from start to finish, costs about $1 - $1.50 for two litres of cleaning product. I make it a few times a year and it saves me well over $100. I don't need to buy toilet cleaner, stain remover, spray and wipe, carpet cleaner, shower cleaner, stainless steel cleaner, fridge cleaner, sugar soap, dishwasher cleaner or floor cleaner.
* Making laundry powder takes 5 - 10 minutes to do a quadruple batch. It saves me another $100 ( or far more if I used those pods at 50 cents a wash ).
* Baking a batch of muffins takes 15 minutes and costs about $2 for 24 muffins. Supermarket muffins cost about $1 - $1.50 each. so I'm saving $22 - $34 each time I bake them.
Debt - Being frugal can fast track debt elimination. Making our dollars stretch allowed us to put extra money on our mortgage. With our frugal lifestyle and low income we were able to be completely debt free just after I turned 40.
Food - I'd much rather spend my time cooking a meal my family will love, saving us money and our health. The alternative is mass produced, calorie laden, salt and sugar rich, preservative drenched rubbish food. It really is a no brainer.
Savings in the bank - A frugal lifestyle reduces waste ( of all kinds ) and allows our savings to grow.
I find I'm busy however a different type of busy. Instead of racing here and there, driving to and from shops, time spent buying groceries, money spent buying groceries, clothes shopping and more I'm busy at home. I do need to go shopping of course however do more at home which has reduced all those trips.ReplyDelete
Making my own cleaners, growing our own veggies and herbs, having chickens. I get a great sense of satisfaction. It all ties together eventually. Menu planning, organisation, lists, up early in the morning, batch cooking for the freezer all start working together.
People sometimes say to me 'but all that takes so much time.' Once you have your routine going you spend so much less time racing around and save more too and you can't beat that sense of satisfaction. You are also healthier as you are outside more, eating your own produce, cooking from scratch etc.
Being frugal has also saved us so much with our utility bills. A simple ring around, some research and you get much better deals. On top of that washing in cold water, not owning a dryer, sweep the floors and vacuum once a week, turn switches off etc.
I couldn't imagine living any other way now. I've still got a lot more to learn and it's exciting.
Kylie, we all have more to learn. That's one of the joys of frugal living.Delete
You are so right. It' different kind of busy. I just had an idiot comment about this post being all about ME and I should work more. They have no idea what I do each day to keep our home running, garden growing, food being provided etc etc.
You are smart and have a lot of common sense! AndreaReplyDelete
Thankyou Andrea. It sure beats working long hours and not enjoying our home.Delete
I am drowning in debt because I was too busy having the wants not the needs. But thanks to you and an awful lot of hard work I hope to be living the abundant life by the time I turn 55. (2 years time). My girls aren't happy when I say no to things but they are learning that it takes hard work to get the things we need to live a comfortable life. My house is smaller than yours. 1 bathroom and the laundry is out the back door via a verandah but our mortgage is much less than the average renter pays so I see that as a plus.ReplyDelete
I may be a slow learner or is it a late starter but with friends like you Wendy and God's love we will get there.
You certainly will get there Janine. Hard work has it's rewards.Delete
After years of being flat out, busy and stressed I've made a change to working less and living more simply. For several years I've been 'brain training' myself into wanting less, making do and loving being home instead of wanting to go out and spend money all the time. Luckily my husband is naturally this way which is a huge help. He's a great gardener and grows the veges which I would struggle with. We aren't debt free but have been paying the mortgage down and now have a smallish mortgage and can be debt free when we downsize from this house one day. I have been reading your blog since I saw you on tv, sorry I haven't posted before to say thank you for all the positive energy you put out all the time. I really enjoy your posts and other blogs from like minded ladies. Have a great day Wendy.ReplyDelete
Thankyou for your kind words Amanda and welcome to my blog. I hope we hear from you often.Delete
Home should be our soft place, our comfort and our retreat from this crazy world. It sounds like you and your husband make a great team.
Hip, hip, hooray Wendy. You sing the same song as me. Bluey and I paid out our mortgage when I was 42. Our house was lovely, but unfinished. We kept the savings happening as if we still had the mortgage. This allowed us to finish off our house to a high standard. Both the children have grown into young people who understand the value of hard work and saving every spare dollar. DIY is part of all our lives. Being frugal is hard but it is most definitely worth it.ReplyDelete
Bet you love being debt free Jane. It really is a life worth living.Delete
You and your husband as so much like Darren and I. We've just finished all our major renos and our home looks great too.
I've never been a big spender, but I look back and know I've wasted plenty of money over the years, and wish I hadn't. We choose to live frugally for 3 main reasons 1. To get out of debt, fortunately for us our only debt is our mortgage 2. Because it affords me the opportunity to not have to work full-time, I would much rather be home looking after my house and family than be in paid work 3. It's good for the environment, not spending money on new things, less packaging because you cook from scratch etc. I wouldn't choose any other way to live.ReplyDelete
I SO hear you Cheryl. There are so many good reasons to live the frugal life.Delete
You go preach 'em Wendy - I concur on all those points. The great thing about being frugal is that it taps into that survivor mode that our brains love to use. Getting our money to become our servant instead of our master has been a near-religious experience for our family.ReplyDelete
We certain preach from the same book Phil.Delete
Wendy I am currently on holidays and my husband and I are having what is now called a staycation. I did think we might go away for a few days somewhere but we are enjoying ourselves so much at home there is no point in travelling elsewhere.ReplyDelete
Good for you Sherri. Staycations are great because you have a comfy bed, hot shower and all the creature comfortsDelete
Great post Wendy! We have chosen the frugal life a few years ago. We have saved so much money on so many areas and could put that money into our mortgage. By living frugally we are able to put extra into the mortgage each fortnight. The hard work we are doing now will benefit my family in the future and eventually we can cut back on the working hours we do. Frugal living can just be a few tasks that you do during the week here and there to save money, many are not difficult. We make washing powder, meals from scratch (and they are always better than something from a jar), yoghurt, miracle spray too and each of those things save us a small fortune. That small fortune goes towards our mortgage and over time makes a big difference!ReplyDelete
Frugal living might not be for all, it is a learning curve but it is definitely worth it. We live a great life and can always pay for things as needed without having to borrow money or go into debt for it. I think racking up more debt to keep up a lifestyle you can't afford is too stressful and definitely not a better alternative.
Wendy, these are pretty much the values I grew with - money was to be respected. Family time consisted of a picnic lunch in the countryside where produce was purchased cheaply in bulk for my DM and DGM to preserve. I can't remember ever 'eating out'.ReplyDelete
We were married shortly after graduating, so while money wasn't so tight (we were used to not having any) we weren't in the habit of spending plus we had the added incentive of really wanting our own home and needing a deposit (banks would only lend according to the husband's wage then).
Interestingly, my sis-in-law, barely speaks to me because she considers I've wasted my education and should have forged a career rather than stay home and take care of my family. Now that we're empty nesters, she considers me nothing more than lazy and a bludger!! I'm not sorry for my decisions, being frugal and managing the home front allowed us to be debt free before we were both 40 and 20+ years on live a comfortable retirement.
Yes, the frugal life is definitely for us, and I agree, it is really about choices. I really identify with what you say - I love money, but my hate for debt is more than my love of money, so as a family we are much happier being debt free. Our frugal life allows me to stay home and educate our children - we couldn't do that if we were careless with money.ReplyDelete
We love our frugal life too Wendy. It took many years to convert my husband who grew in a spendthrift household but now we are both on the same page and a great team. My daughter 17 is a great little bargain hunter and is always finding great deals and recently converted one of her friends to op shopping. her friend is from a sole parent household as the father passed away so money is tight. it was a real eye opener for her to the wonderful bargains that can be found and hopefully that knowledge will be a blessing to her now and in the future. I love your blog Wendy is is great to find a nice community of like minded people as too often consumerism is forced down our throats. we love our frugal life, i work 4 days and have 3 off and feel that i finally have a good work life balance. i didn't love being at home fulltime and i didn't love fulltime work and was constantly stressed. we are debt free with only a small mortgage to go. in 5 years it will be completely paid off and i will drop another day to 3 days. i think that will be perfect. we garden, cook from scratch, op shop, do our own cleaning /gardening and diy as much as possible, colour my own hair (receive many compliments - also for my clothing and home decor mostly op shop treasures). we pay cash for our cars and were able to help our daughter with a couple of thousand for her first car (but she saved most of it herself and had to flip an awful lot of burgers to do so). our life is rich and happy, now in my early 49s i really dont care what the naysayers think (including my opinionated mother in law who looks down her nose at our frugal choices but is still renting and working at 70+ but keeps Bollinger and caviar in her fridge as a pseudo display of wealth). the naysayers are of course entitled to their up to their eyeballs in debt opinion, we are very happy with the course that we have chosen and will not be changing direction for anyone. keep up the good work Wendy. how's the book coming along? LisaReplyDelete
I love our frugal life and wouldn't like to live any other way. My father told us children in the 80's to save our money and buy a house as soon as possible. He also told us not to waste money on alcohol and other useless stuff. He always told us and and I quote: " don't p..s your money against the wall". We are in our late 40's with children in high school and debt free. Our only luxury is travel. We are going to Japan this year and are planning to go to Scandinavia next year but we always safe up for this and always try to get the best price on flights and accommodation. All this would not be possible without our frugal lifestyle.
Good for you Wendy! I love reading your blog, and you and Darren are a shining example of living your values. Your blog is a ministry! Love, TeresaReplyDelete
I'm a little behind with blogs, but I really wanted to say that this is a great post Wendy!ReplyDelete
I choose to be home because I can save more that way than going out to work full time. Too work full time comes at a cost.
I have learned the skills to pay off debt and keep costs very low from many resources on the internet, and your blog is one. Now it is just second nature.
Although I did get caught up in the consumer world for a while, I have also been a budget person as there have been times when money was extremely tight. I was brought up in a one income family, and learned by watching the many skills my mum and dad used just to get by. They have always been frugal people. Even today they live very simply :)
Once again thank you for this post, it is a wonderful reminder to push forward doing all things frugal!
how do I start the frugal life? My husband and I don't travel, our only luxury is cable tv, we do however have cell phones for emergency as I travel 30 miles to work, I make everything from scratch, have 2 children at home, yet I still don't seem to have enough money. Please help.ReplyDelete
Hi Ali. Do you know where your money is going ? Do you track all your spending ? This can really help highlight problem areas.Delete
I know you say that cable tv is your only luxury but I have to ask - do you need it or would your rather have the cash ? We don't have cable tv and have never had it. We are too busy working, in the veggie garden, making and baking everything we can. Infact, the tv generally only goes on after dinner.
If you don't have enough money, you either need to reduce your expenses or find ways of making more money. Can you sell your baking to friends and family ? Can you swap produce for items needed ? Are you spending too much on gifts ? Can you make gifts ? Are your kids old enough to be paying board ?
These are just some ideas for you to start thinking about.
Thank you Wendy. I would really like to get rid of cable tv, however, this is hubby and mine only entertainment. We will be going through the home to get rid of "stuff" at a garage sale. I found many things that have only been "stored" for years and not used. Wish me luck, love your blog and Merry Christmas to you and yours!Delete