Saturday, 23 March 2013

Frugal living part I

Welcome to my new followers Faye Henry, Jennifer Taylor and Frugal in Bucks, you are all most welcome.

No snow here yet but if anyone is affected, please take care, keep warm and eat hot food. If rain or floods are affection you, my heart goes out to you. Not much use I know, but I am thinking of you.

My thoughts of late, have turned to frugal living and how those two simple words have such a diverse meaning by those who try to live such a life style. There are a myriad reasons why each of us choose to be frugal. Most of us also find a different way of doing so. There is no right or wrong way in any of our decisions, only what is right for each of us.
 
Many frugal or simple living blogs are in existence where we can all find helpful advice, regardless of where we are on our journey. 
 
Some have no choice but to be frugal, due to their limited finances, lack of job etc, but who still want to lead as good a life as they can whilst paying off a mortgage or other small debts until either their finances improve or they find a job. Even finding a job doesn't mean you have to give up being frugal if there are other goals to aim for. Others are deeply in debt and hope/need to find a way to begin to deal with their finances and address their style of living. 
 
Some are now free of big debt but still want or need to be frugal to get where they want to be later in their lives. Others (and we probably fall into this category), have no or little debt, some savings, are where they want to be but trying to live on a pension. In our case as well, being frugal has become a way of living and quite frankly, we enjoy both it and the challenge - don't think we will be changing any time soon!

This blog often shows how we cook from scratch, or attempt to keep all our utility bills as low as possible by constantly adapting what we use. We've changed what cleaning products we use and forage for certain items such as wild fruit and berries, or pine cones and twigs. We have been known to pick up veg from the side of the road such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes and onions, after they have fallen from trailers at harvest time!

Clothes are another expense we all have to deal with and is what I would like to address over two posts.
 
Some use charity shops, others shop on eBay, some knit or sew and some, like us, buy only when they really need to buy but buy new. Again, there is no right or wrong way of doing things, each to their own.
For example, I was brought up wearing others cast off clothing. This is not new. My mother in law used to say about her own childhood, first up best dressed! I am not against second-hand clothing, and if I have finished with something after several years and it is still in good condition and has life left in it, will donate it. Nowadays though, and possibly due to my upbringing, I prefer to save up and shop for new if possible, but only very occasionally and only when needed.
As some of you know, I have some scoliosis of the back - nothing too bad but it does affect me. My right shoulder drops down and right hip is up and forward, making me look out of line, so all items of clothing have to be tried on before purchasing - that rules out all on-line shopping. 

My back also affects my feet with each ankle turned inwards between 11 and 16 degrees. Shoes have to be tried on and over the years I have found I can only wear expensive ankle boots, such as Hotter which support both foot and ankle – again that rules out on-line shopping otherwise I'd spend all my time sending things back. Most shoes and supportive sandals are worn until they fall apart – often many years.

It would take me a year or longer to knit a jumper or cardigan so I don't. I can sew and hope to begin making some clothes in the not too distant future.More tomorrow.

14 comments:

  1. We have snow, not much at the moment but the sky has a steely glint to it, a promise of more to come. We live a frugal life because of my upbringing, I waste nothing, cook from scratch and only replace what wears out. My take on "frugal living" is that we live well, eat tasty nutritious food, wear good clothes and live in a warm comfortable home all on a budget. I buy my shoes from Hotter, I have big feet and their size 9 fits me perfectly, they may be expensive but last forever so the cost per year is affordable. I look after my clothes, I make laundry "gloop" and do not tumble dry as it knocks the stuffing out of everything. My big items, and nearly all my clothes, are bought in the sales. My new winter coat, which will probably outlive me, is pure wool and was reduced down from around £300 to £50. It is a glorious Purple and I love it.

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    1. Same here except the foot size!

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  2. As you know, I'm in the 'no choice but want to live as well as possible' camp. I do what I have to, and others do what they have to. Everyone is different and each has to make choices about what works for them, and therefore I judge nobody. What I find increasingly distasteful is the way some think that their way is the right and only way and that anyone who spends money on something that they don't see as being important is some sort of frivolous idiot.

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    1. As we both know, there is no right or wrong way, simply what is! I've had comments about spending money on medical massages, chiro, hair dyeing etc but no-one else is living our lives except us. That said, I enjoy reading the blogs of others for inspiration - can't have enough of that. Never too old to learn and as far as I am concerned, I want to learn whilst I am still able. What I choose to learn is usually better than what others think I should. xx

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  3. What a lovely post, I really enjoy reading your posts. As you may have gathered we are in a similar position to yourselves, my hubby took early retirement and we live on his private pension. The budget is tight but I may not be as frugal as others, it is what we are comfortable with. I enjoy reading other peoples blogs too for inspiration and have picked up many tips and recipes over the last couple of years. There are things in our lifestyle that are important to us which others may see as frivolous but I don't mind what they think and at the end of the day we are very happy with the way we live. I agree about the shoes, buy cheap buy twice comes to mind. My grandma always said buy a good mattress and good shoes cos if you're not on one you're in the others lol x

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    1. Thank you. Like you, living on a pension means being careful. Certainly don't want to be taking on loans etc at our age. I love the saying by your grandma.

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  4. I think it is very important to read these blogs with an open mind, and not leap to conclusions or make comments because the post doesn't reflect your own version of 'frugal living'. I do agree with you. I said in a recent post how I felt quite humbled reading about other peoples' lives and experiences, so much admiration for those who dragged themselves out of debt by being careful and disciplined. I'm in the very fortunate position of being mortgage free and living where we want to be. But on our pensions. We like to read, we have hobbies and run 2 cars because we are all over the place. Not a very frugal life-style to some.But we try to be careful and not profligate. I enjoy cooking from scratch. My clothes-making is dire, so I don't! but we spend less and less on clothing these days. It really is horses for courses, and we can all learn from each other despite being in different circumstances.

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    1. The recipe for the soup can be found on my post of 12th November 2012 (I think!). I think it is not so much the blogs themselves but the comments left by people that get up people's noses. Like we say, each to their own.

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  5. I am looking for a more simple and sustainable lifestyle and I think that lifestyle is by its very nature frugal. I also take into account my lifestyle choices (such as animal rights issues, fairtrade etc) and not just the price of something (which I know you do to). So my chocolate may cost a little bit more than the supermarkets own brand but I have less of it and eat it with a clear conscience, but that's my choice and I have the right to choose. I learn a lot from your blog about all sorts of things, you are never judgemental and always generous with sharing your knowledge and experience.

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    1. I do agree about choice and what is right for one is not necessarily so for another. I try to not force my opinions on anyone, including J. although that requires me to think it through several times before I decide whether or not to speak:). I type up my thoughts then read and re-read before publishing in the hope I don't offend anyone but you never know do you? I consider myself pretty neutral in most things but like anyone, can lose my rag on some issues.

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  6. I'm a relative newcomer, but I enjoy reading your blog.
    If you want to start sewing again, you could do worse than to head over to www.thesewingforum.co.uk. Folks over there are very friendly and share their knowledge to help each other out with their sewing projects. Many of us are quite thrifty too!
    Kind regards

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  7. Thank you. When I feel like starting I will 'pop' over.

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  8. I enjoy reading your posts and I'm always interested in a mention of clothes!
    What really made me perk up was the mention of scoliosis, you're the first person I've "met" who's got it,many times I've mentioned it and got blank stares!
    I'm affected on the left side and like you have to be careful with what I wear, I do buy most of my clothes from ebay, after years of living with this I know what suits and covers me up.
    I'd be interested to see what you make :-) x

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    1. I am lucky that you wouldn't know it when you met me, even my doctor believed I hadn't got it but when sent to the podiatrist he said yes straight away. That is why I pay for chiropractic treatment as she can shift things slightly to make me more comfortable, especially in the neck and high back areas. If my sewing becomes anything like my knitting, you may have a long wait:)

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