Trying to put your finger on what simple and or frugal living means is very difficult as it means different things to different people. I checked what such a simple statement means before starting this post, most of which is not how we live. Instead, I will try to explain our simple life, well, as much as we understand it ourselves and how most of the time, we avoid/deal with the spanners that life throws at us!
Living on one persons' wage or in our case, pension, determines how we live. Some have said it is boring, monotonous, 'going without' and words to that effect. We don't subscribe to any of that nonsense!
Often life will throw one (or several) spanners into the works. You can either deal with them or be an ostrich and ignore them. Ignoring is not a real option but many people seem to do just that.
As I have said before in a post, it is about mind set. All our married life we have lived reasonably simply. This was our first house although these photographs are from its sale 2 years ago (we left it nearly 32 years ago - what a change, especially the back:
We didn't 'go without' as we were both working. We didn't overspend either. We saved (although looking back, not as much as we should have). DB was often to be found making us furniture from scratch in the early days:
I cooked from scratch although I hadn't learnt how to make bread at that stage. We started our first vegetable garden in the back quarter of the lawn, despite neighbours telling us the soil wouldn't support it - very sandy and dry - say what!:
We bought only what we determined we needed and no more. Married to someone whose job moved them around the country and Europe isn't always easy. You don't feel completely settled, never knowing how long you will have your job etc. Also living in a foreign country can be quite alienating.
Becoming internalized and ignoring it all, staying in, letting your fears get a grip of your life takes hard work to overcome but we did it. I even tried a few jobs which was difficult as they on the whole didn't speak English and I didn't speak their language but we somehow managed.
Anyhow we adjusted like you do. When life threw a spanner at us, for the most part, we caught it, spit in its eye, adjusted and carried on. I wish the internet had been around then, how much easier it would have been to just go on-line and read up how to do things, chat to people, find help etc.
It will now be quite a few years before I get my pension as they have moved the goal posts. I have also found out that despite being fully paid up with National Insurance contributions, I now have to find the money to pay another 5 years worth if I wish to get my full pension. That my friends, is a spanner and a half:)
I can't go back to work (nor do I wish to), as I had to stop in the first place with a serious stress-related illness that would have become dire if I had carried on.
So we laid that particular spanner to rest and now we cook, bake, garden, make adjustments and savings in all areas of our life. Where it is practical, healthier and cheaper to do so, I will make household, toiletry and soon hopefully, skincare products etc. We are careful with our money, fuel, water. We have savings because we are so careful.
However, that does not mean we are constantly going without. Team Dc. adjusts, manages, copes, after all, what is the alternative?
We have managed, for now, to bring our entire food and toiletry monthly spending down from £160 to £120 per month for the two of us. Our spending for this month is £114.72.
Do we feel we are going without? Not one jot. Do we panic about the future? No, as we don't yet know what spanners are coming our way. Anyway, just because a spanner is heading in your direction doesn't mean to say it will hit you. If it does, it might just bruise rather than kill you.
Then again, it might just miss altogether, how wonderful would that be!