There's something I need to point out, as some people don't seem to have grasped it:-
This is a frugal blog, we live a frugal and thrifty lifestyle - because we have to! Husband is retired and gets State pension, Pension credit, Housing benefit and 3 small (very small) private pensions. I am not yet retirement age, having 7 or 8 years to go yet (at least) before I am entitled to State pension....in view of the fact that the Government keep moving the goalposts, I may never get there! (don't get me started on that!). I do get a private pension, also very small. Because I am not of retirement age and not disabled, I am not eligible for any benefits. I do, however, get free prescriptions (because of my diabetes) and free dental treatment - husband's Pension credit covers me for that (just as well in view of the amount of (ongoing) dental treatment I've had this year). The Housing Benefit does not cover our total rent, they only pay what our family circumstances entitle us to, which is a 1 bedroom flat - as we have a 3 bedroom house our rent is dearer, so we have to pay the balance.
That's the sum total of our joint income. We don't own our home, for reasons I'm not going into as it's nobody else's business, we rent privately. If we did own our home, we would have paid off our mortgage by now, having bought our first home about 34 years ago, whereas renting means we have to pay ad infinitum, and are also continually at the mercy of our Landlord. But that's life.
We did have savings put aside for car repairs and emergencies - the 2 breakdowns we had recently, costing around £1000, wiped out those savings completely. We have no arrears and all bills are paid by direct debit, we don't lead a frivolous lifestyle, far from it, we don't belong to any golf or gardening or social clubs or anything that costs membership - we're not on the breadline but have very little spare cash. Particularly since we now have to try to put money aside to build up our emergency fund again - if we had another car breakdown anytime soon, I have no idea what we'd do. We almost never go out for meals, we never go to the cinema or the pub or to events or places that cost money - we cannot afford it. We only buy 'stuff' if it's necessary - and we look for either second hand or a very good sale price. We shop at Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and Asda - because that's what we can afford. We used to buy our meat in bulk 2 or 3 times a year from a local butcher - haven't done for over a year, we just can't afford it now.
So, as I said, we live a very thrifty lifestyle, because we bloody well have no other choice! I'm not complaining, we love our life. But it would be nice to be spontaneous sometimes and go out for a meal, or buy something nice for the house that we see in a shop, or not have to take a flask of coffee and a sandwich every time we go out for a day but buy lunch in a café instead. We hardly ever go for days out now anyhow, not just because of the weather but also because of the cost of fuel. We've turned down 2 Christmas evening out invitations because we couldn't afford the ticket prices. It does get a bit demoralising sometimes, but we shake it off and have a coffee and bit of homemade cake.
But some people just don't seem to get it. We don't shop in Waitrose or M&S Foodhall, we don't have fresh flowers every week, we don't buy meat from butchers or classy farm shops, we don't buy new clothes or shoes (unless we have a lucky find in a charity shop, or an excellent bargain in a sale). We don't do any of that because we can't afford to! If we do buy something (like my new winter coat), then we have to go without something else.
If we go on holiday, it's the cheapest we can find, usually a budget caravan or chalet lodge, and we have to save all year for that. And we can't go any great distance because of the cost of fuel. We go to the Midlands once a year and stay in a budget caravan on a nice site for a few days, just so we can visit our family....because we're respectful and take good care of the owner's caravan and leave it in a clean and tidy state, he lets us have a discount, otherwise we couldn't afford that. We count ourselves very lucky if we are able to afford to go on holiday, even in a budget caravan.
This is a blog about our frugal, thrifty (cheap, if you want to say it without frills) lifestyle - it is what it is, it's our life. I read lots of other frugal, thrifty blogs, because they're on my wavelength, they get it, they're non-judgemental. But there are people who, for some odd reason, read mine and other thrifty blogs when they have no need to lead the kind of budget life we do - it's obvious from some of their comments that they're not short of a bob or two, so I don't quite see what the attraction is. Perhaps they just like to show off?! Or perhaps they're so wrapped up in their own luxurious comfortable free-spending bubble that they simply cannot comprehend someone else's reality of not being able to afford what are luxuries to us, but everyday items to them.
I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I think it needed saying - this is our life, our life is not your life, we can't afford the things you do, we're poor but (reasonably, given the year we've had) happy!
I used to attract similar comments, so I understand how you feel. Everything I did was questioned at one point, down to what I was reading!ReplyDelete
As to why people read; I came to the conclusion that it made some feel better/ superior that they were better off than me.
Thank you Scarlet - I know we put ourselves out there, but why people have the cheek to think they (as a complete stranger) can question our choices or give us unsolicited 'advice', is beyond me.Delete
Absolutely love this post Sue, you are so open and honest about everything, and there is nothing wrong with writing about frugality or having a whinge or moan, we all do it, we are all human, I and the majority of your readers are on the same wavelength.Keep doing what your doing, enjoy your simple frugal life and enjoy blogging.ReplyDelete
Thank you Marlene, very kind of you.Delete
Really Good post, well done on deleting things that annoy! I had those too a while back when I felt I had to justify every word. Then realised I could ignore or delete.ReplyDelete
We started off being frugal through necessity back in the first years of our marriage. Then when we wanted to work our way up to owning land and then again when we got the smallholding.
Now I'm thrifty by choice where I choose thanks to inheritances but now it's to keep out of the buying new consumer society and to help my children.
I'm still on the same wavelength.
Thank you Sue, I know you're on the same wavelength, your blog (as Marlene's has also) has been very helpful to me over the years.Delete
As to deleting things, as I've said before, I've become much firmer in my resolve in recent weeks and just don't suffer fools anymore.
Well said, Sooze. I love that you make absolutely the best of what you have, whatever that is. It HAS been a rough year for you, one way and another, but you have battled on through and, I think, triumphed in things that really matter - love, happiness, kind, open and honest to the end.ReplyDelete
I admire and respect this.
That's lovely of you to say, Joy, thank you so much.Delete
I have just read your post. When I saw that your husband got your state pension, pension credit,, housing benifit, little pensions, free dentist etc. you certainly get a lot more than I get. Yes I have got a small house but I paid dearly for it when by husband diied 32 years ago and he had a little policy that paid for. I have to pay for everything because I am just over the limit once you get pension credit it enables to to get lots of different things. I needReplyDelete
to get new glasses and check my dentist. I worked to I was 15 to I was 64 and brought 2 children up and am now 80..
Hazel c uk
I know we're fortunate to have the extra benefits, Hazel, but our circumstances don't make it easy for us to manage on what we get.Delete
Very honest post Sue,we are all frugal for many different reasons, and for many people life has not turned out how they planned. This world is all about see it, want it, got it, and store what ever it is replacing. I am sick of all the waste, nothing is repaired, in-fact it's common just to get the latest model of everything in our throw away world, without any thought about the consequences. I love your tough stance on those who react mean or horrible to you, as I have said before it's your blog, your rules. Go girl!!ReplyDelete
Thank you Marlene, life events this year in particular have toughened me up, I think. How's your husband?Delete
You have put your point across very well and I understand times are tough for everyone. My parents are 73 and don't get help with anything. They own their house but live on state pensions only (like Hazel above, they must be just over the limit for pension credit)- with no help for anything - even dental fees. They live frugally by necessity - they do get the winter fuel allowance (which I think all pensioners get??) though which comes in very handy. Times are certainly tough for every generation.ReplyDelete
They certainly are, Mrs. Yes, husband gets the winter fuel allowance, which is a welcome bonus as we have expensive oil heating.Delete
So good to read a genuine post. I could have been reading about our own life. We have rented this flat since 1965 and will probably be carried out feet first from it. Like you we could have bought but Tom's illnesses over the years prevented that. This means that we are looked down on by some people because we don't own our own home.ReplyDelete
Our income is similar to yours and there is no money remaining at the end of the week.
I get where you are coming from regarding people with money thinking they are hard up, they have no idea.
As we have always had to joggle money I am used to it and the kids were used to it when they were small. I remember a time when they had to decide wether to take the bus home or walk and have an ice cream. lol
People always say how nice my home is but most of it comes from second hand shops or the car boot,its amazing what you can do isn't it.
I'm not going to say that sometimes it doesn't get to us but on the whole we get by with cheerfulness.
Like you, Briony, most of our furniture is second hand - that way we can get better quality at a price we can afford, rather than cheap crap that falls apart within months.Delete
Well said, how and why you live as you do is absolutely nobodies business nut your own. I do not spend a penny that I do not have to as it is my upbringing. I am happy to live a frugal life, we live well because I shop carefully. I usually manage to find enough of the expensive things with yellow stickers to last for ages. Tonight we are having Chicken Fried Steak, the butter milk was from my butter making and the steak was reduced to 25%, BUT we are not pigging out on a huge amount. I baked Nigel's black banana cake yesterday, yellow sticker bananas and cheap dark chocolate from Lidl. Today it is portioned and in the freezer, sweet treats for a few weeks. The money I save keeps me in fabric, thread and yarn.ReplyDelete
Exactly, Pam, it's by living frugally that we are able to save for a holiday, even if it is a cheap one. It's all about priorities isn't it...we all have different ones.Delete
A very good post, we all live frugal lives for different reasons but I 100% get what you mean people doing through choice and others through necessity, I belong to the latter. I love reading and learning from frugal blogs. I buy reduced food, charity shop clothes, second hand furniture when things need to be replaced. We do have holidays using the newspaper codes and going out of the expensive school holiday, we go Monday to Friday and use the closest coastline to save on fuel. I take reduced food with us and cook in the caravan every evening. I do hope you're able to cut back if you can and build your safety net back, you've bad a run of bad luck this year xxReplyDelete
Thank you Wendy, we've had 2 caravan holidays using the newspaper vouchers. One wasn't very nice at all and we wouldn't go there again, thee other was actually lovely.ReplyDelete
I’m of an age where we weren’t identified as ‘frugal’ but it was simply ‘making ends meet’ and we had some truly awful times.ReplyDelete
However, our life has changed so dramatically over last couple of years that I’m now not being frugal at all (although perhaps I am really; as it’s inbuilt). Realising that either the local council social services might end up with most of our savings in the future and only distant relatives to ultimately leave things to, means I’ve been having a bit of a splurge. I’m not saying that in a boastful way - think cast iron casserole dishes; one bargain one from eBay and one from Argos with a discount voucher (not Le Creuset) and wallpaper, paint and tiles! Oh yes... and pants and socks...
Really, making sure my husband has a supply of things he won’t be able to afford in the future. I am getting a little Brexit store going though. Not just for that, as it’s prudent when the unexpected happens.
You are right to be assertive - your business is just that - yours! None of us know how easily our lives can change in an instant. I dislike smug people - let’s hope ‘what comes around’ goes around, but sadly I doubt it.
I love your splurges! And thank you.Delete
No wonder we get along jollily. Our lives are almost identical except in the U.S.ReplyDelete
The reason I read you is to see what wonderful ideas you come up with for food and getting things done by your wits.
Keep up the good work. You are my idol. :)
Aww, bless you, thanks :-))Delete
You shouldn't have to justify yourself to anyone else for whatever reason. We should all live and let live.ReplyDelete
Thank you Joan. And welcome!Delete
Hi hun, I read your blog but don't usually comment. I agree wholeheartedly what you have blogged. My hubbie is retired and has a Gov pension and a RAF pension after serving 22 years and 2 wars (Gulf and Falklans). We are luckily in council accommodation so the rent is doable with help from Housing and Council Tax benefit. I am on PIP (previously have always been in full time employment) and not ready for retirement for a good 10 years.So like you we are frugal because we have to. We are just above the threshold for Pension credit. We are parents to twins (34 years) and 6 grandchildren. We have a spreadsheet and put down every penny we spend - having a large allotment and canning/freezing/dehydrating our produce ready for the Winter saves us alot of money. Recently we have been very lucky with some PPI payments :) Not loads but enough to cover some outstanding bills and also a drop to our local Foodbank.You are not alone in your frugality.*Thank you* for your blog - reading it helps knowing there are others like us out there :) *Big hugs* Goldensunflower :)ReplyDelete
Hi Sooze. I read this excellent post this morning but didn't get chance to comment before dashing out to work. It saddens me that you find yourself on the receiving end of uneccesary comments and please don't ever feel you need to explain yourself to anyone. I do believe some people are just blinkered to the realities others face on a daily basis.ReplyDelete
Keep on being wonderfully you. X
I'll second that Jules!Delete
If you've worked in the last two years then you can claim Jobseekers Allowance. There are two types of this: one for if you have no savings, and one for if you have over £12,000 worth of savings. I'm in the same age range as you (1950s woman) but had to give up work as I just couldn't cope with all the travelling round the country my job involved. I have a very small private pension and the plan is to live off that plus any casual work I can find and my savings pot. Then fellow WASPI woman told me about Jobseekers. You apply online, and then every 2 weeks go to local Jobcentre to sign on and detail your jobsearch. You just have to log onto various job websites and apply. The companies can tell your age from your job history and aren't interested in 50+, I've yet to be invited for a single interview! JobCentre staff aren't pushy. I've paid in all my life, never claimed anything before but am so angry at how much governments have wasted over the years, I thought 'what the hell, I'm going for it.'ReplyDelete