My life in Ipswich - incorporating One Step at a Time, my account of how I am slowly changing my life

Monday, 12 November 2012

What does being Frugal really mean?

Over the years I have read and have even followed religiously, several 'frugal' websites and blogs. In them the writer always stresses how much money they save doing this or doing that and gives out plenty of advice. But now  I have had a light bulb moment - I have always been 'frugal' but haven't called it that.

If we go back to my childhood years, I made presents, recycled items and made my first well loved dress at the age of 10.  This continued through my teens with altering of jeans to make them flares, embroidering flowers on them and the making of my blue with silver stars Marc Bolan jacket [okay, I'm giving away my age here].

During my university years I had a great time but still saved the deposit for my first flat out of my grant and holiday earnings; my wedding dress was made from Laura Ashley fabric for a fraction of the cost of one bought new and my sisters helped me make all the food for the reception, including decorating all the cupcakes [ although they were called fairy cakes then!]with bright green and blue icing; I bought text books secondhand and cooked all my own meals [no uni canteen for me]; my furniture was bought from secondhand shops and altered to my taste and finally wine and beer was brewed. None of this I considered being frugal - it was all just natural to me.

My 'frugal' ways have enabled me to pay off a mortgage, [taken out after a marriage breakdown] in ten years and take very early retirement.   In those ten years I also remarried and had the wedding and honeymoon of my dreams[including flying over Niagara Falls in a helicopter]  all for under three thousand; had several holidays abroad and attended so many folk festivals I have lost count; bought a caravan and both myself and other half have our own cars. No I didn't marry someone with a large income,just average but we have made decisions about what is important to us.

And coming back to my 'light bulb' moment, I am no longer going to idolise these 'frugal' bloggers...because I am one of them. We are all just people who have made our own decisions on what is important to us. For some its where they live, for others the size of their house, or what they eat, or how they spend their leisure. We are all different and all have to make our own decisions. Yes, I'd love to move to another area nearer the coast but that would mean getting another mortgage and so I'd have to return to work in order to finance it. For me it's more important that I stay healthy and have time to spend with my family.  So I will continue being careful with my money but if cold I WILL put the heating on, I WILL occasionally have a takeaway of fish and chips, I WILL buy a magazine, books, cds, dvds - all because I know the way I budget my money allows it.


  1. We do all of the above probably because our parents did? My Mum was very influenced by her childhood and her parents Wartime spirit of Make-do-and-Mend :)

  2. Thats quite true Vicki.....and I know my son and daughter also do the same.....

  3. It was wonderful to read this because it's something I've thought for a long time. To me it's a way of life which enabled me to buy my first house when I was 18,to stay at home with my children or to work part time, to return to education when I was 40, and to give up work altogether at 43 following the diagnosis of a heart condition. Hubby has a low paid job, and from next year we'll be living on 13k but we'll manage, and we'll put the heating on and we'll have a holiday. I've had to stop reading some blogs in which the writer says they have no money/ can't put the heating on, yet they are overpaying their mortgage by/ saving an amount each month which is greater than my monthly income. It's about choices, not a lack of income for most people.