Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Week Of Living Frugally.

Did I ever mention that I am hopeless with money? I probably did. What with it being a major part of life. When I say hopeless with money I mean hopeless at trying not to spend any. Oh yes I am very good at spending it. I even manage to spend money I haven't actually got. They call it an overdraft. They being the bank. Somehow or other I manage to give them some back each month. Not all of it, but enough to keep them happy. I suppose I am the ideal bank customer in that respect. People like me who live just that little bit beyond their means are the main targets. We are the ones who pay the fat bankers salaries. In the grand scheme of things however, and knowing what I do about how much others around me owe, my overdraft is a piddling few hundred pounds.

Last week when I became a pensioner, I made a momentous decision: I would spend only the barest minimum amount necessary to sustain life, and I would do this for six weeks and at the end of that time I would be overdraft free. Easy peasy japaneasy.

Naturally I informed those people nearest and dearest to me - I shall name no names - about this plan. I told them that it would be pointless to ask me for any money, because I intended to stick rigidly to my decision not to spend, and furthermore I would not be swayed in any way from this endeavour. It was agreed that I was doing the absolutely right thing, and they would support me all the way.

The next day my extremely handsome son George told me his need for new football boots was quite urgent, and could he please have £50 for a new pair. I'm not one to deny my darling boy anything so I deviated from my intended frugal course and gave him the money. Well it was only fifty quid.

On the Tuesday I noticed that a new opticians had opened in the next village. Unbelievably I have never had a properly dispensed pair of glasses. Looking in the window at the display of glasses, I thought to myself what reasonable prices, and recalling that I was a pensioner and entitled to a free pair I went in and inquired. I was right too I could have a free eye test and a free pair of glasses up to a value of £65. Anything over £65 and I would have to make up the difference.

Anyway the upshot was that I ended up paying £240 for a free pair of glasses. Mind you I chose varifocal lenses and rimless frames. I pick them up in a few days. I don't know how that happened.

Wednesday I took back the lighting equipment that my friend had lent me for my party. While I was there he showed me a book he had printed of all my blog pages. He showed me the printer he had done it on too. A lovely little Dell laser printer it was. Really small and compact. Just right for me in this small space, and it was only £54. An absolute bargain. He actually let me borrow his computer and I ordered one straight away. It should arrive any day now.

Thursday I was feeling a bit hungry so I got some cash from the machine. Only £20. Well I have to eat, and so do Sadie the German Shepherd and Bonnie the cat. I spent £15 of the money on those two and also brought myself a couple of tins of baked beans and a packet of sausages, which I shall make last.

On Friday my car was running on fumes so I put £20 of fuel in the tank. When I got back from the filling station, George needed a lift to the station. He was off to stay with his friend in Eastbourne, along the coast a bit. Could I loan him £20, no £30, for a few days? Of course son. I can deny him nothing.

Next week though, just you watch me. I am so determined. I'm not going to spend anything. I really mean it. I do.


  1. Good intentions at least :-).

  2. It is so hard to live on a limited income that never quite pays for one's needs. Perhaps your needs will be less next week. By the way, I firmly believe that wants are needs too.

  3. John, here in California financially distressed city governments are racing their citizens to bankruptcy court. The concerns of us pensioners with balancing household budgets are regarded as quaint and anachronistic. Fret not. You're doing quite well by comparison.

  4. John, John, John, you need to be taken in hand. What is giving your extremely handsome some money going to teach him? That he has to do nothing to get what he wants. And that his father is a soft touch! Not preparing him for life is it?
    I have been on a NO SPEND YEAR this year and only paid utilities, and insurances, plus bought food and petrol. You can read about my journey on my other blog. I have spent very little ( I did buy myself a birthday gift which was a book about simple living and a photographic app for my phone).
    Okay lecture over! Have a great time (paying back the bank).

  5. Keep reading Ilona's blog..she will see you right.
    Jane x

  6. Well, perhaps you can look upon this as the week of "trying" to live like a pensioner. After all, this is quite a new (and recent) milestone and should not be rushed into, John.

  7. you and my daughter would get along fabulously! she seems to make so much money, but never seems to have any of it! I on the other hand do not spend a cent without analyzing if it is worth it...
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  8. There always seems to be necessities and luxuries to spend money on. Not a great start to your frugal plans.

  9. John, I smiled as I read this post, because I can totally relate...happens all the time...'"Best intentions" and "well laid plans" and all that.
    This week even out the scales by not spending money except truly "needed."
    Freeze the ATM card if you have to.

  10. Deb has a point, we had nothing as kids and mum couldn't give us everything we wanted. But she fed us, clothed us, and gave us a roof over our heads. That was a good enough start in life.

    John, you will have your relapses, you don't suddenly become disciplined it's something you learn over a period of time. Like being on a diet to lose weight, you cave in and have binges. But as long as you pick yourself up and get on with it, you will make progress along your chosen path.

    Next time you feel the urge to spend, email me and tell me what it is you want, and I will suggest alternatives and possibly talk you out of buying it. Needs are something you must have, wants are things you must save up for and pay for with cash.

  11. Apart from the free eye test, there is nothing, repeat nothing free at the opticians.

  12. "I really mean it this time!"
    I use them all the time too... but I don't mean it. Frustrating as all heck!

  13. I often have the same frugal intentions with very similar results