Thursday, March 6, 2014

Frugal For Frugal's Sake? No

Apart from writing some blog posts about being frugal, I also belong to facebook group about living frugally in Israel and another about being financially savvy in Israel. And every so often in real life I get invited to an event which I turn down because my babysitting budget runs to about one outing a month, less if the outing involves travel and a wedding present. I think it's safe to say that my frugality is pretty much out there for all to see.

On the other hand, I seem to live a nice life and we do things, go places, and acquire stuff. I'm sometimes asked how this can be? If I'm so strapped for money, how come we had a new bathroom fitted last year, went to London, went to Eilat last month, and next week we are having more building work done, after which I really do need to buy that new cooker.....???

There's a three-part answer to this valid question.

1. We are not totally without income although it barely covers. Living frugally allows me to put a little away each month so when, for example, I need a new cooker or we want to meet the cousins in Eilat, there is a small emergency fund available. I couldn't do this if I bought clothes, ate out, belonged to a gym, or took taxis everywhere.

2. Some things look extravagant but you may not actually be paying full price for them. You may be invited to that meal in a fancy restaurant and some building costs may be covered by building insurance. Whilst hanging out with family at the posh hotel in Eilat, you might not mention that you were actually staying at a modest hostel down the road. Elderly parents who no longer travel may use their holiday money to bring their grandchildren to them if that's a more convenient arrangement all round. Looks can be deceiving and part of the game is to find ways to enjoy some glamour on a budget.

3. Some purchases are an investment. The new cooker will save money on fuel charges and allow more frugal cooking from scratch than is currently possible. The spare room is getting a dividing wall so that a corridor is made along one side to get to DD's bedroom. We are re-instating the lodger idea but with a few tweaks to make it more suitable for our lifestyle. Both of these purchases will pay for themselves over the next few months.

So that's the answer folks. I'm not doing this frugal business for fun. I don't have money to spare at the moment. However, I do have a plan to see us through the challenging years of being a single mother with a young child. It requires a certain amount of juggling and keeping a couple of months ahead of the bank balance. What it doesn't mean is that we are sitting in the dark, cold and hungry - although it could mean this if  I weren't doing the frugal thing.

I hope that clears things up for those of you who were asking. And please feel free to ask anything, it's good to explain when more clarity is needed.

13 comments:

  1. Well done for keeping a great balance in living it your way :-)

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  2. Great answer to a personal question!

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  3. I think you're brilliant! Tis all :o). X

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  4. Replies
    1. Thank you MumB, Gilly, Older Mum, and Liz :)

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  5. So true. Frugality isn't about going without - it's about making the best of what you have, no matter how little that may be.

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  6. 'Part of the game' is also not to judge others maybe? Like you say, all may not be quite as it seems. People find ingenious ways to do/buy something they really need or want and prioritise areas in their lives so that they can do so. I am so glad that you have found a way to do what you do :-) xx Jazzy

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    1. Right, even the person with the flashy car and the designer clothes could be working nights and eating only cucumbers in order to have these things. You never know what sacrifices have been made for any particular purchase.

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  7. I have to say I'm surprised people felt the need to ask. You sound as if you are being really sensible with your money and frankly that is the only way to cope when there is a shortage of it. We all have different desires in life and people make the choices and sacrifices they need to, to live in the manner that suits them. Mich x

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    1. I know, but sometimes the sacrifices are not obvious whereas the treats are out there for all to see. The questions were very respectfully asked and from people trying to enjoy a few treats themselves while struggling to survive.

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  8. A very personal question answered with great dignity.

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