My Interview Questions and Carol’s Answers
- Would you say you have been thrifty since childhood?
No, I certainly was not thrifty. I would not say my family were ever thrifty so it’s not something I learnt as I grew up. When I got my first job I certainly enjoyed spending my wages on a lot of luxuries and had very little savings.
- Have you had lessons on money management in Secondary school?
No, I really do think it would help so many people to understand a little about the world of money before they are thrown into it.
- What would you say are 2 or 3 epic money fails you have had since becoming an adult?
- Using all our savings through my first maternity – we had saved a lot of money for what I would now say was an emergency fund. When I was on maternity leave we did not change how we were living even though we were technically down to one income. 10 months later and we had very little money left.
- Moving to a new house – after a promotion at work, we moved house. We knew we would be having more children and at the time we were living in a very small two bedroom house. But we went all out and over doubled our house size and our mortgage. Since living more simply we have realised just how big this house is and wish we went for a lot smaller now.
- Did you have a frugal epiphany? What caused it, or how did you decide to develop the frugal habit?
Yes, when we were starting to try for our second child. We had very little savings this time and it worried me that we would struggle through maternity this time when we already had a child. I looked at Pinterest for blogs and searched youtube for all different ways that people were managing their money. I knew we needed to budget so that was our first step and then to have an emergency fund to feel a little more financially secure.
- What are some of the things you practice now as part of a frugal lifestyle?
- We budget and discuss our money every month, it means money is not a difficult discussion anymore.
- I always meal plan and never go to the shop without a shopping list.
- Bulk cooking has become big in our house; at least one meal a week I will bulk up with lentils and vegetables to make an extra meal or two for the freezer.
- We always plan ahead, for example, we used to just go on a day out, pay on the gate, eat out while there and not consider how much we spent until we got home. Now we look for a good deal, take a picnic and plan how much the day can cost.
- What is the biggest saving you have made as a result of being frugal?
Taking out a health/dental cash plan when I was starting to get problems with my back. I paid £240 over the year but claimed back £350 this means not only did I manage to spread the cost of the treatments through this plan, but I also got an additional £110 worth of treatment with no extra cost.
- Now that you are more money savvy, what 3 pieces of advice would you give to others about handling money?
- Plan ahead – whether that is a budget or general day to day this can save you a lot of money.
- Know your renewal dates and do something about it when it comes time. It is quite easy to stay with the same supplier/provider, but chances are it is cheaper to move.
- Handle it as a family – it is much easier if everyone is on board. Discussing goals is a great start as it makes frugal changes feel worth it.
- What about frugal fails? We’d love to hear a few of those too.
My husband’s car… We went for an older car (cheaper and paid cash) as it was purely for him to commute but we clearly hadn’t researched it as the car has now cost us more to run than it is worth. We are now getting to a stage that if anything else goes wrong with it then we will look for another car.
Thanks so much to Carol for her contribution. My best lesson from her is summed up in this statement:
“We always plan ahead, for example, we used to just go on a day out, pay on the gate, eat out while there and not consider how much we spent until we got home. Now we look for a good deal, take a picnic and plan how much the day can cost”.
Such a wise lady! Lots of families don’t realise that they make a lot of savings when they plan ahead for all the spending they will do so that they can save for bigger activities.
What was your biggest take from this? And do you have any frugal fails that you want to share with us in the hope that it will inspire our readers? We look forward to your comments.