You learn so much when you speak to the gurus. I am grateful to Victoria for sharing today on how to make sure we are financially conscious and how to avoid mistakes that others have already made. This way we will keep our frugal living finances in check, no matter how much we earn. We will also be able to save up for bigger expenses such as the deposit on a house, a wedding, or a big family holiday.
I asked Victoria a few questions so that we could learn from her experience. Her responses are below.
- Would you say you have been thrifty since childhood?
Not at all. Well, I guess my mum was as she had to be as a young single mum with no financial support or contact with my dad, but if I ever had money for birthdays from other family members it would be spent. I was a spender and not a saver!
- Have you had lessons on money management in Secondary school?
No, absolutely none and I think it’s really bad. I think finance should be taught in school in some form. When I received a chequebook I didn’t even know how to write a cheque! I’m learning to save now I’m in my 30s and it’s important I teach my kids to save for their future too. I hope I can pass on some great money advice to my children when they are older. I don’t feel I had any.
- What would you say are 2 or 3 epic money fails you have had since becoming an adult?
Taking out store cards to buy whatever I wanted at age 18.
Taking out loans to pay off all the store cards by age 19.
Hitting debt crisis before I hit 20 and going on a debt management plan for over 5 years.
- Did you have a frugal epiphany? What caused it, or how did you decide to develop the frugal habit?
Once I went on my debt management plan, which takes all disposable cash and leaves only what they think I need for food and sundries of around £30 per week, I had to become more careful with money! I had to work out incomings, outgoings and budget my food shopping for years. I moved into an affordable bedsit and started on a minimalism journey to clear out and sell things I really didn’t need. It was a necessary process at the time, but I’ve carried on with it to today even though finances are in a normal state today.
- What are some of the things you practice now as part of a frugal lifestyle?
I don’t buy things I don’t need. I used to be a consumerist and also have clothes shopping addiction. Now I shop for clothes in charity shops and have a capsule wardrobe with very few pieces. If I want something new then I try to sell something I already have to pay towards it.
- What is the biggest saving you have made as a result of being frugal?
Over the past year, we have managed to save a few thousand pounds by saving 10% of our joint income. We never had savings before, so this is great for us. I plan to continue saving as much as possible from now on.
- Now that you are more money savvy, what 3 pieces of advice would you give to others about handling money?
Save as much as you can – treat it as an outgoing as soon as you get paid and do not dip into it.
Do not open store cards – ask if you really need it or whether you just want it.
Don’t buy things you can’t afford – obviously there are exceptions like a mortgage for a house as it’s better to pay that than a lifetime of rent and someone else’s mortgage, but unless it’s absolutely vital then you should save for larger purchases and avoid any interest repayments that aren’t necessary.
- What about frugal fails? We’d love to hear a few of those too.
The one thing I’m not very frugal with is food. I love to eat the healthiest whole foods and prefer to shop organic as being as healthy as possible is very important to me. I could save a small fortune on our food shopping, but it’s the one area I’m prepared to pay more for the sake of our health and the environment.
I’ve tried hard to pick just one favourite quote from Victoria today. Well, I’ve failed. So I’ll choose two quotes that really stood out for me and that I think will help others.
” Save as much as you can – treat it as an outgoing as soon as you get paid and do not dip into it.”
“I think finance should be taught in school in some form.”
What has been your favourite frugal living take on this post? Do you also make the mistakes she did? Are you now willing to make changes and get your budget back in check? Let’s chat in the comment box below.