The frugal habits of my happy friends

fullsizerender-11I have a diverse set of friends. Earlier in my career as a consultant software engineer, I mostly hung out with fellow “professionals”. My friends were doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, bankers or consultants too. These friends visited the latest restaurants, travelled on British Airways, took first class trains, and stayed at the Marriott or Hilton. I joined in and adopted this lifestyle even though I had no business living that way. We went to paid exhibitions at galleries and museums, cooked Ottolenghi recipes with exotic and expensive ingredients, bought designer clothes, worked out at expensive gyms and didn’t think much about spending £12.50 on a cocktail on a night out.

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Luxuriously thrifty work

img_4512.jpgI like a good time. I like lush surroundings. Jet-setting. I like the flexibility of being able to change my train or plane tickets. Personal space. Comfort. Cool sheets. Temperature-controlled environments. I like fresh food. In-season produce. Fair-trade and organic food. I like durable clothes. Expensive shoes. The latest gadgets. Wonderful experiences. Unforgettable memories. Instagram-worthy photos. I love all of this but the thing is, I can’t afford it all. Continue reading

Focusing on the journey instead of the destination

IMG_0403I named this blog “Diary of a reformed spendthrift” after I had the epiphany that I had been living a life of financial irresponsibility. It’s past tense and alludes to the fact that I’m a finished product, that knowledge of my previous state of mind would automatically propel me to the destination that I seek – one of luxurious thrift. My previous posts on failing my ‘£1 a day on food’ challenge and my extremely spendy February share my frustration at my seeming inability to spend in line with my aspirational budget.  Continue reading

My ‘one day’ list | A gradual transition to ‘one day’ from today.

How many times have you thought about doing something, or read about someone else’s achievement, and thought “I want to do that, but I’ll do it one day”? I bet it happens a lot. I’d even bet that it’s happened once this week. With the number of things and people and skills I admire, I’d argue I experience this at least once a week. It’s otherwise known as the bucket list but I haven’t used that term because apparently that’s a millennial thing and apparently I’m not a millennial. Continue reading

Keeping up with Yoko*

*Which is not her real name

In the personal finance blogosphere, there is a general derision for any desire to keep up with the Joneses. We are encouraged to chart a different path, embrace different choices and follow the road less travelled. I’ve also recently read an article, possibly from the Our Next Life blog, about how this conversely sets a different kind of target. FIRE enthusiasts are keeping up with a different kind of Joneses (perhaps we should call them the Smiths who seem an altogether more frugal sort). This morning I saw a Facebook post. My friend Yoko is coming back to London after months of travelling. And it got me thinking. Whilst I might eschew living like most people, I definitely want to live like Yoko.

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How sucking at being frugal still trumps being a spendthrift

I’m 15 days into my uber frugal month and I’m going to be honest, I’m failing. I suppose I’m not just failing, as my last update showed, I’m failing hard. I’ve taken Ubers, I’ve bought clothes, I’ve bought lunch and takeaway repeatedly. I bought an awesome pair of yellow sneakers that I totally adore but given that it’s been raining  a lot, they might not have been the most practical purchase. Essentially I’m pretty sucky at being frugal.

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A wonderfully classy frugal night in

 

I love Christmas. It’s my second favourite time of year. Mainly because it’s the one time of year that people hang with family (whether by choice or not). London empties out because everyone heads home for the holidays. I got a seat on the Northern line before 9 this morning – Northern line residents will understand how incredible this is north of Balham and south of High Barnet. So, when it came to planning a pre dispersal gathering with my friends, it was easy to settle on a wine and cheese evening in.wine-and-cheese Continue reading

Anatomy of a chronic spendthrift | How did I get into this mess?

People, including myself, often wonder how I’ve survived 6 years of crippling debt. How did I let it get so bad? How could I sleep at night? How do I remain cheerful and upbeat even when I have £20 in my wallet to last me a week? How do I stay generous – even going as far as taking on debt to help someone out? How did I keep it all to myself? How didn’t I crack under the pressure? I like to attribute the answers to all these questions to one thing, it’s just the way I am. Let me break it down though. Continue reading

How to make 3 hours of mundane driving delightful

Music is one of the wee luxuries I allow myself. I haven’t bought music for years but I would go to live performances and gigs for some of my favourite bands. I’d also go to music festivals. I think experiencing Emeli Sande, Florence & the machine, Sick of Sarah, Kasabian, etc is worth the ticket prices. Obviously, now I’m on my frugal journey I’ve had to rein things a bit and I keep my enjoyment of music frugal by making Spotify one of my mandatory expenses and going to free gigs at pubs and what not instead.

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Safety nets and catch alls | the importance of frugal habits

This week has been a spending disaster! I bought items that I hadn’t planned to – mainly because they looked nice and would be suitable for my wardrobe. For the first time in 2 months, I’m uncertain what my account balances should be and I have more unexplained money in my weekly spending account than I’ve had for quite a while. How have I got into such a mess?

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