Whenever we discuss our early retirement journey through saving hard, investing and spending less than we earn, we are quite often met with scepticism and general murmurs of doubt when we go through our plans. The idea that leaving the working world behind before the general retirement age of mid-60s in the UK is such a novelty that most people scoff at the idea before actually giving it any thought.
One of the biggest misconceptions about what we are trying to achieve is that we must sit at home doing absolutely nothing so that we can save enough for our aims. In fact, in order to do what we are trying to, surely we are missing out on the present?
But, deprivation is not part of the journey.
Wouldn’t it be daft if, in order to save enough money, we actually did sit in and do nothing all of the time? If, in order to pay our future selves well, we had to sacrifice our present in order to do so?
I recently had the opportunity to do an advert with a well known energy company, which included shots of both Mr FC and the Frugal Baby as well. One of the comments about the clip was that it wasn’t fair on the Frugal Baby because he would miss out. What was ironic about this is that in the clip shown, our little boy was sat playing on his play mat, surrounded by toys, all of which we were given or bought second hand. He certainly isn’t missing out so far.
We are not about depriving ourselves through this process.
As summer is finally here (and the weather is, at last, warm!) it can be very easy to find costs creeping up. Days out here and there, lunch at the local cafe and a couple of ice creams thrown in the mix (mint choc chip is my fave!) and suddenly you’ve spent quite a bit of money. But, as with everything we do, a little bit of planning can help massively with keeping down costs without feeling like you’re deprived of something. Going for a picnic and taking lunch with you can save money. Looking for free or cheap days out can save money.
Feeling like you are being deprived of something will only harbour resentment and then possibly a blow out. This is definitely the case when you are starting out on your savings journey.
Going out for a meal is a lovely treat, and one that should be treated as such. Going out to a restaurant can quickly become expensive, especially when you factor in the starter/pudding/drinks that are added to the bill, and all of a sudden a meal out can easily top £100 without much effort. But, chains especially quite often have deals on and two for one on mains. If you research before you go, you can get vouchers that easily reduce your spends, so you don’t have to go without! I recently got an email from a pizza chain offer 2-for-1 breakfasts, so me and Mr FC are going to go soon for a treat. Remember, deprivation isn’t part of the journey.
Going shopping and buying items isn’t off limits either. Although we rarely buy new clothes and gadgets, we do occasionally wander into the shops! What I try and do, though it doesn’t always work, is if I like an item of clothing, I try it on in person in the shop first. If it then fits alright, then I put it back! When I get home, I check to see if I can get any cashback for purchasing the item first. I either go through TopCashback or Quidco and earn some extra pennies on something I was going to purchase anyway. That way, I still get to treat myself to a new item of clothing, but I’m adding to my cashback pot too. Win win!
I also think that by our very nature, we do not find that much joy in spending money mindlessly. It isn’t about depriving ourselves, it’s about spending money on the things that matter most. We never feel like we are missing out on anything, because we are choosing to do this. When we choose to spend money, which is more often that I’d like sometimes, we are doing so with the decision in our hands, rather than being forced or coerced into spending by the society we live in.
There is a balance to be found, in terms of spending and saving. There is nothing exciting or motivating about not spending a penny and making your life more of a survival existence, or scraping and scrimping to save everything. But, neither is there anything exciting about continuously spending money on the latest xyz. There has to be your own balance between wants and needs, and having a goal in mind will help you establish what these are.
Being frugal has helped us find our own balance, between spending money, saving money, and enjoying life at the same time. I can honestly say that being confident in our own money management skills and optimising every penny that goes in and own means a certain assurance that everything will be alright. We are living our lives the best way we can, creating memories we can treasure for a lifetime and being able to not worry about money is one of the best things we are trying to give ourselves.
We still have our little luxuries, things that we feel we cannot go without, but they are few and far between. I’m currently investing in my own future, by joining and paying to go Slimming World each week, to help me lose weight and become more healthy. We have two Frugal Cats who, whilst aren’t expensive, are worth every penny we spend on them. I buy fresh fruit and veg each week, which are bumping up our grocery bill but I won’t compromise on that. We go on days out, walking in the countryside and often incorporate a lunch stop into that. These are all little luxuries that we don’t do without even though some of these could be debated as wants as not needs. But, remember, deprivation is not part of the journey!
What are the little luxuries you can’t do without? Is there anything you could cut from your budget and not feel deprived?
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