Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Changes for the good

It's been six months now, since I started my new lifestyle so it seems appropriate to reflect on how my life has changed. If nothing else, it will provide an excellent benchmark for me to look back on.

Mostly I have gained:-
My health is considerably better
I have lost some weight
My sanity is mostly restored!
I am much more resilient to enable me to deal with the stresses and strains of life
It's been liberating not shopping so often, but also being able to go into a shop and not want anything
I have had much more time for me
I have had the opportunity to try new crafts and be creative
I'm a nicer person to be around
I'm more in control of the house and finances
I have spent a lot less money - I really enjoy having a cash budget! 
I am much more aware of the benefits of frugality, both for me and mine, but also for the planet as a whole
I have made bread again and yoghurt for the first time
I'm baking again
I am leading a greener lifestyle
I'm proud of my achievements so far
I have been encouraged to try new skills and experiment

I could probably go on as the benefits are innumerable, but I won't list them all!

The things I miss?
There's very little actually, but I'd did feel a little sad the other day whilst strolling around the quaint shops in Howarth, that I might have liked to have bought myself something hand crafted. On reflection, I probably should have, because it brought me joy each time I saw this little pottery bird in the window and it was hand made and gorgeous, but it's a good lesson and next time I might act differently. I certainly DON'T miss mindless spending! 

The next stage will be to increase our self sufficiency by growing more of our own food and introduce more savings on water and power. I think I may get two more chickens to keep me provided with enough eggs. We need to work on building our pot of savings so I may need to be more inventive in ways of shaving off excess spending!! It seems that every month, we seem to have unexpected hefty expenditure which decreases the amount I can squirrel away!! I will persevere though because, as they say, every little helps!
If anyone has any tips, they would be gratefully received! 


  1. Well done, glad you enjoy your new life, I feel the same I love it, like you we need to saving to grow, as you say every little does help x

    1. Every month I go through every expense with a fine tooth comb and yet, still the money seems to disappear! It probably doesn't help that all four children are still at home either. Not that I want them gone of course, but it naturally brings with it expense!

  2. I can imagine there's much pleasure and satisfaction in keeping chickens - especially if you have ex-battery rescue hens - but does it really save money on eggs? We buy free-range from a local farm for £1.20 a half dozen - 20p each. By the time you've acquired the birds, provided suitable accommodation and food, does it cost less? Perhaps you've got a surplus you can sell to recoup some of your expenditure?

    1. No, you're right, it takes a while to break even after the initial outlay! I don't imagine that with only two chickens we have recouped anywhere near what we spent! However, I love them to bits even when they do escape and their eggs taste divine. I honestly didn't think there would be much difference between free range and these, but they really are yummy. Their upkeep costs very little on the whole too. There's certainly no surplus to sell because i eat them all, but perhaps when I get a couple more I might. I guess I'm keeping them for the fun of it rather than anything financial!

  3. Hello, I've just found your blog through Sue's Our New Life in the Country. We had huge debts to clear (largely run up through home loans, car loans and admittedly some was spending what we didn't have) and hit crisis point three years ago. The advice I would give you is that you are only 6 months into this new way of life and it's early days. You will find that every week you find another method of saving money and soon it will become habit. Living like this is as much a full time job as going out to work I think, because the more you find ways to save money, the more time consuming it becomes. I haven't read through your previous posts so I'm not sure how you live but we found that as time went on, we were able to develop more and more ways of saving money eg stocking up when items are on offer, batch cooking and freezing, putting 3 joints of meat or chickens on offer in the oven at the same time to save electricity, then slicing up and freezing, batch baking and freezing cakes, muffins etc for packed lunches and snacks, mending things rather than replacing them, making birthday cards and presents, accepting hand me downs from people etc. I cut many things in half or in three to make them go further eg dishcloths, sponge scrubbers, dishwasher tablets, soap filled wire wool pads. We saved a fortune switching our main shop from Tesco to Aldi. On the last Thursday of each month there is a £5 off a £40 shop voucher in the Daily Record and Daily Mail. I still use Tesco to stock up on items we can only buy from there when they are on offer eg Allinsons bread flour is £1 a bag at the moment so I've bought lots of that. Keeping a finance diary to note down all incomings and outgoings from your account is an excellent way of keeping track (persuading OH to curtail his spending took a bit of work!!). Children are a huge expense. Giving them a fixed monthly allowance for spending helped us and also fixing a limit for birthdays and Christmas presents worked for us. They can either take the money, put the money towards their own savings to buy a bigger present or take a smaller present and the rest in cash.

    Good luck with your new way of life. We cleared £25,000 of personal debt in 3 years, have started overpaying the mortgage and hope to get rid of that in 5 years. When we want or need something now, we do without in order to save up for it. Things we used to think we couldn't live or do without eg regularly eating out or takeaways or several holidays a year, now seem like a waste of money to us and are an occasional treat which is saved up for. If we can't afford it, we don't buy it.

    1. Hi! Thanks for popping by. We are fortunate enough not to have any debt, having managed to pay off our mortgage back in November, but our eldest daughter would like to do a second degree, so we are frantically trying to safe the £9000 needed to get her started!! I guess I need to just keep looking for very way possible to claw back money, or I need to go out and get a job, which I'd rather not at the moment! Youre right - living this way becomes like full time employment anyway! Hope to hear from you again and thank you for leaving a comment! :)

    2. Saving here too to send son to university in 18 months time. Then there will be the driving lessons as well!! Never ends eh? He does have a little part time job which helps but don't want it getting in the way of his studies. Fortunately, at the moment, there are no uni fees to pay if we send him to a Scottish university. I envy you being mortgage free - well done!!

  4. You've done amazingly well in six months.

    Keeping tabs on everything we do is the best way to keep those finances in order and you do that so well. Just keep at it is the only tip I can give you now, you have learnt so much for yourself and from trawling around blogland already, now I guess there are folk learning from you and your example of how to just go for it and save money.

    Two more chickens sounds like a lovely idea, we can all always fit two more in for their lovely eggs can't we, and feeding them can be so cheap if you give their their daily layers pellet ration and then make up the rest with kitchen scraps (allowed if you aren't selling your eggs, but not if you are).

    I'll be growing lots of our own food this year so pop over for tips once I get started, in the meantime if you have any questions that Google can't answer you know where I am :-)

    1. Thank you for your encouragement! I am terrible for always feeling I should be doing more. I suspect I should be taking a step back and saying "Well. Done!" But it's not really in my nature!! I really love blog land! X

  5. All sounds wonderful to me, well done!

  6. Hello there. I agree with the above comments. Since leaving my job and living on one income, I actually have been writing a monthly budget for us but ALWAYS something crops up! Today my dental treatment costing me over £50 would be a prime example. However, I enjoy sorting the finances out - it's something I'd never done when we were both working as I tended just to spend and buy without a second thought. Our youngest graduates from University in a few months and we would love to fund her Masters but unfortunately we can't at this moment in time. (Even with a discount from the Uni where she is (Leeds) it would still be in the region of about 6,000). This would be on top of living expenses so it's just put of the question unfortunately. Luckily we don't have a mortgage as we used my small lump sum from my early pension to pay that but still we have other bills just like everyone else. It's definitely made me more mindful of spending.

    1. Indeed - always something! Vet bill = £57, heating fixed = £195, care bill for my mum = £112 and then 3 laptops break down all in the same month! Hey ho! Maybe next month? Student fees are crazy aren't they?