Wednesday, 4 February 2015


In September our household income will effectively be cut by 45%.  For the last two months I've been carrying out a 'controlled assessment' to see if Mark and I can handle the resulting life-style changes - not as a frugal novelty but as a fairly permanent financial state of affairs.
I've paid myself a new weekly cash allowance out of my salary and put everything else into savings.  I've then written down everything that I've spent my cash on... even down to 46p chewing gum and £1 parking fees.  I've found that the process of 'spending knowingly' has made me more appreciative of most things and less inclined towards frittering money away in my coffee shop habit.  Don't get me wrong - Mark and I have had a couple of lovely lunches out recently - but they were planned treats for special occasions not normal routine.

I'm not pushing the 'cash conscious' lifestyle onto Mark - but I know that he is quietly watching, thinking and coming up with his own ideas about the shape of our new future.  We're starting to develop 'filters' for a our spending..
  • Are we getting real value for money - is there a cheaper way..
  • Will the purchase be a real improvement in our life...
  • Will we end up in situation where we are obliged to spend too much money...
Recently we were asked to buy tickets for a charity formal dinner.  Some friends of ours wanted to get a group together but the tickets cost £90 per couple.  The friends also wanted to stop over at the hotel (another £75) and are enthusiastic drinkers (a large shared drinks bill!).  They were really offended when we declined the event.  I wonder if this couple will remain our friends as we move our financial goal posts.  I hope that they will - because we have known them for years and have a lot of shared history.  I worry that they won't - because his role as a Company Director with all the trappings of a large salary means a lot to them.

I'm excited about the future and completely believe that I'm doing the right thing.... I think I've just been a bit naïve about some of the implications....


  1. Oh Jan. Our income halved just over 2 years ago and it's very difficult. We have the heating on for only 5 hours a day for 5 or 6 months of the year, I gave up my car and my music lessons, I didn't have any new clothes for more than 3 years, holidays are out of the question. But there are still many good things. As conscious as you are, I am sure you will both make the adjustment. x

  2. Great post.

    We were talking about spending filters last night. The point about the impact/ benefit any spending will gave on our lives is one that leaps out for us.

    About 11 years ago when we decided to pay off our student debts we did lose a few friends, but the ones that stuck with us are more than appreciated.

  3. I hope they will still be friends. I think I inadvertantly offended my husband's friends by asking if we could just pay our own dinners for a meal out as I don't drink (and on another occasion, I paid £30 for a £9 meal) They all looked awkward and said sure. I worked out what I had, one of them getting a bit irritated as it took a moment. CBC then worked out what he'd had and then they said, "Let's just split the bill between the rest of us," which made me feel a real muppet and cheapskate and worse, made CBC feel like that and it wasn't even him that asked. I hated it. WHY should I have to be made to feel that because I want to just pay for what I had. Grrr!!! Just because they are rich lawyers and London officer workers. Anyway, the point I should make, instead of ranting, is that it will be harder but you can do it. xx

  4. YIKES!! That is a big cut. Do you have retirement savings put aside, or invested funds or annuities that will pay you a certain amount a month? Back in the Day, it always annoyed me that we all shared the restaurant bill when I never drank and everyone else did--to great extent. Rather, my husband shared and paid the bill--he didn't seem to mind. Nowadays--when I go to monthly lunch with my friends, we always do separate checks. I'll be darned if I am going to pay for their expensive tastes when usually all I get is a salad and water with lemon.

  5. I think it's wonderful the way you are going about planning for the difference the future will make. And, I'm also one who wouldn't
    want to "split" a bill for drinks when I don't imbibe. Sometimes, I
    have to ask myself when shopping if I really need it or just want
    it. That doesn't mean I don't occasionally pick up something not
    really needed. But, most of the time I don't. I'm glad for this post
    because I needed to hear this. Best of luck.

  6. You can do it Jan. John retired a year ago and we had always worried how we'd get by. I never had a pension plan, only working part time. John has one but nothing like he'd been earning. It's surprising how well you adapt. When you think about the money you spend just by going to work ie travelling expense/petrol, lunches, tax, National insurance, collections for colleagues, the list goes on and it's surprising just what a difference it makes. John's rail ticket was over £4,000 a year and he had to be suited and booted for his job as well as socialise regularly. I totally agree with just paying for your own bill too. A shame your friends felt offended. If they're real friends they'll get over it, if they don't it's their problem. P x

  7. We all have to cut our cloth accordingly don't we Jan and as I'm sure your friends are fully aware of your planned future they should adapt to your new lifestyle. I think you'll be amazed at the savings you can make and you will see a huge difference when you're not traveling to and from school just in petrol alone. To be honest once you're out of the school system and had a bit you me time I'm sure you could find a little something part time if you felt it necessary. Think of it as a complete career change in retirement. I can't retire for a long while yet and D always tells me I would get bored, but as I pointed out they will always need a lollypop lady or shelve stacker's in the supermarket. Don;t let other put you off what should be a very exciting time and a completely new adventure.

  8. It's good that you're planning for the changes ahead already, you're going in to it with your eyes open and you will know the changes you will need to make. I always pay for my own meal, why should you pay more than you've spent yourself, and it works the other way too, I'd hate to think that someone's meal had cost less than my own yet they were paying for part of mine.

  9. Our situation came upon us suddenly when I was made redundant 10 years before I thought I'd give up work, so we were on a steep learning curve then, and again just recently when hubby retired, but somehow you manage to work through it and just get on with life. Me saying all that and being such a stress head, but being financial, doesn't necessarily mean having loads of money, just common sense on how to use what you do have. Hope all goes smoothly and take care.

  10. Jan, I'll be following closely as very soon, by choice, we'll have a $1,000 drop in take home pay. In the long run retirement benefits help make a big dent in the difference, but the here and now will take adjusting. I feel like I'd soon be spending mega bucks on therapists if I don't make the change. We are lucky in that most of our social circle and family get that we all have different resources and priorities. I've rarely felt awkward declining an activity because too much or put in a position of paying others big bill. Good luck on that.

  11. It's a good idea to plan ahead and start to think about money and the way you use it. We went through this when my husband left his teaching job through stress and we couldn't sell our house to downsize as it was when the bank crisis first started a few years ago. We got through until he was able to take his pension and then a year later I got my pensions too. We did struggle a little for a year or two but as you say - you have to move goalposts in your expectations and try new and exciting things:)