Wednesday, 11 March 2015

My Saving Habit...

I was brought up in the 1970s by a stay at home Mum.  We had a car and a telephone (on a 'party line'!) - but these came with Dad's job as a District Surveyor for a national Engineering Insurance Company and we wouldn't have had them otherwise.  Dad was great at budgeting his salary so there was 'just enough' money to do things.  Mum was an amazing crafter and creative cook, so she stretched the housekeeping as far as possible.  However, I was used to hearing the words "Sorry Jan we can't afford this" pretty much all the time I was growing up.  From a very early age I was taught - "If you want it, you save for it.  Don't have a Credit card.  The only loan you should have is your mortgage."

I've been fortunate enough to be in a situation where I've been able to live by these rules all my life.  (I do recognise that many people are forced to take credit or loans when they haven't wanted them because life has dealt them some really bad luck - I am really lucky here!).  I still save for things, then buy them - and I don't have a credit card.   I also don't have children and I'm married to some-one who is on a similar 'professional' salary to me..... so money has been 'sloshing' around for years.

By habit and nature, I've always liked to keep my spending down.  My wardrobe is factory shop clearance and thrift, rather than designer.  Mark is a 'fixer' and does all the work on the cars and the house (which saves an immense amount of money).  We like to have our weekends away and days out - but it comes with the proviso that this is 'value for money'.  We have an ancient TV and avoid other electrical gadgets and the cycle of up-grades that seems to be a feature of 21st Century living.  We 'look after things' and keep our wear and tear to a minimum.

For the last 20 years, I've saved well over 50% of my salary every month.  Around 5 years ago I paid off the mortgage.  I've also funded Mark's car building project; I've replaced the windows in the house and paid for the conservatory; and I'm still saving like a maniac! 

Now I'm starting to wonder if my saving habit is actually an addiction.... (or some kind of Obsessive/Compulsive/Control Freak thing....Ha ha!!)  When I decided to move on from teaching, I started a new financial regime.  I wanted to see if I could live for a sustained period on less money.  I also wanted to try and create levels of 'financial buffer' so that I had space to make 'real choices' in the Autumn.  My saving obsession is now in full flight - in February I saved close to 80% of my salary.  Seriously.. I appear to be 'saving on my saving'.

However, I'm not sat here being a penny pinching miser!  Over the last few months I feel like I've really enjoyed and appreciated the money that I have spent.  In a strange sort of way I feel like I'm 'buying time' and it feel good.


  1. In 1978 Col brought loads of records to our marriage so we borrowed on HP for a record player. It was only about £30 but my mum had a fit! and made us feel so guilty we never borrowed on HP again. We use a credit card sometimes but always pay it off every month and I like saving too.

  2. Jan you sound just like me. The only difference being I use a credit card but always on 0%. The card pays for there renovation materials. I squirrel money away more now than ever before. Next year the mortgage on our rental property will finish and I will have some more cash to save prior to retirement. I still ask myself how much is enough!!

  3. I did the same thing when I worked. We had two children, now married and on their own. I didn't work until they were 12 and 13. Before retiring we made sure everything was in good order for our home and cars. Fortunately we did, as two years later my husband was diagnosed with cancer and had to retire. He is well again and now we can enjoy retirement. I have no wants and few needs, and get great satisfaction from living frugally.
    Good luck for your future endeavors, it sounds as if you are going to be fine!

  4. You are very good! A great example. I need to be better at saving. I'm proud of what I have managed to save since I was a 22 year old (had to spend a chunk on the wedding) but I KNOW I could have done double the amount had I not had such a bad clothes habit! Admittedly, a big amount is charity shopped but I know I could have done more. Though, I always think that I don't drink, have gadgets or a TV so I have saved in many other ways and up until 1.5 years ago, no travel costs!xx

  5. I'm trying to reframe my whole life in this vein. I want both my time and money to be used for value-not miserly with either, but not wasteful and certainly not spent where others, media, the Jones's, etc. tell me I should be spending on.We have a mix of long term savings strategies, but hoping to beef up the short term, despite my job down size. but what I gave up in salary, I've made up for in time. I'm on 8 days in a row with no work being brought home and that feels great.

  6. You are doing the absolutely best thing financially. My parents, and those before them, never paid for a thing on time. Married to my ex for 27 years, we never had a credit card. When we got divorced, I took a small loan from the local bank, put the cash in a jug and paid back the loan, monthly out of the loan money, just to build up credit for myself. Then I got so I had a nice high credit score, credit cards with nice high limits and then..........Fred died, my household income was cut to less than half what we had, and....................his funeral, his grave marker, new roof, new furnace--now I am bankrupt and back to having no credit or credit cards. I LOVE IT!! Amazing how much I appreciate something when I have to go without to save for it. The best way to live fairly worry free.

  7. I would say well done you not miser. That's how it was in your parents generation. Look what you have achieved over the years and it will have put you in exactly the right place for your life change. If you can manage to live on 20% of your salary now I don't think you will need to worry too much about your new venture in the autumn.

  8. I know what you mean about "buying time". This month we have saved 50% of our take home pay (I don't have a paid job so we are single salary here). But we have done more, because we've been looking for things to do that don't cost much we've been to more talks and things rather than allowing our money to go out in dribs and drabs. I has meant I could pay for myself and my mate to go out for lunch the other day (he usually insists on paying) and we are having a big day out this weekend.

    It's amazing how thinking about things differently opens up so many opportunities sometimes.

  9. It is good to save and that is what is giving you your freedom to choose now. Far too often people say spend it we not be here tomorrow. Well chances are we will be so it's good to have options and not be a slave to a job that no-longer feels right. I also like value and the security of having some savings to cushion us. xx