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.