Living Without Spending Money

 Folk often ask how we manage to live happily on our really small budget.

We live in the South West and pay a rent to live in our wee house.  We do things every day that are free or within our budget, and there's never a time we are bored.

We save up for things - I think this is the old-fashioned way, but it's also becoming more trendy.  (PS I also like paying with cash rather than a plastic bank card..)  When we wanted to get the puppy we asked how much it would be and worked out when we would need to pay.  We then sorted out how we would save for it/him!

Here are some things we do to live really happily without spending anything over the essentials.

1. What do we already have?  

Stock checking is not just for the kitchen cupboards.  We all have nooks and crannies in our houses, and it's a great idea to sort though drawers and cupboards to see what you already have before going and spending money.  For example, I knit socks  (don't judge me..) I save the leftovers and can end up with small balls of fine sock wool leftover from these projects.  Instead of buying wool to make myself a new cardigan, I'm using up this basically 'free' ** yarn.  I've been updating my wardrobe recently, and decided I wanted a longer day-dress.  I got my sewing pattern out of the cupboard, and discovered I had enough fabric that I don't need to buy any to make this next dress!  Bonus!

2. 'Mute' the adverts.  

Adverts are designed to seduce you into spending money.  If I need something I will look it up online or read about it before I decide where to buy it from.  If I want something I think about it, research it, forget it, remember it, make a decision whether it is a need or a want..etc, etc.  What I don't do is watch an advert featuring a tall skinny female sashaying to Elton John music in front of a French castle, with a voiceover telling me that only wonderful people have the latest blah blah blah.  

I either mute the TV in advertisement times or zip past them on podcasts/vlogs.

3. Put down the mobile phone.  

How much time a day in minutes do you have a mobile phone in your hand? What could you be doing in that time?  Do you say to yourself, 'If only I had time to...'?  Exercise, home bake, clean, iron, cook ahead, walk, read....  Life is going on around you!  Go and see that free art exhibition, sit in your garden with a cuppa, go join the library, make a flask and go have a picnic, water the plants.

4. Be different.  

My friends came over for coffee on Tuesday, and I had just folded up a patchwork I'd made a couple of winters years ago.  (We cover our sofas with patchworks once they have been hoovered, and it means that before people pop over I can whip them off - the quilts! Rude!! - and have beautifully clean sofas.) One chum was astounded at the design of the quilt, even more so when I said it was all hand-sewn, and talked about how to paper-patchwork using all scraps.  Yes I'm old-fashioned, yes I love it. ❤️ 

5. Listen.

To people. To music. To podcasts. To kids. To birdsong.  It's a beautiful habit/hobby that costs not a penny.

6. Eat well.

We plan our meals so that we eat well.  I'm currently following a diet plan (just starting week 3 of 12) and despite that we are still eating beautiful food.  Today is leftover veg from yesterday's meal with a cheese and mushroom omelette. Yum! 

We don't buy takeaway food but occasionally eat out - just the two of us - and will feed folk here.  Yesterday we fed the kids and grandkids which is why there are leftovers!!

7. Plan and prepare.

We have our own (paper and pen) diaries, and sit together once a week to copy from each other. This works well for reminders and planning. I have wee lists of things I want/need/ ought to do.  Today's list is:

. Clean stairs

. Order veg

. Repair commission. (This is an altered bridesmaid dress.)

. Pin new dress ***

8. Spend time on your house.  Look after what you have.


** I follow the principal that if you have already bought something then anything you can get from it in addition is a bonus.

*** I have enough fabric to make a second


  1. I think being frugal requires a couple of qualities sadly missing in a the modern world (and which you evidently have by the bucketful!) forethought and patience. We enjoy bird-watching as a family activity. We drive to a nice reserve, with our home-made picnic, get out our good (but bought cheaply on Ebay) binoculars and settle down in a hide to sit quietly and see what pitches up. 9 times out of 10 someone will breeze in, sit down with their extremely expensive, huge spotting scope with a ginormous lens, stay for just a couple of minutes and then get up and leave. This is usually the point at which my husband shakes his head and mutters "They will never see anything doing that. No patience!"


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