On the input side of the equation, there are greater minds than mine ready to advise you, and a whole bunch of charlatans who want what little cash you have for themselves in the form of book sales, seminars, ponzi schemes and the like. A certain degree of cynicism is necessary in determining which side of the fence someone sits, and as far as I can tell, one side is over populated and the other all but empty.
On the spending little side, I've got more relevant experience than seemed desirable at the time. For a while I lived outside the safety net of the UK's state benefits system; for a few months because I had no address, and years later, when in the throes of starting my own business.
I have made £5 last a week for meals, and a few thick jumpers from a charity shop are an acceptable substitute for heating. With kids to care for, it's a different matter, and despite being comfortably off, I worry more about money now than I did then.
We lived for a short while in the middle East, in a company provided house, with a company car, and really all we needed to pay for was food. We returned home with enough cash to pay off the mortgage (only to then take out another one on a much bigger than necessary house). Plenty of our friends failed to save anything.
The key to it is frugality, gleaned from really not having any money to spend. Big discretionary (meaning you'll manage fine without it) "one off" purchases - a new gadget, or weekend away tended to make up the bulk of our peers' spending.
We still have the same (now 'characterful') furniture that we got from Ikea and Argos when we first moved in together. My camera (much loved and often used) is now over 6 years old. Our car is 8 years old, and note the singular - we share one, which is rather quaint in our town, but it seems no hardship.
Our clothes are from supermarkets, or bags of hand-me-downs.
Partly, but not entirely, this parsimony stems from a hatred of shopping on my part.
Beyond discretionary spending, it's as well to look at reducing the essentials.
For heating we recently got some electronic radiator valves; these work on a timer so that bedrooms are only heated first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and the play room is off until the kids come home, for instance. The packaging says we'll save a third and I believe that's conservative for our over sized Victorian edifice
I plan to post some simple, frugal recipes in the future, but in all honesty, my wife enjoys cooking and I do it only rarely nowadays.
Posted on 2015-01-07 10:43:48