I have been pondering about this recently. We have been saving a large chunk of our income for over a year now, but to be honest, I don’t feel like we are depriving ourselves of a normal life.
We eat good food, have a great flat, and my electric bike feels like the epitome of hedonic adaptation and luxury. Looking at how I grew up, it feels like we’re way more luxurious than my childhood memories. Then again, Mr. Frugasaurus and myself don’t have children to raise and care for.
But at the same time, the question comes back to haunt me: What do “normal” people spend money on that we don’t? Obviously, this is not such an easy question for me to answer since I, admittedly, don’t spend money in the way other people do. But as I remarked to Mr. Frugasaurus the other day: What would I do with all my income if I didn’t save the majority of it? Sushi? Lunch at work? A bus pass? Maybe a bunch of new socks?
Then what? I’d still have quite a bit left over I’d imagine, unless we started going out every month.
So here are 7 things we simply don’t spend (much) money on, which enable us to save half of an average income in my area.
September has been a month largely dominated by the teaching semester being on in full. Work has been hectic, and even though we made attempts at being social, I have just had to scale back.
Mr. Frugasaurus is also working hard on making his freelance gig work. So even though there have been one or two excursions, this month has been largely dominated by work and working.
Earlier this week, Mr. Frugasaurus and me did something exciting.
We went out and sat our butts down at a cozy, independent and local café.
This café was started after I moved away from Trondheim the first time, and I have been intending to visit it ever since we moved back.
That means I have been intending to visit this place for over 1.5 years, but haven’t! In part because I’m a homebody, but also in part because I lean a bit too far to the cheap side of things, especially since discovering the possibility of financial independence.
So here is why we consider our small splurge a good thing. Even if we could’ve taken that same money and stuffed it in our ever-growing savings accounts.
A year ago, when I first started this blog full of the cumulative fires of binge-reading several financial independence blogs, we were in the middle of a two month long complete spending freeze as a paperwork error had smacked us with a tax bill from hell.
We had just moved into our flat in Trondheim with the amazing pantry – but said pantry was nowhere near full yet. We had run the numbers and knew that if we only walked/biked everywhere and bought nothing but rice, beans and frozen veg, we would still be able to pay our rent, electricity, phones and that massive tax bill.
There had been some tight months in London as well, and we were both used to the student experience of being low on funds. We knew we could do this – and we did – not least because it had a short and definable timeframe. But it was not particularly fun, an we would not want to live like that for a decade, even if it meant being financially independent sooner.
What I am getting at is that, 12 months ago, Mr. Frugasaurus and myself were living on the bare bones of our budget out of necessity, and we survived. Everything from there is technically considered “lifestyle inflation” is it not?
If you haven’t noticed – there have been some changes to this here blog lately! The biggest one being that we are celebrating our one year online mark with changing hosting from WordPress subscription to a different hosting provider where we’re still running wordpress, but we’ve got much more control of the page, it’s contents and our plugins. It is all exiting and a bit terrifying, so please bear with us as we iron out a few kinks. We hope this merge will enable us to share new and exciting things with you, so stay tuned!
But if the most serious effect of the transfer continues to be the mysterious case of the missing featured images, I’ll pat myself on the back and call it a day. With my limited experience, this could have gone so much worse!
I apologize that one of the results of this is that we have lost all our subscribers! Please sign up again if you’d like to continue following us on our journey towards sustainable financial independence.
In other news, the amazing Ms ZiYou has launched a UK FI podcast, and I’m on it! Please head over there to give her some love and support, and also just if you want to hear me being anxious and jittery and talking way too fast for comfort.
Can’t wait to hear the rest of the guests she has coming on!
So, I recently had a conversation with the lovely Ms ZiYou, who seemed astonished when I mentioned that I sew simple basic items for our home. I also mend our clothes, knit hats, crochet blankets and enjoy many other crafty endeavours which personalise and warm our home.
Instead, I wanted to show you a few things you can make yourself with an old duvet cover, worn out linen or some scrap piece, plus a needle, some thread and… rice?
Bear with me, it will all make sense in the end.
If you have never sewn anything in your life – have no fear! These are all square or rectangle cut projects with easy instructions. I intended to use an old duvet cover I got for free online for this tutorial, but when it came to it, I realised it had many years of service left. So I dug out an old piece of fabric I once bought with no clear plan instead.
In the name of decluttering and all that, you know?
In addition to reducing plastic consumption or the general need to keep purchasing more stuff, these simple items also make great gifts for exactly the same reasons. Giving away handcrafted items which reduce plastic consumption is, in my opinion, a great way to live by example and give friends and family a gentle nudge, with much less risk of being considered a nag or annoying for the effort.
All of these projects will of course be much faster if you have access to a sewing machine, but I have included instructions for hand sewing all of them, so that you can get started with a minimum of investments if you do not have the necessary tools at home.
As a cloth and sewing enthusiast, let me just include a small reminder that if you possess or buy cloth scissors – please never use them to cut paper, they will last you so much longer!
For most of us who for a shorter or longer period of time may have had to live on a sufficient but modest income (students, low income earners, part-time, etc), the following scenario might seem familiar:
You try to save. You tell yourself this month will be different. This month you’ll resist the temptation to buy that 2 pm muffin or that 8.45 am coffee shop run. This month you’re going to save.
And then the end of the month starts rolling around, your savings account is just as empty as ever, and your checking account it just a sad shell, waiting for payday a week away.
For the last two weeks of August, it has been quiet here in the Frugasaurus household. Mr. Frugasaurus has been putting his new laptop lifestyle to good use, and spent two weeks watching his grandmother’s dog while she travelled to visit family.
After the delightful recent surge of sustainability and zero-waste themed blog posts, I gave myself the challenge of trying to avoid single use plastic for the two weeks Mr. Frugasaurus was away. As with so many things, I did not go into this expecting a perfect score.
It was also made easier for me by the fact that this was only a two week challenge. Our pantry and freezer was full of food, and the deadline made anything more bearable. If I had wanted, I could have spent the two weeks just eating out of the pantry, and I would technically have “won” the challenge.
But that didn’t really seem in the spirit of the challenge itself, where the intent was to try to create awareness of just how ubiquitous single use plastic is.