Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Reading About Wealth Creation

We have been treading the frugal life since our daughter was born and more and more carefully in the past 2 or so years. At the time Dolly was born (5yrs ago) I was a 36 year old full time trainee student in Business Administration earning a low wage of $20,000 but receiving free education along the way. The Rambling Expat was a full time 40 year old university student completing a Masters on a 2 year scholarship of $50,000 and a fee waiver where he also had no educational costs. We were being paid to study and that was awesome!

Currently our only debt is our mortgage from our purchased home nearly 5 years ago, which we pay extra cash into on weekly basis. We are aiming for our unit to be paid off within another 3 years. We paid cash for our small economical car last year and never have problems paying the bills because we budget for everything. We used to spend spend spend - mainly on rent, going out, alcohol, magazines, restaurants, cigarettes, music, clothes and luxury food.

We have been frugal and careful to the point of saving a large sum to replace our windows and our own personal savings. Everything else is split down the middle except for groceries. He pays a little more as I have cut back work to care for our daughter which benefits us both.

So now has come the time to get our joint and personal finances organised. I also want to start developing myself to learn on how to create (passive) income by using my savings wisely. I am reading 1 to 2 hours per day from relevant books that will help my progress. This week I am reading Money For Nothing by Justine Davies from my public library. I'm finding it excellent with homework at the end of each chapter and budget sheets to work from. My focus this week is to rework my budget and start looking at our mortgage and see if we can get a better deal to lower our interest and Government owned portion.

I also purchased a book Ms Millionaire with my book credit for inspiration. The book has online tools and bonus at each chapter end which I am exploring. Each woman highly encourages personal and professional development as most found this was their turning point in creating changes, wealth and abundance for themselves.

It's all fun reading and motivating. I'm not a risk taker now that I'm a saver, so it's daunting to take even small steps. But as my knowledge increases and my confidence grows I will make a few financial investments that will benefit me and my family. Maybe it will take me quite some time to make that 1st step but I'm inching there. As for personal and professional development I'm making steps towards that too. I too think it can only be a good thing for me.

Do you invest time or money in your own personal and professional development? Do you invest any of your savings? I would love to hear your thoughts.

(The above books are very Australia focused - so my international readers may be inspired but may not find them as useful as a book from their own country).


  1. I don't currently invest savings as I'm totally unaware! I would love to have more knowledge and more confidence in this. And I think I have just found my inspiration. Thank you do much for sharing your frugal adventures.

  2. I'm investing a lot of money at the minute travelling to various interviews. I have £24,000 of student loan (luckily only at a rate-of-inflation interest and it doesn't affect my credit rating/mortgage getting etc.), but my PhD (if/when I secure one!) will be fully funded, which means all tuition fees are paid and you get a tax-free £13,560 a year to live on.

    I definitely think it's important to invest in your development. If I were in a proper career now, I'd spend money getting back to grips with German to become fluent, as I'd love to live there someday.

    A lot of development is free though - volunteering especially! It's great for confidence and team skills building and a range of other things depending on what you do! :)

  3. Good luck and thanks for sharing, we are also a fairly low income family since we decided I'd stay at home whilst our son is young and this has flown by. I'll keep a look out at my local library for both books, thanks for the heads up.

  4. I have been asking around for some good personal finance books. Thanks for the suggestions!

  5. Did my comment not make it through to posting?

  6. My partner and I are pretty good with money, well we think so. For the few couple of years we were together we still lived in separate houses (as we each bought a house when we were single). When we finally decided to move in together, we rented out his house and lived in mine. And so began the combining of the finances. We are lucky in that we are both very similar in the way we view money. It saves a lot of arguments!

    This is what we do on pay day: we still get paid into our individual accounts, and then we transfer the same amount each into our joint transaction for our combined expenses: utilities, insurances, petrol, food etc, our joint savings: our holiday fund and the new car fund, our joint shares accounts (for our retirement income). The rental income we generate from his house goes into our joint account, thereby solving that problem of whether he should pay rent to me or not.

    And after that do our own thing. So we pay our mortgages payments separately (for the time being), and we have individual savings and shares accounts too. Its a bit confusing with all these accounts, but the good thing about it, is that if the shit hits the fan and we separated it would be very easy to divide our assets. We would simply close all the joint accounts and go 50/50 in the balances, and we would still retain our own property and shares accounts. And its also nice to have our own income, we still feel we can spend without clearing it with each other and we retain a sense of independence. As long as we meet our combined financial goals, we are free to do whatever we want.

    We have no debt other than these mortgages and we hope to have them both paid off in 5 years time. We contribute to our own superannuation (only 5% at this point, but this will change once we are mortgage free) and then every other cent is invested into the share market. We are investing for the long term and plan to hold our current portfolio until retirement (at least 20-30 years away). But after our mortgages are cleared we will probably think about working part time and travelling more!

    Our plan works for us, but might not be right for anyone else. One excellent book I read on finance was Scott Pape's "The Barefoot Investor". He has a website too of the same name. I thoroughly recommend him. Its simple financial advice in an easy to understand format. I can totally credit him for getting me out of debt ten years ago and putting me on the path to financial freedom.

    Good luck Stephanie!

  7. Clare, Knowledge is half the battle and with it comes power to make good decisions. For me it's new water and scary. But if I could learn about frugality then I can learn about wealth creation :-)

    Byallen, Education is development and hopefully will bring you a rewarding career you love.

    Op Shopper, Our children are so precious and if we can afford it then it's great to be able to spend time with them. I love my daughter so much I that my pay cut is worth every minute.

    Fariha, These are very Australian based books. But the Millionaire women is inspiring for anyone.

    Practical - no other post then the one above came through. I also wrote a response to everyone and that didn't come through either...

    Eve and The Apple Tree, I loved your comment. It's so interesting to read what others do with their money and how they divide it up between couples. People don't talk about it much since it's still taboo. Your comment will be food for thought for me and many others reading this. thank you.


Thanks for commenting - I love getting feedback, sharing experiences and learning from you.