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, June 28, 2013


Hi there,

I try to find ways to live beneath my means so that I can save for earlier retirement, extra mortgage payments and keep working shorter hours each day. I know it's working as my savings are growing and our mortgage is lowering.

I like to talk money, budgets, saving, ecology, crafting, cooking, gardening and frugality with friends and strangers. I like to share the knowledge I have built since I've started on my eco-frugal journey. I like to care about people and share useful frugal tips. I like to help out friends. And I like to get useful stuff.

Our family babysat our friends infant again while they went to a important yearly work function. In exchange for the 4 hours we babysat I asked for a spool of white sewing thread, fabric scraps they are no longer using and an ice-cream sunday from Macdonalds on their return as an extra sweet treat. We saved them over $50 in babysitting fees and got useful stuff to keep our mending/crafting supplies well stocked. The ice-cream wasn't useful - but it was a nice end to the night :)

Useful Stuff we Received for Babysitting.

When you're counting your pennies and being careful, everything counts. Everything helps and I like the fact I am saving money by not having to buy more thread but I also like caring for my community members even more.

What about you? A budgeting chatterbox? A barterer? I'd love the hear what you have to say...

Stephanie at Frugal Down Under



  1. My exbf comes once a week to help me with things I cannot handle. I know he is shocked by the stuff in my basement. However, he says nothing. I do ask him to bring things out for the side of the road, offering stuff free for the taking to passersby.

    Yesterday, he asked me if he could have a lamp from the basement because his in the bedroom no longer worked. He had brought up the only two down there, placing them on the wall beside the outside basement door. We checked them and he took the one he wanted, the nicer one.

    Most often I am the one contributing to someone's frugal habits with material possessions.

    He is very frugal and does not often replace broken things by buying new things. I gave him a coffee maker, a nice office chair, lamp,a computer desk, and now this second lamp. Everything I gave him was free to me except for the lamps. I probably paid no more than $1 for each of those.

    We do discuss frugality! He must have pounds of rubber bands given to him, gallons of dish liquid given to him, and hundreds of envelopes given him.

    He has never been horrified or put off by my frugality, even eating dumpster food!

    I get free clothes for him. I have known him for seven years and dated him for the first two years. I got free shirts from freecycle and gave him about a dozen. Lately, I noticed he wears those exclusively as opposed to ones he had when we met. He wears the free leather belt I found, and the free socks, along with free khakis and jeans and free hat.

    Of course, it is not all a one-way deal. We don't exactly barter with one another, he just helps me an I help him.

    1. Hi Practical Parsimony, Sounds like and excellent partnership in friendship. Helping each other out is so important otherwise how can we all compete against the rising costs of living as the rich get richer and make the rules.

  2. Looks like a good deal for both parties, great when you can get useful stuff in exchange for a little of your time.
    I love bartering and luckily live in a community where this happens often.I belong to LETS which I also use to trade for lots of things.Just this week I am having a custom made dog gate put together by one member who is a joiner and I have friends coming over for a painting party at the weekend to help redecorate my living room.I have spent time helping with housework, ironing and done some home baking this week.Everyone is happy and no one needs to part with cash - result!
    Bartering also helps to reinforce community ties and build support networks, and I have made lots of good friends through LETS too :)

    1. Hi Dreamer, I'm so envious. We don't have a LETS program here. I wish we did - however I don't have the time or energy to start one up. hopefully someone else will.

  3. I agree that bartering is an excellent way to create closer ties between friends and also the wider community. Sometimes the Australian Tax Office puts a monetary value on bartering if an officer suspects you are deliberately avoiding paying taxes. If you are using this system a lot, be cautious.
    Baby sitting can be quite easy, although not always. I think you both got a good deal here. Please make sure you have a Working With Children Clearance Card though, even if you are only minding the child of a friend. A current Senior First Aid Certificate would be advisable too.
    Why? Because you write in your blog that you do these things. I am not writing this to be mean. I want you to be safe and to be free from criticism.

    1. Hi Louise,

      I have replied to you on a few occasions over the past year regarding the Working with Children Clearance Card (which I have) however is not compulsory for non commercial babysitting or babysitting for friends. And shockingly it's actually not even compulsory for interstate visitors to volunteer for 2 weeks with children...

      I have worked in the fields of welfare and community development with vulnerable and abused children so I am very supportive about child safety laws, however in this case I am breaking no laws. Working with Children Clearance laws are also very different in all states of Australia. Here is a link that may interest you for the Northern Territory Exemptions: http://www.workingwithchildren.nt.gov.au/clearance.html

  4. The only bartering we do is with our neighbours. He cuts the land at the back and my hubby helps him with any computer related problems. Or they have asked us to water their plants whilst they are away and we can help ourselves to ripe produce.

    It's a great feeling. And no money changes hands.

    Sft x


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