Monday, 28 January 2013

Striving for Fifty Percent

Photo: David Smith
As far as I can work out there are three main groups of frugalistas/thrifters.  At one end of the spectrum there are those, for whom penny pinching becomes an obsession.  This is rarely due to Scrooge-like miserliness.  Some are merely have the sheer determination to achieve a monetary goal such as paying off debt or a mortgage as quickly as possible.  Others want to stretch a very basic income to fund a particular enthusiasm  Of course, in these hard times, there are many who do not actively choose to live like this but do so out of pure necessity with little or nothing left over for fun and frivolity.

Then at the other extreme there are those who, financially do not have a care in the world but see themselves as thrifty because they like to bag a bargain.  Lidl at Dartmouth is full of them, whooping enthusiastically whilst filling the trollies with cheap lobsters and luscious continental chocolate, and then loading up the Merc after going through the till.  This group will seek out a free upgrade on a luxury cruise or proudly sport their Manolo Sputniks, or whatever they're called, bought for a fraction of the price that a friend paid.  Don't for a moment think I'm slagging this lot off here.  I take my hat off to anyone who thinks about how their pounds and pennies are spent,  especially if they don't need to at all.

At the very high risk of mixing metaphors, I'm firmly camped out with the lot in the middle.  My household income is slightly above the average which means that even after expensive rental costs there's some money to spare.  This is why I decided that my 2013 rules should encompass a clause stating that 50% of things I bought should be locally supplied.    A little more expensive maybe but lets use a bit of cash that's surplus to basic needs to fuel the economy for smaller businesses rather than the fat cats.   Hence the picture of my lovely friendly family run shop and post office in our village of Liverton.   It's a proper store which has a good selection of basics and a bit more at reasonable prices. I went the other day for milk and mushroom and ended up impulsively purchasing a beautiful bunch of purple sprouting broccoli and a couple of big fat cheese scones.

From a bag of an envelope type of mental calculation,  have to admit that my 50% rule is probably not being adhered right now.  It's just too easy to pop into a supermarket where everything is to hand.  I'm going to need a long hard look at how to achieve this.  Instead of it being an immediate course of action, lets make this a tricky target to be accomplishing by the end of the year.


  1. Agree with your observations. I'll join you in the middle.

  2. I'm in the camp where I have to live frugally because of financial restraints but actually get quite a kick out of doing it.
    I hate the ones who grab all the reduced items when they don't need too, when there are people who depend on this way of life and find it difficult to manage.
    I think the ones I dislike most are the ones who claim to have to live frugally, but really are just penny pinching misers and have a Merc/BMW parked in the driveway and can afford holidays etc.,

  3. A good observation. I too struggle with the 'frugal' BMW drivers! Like Wean I get a kick out of managing on my enforced tight budget. Very carefully money management means a little treat occasionally- appreciated even more because it was carefully achieved [as opposed to carelessly slinging a cheap Aldi Lobster in the trolley!]

    really enjoying your blog btw [have I said that before?]

    blessings x