Monthly Archives: September 2017

In Limbo

Guest Post time! Mr B has kindly written a post for me. No, I am not being lazy. He has been meaning to for ages and has at last got around to it, with absolutely no nagging from me, despite what his opening line implies. No, I did not write it for him, although he did have to submit several drafts to the committee before it was finally approved (lol joking….or am I?). Obviously I needed to edit a bit here and there and couldn’t let him have all the fun.

He needs no introduction, he is of course, the one and only Mr B:

Limbo Period

Mrs. B has been asking me to write an article for this blog for quite some time. I’m not a writer and I often struggle to express myself with “good england”. But I have given it a go.  

As you know, I spend most of the day behind a computer screen talking to people across the world and providing them a valuable solution that will help their businesses grow, achieving their targets. Great….even during a blog post I throw in my elevator pitch (if anyone is looking for a Market Intelligence Solution please contact me on my work email* – you will be helping me hit my target 🙂 (I think he’s joking…? Editor) ). Whilst I am carrying out the daily routine of a fun commute up to London, looking at all those people in fun suits, having the time of their lives – you get the sarcasm picture – we are waiting for our solicitors to sort out all the relevant

paperwork for the property we are buying.

Now, Mrs. B and I have been trying to save as much money as we possibly can in order to purchase our dream house and land so we can start our own business and grab life with our vast loan from the bank hands. This does mean we spend as little as we can and save as much as we can. The more we aim at not spending money, the more I can see that the consumerist world has dragged the whole population in. Today I received a letter from my bank stating that I can upgrade my Current Account to a higher level. When discussing with the bank, they were shocked that I didn’t have a Credit Card.

Bank: “but Sir, with your higher level account you can get a better Credit Card which can help you and your family”

Me: “Really??? How??? By enticing me to spend more money which isn’t mine??? I already owe you money for my house, I’m not going to owe you money for useless things in my life” (He didn’t actually say that. Editor)

Frugal bank holiday beach fun. Not the best pic but all the other beach pictures contain child nudity….

In theory, it is very easy not to spend money (says the man who gets a coffee from Nero’s at least twice a week – ‘that’s ok I get cash back from it’ – no Mr B. that’s BAD!!!! (*rolls eyes* honestly! Ed)). However, since we have started the process of purchasing our dream property I have found myself slipping into a state of Limbo – we are almost there, the process was meant to have finished at the end of August,  with Mr and Mrs B + kids moving into the new house with all the possibilities  ahead of us. Did this happen? Of course not. Will this happen soon? Of course not, the days are turning into weeks, and now possibly months. Maybe end of September, October or November. Hopefully, not December. This means I have now been in a state of  anticipation for longer than expected and I have seen a resulting failing in my decent saving efforts. Because we have been “about to move” for a while, I have been in the mental state of, well it’s ok, let’s do it, let’s spend the money on something that may not be completely necessary – such as takeaways, the extra coffee in the morning, lunch (very much food related stuff – no evidence to show Mrs. B) (apart from your expanding waistline, I’m not that blind. Ed)

This has lead to a spiral of “defects” in the way I am living, spending has increased (I won’t be able to spend when I’m working from home, so that’s ok), exercising has decreased (it’s ok, there will be plenty of time for this in the new house), Enthusiasm is lacking (once in our dream house, life will be easier, it will be better, I will be stronger and faster). In the past couple of weeks, this behaviour has started to weigh on me, and also I have noticed the same with Mrs. B.(hmmm. Ed) There has been an increase in stress as the move has been moving (see what I did there) slowly and it coincides with our daughter going to school for the first time. This stress, the  amalgamation of events plus the return of bad spending (and exercising) habits is not a healthy way of living – hopefully we can move soon and all our problems will disappear. YAY!!! – Easy.

In the pumpkin patch. These pictures are just to brighten the place up, no relevance to the post whatsoever.

I’ve just re-read the last paragraph (without having to correct any of my English) (You’re right, I did that. Ed), and it sounds quite negative. I will however twist it into a positive frame. The last month or so has re-affirmed that, the way we lived before our decision to save more by spending less, was not fully satisfying. We were stuck in the rut, going with the flow, behaving like every other commuter on the 0716 train from Tunbridge Wells. The last month has reminded me that spending on unnecessary stuff does not fulfill my life and, in actual fact, is the catalyst that degrades it. When I spend money, I have found that I don’t exercise as much, meaning that I feel less motivated and energetic, therefore I eat more, spend more money, and the cycle goes on. Saving and spending money is like exercise, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

I am very much looking forward to these next few weeks when I will start again to save, exercise and plan for our (hopefully) impending move. Watch this space! (Not literally. Ed.)

* imnotreally@thatstupid.com

Furnishing A House The Frugal Way

Well, September is here and with it, the cooler weather, shorter evenings and a general feeling of back to schoolness. Hence a blog post. I have made several new (academic) year resolutions:

  1. Prise open the long unused laptop, blow the dust off the keyboard and write more blog posts.
  2. Run more so I can eat more (cake).

  3. Get to school on time…

Yes that’s right, the eldest child has started school! Not being a morning person, I am dreading the resurgence of the morning routine. I have been quite happy in my summer holiday mode of not really doing anything (like getting dressed) until gone ten. She is desperate to start though, and I am very excited for her. Her little brother is going to miss her a lot, he has been her shadow and partner in crime all holidays and at two and a half, has no idea that she is suddenly going to disappear for most of the week. I’ll miss her too, of course!

So, in the spirit of sticking to my resolutions, on to the subject of today’s post: furniture. Of the frugal kind.

This is one of my favourite frugal things. When we moved into our current house we needed quite a bit more furniture as we came from a two bed rented flat with lots of built in wardrobes. It was then that I discovered the joy of second hand furniture warehouses. If you’ve never been, imagine a cavernous warehouse filled to bursting with heaps of furniture……pretty much does what it says on the tin. They are great places, and you can really find some good stuff if you have the time to look through the rubbish. The turnover is often high, so you never know what might have turned up in between visits. As long as you know what you are wanting to buy and make sure what you are getting is decent quality, there are some real bargains to be found. I basically furnished our house from these places. I had a list of what we needed and would pop in every time I passed, over a few weeks our house filled up with good quality furniture, none of which cost more than £150.

Kids modelling table (charity shop) and chairs (skip)

Having said that I would give the sofas and armchairs in those places a wide berth, they were always pretty grotty and looked like there may have been other things living in them….

There are more really good places for picking up furniture frugally, mostly virtual ones. This is what I tend to do now rather than drive out to places, I can use the kids or general laziness as an excuse. Sat on the sofa (gumtree) I can spend a happy time scrolling through Facebook selling pages, and have been known to win on ebay a few times. In the olden days (four years ago) we used to look through the FridayAd at the items for sale and we even brought a Dyson through an ad on one of those notice board things on the back wall of sainsbury’s that no one looks at ever. Good old hand-me-downs feature a lot in our house too. It does mean that nothing really matches (lets call it ‘eclectic’) but definitely doesn’t mean we have scabby furniture, we do have some taste and we make sure we get well made things. I like the character of our furniture and the sense of smugness satisfaction that I get from knowing it cost us peanuts.

The thing about buying from the warehouses or from facebook sites is that sometimes you have to get things when they turn up rather than when you need them. Which is precisely why we have ended up with a filing cabinet, sofa and two large bookcases. In the new house, Mr B will be working from home, so the filing cabinet is destined for his boxroom office. When I saw one advertised on facebook for free I couldn’t resist, as a better bargain was not likely to come along anytime soon. The sofa and bookcases were from Mr Bs office in London, offered for free first come first serve. Another sofa was on my wanted list but the bookcases were an added ‘bonus’ that Mr B convinced me to agree to. The only cost was a man with a van to get them down from London. Apparently they might come in useful….at the moment they are getting in my way…..

Kids modelling new sofa (Mr B office discard)

It may seem a bit presumptuous of us to buy furniture for a house we haven’t even bought yet but as I said, often you have to get things when you see them in order to avoid paying more. It helps, therefore, to have a Master List of all things you need. This way, when scrolling through facebook or wandering into a charity shop you know what to keep an eye out for. Also, we know we have the money at the moment. By the time we actually have the house we probably would have spent most of it.

We were buying furniture second hand long before we made the decision to cut back on spending and save money. In all honesty when we were first married there was no way we could have furnished our flat any other way. It always seemed a bit silly that you basically had to take out a small mortgage to buy a new sofa. Luckily we were living in Eastbourne, a favourite of the retired community, where there is no shortage of charity shops which generally look like they carry out house clearances every other day.

Nativity angel in front of bookcase (charity warehouse) and sideboard (family hand-me-down)

One last tip: make sure that what you buy can actually fit in your house. I brought a large wardrobe when we first moved in which wouldn’t fit up the stairs without being dismantled (with an axe) first. Mr B valiantly (there was a lot of swearing) took it apart, then cobbled it back together upstairs. Thinking about getting it back down the stairs for the future move, we came to the conclusion that it won’t. Therefore Mr B set about carefully (violently) dismantling it and it has now been sent to the dump. I replaced it with facebook finds of a smaller wardrobe (£40) and a rather nice tallboy chest of drawers thing (£100, found the same one online at M&S for £400 new), both of which can make it up and down the stairs with only minor huffing and puffing and definitely no axes.

Hopefully we will manage to move to our dream house as, currently, I have filled all the available space in this one with furniture and unsurprisingly we have run out of room.

Current Master List: (On hold due to lack of space…)

Double bed frame

Replacement chest of drawers for kids room (…current one is a bit rickety and may not survive another move)

Office style chair

Table lamps

Proper farmhousey style kitchen dresser (always wanted one, will be my ultimate secondhand success if I can find an affordable good quality one)