Occasionally I get a raised eyebrow from my Dad and he just can’t help himself and exclaims, “That’s not very thrifty!” This tends to be when I’ve booked a weekend away for Rich and I, or upgraded my computer to a Mac, or even when I’ve treated us all to a Pizza Express meal. It drives me crazy that I have to explain myself to anyone, as I believe no-one should. They’re my choices after all. However, I get that with writing a blog, comes a sense of responsibility. So maybe it is time to clear up the confusion? Here’s how I manage to have a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget or as my tagline says a “Luxury Lifestyle on a Family Budget.”
I really feel very strongly about there being a number of interpretations to the word thrifty. To some, possibly most, it means being tight, stingy or doing without. To me, it means being shrewd with your decision making. Savvy with your spending. Saving money where possible and being clever about what you’re happy to splurge your cash on.
Being a Blogger
Blogging has opened up a whole new world to me. I had previous undertaken reviews for Amazon products but nothing on the scale of what brands wish to work with me now. Ok, so reviews don’t tend to pay the bills. But when you get wine, a hamper of baby food, baby clothes for both children and a drone with built in camera delivered in one day, life does feel rather luxurious! If someone walked into my home and saw these things, they might understandably assume I’m a shopaholic. Where there is some truth to that, all it actually cost me was the price of my domain and site hosting, plus my time to write a review and share on social media.
Everyone I have asked about the cost of a drone has guessed that it must be over £100. In fact this perceived “high-end” product is only £39.99. Thus making it a really decent gift idea, particularly for the difficult to buy for!
The wine was from Co-Op, where I only ever shop if I have my NUS card with me to get a regular 10% off and always mention this to my readers. The baby clothes are from a small business in England. This is something I feel strongly about supporting but I feel even stronger about the idea that if you buy quality, you only buy once. Cheap clothing is not only often a false economy but can be uncomfortable on sensitive baby skin so it is worth the extra money. Being thrifty really is about being mindful of your own values. I feel so lucky that I have found so many other people who share these same values in my readers!
Always Get Cashback
There are somethings that you simply can’t avoid paying for. In our case the mortgage, insurances and utilities are the highest unavoidable bills. That’s why I always get cashback where possible. If there really is no more saving I can make after comparing supplier prices, reducing my interest rates or paying annually rather than by direct debit, then cashback is the nice little bonus on top. I recorded a podcast this week with Andy from BeCleverWithYourCash.Com and he asked me to reflect on my week money-wise. I had actually spent quite a bit of money on a weekend away for Rich and I but it didn’t matter to me at all as it was entirely paid for by the cashback which had built up in our Quidco and TopCashback accounts! We actually had extra money left over, so that’s our spends sorted too.
Be Frugal Where it Matters
When it comes to grocery shopping, that’s where I get really tight. I just don’t see the need to pay a crazy amount of money for tinned tomatoes when I could get the exact same thing but in an unbranded label for a quarter of the price. Tinned tomatoes are tinned tomatoes – there’s really no difference! I shop at Aldi and Lidl for the majority of our grocery supplies, that way when it comes to the weekend, I have more money to pay for a meal out or some special treats to have at home. Even then, you’ll find me at the clearance shelves!
I always look for the cheapest fuel prices using petrolprices.com Accept hand me down magazines from other people’s subscriptions, buy quality second hand clothes, upcycle furniture, make my own childrens’ toys and avoid expensive gym memberships. Being thrifty, to me, is about balance and to find balance, you sometimes have to be creative.
Just Earn More
There’s a well known story in my family of how my parents had to sell their vacuum when I was little so they could afford to buy food that month. It really is hard to comprehend anyone doing that these days, partly due to how easy it is to get credit. My parents refused to get into that debt trap though so made some difficult choices. However, the internet and other societal changes have made it so much easier to earn extra through side hustles that its just so simple to earn extra or find another way so you never have to go without. I don’t think I could get rid of my vacuum but I do enjoy making extra money from decluttering.
Mystery shopping for me is one of my main extra earners. The extra money it brings means we can treat ourselves elsewhere but it often means we can choose to have a free meal out at a nice restaurant or hotel whenever we fancy. To an onlooker this might look indulgent. In fact we went out for dinner every day for five days in a row when Ted was only a few weeks old but we weren’t paying. Indeed I was the one getting paid for the pleasure! So if we want more, we make that choice to just earn more so we don’t have to go without or compromise.
Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover
Or in the digital age, the saying should be don’t compare your “behind the scenes” with someone else’s “highlights.” Most people only show the good bits of their life on social media, especially when you’re someone trying to “sell” a luxury lifestyle. The reality is, that there’s a lot of hard work which goes in to maintaining a champagne lifestyle. Pitching for work. Checking blog analytics. Having a sleepless night as you refresh Moz to check your Domain Authority. Trying to get that one decent picture of your kids not looking like they’re about to kill one another so you can get it up on Instagram before the brand chase you again. Managing the clutter of all the stuff that needs reviewing. Answering weirdo messages. Sitting through a posh meal where the service is crap and you’re not allowed to say you’re assessing them so they better buck up. Or spending hours on a roll over, trying to cash out a big “win” through matched betting.
I’ve been on maternity leave for nearly two years now so we’re well out of the time when we had two incomes and no kids but actually I feel like we have more of a champagne lifestyle now than we did then. The Laws of Attraction have played a big part in my psychology towards money and achieving a luxury lifestyle. I highly recommend starting with a book called The Secret if this is something that you desire for yourself. We are very fortunate for the life we have created for ourselves. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
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