What spurs you on?

If you are into the thrifty/frugal living movement – what is it that spurs you on? What makes you keep going when it seems really tough or you feel like you just can’t be bothered?

I get like this from time to time. It’s hard, always thinking about where every penny is going (or coming from!) or always checking you’ve used up every last thing in the fridge when it would be much easier, on those particularly exhausting days, to just get take-out. I don’t get it right all the time but I find I am at my best when I’ve got a really clear idea of what I’m working toward or, unfortunately, if things seem really bad.

The biggest amount I ever saved (and then spent most of – by design) was my maternity leave fund. I saved up enough money to top up my maternity pay and to buy baby/maternity related things in advance. It was really, really easy to go without things to achieve this because I really, really wanted a baby! At the moment, the thing spurring me on is feeling a bit worried by things. What if something happened to my job? What if something happened to Husband’s job? What if we can’t sell our house for enough to be able to put down a big enough deposit (and thus can’t buy anything at all?). What if I want to retrain? What if I go completely insane if I never see another country again?! And so on. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t sit around being morbid and negative all day. But these are the things that tend to play on my mind when I feel a bit worried. Thus when when of them pops into my head I find it easy to turn it into a reason to go and make dinner out of random things in the fridge and cupboards. If I’m worried about the future I find it easy to spend a bit of time online to check what we’re paying out for things and find a way to cut the cost. At the moment, rather than being an annoyance, these types of activity are actually giving me peace of mind. I’m doing all I can do and when I think of, or hear about, a new idea I do that too.

I have to say my motivation has been riding high the last few weeks. I’ve got that ‘Come on – let’s do it!’ frame of mind about spending less and saving money. I hope I can keep up my momentum. Things that keep me going include: keeping my eyes on the prize (all of the things we’d like to do, like buy a house), reading other blogs about people being inventive, clever and optimistic in thier thrifty lifestyles, also reading blogs about financial management and re-reading my small collection of books on personal finance and frugality.

There’s a lot less in the press regarding the economic doom and gloom these days. However, we are far from being out of the woods. I see evidence of the mess we’re in every day; cuts to child tax credits, increased food prices, empty shop fronts, subtle layers of cutbacks and redundancies (not the ‘mass’ redundancies of a year or two ago but the odd position lost here, a few hours cut there and so on). It seems to have less impact because it is old news. But I don’t see that things are going to get better any time soon – the road to economic recovery is going to take years as far as I can see. And it worries me. I’m not exactly losing sleep over it but I’m not comfortable either.

Looking back over this post, it does seem a bit negative. It isn’t meant to be. It’s just the reality of where we’re at, at the moment. For us here in the Shoestring household things are okay – nothing specific to worry about as far as we know – but we haven’t got a huge amount of back-up if some kind of financial disaster struck. And so that’s what is spurring me on at the moment. That and all of the things we’d like to do in the future that don’t come for free.

What about you – what spurs you on with thrifty living?

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Categories: Frugal ideas, Home Economics, Money Management, Saving | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “What spurs you on?

  1. I’m in a similar situation – I’m not beside myself with worry about the state of our finances or the economy as a whole – but I’m not comfortable with it either. Both my chap and I run our own companies – his company particularly is doing well but how secure is anything right now?

    I deliberately consume as little mainstream media as I can. It’s admittedly a little head-in-the-sand but I think they do a lot of unnecessary scaremongering – and even with a bullpoop detector in place, those stories get to me a bit more than they should. Like you, I prefer reading more productive frugal/simple living/PF blogs and other sources – it feels better to be doing rather than just waiting for total economy collapse.

    I do struggle to stay motivated in some areas though – we don’t have any debt (aside from our mortgage) to pay off and we’re not currently saving for anything in particular, so it’s hard to put off short-term pleasure (a meal out, for example) in favour of putting an extra £20 in our general savings accounts which are just sitting there doing nothing – or rather, not doing nothing, they’re shrinking thanks to inflation! Damn not having any desire to buy expensive things, procreate imminently or move house any time soon! 😉

    • shoestringalley

      Yes, it is definitely easier to find motivation to save when you’ve got a particular goal in mind. I’ve got one or two bubbling away at the moment that are helping me – mostly – stay on track. Sometimes, though, you do need a meal out or whatever it might be. I always think that the trick is not to make being budget conscious so punishing that you give it up! I totally agree with what you said about finding it better to be ‘doing’ rather than taking a passive stance. It’s one of the reasons I find this blog so useful as it gets me in a proactive frame of mind!

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  3. Diana

    I just want to say how your blog really helps me to stay on track.I have just splurged for a whole month on feel good items eg books and expensive ,tasty food and the odd bottle of wine. I always find it difficult to stay on track as my birthday approaches and this approaching one has been no small exception, I’m rushing towards 60 and boy it doesn’t feel good. My daughter is treating me to 2 nights at Raymond Blancs hotel outside Oxford. A treat to last me a life time….. What to wear? I flew to the shops but before the credit card could be wrenched from my wallet I read your blog. My wardrobe was bursting with wonderful clothes , superb bags and nearly new shoes. None of which I have worn since I became a carer. Your wisdom stopped me from spending valueable savings on clothes which simply wouldn’t be worn in my new existence.I have fallen in love again with items I had forgotten I even owned. The trick is never to put on weight and buy quality in sales. Thank you for your motivation.

    • shoestringalley

      Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment Diana! It’s amazing, finding out quite how much you’ve already got isn’t it? I had planned on using a different handbag each week until I’d gone through them all but I’m still enjoying the first one I picked so much that I haven’t felt bored yet! I hope you manage to find some lovely outfits from the back of the cupboard and that you have a fantastic birthday – enjoy! x

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