Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Preparations

We are going on adventure.
We are leaving the country, the house and our jobs (I have vacation and the man is between projects.)

We will be gone for at least a month and we are travelling with maximum 15 kg back-packs (which will also include full camping equipment with tent, sleeping bags, cooker as well as lots and lots of rain clothes).

We are going to Ireland.

The last weeks have been filled with preparations.
We have engaged some child labour to care for our plants (potatoes, plums, strawberries, the neurotic bougainvillea and the herb garden). The child will also empty the postbox and she is very proud of the responsibility. The parents have been wined and dined to be supporters.

The apartment is spotless clean. The drains are cleaned, the windows are wiped and all dishes are cleaned and dried and all kitchen table tops are emptied into cupboards. Even the chaos cupboard is sorted (or so I am told). All recycling materials are taken out and all donation boxes are emptied to the charity shop. I love coming home to a clean house where I can be my new self without having to deal with the problems of the person I was before I had the wonderful experiences from the trip.

All little jobs are finished, and even our bicycles are oiled and put in the basement. All the to-do notes are taken down off the note board. We have actually emptied all notice boards so that we can be the new persons with new interest we will have acquired during the summer.

Everything in the apartment will be turned off when we leave. The electricity, the gas, the heating and all electrical appliances are turned off while we are away. (Not the water of course, as it is summer and we have plants to water. Otherwise we turn off the water too.)

The fridge and the freezer are emptied and we have eaten everything that is not dry or in cans in the entire house. I admit, some of the latest meals have had some odd combinations - or as I prefer to look at it - have consisted of several different courses. This year, we even managed to finish off all odd condiments and really have nothing in the house that can go bad. There is always oatmeal for porridge in the house and besides we live across the street from a food shop that will be open when we come back.

I have cut my hair and the man has sharpened his shaving knives. I have dyed eyelashes and eyebrows and will last a month without make-up or even anything possibly called beauty products, besides a generous dollop of heavy duty sun cream several times a day (forever the optimist, eh?).

Each item in the backpacks have been tried, tested, cleaned, waxed, polished, re-packed and analysed for use and weight before it was packed. Boots: check. New water proof covers have been sewed for books and electronics and chargers.

Each step of the many (complicated) travel arrangements have been looked up and notes have been made. Everybody knows we are coming and they are ready for us (or so they think).

The clothes for tomorrow are laid out, the boots are by the door and now I am off to sleep.
Tomorrow we just lock the front door behind us.

Enjoy the summer, go out, go live life, do something new and get out off the blogosphere. 
If you need inspiration about how fabulous your life could be, have a glance at this fabulous woman, sometimes called Marianne

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

I cut my own hair

One item not included in my frugal annual budget is the cost for the hair dresser.
I cut my own hair.

I use a pair of scissors I bought minimum twenty years ago. No special quality although they are for hair cutting. They are never, ever used for anything else than cutting hair. This keeps them sharp.

The most important thing when cutting hair is that the scissors are sharp. Anything else will slide the hair and the cut will be uneven.
The second most important thing is that you never cut large chunks of hair at the same time. Small, thin, flat sections, trim of a little at the time. Use the internet for guidance.
The third most important thing is that you take your time, cut the hair in small sections, pinning or using elastics to keep the rest off the hair away and that you stay focused. Chain the kids and ground the dog to their rooms. The pot-roast will take care of itself. If you have a lot of hair, it will take time. Estimate an hour. At least. (At least the time it takes the professional hair dresser to cut your hair times two for not being professional.) I use my beloved neck mirror when cutting my hair.
The fourth most important is that you have a hair style that is possible to cut by yourself. I doubt Jennifer Aniston or any-other-hair-famous-person-that-I-can't-remember-the-name-of cuts their own hair. Stay simple.
Maybe you need to change your hair style to keep your savings high? Wouldn't it be worth it?

Hair is personal but hair also changes. It changes with which shampoo you use and how much and if at all. It changes with hair dryers, outdoor activities, what you eat, drink, sleep and if you brush it a lot. It mostly changes with age. The dry hair needs to be moisturised, and the fat hair needs to be dried out. Experiment for a week with each different method and see what happens. Can you get away with less?

I have thick, hard, unbending strands of hair and a lot of it. It goes heavy and dry in a day. It looks awful for two days without a wash but is behaves wonderfully when I wash it after three days. Sometimes it is worth it. I have decided that pig-tails are flattering on the almost fifty.
Everything would be cheaper if I could just trim it down but I need my hair for identity. Some, even most, can carry it off.
Me, with short hair - I just look like my brother, at age five.

Total annual budget for my hair is under 20€/year, possibly even down to 10€/year if counting thoroughly.
That drains my finances with 83 eurocents/month.

Because I am worth ... having so much more money in savings.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Because


My goal was to be free from debt so that I could move as I wanted.
Later I sold house and stuff and moved into 22 sqm so that I could move as I wanted.
What I want changes with my development but the savings makes me free to move as I want.

The progress is painful, but the outcome is delightful.
The movement is unrushed.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Shoes2016


I have bought a pair of boots!
A pair of hiking boots, with the right heaviness, the right rain protection, breathability, and almost the right colour. Most important of all, and quite unusual, I have bought a pair of boots that fit my feet from the start. (My feet are very long and thin, matching the rest of the machinery, but they have always made buying of shoes very difficult.)
The oddest thing is that I bought them online. On sale, bien sûr!
Oh sure, I had them delivered to the physical shop of the web based shop of the company and I tried them on immediately before actually paying for them (I am not stupid) but still, from day one, they are one of the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. And that includes my twenty year old well worn now dead leather hiking boots that have taken me over many mountains in rugged terrain. But now dead. Although numerous gluing attempts were made the fact is that they are dead.

The catastrophe of having my old well worn now dead leather hiking boots die on me three weeks before I intended to spend the entire summer in them, sent me shoe wishing.
The shoe wishing sent me to do a full shoe inventory and to update the probably not too accurate inventory that I did 2015.
Only when the shoe inventory and several days of trials showed that there were no shoes in my current possession that I could use for a month wearing daily outside in possibly rainy weather;
only then did the catastrophe send me shoe shopping.

The inventory showed that I own 17 pairs of things to wear in my feet in 2016.
2 pairs of flip-flops (one will be used, killed and thrown out during vacation)
3 pairs of indoor slippers (primarily the sheep skin slippers worn daily with a spare pair in storage)
4 pairs of sandals (one for the balcony and one pair that only looks nice but is only for sitting pretty)
3 pairs of nice lady-office shoes (spare from my previous affluent life style and kept to be used for the few occasions when I dress up with heels)
3 pairs of sports shoes - gym shoes and similar
1 pair winter boots
1 pair rain boots (not very comfortable but indispensable on the very rainy days)

In the winter I wear boots, in the other three seasons I wear sports shoes or if it is a dry day in the summer sandals. The new hiking boots are for three season hikes.
I could do with five pairs - slippers, sandals, two sport shoes and winter boots. However since I have all the other shoes and they mostly fit, and are of good quality and could be used on very disparate occasions, I will keep them. I am after all not a minimalist, I am a frugalist.

How many pairs of footwear do you have?


Sunday, 3 July 2016

Frugal budget - Home

Finding and establishing life on a frugal budget takes time.
The first step is to know the costs of the current lifestyle and the easiest way to start is to collect receipts and bills for expenses. 
These can then be divided, analysed and decreased in a multitude of ways.

Usually the first groping of costs has to do with the home.
Finding a place to stay is for most the most important decision in their lives.
For most it is a recurring task. Every physical move and most changes in life also involves a decision regarding where to live and what to pay for it.

The cost for a place to stay is therefore the first post in a budget. For many who live frugally, it is the biggest post in the budget.

In my way of calculating, the cost for my home also includes all costs that are directly connected to the home. For me it includes a monthly fee, electricity and home insurance (lowest possible, but more about that later). For most it includes heating, water, gardening services, repair services and of course the mortgage.
Since 2010 I do not have a mortgage although I had one when I bought my house.
(Since 2014 I also do not have the house the mortgage went with, but that is another story.)

It does not matter how you calculate the cost for your home, but ensure that you know each individual cost, and that you know how you counted it. I recommend a piece of paper. Buying special software to keep track of your finances is ridiculous as the whole point is to take personal control and to save money.

The costs can be annual or monthly; count each as an annual cost and then divide it with 12 to make them monthly. This is a budget! This is not the amount of money you need each month. The annual budget however, is the amount of money you need to have available each year to keep your home.

The next question is of course if you are going to keep your home the way it is now.

Personally, I could not have imagined selling my lovely house in 2010, and still by 2014 my life had changed so much that by then I could not wait to get rid of it. (Honestly, I have not even walked past it since the day I left.)

I pay for two homes. One in my mothers country which is my home; practically, mentally,  legally and taxationally, The other is in the man's country which is my home by invitation, choice and comfort. This is a very unconventional solution, I am fully aware of it, but before any conservatives advice on changes, remember that this works for us.
My home is also a safe, cheap, all-included studio with great neighbours. I pay less for it per month than most people spend in restaurants.

Without making any decisions about what the future will contain, you - yes, you, you and you - really should know the cost of your current home.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Why?


Why do I skimp and mend and count and control and save and wear out and do not buy pretty clothes?

I do it so that I can live debt free.

I do it so that I have no financial worries.

I do it so that when there is a world wide financial crisis, I am safe.
The week the English (not the Britain) shits in the financial fan, I am safe.

I do it so that in the week of financial, safety and environmental unrest, my financial independence (FI) number is 28,97.

This means that with no further increase of income, my current assets will keep my with my current frugal but by no means austere budget, for almost 29 years.
This is the budget I currently live on. This is the budget that also includes trips and vacations.
The annual budget is higher than my bare minimum but it is still higher than I would be expected to live on if I bankrupt or will be given financial welfare.

The condition is of course that the prices do not increase but I hope that the price increases will be close to the interests and dividends from my assets.

My calculation of my assets do not include the value of my apartment (but the budget does include the costs, and would include income if I rented it). My calculations also do not include state, private and employer pensions that I have provided for and that will start paying out in 15-20 years. It is unknown what they will be worth then so I do not include them.

I have 29 financially unworried years ahead of me. It is well worth not buying anything and to wear out shoes and shirts and to cook all meals from scratch to have that.
The man just passed FI 20.