I may not agree with all of her choices but I do admire this woman for living her life on her own terms

By Nina Steele 

I recently decided to switch from the supermarket we have been doing our grocery shopping at for the past 15 years to another one. The difference between the two is that our old supermarket is at the middle end of the scale, while the new one is one of the budget chains. And the difference has been remarkable. Our weekly grocery bill has almost halved.

Which is why I took a particular interest in the story of llona Richards, who has been given the rather derogatory title of ‘Britain’s stingiest woman’. The 66 year old childless woman, lives so frugally that she reportedly asks her guests to bring their own tea bag whenever they come to visit (ok, that I don’t agree with!)

One thing I am in complete agreement with her on, is her strong belief in living within her means, as opposed to accumulating unnecessary debts. These are values that my husband and I hold very dear.

I didn’t realise how much money we were wasting until I switched supermarkets. There is a certain cachet in society to say that you buy your groceries from one of those favoured by the middle classes. I won’t name names for obvious reasons. I remember at my last place of work when everyone was so proud to announce that they shopped at a particular supermarket, because of course, it made them middle class.

There is so much pressure to conform that even one of the women I worked with, a married mother of two, whose household combined income was barely enough for them to live on, felt the need to buy some of her groceries at the said ‘posh’ supermarket, so she too could say that she shopped there. Needless to say that they had no savings.

Figures show that ‘the average total debt per household in the UK, including mortgages was over £53,000’. Increase in household debt is a global problem. Globalisation and easy access to the Internet, means that we can all see how others live their lives. The pull to copy other people’s lifestyles has never been greater.

Which brings me back to llona Richards. Yes some of her choices may not be to everyone’s taste and may even be considered extreme, however, I do admire her courage for choosing a lifestyle that suits her, as opposed to following the latest trends and fads.


llona Richards

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