There is something quite satisfying about making every penny stretch

By Nina Steele 

Being frugalOne of my philosophies in life is that nothing can ever be taken for granted. I have lived long enough to have seen people who had everything lose it all. I will always remember the story of a friend of one of my brothers. He was hugely successful in the 1990s, with a huge office and servants at his beck and call at home. Then he lost his job and everything else with it. Now in his late 50s, the last I heard was that he is now a shadow of his former self and barely subsisting. I know many stories like that. And what they have taught me is how unpredictable life can be. Everything we know and hold dear can be taken away in an instant. Death is the only certainty. Nothing else is.

My personal experience of struggling financially growing up and all those stories of people who lost everything, have shaped my outlook on life. My choice of living frugally is a direct result of that.

I am always on the lookout for ways to save money. I have written in the past about how much we have saved since I switched from doing all our grocery shopping from one of the mid-market supermarkets to now doing most of it at a discount one. I still shop at the mid-market supermarket, but only for certain items. Shopping around for cheaper insurance providers is also saving us a good amount each year. Regarding insurance, I wish I had started shopping around earlier, but at least I am now.

In terms of clothes, I am lucky enough that the majority of the clothes I bought many years ago still fit and so, I rarely buy new ones. I only buy things that I really need, as opposed to going shopping for the sake of it. Luckily, my husband and I share the same values when it comes to spending. He is as frugal as I am.

By living frugally, I am minimizing the impact of anything that can come our way that wasn’t planned. Goodness knows what tomorrow will bring. All I can do, is be careful about the choices I make, at all times.

When my mother came to visit in 2014, she was surprised that we drove a nondescript car (we still do). It was a Vauxhall Astra then. She was expecting us to drive something more upmarket. And I cannot say that I resented her for thinking that way, because she comes from a culture where it is all about being seen, even if that means drowning in debt. Of course this mentality is not just an African problem, it is everywhere you look, including here in the UK. Which explains why the level of debt is so high in most countries. Many people are living lives they cannot afford.

There is something quite satisfying when you reach a stage in life where you care more about your peace of mind than what others think. For me, it is all about living a life that is true to who I am now and my husband feels the same way. I don’t like being in debt and so I choose to live simply and make every penny stretch as much as is possible.

Being frugal

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