I have always lived quite a frugal lifestyle, I just didn't realised this until I was older. And Kevin I think has been the same for most of his life also.
I know that compared to most people I speak to I am relaxed, I can see light at the end of the tunnel and am quite happy where I am. I don't consider myself poor or wealthy by Australian standards, but I do consider myself particularly lucky because I actually have choices, and freedom is on the horizon for me. I am getting closer to my lifestyle of an early semi-retirement. Which for me means having more than a month off each year to travel and do my own thing. Not having to save up annual leave over a two year period so I can take five weeks off to go overseas. I will be able to take the time off as unpaid, because I can afford to.
The picture below is of Kevin and I on his Hobie Tandem Island in 2015. We drove from Darwin to Lake Argyle then went out on a remote adventure on the hobie for 6 days. We didn't see another sole. We didn't have to worry about time, nor money as we had both. And for six days we didn't spend a cent. Yes, we paid petrol, camping fees for two nights and food to get there and back. But that was it. This is an example of how we live a life on less and have amazing adventures.
Taking opportunities when they are arise is crucial. During our return drive to Darwin we decided to pick up discarded 10 cent beverage containers in the Northern Territory as they participates in the container deposit scheme. The positive side of picking up the containers is less rubbish on the road side and we made enough money to pay for our petrol and a nights accommodation. Kevin and I didn't have to dip into our saving at all. We were able to keep our money to enjoy it in some other way. We picked up containers to assist with funding our trip from Darwin to Magnetic Island, take a look at our short video.
Our philosophy stems from this. If we can find ways to do things which are cheaper or make a little extra money and we enjoy it, then why not. I will still have to work for many years to come, but as long as I have enough time each year to do as I wish I am happy.
""My road here has not been a short one, being frugal has been a life long venture. Out of the tortuous and the hare, I am the tortuous. I am naturally a saver, not a spender and it is now paying off."
In order to pay my mortgage off in the next two years by 2018, I have cut my spending further, mainly not having a car and very cheap holidays consisting of camping and house sitting, take a look at our Magnetic Island house sit adventure. It does become a little difficult now and again but then I remind myself that I will own my home in under two years from now, and it keeps me going.
I wish I was better at investing, but I get a little nervous about risk. I do have my own house and superannuation which lets me rest easy at night. My next step will be looking at how to produce more passive income, and I will probably go to a financial adviser for this. I have been to a financial adviser before and found it empowering and helpful.
What are advantages of living a frugal lifestyle?
Low financial stress levels
I can afford something nice if I really want it
I know I will be able to semi retire early
I don't feel stressed most of the time
Owing my own house
Paying my mortgage in under 10 years and doing this easily
The ability to live well within my means
I am happy and I smile a lot
If I need something in an emergency I can afford it
Loan DVD's, magazines, ebooks from the library
Fix the boat and anything else which needs mending
Find solutions to problems
Learn a new skill from YouTube
You can live on less and have more. The more money I save, the more money I have to spend, save and invest. If I really want something I can buy it, and I love that.
A frugal lifestyle means we have no car at the moment, instead we ride bicycles and take public transport. We really question before we spend. We love anything second hand, charity shops, tip shops, garage sales and free giveaways. Because Kevin is so good at fixing motors, we have been given a free generator and paid $50 for a 9.9 Horse Power outboard, he has fixed both. Without the generosity of other and Kevin's ability to fix things living in a frugal way would be more challenging.
"It is very difficult to have both time and money. Usually there is a compromise, for both of us it is money, but it doesn't feel this way most of the time"
I rent my property in Melbourne and live cheaply on the sailboat. We house sit when it is convenient. We don't have expensive mobile phones, we have what will do the job. We often go to the library on Saturdays for WiFi and air conditioning. We buy specials, clearance and reduced in the supermarket saving us about 50% on our food bill. This all adds up in the end, and is money in our pocket. I have written an article on my spend for 2016, as it wasn't much, especially when you consider this included my mortgage interest payments.
We don't necessarily live a simple lifestyle, but we do live a frugal one with the odd luxury here and there. We enjoy going out for a meal which is good value and use the Stamford Plaza Brisbane and Royal on the Park in Brisbane. We look for their specials, dress up and go out. We can easily afford it, love it and appreciate the service, being looked after and it is a great luxury for us.
Below we are at the Stamford Plaza for Kevin's birthday surprise in 2016, it was a wonderful evening, especially as we stayed overnight. I took the next morning off work so I could enjoy a lay in. Lucky me!
Being frugal for us is about having money and time to do what we really want. The less we spend on stuff the more we have to spend on travel, taking time off and enjoying the odd luxury. We don't need stress nor do we need to keep up with the Jones in life. We just what freedom to do what we really want.