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I have not had a chance to update you recently but the lack of posts is due to the fact that we are on holidays.

We have left Psycho Dog, Mr K and the chickens in the capable hands of the housesitters and headed off on an adventure to the other side of the world.

If you would like to join in the fun please come over to my travel blog.  Lots of commentary and photos on where we are and what we see and do.

Posts here will resume when we arrive home – but that is not for several weeks yet!

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It is interesting that I am posting this just after completing the series on frugality.

Here is a large chest of drawers that we bought a couple of years ago with a view to them being restored.

Chest of drawers

GMan has done a couple of pieces but this was not in good structural condition so we decided to take it to a professional.  Hans from Montville Joinery did an amazing job and this is the result.

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Apologies for the dark photo but I think you will get the idea.

All in all, I think it was definitely worthwhile as this beautiful red cedar chest of drawers has a new lease of life and will be cherished for many more years.  Even though we did not do the actual restoration, there is an enormous degree of satisfaction in finding an old, neglected piece of furniture and seeing it brought back to life as a functioning item.

A Frugal Mindset – 7

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Well, here we are at the end of the series of points about frugality.  I feel as though they saved the best for last as this final point underpins everything for me.

7. Frugal people are content with “enough.” A lot of the concepts and mindsets that I’ve mentioned above can be summed up with the idea of “enough.” Enough is the opposite concept of “more.” More is a constant search for acquiring, and even when you meet one goal instead of being content with it, you just continue climbing, seeking more. Enough is stopping at the top of the mountain and just enjoying the view.

Question to ask yourself: Am I trying to keep up with the Joneses, or seeking more only for more’s sake? Or really, is this good right where I am? Do I have enough?

There is more to life than stuff.  Do you have enough?

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A Frugal Mindset – 6

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I am coming to the end of this short series and today’s gem is all about DIY.

While GMan and I do quite a few things ourselves, I think it is important to understand your limitations.  There is no saving in attempting to do something yourself and ending up creating more of a mess that will incur a greater cost to have it fixed up.

We happily and effectively do our own gardening, sewing, cooking, landscaping, chopping firewood, cleaning solar panels, painting, tiling and some furniture restoration.  Things that we do not attempt are cutting our hair, computer repairs, car maintenance or anything electrical.

6. Frugal people embrace the idea of “do it yourself.” If something needs doing frugal people first consider whether they can do it themselves. No need to pay someone for convenience if you could do it yourself with just a bit of sweat equity. And those that are more content in their frugality actually enjoy that process. They like learning new things, and feeling self-sufficient without having to rely on someone else to do it for them.

Question to ask yourself: Why am I paying for that service or product? Could I get good enough results myself by learning something new, or spending a bit more time on the task?

What do you do yourself?  Or not?

A Frugal Mindset – 5

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This post has been half written for a few days as life has a tendency to get in the way.

Here is the next instalment.

5. Frugal people use items until they break, and then fix them. Marketers are always coming out with the biggest and the best thing, and urging you to upgrade now. But frugal people don’t worry about that. Instead, they’ll continue to use the perfectly good, whatever (you fill in the blank) until they just can’t get it to work anymore. No need to buy something new when what they have works perfectly well!

Question to ask yourself: Do I really need a new ________ (fill in the blank)? Or does what I have already do what I really need it to already?

This just commonsense as far as I am concerned.  Whilst it may be tempting to buy something in the latest colour/style or bigger and better there really is no need.

We are all seduced from time to time by shiny new things but if you can limit your purchases of things that will replace ones you already have you will be well on the way to making some substantial savings.

Try thinking of the oldest item you have in regular use and share it in the comments.

Mine would be the mixing bowl that belonged to my grandmother followed by the woollen blankets on the single beds – they are almost as old as me.  The blankets on the guest bed were a wedding gift as were much of the crockery, glassware and kitchen paraphenalia that I use regularly.

A Frugal Mindset – 4

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Number 4 in the frugal series appears to be at odds with frugality until you think it through.  It is all about quality and this is something I regularly take into account.  I find that in many instances, paying a bit more for a quality item does reap rewards in the long-term.  This applies to appliances, equipment, clothing and a range of other things.

4. Frugal people are not afraid to spend more on big expenses if it saves them money in the long run. This one may seem counterintuitive  to the point I just made above, about how frugal people are known as penny pinchers. But truly frugal people, as opposed to just tightwads, know when it is the time to pinch your pennies and the time you need to pull out your wallet and spend a bit more upfront to save money in the long run. An example of this is choosing a more reliable, slightly more expensive brand of lawn equipment. Ultimately this machinery will, statistically speaking, last longer and cost less in repair costs, making it better to plunk down a few extra dollars up front to reap the savings long-term.

Question to ask yourself: Don’t just ask yourself, when making a purchase, how much does this cost me now? Instead, also have follow up questions which include how long do I want or need this to last, and how much can I afford in repairs or maintenance?

It is all about quality and this is something I regularly take into account.  I find that in many instances, paying a bit more for a quality item does reap rewards in the long-term.  This applies to appliances, equipment, clothing and a range of other things.

Here is an example:  This Canterbury rugby top was bought in 1999 and has been worn every year since.  It is a favourite and gets plenty of wear.  I noticed today that the collar is beginning to show signs of wear so I will either turn the collar or replace it.  The colour has faded somewhat and the is a small area which I mended many years ago just below the logo.  None of that stops me wearing this top which has lasted much longer (and will continue for years yet) than cheaper ones.

I am also aware of the environmental cost of constantly replacing cheap items and would prefer to buy something that is going to have a longer useful life and consequently a smaller environmental footprint.

A Frugal Mindset – 3

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Well, I actually had 2 rest days but here I am, back again with number 3.

3. Frugal people know small expenses add up to big ones. I think we’ve all thrown something extra into the shopping cart because it was only a buck, or grabbed up the clearance item because it was just such a great deal despite having no idea how we’d use it. While getting a great deal for items you need is worth it, frugal people also realize something else — those small expenses add up to real money, so they can distinguish between impulse purchases and those that are necessary. There’s a reason frugal people are known as penny pinchers, they grasp the concept of a little bit adds up to a lot.

Question to ask yourself: Do I want to buy this because it’s a great deal, or because it’s just a small amount of money, or because I really need it and have a plan for how I’ll use it? 

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I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on this one.  I can honestly say that I very rarely buy anything that is not on my list or a planned spend.

I do not chase sale items for groceries or other household goods.  I shop intentionally and generally pay full-price for items but I believe it is still wiser than buying random stuff simply because it is on sale.  This works for me. I never have food that I do not know what to do with it because I only buy what we eat and what I need for the meals I have planned.  There are no clothes in my cupboard that have never been worn or piles of unused household goods.

What about you?