Friday, 25 April 2008

My life, simply

Rhonda Jean of asked all her readers to write about our versions of living a simple life. Here is mine.

I guess I was always brought up in a frugal way, I remember always eating home baked biscuits and my Mum making all our clothes. My Mum only ever worked part time and my Dad was always able to fix things. I can remember many of our bikes being made from parts salvaged from the local tip. We used to joke that Dad would bring home more from the tip than he dropped off!

In my early 20's I fell for all the advertising and keeping up with the Jones'. We had a mortgage and the interest rates peaked at 17%. We had friends over for dinner parties and rarely went out for meals as we couldn't afford it! We commuted over an hour each day to work. We decided to cut our losses and eventually we bought the worst house in a really nice street.
From that point on I started to remember the old ways. We did most of the renovating ourselves and learned lots along that way!
I have always enjoyed cooking and always owned a slow cooker. When I became pregnant with my first child that I really started to look at ways to cut costs. I knew I didn't want to go back to work immediately. My children both had cloth nappies and home made clothes.
Years later following my divorce I spent six months back under my parents roof. They still live the same frugal, gentle life I remember from my childhood.
Being a single parent with 2 children and a mortgage I try to lead a frugal but happy life. We also discovered that my son reacts to a lot of food preservatives and additives (the numbers as he calls them).
I work about 30 hours a week so have learned to be very organised. I have a wonderful boyfriend who helps a lot with meal preparation and planning. My children also spend 50% of their time with their Dad, so I work longer hours the week they are with him and shorter hours when they are in my care. Here is a list of things that come to mind, the everyday of our simple, frugal lives:
I cook from scratch and bake at least once a week, our own biscuits and cakes.
I recycle, I have started growing our own herbs.
This year I started a compost heap.
We collect water when it rains in our old rainwater tank.
I dry my washing outside on the line and have only ever owned one dryer (it came with a house) I always think before I buy something new.
My daughter loves going op shopping with me.
I clean with bicarb and vinegar mostly, using old clothes/towels as cleaning cloths.
I menu plan and stockpile when I see good specials.
I use a cash budget for most items.
I preserve excess fruit to use throughout the year.
I freeze excess veggies as well.
I shop at local markets in order to buy in bulk and then share with family & friends.
I try to buy only Australian foods, but this is not always possible with my budget.
I catch public transport when I can.
My children ride or catch the bus to school most days.
I don't use plastic bags for my shopping - I have green bags and mesh bags for my fruit & veg.
I make my own laundry liquid.
I cook freezable meals in bulk (like bolognaise sauce).
I don't have a dishwasher in my kitchen.
My children attend the local public schools and I try to stay involved in their education.

My favourite thing right now is that I have managed to save enough to take my children overseas this year. I still have my mortgage to pay off, but I figure the memories are worth more than I can put a price on. In a few years my children will miss too much school, so it is now or never.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for stopping by.


Sheffy said...

I enjoyed reading it! Your childhood reminded me of mine, but mine was in post war U.K. when we were short of everything. I had a wonderful mum and she was very resourceful. It rubs off and helps you when times are hard.

Busy Woman said...

What a great post!
You are teaching your children a great way of life as well. YOu must feel very pleased with yourself when you look back over your list. You are acheiving so much!

Rhonda Jean said...

Hi Lis, thank you for sharing your story with us. I really like how you've organised your job so you can work shorter hours when you have the kids. I'm sure your family loves your cooking - where would we be without our slow cookers! love and hugs from RJ

Lightening said...

I agree with you on the postponing some things because other things you want to do are time sensitive (taking the kids overseas). That's what we're doing with our road trip next year. I think the point is that it's a well thought through process and you know what you're doing and why.

River said...

I enjoyed this post. I try to be frugal and I do a few of the things you do, but I can't do the bi-carb and vinegar cleaning. to me it makes my rooms smell faintly like someone has vomited, to my mentally unstable hubby, the smell is worse and makes him vomit. So I went back to my commercial cleaner which I dilute 50/50 anyway. I do however have a dishwasher in my kitchen. He's 5ft 6inches tall, lean and mean (looking), with a heart of gold.

earth heart said...

What a great job you are doing! Your story is very inspiring.

The Family CEO said...

I love this post! Your list is great. I look forward to reading more of your blog!

P.S. I loved the cookie jar you gave your dad on his birthday. I'm always looking for practical, consumable gift ideas.

pebbledash said...

Hello Lis, your post makes for inspiring reading, and you accomplish so much. Seems like you have a good balance in your life. Thank you for sharing. Warm wishes, Diana

Daniel said...

I've come from Rhonda's site.
It's great to read your story and inspiring as well. I've been living the simple for a while but need to improve in a few area's. Keep up the good work.

Mrs.KAOS said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for your encouraging words. I love meeting new bloggers.

Anonymous said...

That was a great list, Lis, thanks for sharing.


The Tin House said...

Hey Lisa - lovely note about the simple life. My Mum & Dad sound much like's been something of a circle to go through the excess of life in my twenties...(too much money, too much everything!) and return to the sort of life that resembles theirs. (and yes, I do remember scoffing at various practises of theirs I now pursue fervently!)

Love the swap items. Very nice.
Lisa x

Frogdancer said...

Overseas? Good on you! Where are you going?

When I stepped on the plane with my boys to go to Bali (and a year later to Phuket) it was such a highlight in my life. I knew that if a single mother could take four kids overseas, be ahead on the mortgage and hold down a full-time job, then she must be doing ok.

We had the best times ever. You'll always remember this. Well done.

Ingrid said...

I loved reading you story and getting tips. I´m a stay at home mother who lives frugally on a one income budget. Loved the ideas you have and would love a recipe for laundry liquid as this always ends up being so expensive (and always so much to wash). Congratulations on going overseas. Travelling is great for everyone.

Lis said...

Thank you once again to everyone for your great posts.
Frog Dancer - 2 weeks in bali is what we are aiming for :)

Ingrid - if you go to Rhonda's blog (dow to earth) the link is in my side bar and you will find the laundry liquid recipe in her archives :)
Good luck :)

spice and more said...

Lovely story - thanks for sharing.