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Live lean, not mean!
Want to put your money on a diet and save hundreds of dollars?
This book gives you the lowdown on spring-cleaning your finances so you can be frugal while still living well.
Jody Allen, of Stay at Home Mum fame, will help you set up your household budget, get the best deals, and save money on everything from your car to your clothes.
And with over 50 thrifty - but fabulous - recipes, you can be a cost cutter in the kitchen as well!
Inside you'll find:
- A room-by-room guide to household economy
- Hints and tips for getting organised
- Ideas for turning leftovers into delicious family meals
- Inspring stories from other savvy mums
- Get sorted and start saving!
About the Author
Jody Allen was made redundant in 2011 while on maternity leave and pregnant with her second child, born 12 months after the first baby. She started her website, Stay at Home Mum, to share her money-saving experiences while her family lived on one wage and it has since become Australia's biggest mothers' network. Jody now connects with hundreds of thousands of women and has created a successful business. She started shopping, cooking and freezing in bulk to save time and money while still giving her family delicious nutritious meals. Jody lives in Gympie, Queensland, with her husband and two boys.
I've always been a little bit of a tightwad when it comes to money. The fact is, I grew up in a household where everyone knew how hard it was to earn a buck, and to respect that. In our house, every dollar was turned over twice before it was spent. Waste was not even a concept for us, and if there wasn't enough money in the budget for something, it just didn't happen. I've never been one to waste money, only because I know how damn hard it is to make it in the first place. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I know how to work hard.
My dad was a miner and worked away from home. Yes, he earned good money, but that money went on the things he considered important: a house over our heads and a good education. My parents never had credit cards. They believed in paying your own way.
When I was 13, Dad saw an ad in the local paper for the nearby KFC store. He drove me down there half an hour later and I started my first job. My first shift was so busy that I cried when I was making burgers because I was so tired from being on my feet in the heat. The boss was great, though; he worked with me telling me what had to be done, and that I'd get better at it, and faster with practice. He was lovely, but firm. 'Toughen up, Princess,' he said. He was right. With perseverance, practice and my eye on the prize (earning a whole $20 per week!), I did get better . . . and faster.
I stayed at KFC for seven years, not just at that store but at four more, and I truly believe it gave me a terrific grounding in working hard, appreciating the value of a dollar and seeing that I could make my own money. I learned how to work as part of a team, and that if you're going out drinking all night and you have a shift in the morning, you don't cancel, you work through that hangover because you can't let the team down. (It only happened once, after my eighteenth birthday.) Up until recently, I've always had at least two jobs: a full-time and a part-time job. Yes, it was about the money. I worked damn hard for it. I had enough to buy my first car on my seventeenth birthday. I had enough to pay my parents board and to help out with the school fees.
I even had enough to pay for the tiling of my parent's house (with a 25 per cent interest rate!)
At 18 I had my first 'real' job, as a debt collector. I just worked in the office mainly, but the owners, a lovely married couple called Mr and Mrs DiPrenzio, changed my life. They were a very hardworking couple that had faith in work and perseverance. In that job I also saw how many people were in financial hardship from over-spending on credit cards. These people struggled and never seemed to get ahead, and I didn't want to be one of them.
The DiPrenzios also told me about how to get a good credit rating and went guarantor on my purchase of a newer car. Good credit is about paying bills consistently. And consistency is really the key to frugal living!
Money is important to me because of the freedom it gives. I want to rely on myself to pay my own way. Not my parents, not my husband, not any inheritance or lotto win. I want to make my own money to look after me and mine. Living frugally is just a choice to achieve the goals you want. For me, one of the major goals was that I wanted to build a new house. I put up a photo of what I wanted on the fridge, did the budget, and then did everything I could to work my way towards that goal. We had no money, but we had time, and we were somewhat handy. So we worked, hard, to achieve what we wanted. If you can't earn more money, you need to spend less, and that's what frugal living is all about.
Sound selfish? Well, I don't think so.
Today, well, yes, I still have a mortgage, but not a big one. It's one that allows me to sleep at night. It's the only debt I have – good debt. And I work hard every day to get that down even more. Do I have a credit card? Yes. But I use it wisely. I'm savvy with it. I use it and pay back the money right away and get the points that allow me to buy myself and my family a new wardrobe of clothing every year in the after-Christmas sales.
Back in 2011, I was made redundant while on maternity leave with my first baby, and pregnant with my second. I panicked at the thought of living on just one income, but I had always wanted to stay home when my boys were young, so my husband and I crunched the numbers to see what we could achieve. We found we would have a mere $50 a week to spend on groceries. Now $50 a week sounds frightening – and it was – but I knew we could make it work. It would just mean rethinking how we shopped and what we cooked day to day. I turned $50 a week into a direct challenge. I shopped like my grandmother used to. Lots of basics like seasonal fruit and vegies, flour, sugar, butter and eggs. (Before then I had always cooked a lot of pre-packaged and convenience foods.) Everything down to the last bean was planned. I chose meals that I could bulk up with vegetables and lentils (and still contained meat to keep hubby happy). Mince and sausages were my saviours. To keep power costs down, I bought and cooked in bulk using my slow cooker (much cheaper than the stove to run) and would freeze pre-made meals for later. It felt good to know exactly what was in my food, and what I was putting on the table. I felt proud that my family was eating well, and it wasn't costing us a fortune to do it.
I also worked out that nearly 30 per cent of my previous weekly shop had been spent on cleaning products. So I started searching the internet for ways to make my own. If I couldn't find it, I'd use trial and error with simple home ingredients. I was able to make huge savings, and my house was just as clean as it was before. I liked the fact too that the cleaning products I was making at home weren't toxic, as I had two babies who liked to lick everything – so I knew they weren't ingesting bleach.
Once I had the shopping budget under control, I moved to other areas of my spending. Insurances, telephone and gas bills. Electricity usage. How I used my car. My internet and phone plans. In fact, I analysed every single thing that I spent money on, and focused on how I could streamline it – streamlining doesn't mean giving up, it just means knowing where your money is going, and getting better bang for your buck! I started Stay at Home Mum so I could share all my hints and tips on living simply. I really wanted to make 'being frugal' cool. Now with hundreds of thousands of online followers, I hope I've started a back-to-basics, frugal living revival!
Live Well on Less is all about how you can save money too. It's about how every little red cent adds up, and how keeping up with the Joneses is a ridiculous concept that is only going to keep you awake at night. Best of all, being able to live well on less will reduce stress. Financial hardship is stressful! In fact, money (or lack of it) is the most fought- about topic in the majority of marriages. Living frugally is different from living cheap. Living cheap is buying the cheap biscuits you don't enjoy, because they are cheaper. Living frugally is cutting back in other areas so you can enjoy the biscuits you love. So if there is something that you just can't give up on, don't – just find ways to cut back on the things that aren't quite so important.
So today, stand up for your finances. Know where you are financially. Don't put your head in the sand. Start making changes for you and your family today. Right this very minute. You'll be surprised how many changes you can make simply and easily just in a single day.
ISBN: 9780143799955 ISBN-10: 0143799959 Audience:
Number Of Pages: 256 Published: 27th May 2015 Publisher: Penguin Books Australia Country of Publication: AU Dimensions (cm): 22.6 x 15.5
Weight (kg): 0.44