I was asked by a reader the other day why I don't do more posts on budgeting and frugal living. There are three reasons:
- The mindset of frugality is as important as how you spend your money. I think I could write about cutting back, paying off debt and wise economy until the cows came home but unless you really "get it" nothing much is going to change.
- Budgeting and frugality are carried out in the context of each life. I understand fully how my own finances work. I know that by doing certain things, we can live well on our pensions and on what I earn and save money every week. While many of you would have budgets similar to ours, most people don't and I don't pretend to know what it's like in 2013 to rent a home, pay off a mortgage or be unemployed and desperately want a job
- There is a limit to how much I want to think about money.
Saving money is a life-long activity. While you're moving through life and paying off your home or rent, and all the other things we need through the years, you also need to make provision for your later life. It wasn't so long ago that life in retirement was very short. The idea of having a pension after the age of 60 or 65 came about when most people lived till they were about 70. Times have changed and it's becoming quite clear that most governments won't be able to pay the living costs of all their elderly citizen much longer. I think that in Australia, when people start retiring after having worked their entire working life paying into a superannuation scheme (pension/401K), the government will start cutting back on age pensions. Let's face it, many of us will live into our 80 and 90s, not the 70 year mark the pensions were meant to support. Compulsory superannuation was introduced into Australian workers' lives in 1992, so, in theory, all those people who started full time work after 1992 should have enough money on which to retire when they're 65 or 70. A lot of those funds are invested in the stock market. Of course, we all know that things don't always go according to plan. We're slowly emerging from the GFC which started in 2008. Self-funded retirees I know who thought they'd planned well and invested well via their superannuation fund, lost a lot of money in the stock market and ended up almost broke. Luckily Australia has the age pension which acts as a safety net for our citizens.
I don't think anyone should work until they drop but we all have to do our fair share of the work. It makes sense to me to work until you have enough on which to live then you stop paid work, whenever that may be. Our government is encouraging older Australian to work longer and put off retirement. From what I can tell when I ask around, my contemporaries tell me there are no jobs for older people and the jobs that are there always go to the younger folk.
In the past I've talked about a lot of ways to help cut back, pay off the mortgage and save enough for later life. I'm not going over it again because you either have the mind to do it or you don't. Me writing about it here on a continuing basis won't make anyone who is inclined to spend, pay off debt.
I will say though that if you do cut back, make do with what you have, develop a frugal mindset, be prepared to give up working for a living and then start working for a life, you might find yourself where Hanno and I are now. We might have given up work but we haven't given up working. Not all work must be done in an office, a factory, a shop, a hospital, or a school. Many people make their living from home and even when they don't make as much money as they would working full time in their old job, they turn their backs on 2013 desires, have the time to grow food in the backyard, to shop for specials, to stockpile and cook from scratch. All those things help reduce the cost of living.
I have had some wonderful emails recently from young couples who have either just left the traditional workforce, or are about to. And please don't write in and tell me that if everyone did that the economy would collapse. I am so proud of those people who have confidence in their own abilities, who decide to step back from the mainstream and who believe in themselves and in how they want to live. I know it's not for everyone but for those who chose it, it's a wonderful and enriching way of living.
And after all that carry on above, if you were to ask me what my money advice is, it is this:
- Buy only what you can afford to pay for in cash.
- Have an emergency fund.
- Forget about fashion, style and keeping up with the Joneses. The Joneses are probably up to their eyeballs in debt, and style and fashion as such fleeting, inconsequential things.
- Stop watching advertising on TV.
- Stop shopping online and in the shops.
- Believe in yourself - you're probably much stronger than you think you are.
There were a few requests for the cinnamon rolls recipe so here is where I found it. I didn't use their cream cheese icing though, my icing was a mixture of icing sugar, a little melted butter and lemon juice.