Four Failures

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Things come in threes according to the old adage but I think I can top that.

Since we began to seriously consider listing our property for sale, it seemed like everything decided to fall apart. During the second half of 2022 we replaced the solar hot water system, the pump for our water tanks, the inverter for our solar panels and the back stairs.

Ongoing maintenance is something that needs to be accounted for in terms of time, energy and most significantly, money. These four items cost us in excess of $13,000. Being a homeowner is not a cheap adventure and thankfully we had the funds to cover these unexpected expenses.

Whilst it will not necessarily be a large amount, there will always be unexpected expenses that crop up from time to time. How you manage this will depend largely on your own circumstances but it is definitely not something that can be ignored.

You may also choose what is an absolute necessity and what can be delayed. For us, the pump for the water tanks was essential as no pump = no water. The back stairs could have been a lower priority as we do have stairs at the other end of the house. The hot water and the inverter could have been delayed because we have a hybrid solar system and could have resorted to the grid connection. However, this would have come at a substantial cost, particularly when utility prices are rising exponentially.

Most of the work does not warrant a photo but here are the new back stairs – freshly painted by GMan.

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 – 2

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Today I will address the second point in the article which you can read in full here.

2. Frugal people know where their money goes, down to the penny. If you get to the end of the month and wonder where your money went, you are not tracking it as well as you could. While it may seem like a hassle to keep track of where your money is going frugal people know that this information is vital to keeping money in your pocket and from being frittered away on things that aren’t important, in the grand scheme of things.

To keep track frugal people use the dreaded “B” word — Budget. A frugal person’s budget has two parts — it has a plan for how they’ll spend their money for the time period of the budget (see mindset #1 above), but it also has another part, to track what actually happened to the money. They want to know, were they able to follow their plan?

Question to ask yourself: How well am I following the plans I’ve made for my money?

We all know life happens, and sometimes we can’t follow our plans completely, but when you know what the plan is, and make mindful corrections and deviations when life throws you a curveball, you’ll be much better off.

For many years I kept a fairly close eye on our spending but did not track every cent.  It was always a bit of a revelation at tax time to see what our net income was, deduct the total we had paid on the mortgage and shake our heads as to where the rest of the money had gone.  It is a sobering thought.

However, over the past 18 months we have kept track of everything we have spent in a spreadsheet which we complete every couple of days.  I am not sure that it has changed our spending greatly but we do know exactly where it has gone.  It will be interesting to compare things like groceries year on year.  Because I have it set up in categories we can easily identify costs that will disappear when we retire – transport is the big one as we spend several thousand dollars each year in train fares to get to work.

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I would definitely recommend tracking your spending to really understand where the money goes.

Tomorrow we will delve into the little purchases that can sabotage your savings.