Anyone that uses social media for any length of time will no doubt have noticed the upturn in Thrifty and Money Saving accounts.
A sub-culture that started off as people recommending you just shop at Aldi or Lidl to save a few pounds or find a way to up-cycle an old chair has become, in my mind, quite an aggressive and pressured environment.
I’ve spoken on here before about why I believe No Spend Days are a waste of time and in-fact create a false economy for yourself where you tend to end up splurging afterwards just as you would on ‘treat day’ if you were doing a diet!
It’s no secret that The Money Shed is very much about Making Money rather than it is Saving it and to that
However, there is one thrifty money-saving blogger who I speak to regularly about this subject and that’s because of her honesty around this subject which is Lisa from Living Thrifty.
This thrifty gal doesn’t live in a world of endless reduced items and she equally understands how you can actually end up spending MORE than you would normally if you have the mindset of ‘I should just buy it because it’s cheap!’
She’s a savvy girl who knows when to save to have the nicer things in life and when not to and with that in mind it thought it might be good to ask her for her views on the Money Saving Community in the UK.
Can you think of ways in which trying to live ‘Thrifty’ can be damaging to you?
Although I think it can be more damaging to get into financial trouble and debt by spending money you don’t have, that doesn’t always mean that there aren’t areas where choosing the thrifty option might be more damaging. First and foremost, no one can survive in a constant state of deprivation.
Most of the time I think you can find thrifty alternatives that don’t deprive you, but you always need balance. Burning yourself out is damaging for your mental health, your happiness and reaching your financial goals. Also, I think when it comes to certain purchases, safety is more important than a bargain such as buying a car seat for your baby. Remember that if things do become too overwhelming then it’s always good to reach out to counsellors or therapists like you would find at BetterHelp.com to see if they can help.
It is better to spend the money on a trusted brand than buying one from a cheap international seller who may not conform to the rigorous safety requirements we have in this country. Likewise buying a second-hand car seat or bike helmet is never worth it in case they have been involved in a crash in the past before. Safety is more important than saving money.
Do you feel the pressure can be too much sometimes from ‘thrifty culture’?
Any culture that makes you feel crappy about yourself isn’t good for you. Whether that is a pressure to spend a lot of money to have a life that looks flashy for Instagram or pressure to only buy yellow sticker groceries. I recommend that you unfollow anyone
Do you worry it can become competitive keeping up with the thrifty Jones’s?
I’m a big advocate of the fact that social media shouldn’t be a competition. It really doesn’t need to be, accounts like mine exist to help show you that you can live cheaply and still live well, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Everyone’s priorities are different and what I value you may not – it doesn’t mean that you are wrong or have to keep up with me or any other thrifty bloggers.
You should sit down and work out what makes you happy and work towards that. If you find yourself wanting to keep up with others or drawing comparisons it might be time to take a step back and ask why you feel the need to complete or keep up rather than just cheering on others and enjoying your own path.
Can the pressure of being ‘Super Thrifty’ have a
knock on in terms of your mental health?
Absolutely, I think we all go through famine and feast periods when trying to stretch our budgets to achieve our goals. That is especially the case for those trying to pay off debt or saving for a big goal like a house deposit. If you get too strict with yourself you start to feel guilty when you spend your money and will burn out quickly.
For most people on a limited budget, you need to find a balance between where you are willing to scrimp and where spending matters to you. I will scrimp on most things so that I can afford to travel and overpay my mortgage. For you, it might be that you can do DIY manicures but you prioritise a regular hair cut, or a weekly date night or monthly theatre tickets etc.
If you don’t give yourself a break from being super thrifty from time to time then your mental health can really suffer fr being deprived for too long. No one wants to he a
Does the ‘Thrifty Movement’ create a sort of hoarding mentality?
I don’t think the thrifty movement specifically does, but poverty and hoarding absolutely go hand in hand. It can be hard to let go of things when you are worried if you can afford to replace them if you need them later. When things are cheap or free we often stop being as discerning over if we need the. I have definitely been guilty in the past of accepting just about anything offered to me free, even if I didn’t really need it.
My wife’s mum gave us her old treadmill which we carted diligently halfway across the country in the boot of our car, only for it to sit in our living room unused for 3 months before we passed it on. It was a waste of space, time and petrol taking it but I jumped at the chance because it was free. I sometimes see people doing B&M, Primark and home bargains ‘hauls’ and notice how quickly all that cheap stuff they didn’t need but bought because it was a bargain adds up to a surprisingly large amount of money.