Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Dream On

Our house & Ebby, our 1970 VW Variant

Lots of people say we're living the dream. Last year we spent three months in India, went to five festivals and spent every weekend we were here in the UK out and about. How did we do it?

Jon & I in India
Well, it's not that difficult, we live as cheaply as is humanly possible to afford the things in life that matter to us. I make a living wage selling on eBay and Jon's music royalties and freelance work keep him solvent.

The Big Chill Festival, 2010

We've never had credit cards, everything is paid for with cash and if we ain't got it then we can't have it. It may be old-fashioned but it's the way I was brought up.

The only loan we ever had was our mortgage, I sold my house and moved into Jon's Victorian terrace back in 2000, we sold that house at the height of the property boom to a cash buyer and were able to buy our (almost derelict) house outright and painstakingly do it up ourselves.

My second-hand closet (the contents, the wardrobe and the coat hangers)

With the exception of the fridge everything in the house is second-hand and the same goes for our clothes. Apart from Lush shampoo and conditioner our toiletries are bought only when required and either from discount shops or when we've saved enough Boots Advantage points. I don't bother looking at high street shops or reading magazines, it just serves to fuel a desire for shiny new things so it's far better if temptation is kept away. Designer clothes have never appealed, I'd love to own fabulous shoes but I love a month in India even more.


Me in vintage

Jon cuts his own hair and I dye mine. I never have beauty treatments. My idea of pampering is swimming at the public baths twice a week and a daily Wii Fit workout (although I'm saving up to have my eyebrows re-tattooed this month as it's been five years since they were last done).  I've mentioned before than I never spend over £10 on a single item of clothing, that way I can usually resell it on eBay for a profit.

Our local, The Black Country Arms.
At weekends we drink in local pubs and eat out at neighbourhood Indian restaurants or take it in turns to host dinner parties and walk home. I've only ever had a Starbucks once in my life (and hated it) and never visit fast food joints or sandwich shops.

This is an average Saturday night bill for 4
We never buy ready-made food, everything is made from scratch and we scour the supermarkets, market stalls and Asian stores for the cheapest deal. We haven't been to the cinema in years and our books are always second-hand. 

Glastonbury 2010


Months of frugality in England make for months of hedonism in India and a few weekends of summer fun.


Our classic cars are a labour of love, bought for a song and repaired by Jon who taught himself with a collection of second-hand Haynes manuals and the worldwide web. Our household repairs are managed much the same way (with a little help from kind-hearted plumbers).
Goa

Our holidays are run on a tight budget, I sign up to all the major airlines and flight brokers who email when there's an offer on. We never spend more than £500 on a flight and it's usually significantly less. The guesthouse we stay at in Goa charges us £3 per night and if we go elsewhere in India we use the Rough Guide and phone ahead to check room rates.


Whenever I'm tempted to spend money I think of Goa or Glastonbury and stop in my tracks. I could afford to buy the odd pair of cheap shoes from New Look or splurge in Primark but I choose not to. Every quid spent is a quid away from what I love.

No, you can't have it all but by living simply and frugally you can lead a life like ours. It's up to you.

107 comments:

  1. Hear Hear- you just have to choose what you want and spend your money on that.

    I really enjoy going to places (festivals, restaurants, the theatre etc') so our furniture is 2nd hand, food made from scratch etc' - and the pennies add up so we can spend on what we like to.

    2nd hand DVDs are great for nights in- and I almost never buy new books (my fiction tends to come from the library). There's lots of ways to have fun frugally... free museums etc'...I'm a bit obsessed to be honest...

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  2. Hi my dear-totally totally loved this post, your lifestyle is what I aspire to, but to a certain extent it does differ as with the 2 boys we do have to budget to a different lifestyle and life spends, but clotheswise, beautywise and food wise I'm right up with your sentiments for sure. You've inspired me to give up my monthly mags, for a long while I've been buying 2-3 a month, now lately just Vogue, but now I'm wondering if its worth it. You have a well deserved and fantastic lifestyle and it certainly beats designer clothes in the closet and maxxed out credit cards. Very well done to both of you, its a worthy and brilliant lifestyle to have and one that is most inspirational for sure xxxxx

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  3. Frugal living is the way to go!
    However, I do eat out a lot because I love to try different kinds of cuisines or because I have friends from many parts of the world that invited me to share their foods. I do love going to the movies but I always go early in the morning when is cheaper. I also (except for undies, socks and some of my daughters school clothes) usually only shop at thrift stores and Salvation Army stores.
    Yeah, first time that I'm not comment #99!!!!

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  4. Such an inspiring post.

    I'm an MA student, my fiance works freelance in a job he loves but doesn't pay very well and we have 2 children. I don't have your 2nd hand shopping skills but we're thrifty where we can be (I cook from scratch and my children are satisfied with free trips to the park and beach at weekends). I save my money and spend it on things we love. Last year we went to Bali as a family after saving for 2 years. It was amzing and we'll have those memories forever.

    Reading this makes me want to simplify even more. I do love shoes though...

    Loveaudrey xxx

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  5. Vix I loved reading this post. I`m always spending on "bits" none of which are ever really required. I`m going to make a concious effort to stop the splurging and save my money for something that I really want.
    I might go back and have a few more reads of the post. You are an inspiration!
    Dx

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  6. I think you've got the makings of a book there, in a way that would make people sit up and realise that not having it all now would make them happier.

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  7. Your style can't be found on the High St. Your individuality is what marks you out and makes you unique and so readable.

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  8. You are a major inspiration to me xxxxx

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  9. You really are living the dream!

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  10. Brilliant post Vix, I'm all inspired to stop frittering away my hard earned cash on rubbish! x

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  11. I haven't commented on your blog in aaaages, but i have been eagerly reading, this post really made me realise that there is sooo much room for me to improve in my thrifty lifestyle. well done to both of you!!!

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  12. I spend money like water but I am getting better. Slowly. Me and my boyfriend tend to go to the cinema on bargain Tuesday. We print off discount codes when we go out for dinner. When I go out with my friends we have a cheap bottle of wine at home before so we don't spend too much. I shop in charity shops a hell of a lot more. I love the fact that you get items that no one else has.
    I am completely and utterly sucked into the comsumer lifestyle. I constantly spend money when it is not needed. I don't know if this will change when I move out. At the minute I have no outgoings and live at home. I don't even pay housekeeping yet.
    I would look to go travelling, even for a month. At the minute I don't think I am strong enough to stop spending on silly things but I am getting there. Hopefully once I get a full time job I'll be able to save a bit more and make the dreams come true.
    This is such an inspirational post. You prove you can get what you want even on little money!
    Sophie
    x

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  13. Gosh you really inspire me and you are a great role model for people to make them realise you don't have to spend loads to be happy and look great.

    Sometimes I do wonder if I could do this and stop spending you must have so much self control which I really admire I know how hard it is to not spend!

    Brilliant post

    xx

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  14. This was so lovely to read. We've literally had the conversation tonight about whether we could afford to give up our jobs or not and live on what we could make with selling on Ebay. We do everything you do pretty much re: spending, where we shop, what we buy etc., and it's made me think even more we should just go for it!

    Emma x

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  15. Well done to you and Jon, you've got it figured out just right, I reckon, and look how happy you are!
    I made a pact with myself not to buy anything new from a "proper" shop all year. I'm keeping it up, finding great stuff in charity shops, flea markets and on Ebay, and definitely think this is the way to go.
    Your philosophy and how you put it into practice shows that with a bit of effort and commitment, you can opt out of the high street must-have culture, be far more original, and look a million dollars in the process!
    Keep it up, love!
    Curtise x

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  16. Cheers Vix, here is to the simpler life :) completely agree about silly magazines making you want things you can't afford. Good for you xx

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  17. hear hear!!! Agree/ BEfore I was made redundant I was able to afford to spend time in south east asia - yes with family but its a long way to go!! All seconds in my house and wouldn't change a thing!!!

    I think Orange are still doing two for one wednesdays re cinema trips you used to be able to text 241 and get a number you woudl show at the local orange cinema and bingo cheap night out!!! HA I don't do babysitters only return favours these days so no use to me!!

    Enjoy

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  18. You look gorgeous in that vintage dress. I love vintage clothes too, my daughter sings retro music so she loves to wear retro outfits and hair bands and ribbons. I-m following you from Trapani, Sicily.

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  19. Hats off to you amor,I love the way you two live, I am slowling working on Buddy game addiction and my shopping too.
    I love you in that beautiful sun dress and your hair looks gorgeous curled.
    hugs

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  20. Absolutely!
    Here's to the simple yet glam, rewarding life lived to the full.
    xxx

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  21. Too True, What An Inspiration. Your My Idol xxx

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  22. I adored this post in many ways it was like reading about how i live my own life. Except for one exception i do have a credit card that i have been paying off for the past few years but it was a joint debt from when i was married to the boys dad and at the height of my first hip Opp and i couldn't work etc I can not remember the last time i bought anything new for myself i just get so much pleasure from secondhand vintage and or making it myself. I to make and cook from scratch i write a food and menu list for 2 weeks and that way when i go to the super market i don't over spend. 2 years ago i managed to save up and take the boys and myself to Spain for 11 nights and another 2 years on i am doing the same this year but we are going to Greece for 2 weeks in the summer ;-) But the only way i can do this is by living and doing the same things you do and to me its the best life of all ;-)) You inspire me i have to say and i love your dress today. I would love to see all your dresses and have a girly trying on session ;-)) Enjoy the rest of your week, dee xx

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  23. As time goes on I think more and more people are finding that the way you and Jon live is the only way to survive and be happy. Be in tons of debt just to have that new car, or loads of designer shoes. No ta, would rather have the beach and night out down the local please.

    xxx

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  24. What an inspirational post, I would love to live more simply. You're so right it's the glossy mags that make me think I need all these new things. I'm defninitely going to try harder :) x

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  25. Dearest Vix, you are a total inspiration!

    I love the way you two live. And you know how to have fun.

    I'm trying to take a leaf out of your book. I've made major changes and I spend a quarter of what I used to a few years ago. There are still cutbacks I should make. I'm easing off on the Ebay habit of late too!

    You're absolutely brilliant and I love you xxx

    PS. You look amazing in the vintage maxi

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  26. Thats so weird, I've been thinking a lot about that kind of stuff lately and realised that I actually don't want to spent money if I keep thinking of the bigger picture - owning my own home mainly, but at the mo the possibility of redundancy may have to take savings priority! (thanks for the back pain advice btw - our doctor told me and my brother we get it cause 'you're tall' - great help! so I usually just power thru!) :)

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  27. I think its great to live the life you choose. I see so many people with no aim in life, it makes me sad.

    hubby and I have a plan to pay off the mortgage by the time we are 50, and to do all our travelling then. Having 2 children we can't be as flexible as you and Jon at the moment!

    Caroline
    xxx

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  28. You are an inspiration Vix. Everyone should really think about what is most important to them, and make it happen. For some people that might be clothes and socialising, but for many of us those things are just an expensive distraction from more valuable things. Not only that, but in so many ways I prefer a simple life anyway - it can be hard work, but it is so rewarding xx

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  29. I don't do debt either but a thought provoking post none the less x

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  30. TrashSparkle has a good point-there IS a book there.Food for thought.
    Your lifestyle is truly admirable,and I think a lot about you and the way you live when I'm feeling frivolous.We do pretty well,but could do a whole lot better.
    We know a couple that bitch about wanting this and that and never make any lifestyle adjustments to try and get it(namely a house).I'm so sick of them,I barely talk to them anymore.It's not rocket fecking science,it's being honest with yourself about what you really need!
    I love and admire you SO much!
    And you're HOT! BONUS!!!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  31. Your approach is inspirational and one that I'm coming round to more and more. I plan to take some time out to work out what's important to me (being able to travel to meet up with friends mainly as my pals are scattered all over the place) and look at how to make that happen. xx

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  32. Excellent advice! It sounds as if you have found what makes you happy and your life is rich and full because of it!

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  33. I truly love this post and it has instantly inspired me to work harder a self control. I too am quite frugal overall, but I often binge...eek. I suppose practice makes perfect. :)

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  34. Wise words as always, you are a truly inspiring and fabulous person. I try to be frugal in little ways - although as other folk with children have said, that can make it harder.
    I buy all mine and most of Baby Bird's clothes on ebay, or from jumbles and charity shops. We rarely go out unless it's dinner with friends. I do have a shedload of credit card debt left over from my younger days and we have a huge mortgage, but I have just applied for a part time job to try and ease the finances a bit.

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  35. I see from your local and your balti receipt that you are not too far from me, where do you go for your car boots? Is it Dark Lane?

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  36. Great post Vix. What an inspiration you are to us all.

    X x

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  37. You don't have to justify yourself to anyone, lovely girl. You deserve it! You are an inspiration to all of us. I wish I could be so frugal. I love this post. xxxx

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  38. Love this post. In an age of consumerism where you have 100 breakfast cereals to choose from, this post is truly inspirational. I am trying my best to cut down on spending and buy only that is required. And I think that idea of not reading fashion magazines is really awesome. It just makes you want to buy more and more!!

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  40. You are an inspiration to all! I'm going to take some tips from you! Pyf and I have never had credit cards and we never will no matter how tight it gets! They're the Devil!

    If I can I always buy bits and bobs from eBay where everything is usually so much cheaper, including clothes, some cosmetics, books, dvds. If there is something which we need we ALWAYS shop around online for the best deals.

    We also don't have a car so we don't have to fork out any money on that but sometimes I do wish we had one because it would make life so much easier!

    I love your long gypsy dress and your hair looks beautiful with

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  41. Great post - great minds think alike! x

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  42. wow, what an inspiring post! i have been trying to live more like this lately too. i want to travel and have great experiences, rather than have stuff. i am trying to sell off or donate most of my possessions currently. lots of ebaying and selling things on etsy.

    thanks for posting this!

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  43. love to read your so inspiring and honest post, you're a really wise people, and I'm admiring how focused are you on the Important Things in your own life!
    And thank you for sharing your genuine personality!
    besos

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  44. You have the most fabulous and realistic and stable life I have ever heard! Seriously. You should consider writing a book. You are an inspiration to EVERYONE.

    I feel like this world (especially westerners) live way beyond their means. It is the reason the world's economic situation is so unstable these days. I wish more people (including myself) could be more like you. I'm definitely going to follow your example!

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  45. I adore your more lifestyle based posts Vix. It's not exactly what I'd aspire to - I have no desire to visit India or go festivalling and I couldn't live without my cinema visits and books - but the basic principle is the same isn't it? Live within your means and prioritise things so that you can spend money on what you truly love.

    For me that's doing a job for the love of it rather than the salary (charity wages are not good) and not frittering my cash on pointless nights out and lots of clothes I won't wear. I like to make sure I get good use out of anything I own. I don't mind spending on things (I don't have your finely honed second-hand bargain hunting ability and luck!) but they've got to earn their keep.

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  46. Fabulous post thanks for sharing. They should teach kids in schools about this sensible way of living.
    Kandi x

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  47. Vix... I don't use this term lightly because I am a bit over how even models are considered role models nowadays... my idea of a role model is someone like you.

    You inspire and are admired and adored and you walk your talk. You have a rich lifestyle full of experiences, fun and love and designer shoes are not worth months of pleasure in Goa.

    Gosh I freakin adore you!

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  48. You and Jon are a very smart couple. Ben and I both have credits cards but are in the process of paying them off and cutting them up. I know have a debit card which you have to have your actual money in it. I think credits are silly especially if you're like me and cannot control your spending. But yes, I think you are living the dream Vix.

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  49. PLUS you are generous to a fault and send the most wonderful parcels of gorgeousness to your antipodean friends!

    You are a frickin inspiration Vix - smart, beautiful and such vintage goddess. I adore you in that beautiful cotton maxi - it looks so light and perfect for a warm day.

    Sarah xxx

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  50. I love this post... so inspiring.. Goa eh? And btw I sang at Glastonbury when I was fifteen! Thanks VV for your blog.. xx

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  51. You are so right. I never understand those that get into debt or whinge about not being able to do this or that but then spend their money on something silly.

    I'm not as strict on myself as you are but then I have two children and I couldn't spend three months anywhere regularly however much I saved. BUT I do have the life I want. I buy 90 per cent of everything we own second hand. The only things I buy brand new are bras and knickers (in the sales though!).

    I don't buy ready made meals, purely because they're full of crap let alone the fact they cost silly money. People here in the US can't believe I don't use a packet mix for cupcakes!

    I confess to be fully emersed in coffe culture here in the US ( although never Starbucks - far too classy for that!) but it's all part of settling in ( so I tell myself!).

    You are an inspiration and it helps so much to know that there are others living frugally so they can enjoy themselves. It just makes sense x

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  52. Love this post and what i love most about it is the point that unless you are amazingly rich you can't have it all you have to choose, I think this is what people don't get nowadays. We can't have it all.

    I remember having a conversation once with someone who'd worked from leaving school and he said he was jealous of the life I'd led - when I was younger - being in a band, touring around, doing film extra work etc, I said yes but it was a choice, I don't have what you have in physical terms, he didn't get it. But my point was we sacrificed owning a house and stuff like that for experience, and I don't regret it one bit but it wasn't a 'free' experience! Just as you say you going off to Indian isn't 'free' you give up other stuff through the year

    I've always got into terrible debt - we are right now - and I'm very late to the game on frugal living, but now I'm here I get it, I'm still learning though!

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  53. Way to go and simply love ur post... keep up d travelling ;))

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  54. This article is inspirational. I remember volunteering to write content for the Big Chill website and cringing at the 'cheap' ticket prices.
    You look divine in the picture from Glastonbury.
    On a completely unrelated note, I chanced upon a festival called Glastonbudget yesterday.
    It's very nice to see you set so much in store by Goa. I saved up for Goa too but couldn't go because my mother fell ill and had to be operated on. If ever you feel like travelling outside Goa, I suggest you spend a few days in Kerala. It's 'God's own country', as the state tourism board advertises. :)

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  55. Readers have said it all in the previous comments! I am at loss of words!!!

    I love your blog!

    XOXOXO

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  56. You have your head screwed on right :) and its def worth it especially whe you're on that beach or at the festival :)

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  57. Thank you for this post, it has made me think. We've been having ot make some really hard decisions at work this week, and everyone's wages are about to be halved, so it's something i need to think about :(

    ps- have you ever heard of "hotspur of shrewsbury"? found a dress i'd picked up in a charity shop and thought perhaps it's a vintage one..

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  58. This is a such great post Vix and has given me food for thought, and like those above has posted, I also think that there's a book to be written.

    P.S. That peasant style dress teamed with the belt and silver bangles is so beautiful - one of your best ever.

    xxx

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  59. Love this post. You have an excellent approach to life, Vix! And I totally agree - I know I blog about clothes and style but my intention is to show how to put a look together, not buy a load of new clothes every week. I've never done that, me & Mr TNMA both work (in not very well paid jobs) and prefer to spend all our spare cash on holidays. Work to live, that's my motto.

    PS I'm very lucky, Mr TNMA is a fab cook and we always have fresh stuff, never ready-meals

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  60. you know Vix, this is how I'd like to live 15 years from now..!! You inspire me!! :)

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  61. You mke it sound so easy. Your attitude towards money and spending are very inspirational. I feel with my fairly hectic life with work, child, hubby & 2 dogs to look after, I settle for the ready made meal every now again and don't have the time to hunt for bargains. I just try to be sensible, buy only what I really need (still there isn't much money left in the end of the month).

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  62. Vix you are a big inspiration to work hard and spend sensibly to be able to live the dream!

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  63. I'll have to start going to car boots again, only trouble is that getting up early is not my thing !! Regarding balti's - one of our favourites if we go out is Golden Moments, Wed & Thurs night is buffet night £8.95 each. Tend to go there for birthdays etc. :-)

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  64. This is just a thought Vix, and obviously you can completely ignore it if it doesn't feel appropriate, but I wondered how you'd feel about posting your Ebay seller name on your blog, so your devoted followers could have a browse of whatever gorgeous wares you have for sale?
    How good would we feel if we bought something great from you, knowing it was contributing to your excellent lifestyle?
    And we get to have a bit of Vintage Vixen style in the process?!
    Bear it in mind, you have a fantastic customer base here!
    Love Curtise

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  65. Everything you mentioned is so spot on! My parents had several credit cards and now they're having to pay it all off, but they're not long from finally finishing it all. It's so easy to get trapped by these companies but you are right, living frugally can allow you to enjoy the things you really love. I've stopped buying magazines, and now I go down to the library to read books, and buy second-hand ones from there as well. It's so easy to do! xxx

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  66. Hello, Vix - first comment, and I so agree with your lifestyle philosophy (mainly cos it`s mine, too)!
    Jumble sales? Lucky you, they seem to have disappeared in this area, taken over by car-boot sales (nothing wrong with that, but I used to enjoy a rummage).
    We`ve been looking at Goa, but where on earth did you find accommodation so cheap? Do tell!
    X

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  67. Hi Vix, fabulous post (but then they always are).

    Funnily enough, I was thinking just the other day about how we, as a family, manage to go on all our holidays on so little money. Same as you and Jon really. We try not to fritter our money, buy second hand a lot, cook from scratch etc etc and to be honest, we don't really want for anything.

    It's funny but certain friends of ours used to call us "stingey" or "mean" but being thrifty or frugal or whatever you want to call it is really the way forward (and we get to go on far more holidays than them - which is always good!).

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  68. An amazing post Vix! I'm very envious of your lifestyle but I never doubt for a minute how hard you work for it and the sensible choices you make to afford it. I'm afraid I'm the total opposite; I have credit cards and I buy things that I can't really afford But to be honest I'm really happy with my house, sofa, dog etc that I can't really afford. They're things that are important to me and I choose not to have new clothes, go out lots or have holidays to afford them. I think we've both chosen what's most important to us in life. It's a lovely way to be xx

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  69. This post is incredibly inspirational to me - your lifestyle is the kind that my boyfriend & I are shooting for. Unfortunately, we've worked ourselves into a bit of debt along the way, but we're aiming now to fill our lives only with the things that make us truly happy, and forgo the rest.

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  70. Absolutely inspirational. I disgust myslef sometimes with the "want want want" for pretty new things and could really do with taking a leaf out of your book.
    You have a lovely home and lifestyle and wokrk hard for it, but just know where to spend, where to save and what is truly important in life!

    Fantastic post.

    xxx maddie

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  71. Hi Vix, I can't say we have similar lifestyles but I love to read about how you live yours, I love fashion and the high street but Im not addicted to it, and you are an inspiration to thought behind everything you do.xxx

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  72. Love your blog and thats a real good post of yours ... it shows how things can be done if we really try to change our ways of thinking xx

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  73. I agree with all the above comments, I love this post and admire the way you live.

    Can I ask do you ever get any negative comments from people about your lifestyle? either in the blogisphere or in the real world? There must be a lot of people out there who just don't get it.

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  74. You are a very clever woman and I think an inspiration to many, Vix. I find the idea of debts dreadful - which is the reason why I don't own a house... which probably marks me as a not so clever woman. But hey, I do like my designer clothes :)
    xxx

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  75. Thanks for your lovely comment and for answering my question.
    I do wonder if for some people they just don't like to see other people happy and contented with their lot in life. Oh and I agree about the priorities bit I just wish I had learnt that a bit sooner in my life!

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  76. What a brilliant post. Your lifestyle is something to be envied and i think anyone who reads your blog regularly knows that you live frugally to be able to do these amazing things x

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  77. Dear Vix, you have turned your way of life into an art form, you are an inspiration for all and many lessons can be learnt from you. I hope we do meet up when you come to France as I am dying to go brocanting with you.
    XXX

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  78. A fantastic post Vix! I have been AWOL but have really missed your posts! Nice to be back reading xx

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  79. Woa Vix .. you amaze me.
    I have to admire you for your tenacity and strength to do this .. but i do "get you" when you have a goal .. Like India .. it is achievable ..
    I did in to go to Marbella for six months.. and ended up staying five years :) xx
    I must admit I now find myself sending more on my home life and less on holidays ..well zero on holidays for the past few years.. but we are happy about it.. should we not be then I would change .. my philosophy os to enjoy my every day life, but like you i cook from scratch and hate to waste money I also do all the hair.. mmmm
    and I swop my feet for hair..
    I also love to buy vintage gear.. my weakness is mixing it with designer .. oops xx Way to go girl xx

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  80. Fabulous, thought-provoking and inspirational post - thank you for sharing it. I agree with some of the other commentators re: writing a book - it'd be a sure-fire winner.

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  81. Thanks for the addition. Will look out for Chef Vijay next time we go. Thanks

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  82. thank you very, very much for sharing. i really enjoyed reading your words.
    i adore the way you both live. looks like absolute freedom.

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  83. You are one of the most inspiring people I have [never] met.

    I have always maintained that if I could only have a lovely house to live in, I would live like a vintage-attired church mouse for the most part. Ultimately, desires for shiny new things fade and life's too short to stress about shoes, quite frankly ;)

    xx

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  84. Vix - you're an inspirational life raft in a sea of consumerism. So many lives are blighted by a constant state of debt. I worked beside a girl who would blow ALL her savings on christmas presents for the children and work for most of the next year to pay off the credit card bills incurred around that time. I was (and still am) horrified at that level of debt being regarded as normal. I don't think it sends out sensible money messages to her children. But each to their own, I guess :-)

    You and Jon have got it all sorted out, you lucky buggers. Priorities straight, looking outwards in the same direction and shared values.

    Lucky girl!

    Ali x

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  85. Viv - you are so good, you should be a tv presenter or have a programme made to remind everyone of how to do it and how to be creative with what we have. You put me to shame, I don't try hard enough at times but I do shop less, make all my meals from scratch too and sell beauty products so I can buy them from my own shop!

    I love the dress in you and I must come over for a visit to do a garden plan for you and Jon I've been loving Monty Don's Italian Gardens.

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  86. I am a terribly typical Taurean and am ashamed to admit rather materialistic. I am such a magpie for pretty jewellery.

    Mind you I do live off a student budget of £600 max. a month so I suppose I don't do that badly.

    Really love your blog xxx

    P.S Why do I recognise your fella? Is he a dj?
    xxxx

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  87. Vix this is such an inspiring post! Growing up, my family never had a lot of money; my mum raised my brother and I on her student loan, with 3 jobs trying to get her degree and my dad is a farmer. I live in such an affluent area, that it was hard when I was younger to see all my friends having a lot more than we did. However, we spent our summers going camping with other families, and I’ve had a weekend job since I was 14. Now a student, I know exactly how to be thrifty and manage my money. I’m currently working as hard as I can in the holidays to raise enough money to pay for my tuition fees for my third year, as well as my accommodation. Many people I know have mummy and daddy pay for everything, but I’m so grateful because I really know the true value of money.
    Since reading your blog, I’ve been inspired to shop even more thriftily, and it makes me so happy to know that other people are just as thrifty!

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  88. This is such an inspiring post. Thank you. I live very frugally too, and find that it brings it's own rewards, and my life is far richer as a result. You are an inspration.

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  89. you're an inspiration. every one needs to learn a thing or two from you.

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  90. Amazing Vix.
    I admire and respect your lifestyle so very much so. You are a wonderful role model to many a young woman xxx

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  91. You are totally inspiring, Vix. Our world would be a much more stable and comfortable place to live in if people exercised the same self-restraint and made similar sensible decisions about lifestyle.

    This was SO well written.

    Is your ebay site a secret? Do you dare write more about it? I would be interested to know how to find your items, etc.

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  92. And a wonderful life it is too my lovely friend. You are my idol and inspiration to strive for a life well lived doing the things that I love. Thank you so much for being you and living life to the hilt!!! You are a rare and incredible woman. xoxoxoxooxox

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  93. High Five!!

    I get lots of emails asking me how I can afford my lifestyle, I work my ass off and I hustle! I love my bohemian lifestyle.. X




    www.trustme-itsparadise.blogspot.com
    www.renegadeloverrr.tumblr.com

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  94. Love being frugal and thrifty is just merely brilliant! Everyone should at some point. I think you always show such amazing styling in your posts & I love that you've travel so much as well. -xxoo

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  95. this is such an inspirational post!
    i love it!

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  96. THANK YOU for such an inspiring and relevant post! You've helped to motivate me to make a plan about my own spending for the short and long term.

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  97. So well put, and so beautifully shown.

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  98. I always enjoy reading your frugal tips, tricks, and disciplines, Vix.

    I don't get moved to purchase shiny new things just by wandering shops; I'm actually a pretty tense and discontended mall or main street shopper. I'll go if I have a mission in mind. But glossy magazines and catalogues definitely do give me the acquiring urge. When I'm on a "yikes, too much money outflow" kick, I just put mail-order catalogues right in the recycling bin. They can't be bathroom reading; I'm not allowed to flip through them idly at lunch. What I don't see can't tempt me.

    Starbucks isn't worth it, in my opinion. I never understand the fuss about the coffee...the cost adds up, and as a friend says, "it tastes like burning." I only go there when it's the easiest place for a meetup, or when I have a gift card to use. And then, I'll spend most of it on chai or pastries!

    Wow...I didn't know your brows were tattooed!

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  99. Hello Vix! This is a real inspiring post. It just goes to show you do not have to be rich to enjoy the finer things in life.

    I found a local thrift store that does $5 dollars for a grocery size bag of clothes. Ever since I found it.. when I visit regular stores and I see a 45 dollar pair of jeans or something I think "HECK thats 9 bags of clothes at the thrift store!!" *lol*

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  100. like the poster above, im dying to know where i recognise jon from as well x

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  101. I think your attitude rocks - I really loved your other post about how you scrimped and saved to buy the house and go to Goa every year. Very inspiring and if I tempt you to buy more shoes than know this - you've knocked some sense into me about not shopping so much - I didn't buy anything last month and the bank balance is looking much healthier for it - unheard of for me - and totally down to taking a page out of blogs like yours. xxx

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  102. What an absolutely brilliant, inspirational post! Love it! xx

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  103. Exactly Vix, you scrimp on everything else to afford what you love!!! I cant tell you how frustrated I get with people think I live such a privaliged life because I have designer clothes. I have them because I sacrifice everything else, I dont go on holidays, have a car, go out drinking and eating out all the time and so on. I also shop really wisely. Life is there for enjoying and we do that the best way we know how x

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  104. I really admire your lifestyle choices Vix! You know that don't you?

    You're one in a million

    xxx

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  105. Vix, I've said it before, you're an inspiration lady! I have also been raised to be careful with my money and this is why everything I own is special to me and I take care of it as best I can. I have shopped in Primark before and then felt a bit sick 3 months later when the whole lot is going out to the recyclers as it's shrunk/fallen to bits/I've decided I don't like it. There's an old saying I like, 'if you buy cheap you pay twice', well, not neccessarily as vintage and second hand bits can be very cheap, but if you buy without thinking it through, you definitely pay twice. Love the tips you've included in your post-you should write a book; Vix guide to thrifting, I'd definitely consider THAT an investment! xxxxx

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xxx