No need for credit cards

In November 2014, I cut up all my credit cards. That was almost three years ago and I’m still alive today to tell my story. I have lived every month without the need to use a credit card. 

I changed my lifestyle. I changed my approach. I changed mindset. You don’t need credit cards. You think you need credit cards, because you can’t keep up with the Jones’. The funny thing is, most of the Jones that you see, at traffic lights, carrying bags and bags of new “things”; have probably not paid outright for those “things”. Its probably on credit. Now imagine their debt figure floating above their head, or car like a video game gauge system. Granted, there are a number of people fortunate enough to have the latest car, latest gadget and newest clothes, but when you look at the statistics and (UK) average wages;  its not mathematically feasible.

The median average wage UK as calculated by our Salary Calculator is £27,000. [source]

If that’s the case and your renting or paying for a mortgage and not to mention everyday living expenses. How could you buy a brand new car? Without inheritance, lottery win or a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Britons spend around £27,500 on a new car

It is not rocket science, the new car is more than the average salary. That salary is before tax. So then the car is bundled onto a lease. Why? Because you think the monthly payments make it affordable? cheap? in budget? That can’t be further from the truth.

A new car will break down. An old car will break down too. However a used car only cost you £5000? That’s a cheap breakdown compared to a £27,500 – right?

How have I survived a breakdown with no credit card’s? A £1000 emergency fund that’s how! Since having the fund it’s been used once and through small contribution’s over months and months of frugal living it’s now at £5247.00. Still no credit card’s or loans (I have a mortgage – that’s my only debt)

Its incredible the transformation of no monthly credit payments has made. That includes the car payment, which stood at £234.64 per month – back in 2013. That’s when it ended though. It had been for 36 months. A HUGE £8447.04 spent, but I did not own the car. Have I still got that brand new car? Nope.  

Just live on less than you earn. It IS that simple.


A timely read


I have just been reading about car finance deals soaring to an all time record high, which ties in nicely with my previous post about consumerism. My thoughts on consuming less is very timely indeed. The problem I see with the car finance deal, is that you are essentially thinking it is the best deal out there, but how much does a 3 year warranty, 1 year insurance and no more than 10,000 miles per year really cost? Surely financing a car is more expensive than paying for a car outright with cash?

A second hand car is not the end of the world. It’s just not what the Jone’s are driving. Who cares? No body, but you. I have had a car on finance and it is fair to say; I won’t again. If I’d just been able to fast forwarded to where I am now. Know what I know now, I never would have done so.

Take your current car payments, mine some 4 and a bit years ago, were £264 per month. Now save that for 6-10months. That’s £1584–£2640 in cash that is saved. “What am I meant to drive in the mean time?” Buy something cheaper. “How, I have no money?” This is the vicious circle that (I know) “pushes” you into taking out finance. So “find” £500 to get yourself started. There are numerous vehicles out there for around £500 and if you rock up with £400 cash in your hands, you could probably walk away with the £500 car and £100 in change. A quick search online gave me 2,288 cars under £500 – they won’t all be perfect, but there’ll be one for you. One located:

£500 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 SE 5d 105 BHP TRADE CLEARANCE – GREAT VALUE

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Buy the car and drive it until it goes pop. Even use the £100 towards a good servicing, to lengthen its service to you. It’s a car! Not a person. It is meant to be used and used until it is no longer usuable. We, as consumers have a responsibility to slow down in our mindless consumption – the earth is only so big and can only disppose of so much. Where will the “unwanted” stuff eventually go?

That car, based on the £264 saved over two months, gives you £528. Now imagine that the car lasts you 12 months. That there would be £264 saved, over the coming 10months giving you potentially £2640. Even if you could save only half of that, it’s £1320. Although the bracket is slightly higher; there are 23,861 cars available at £1,500 or less! So in theory, in a year you could have purchased another new (second hand) car. Keep repeating this method (use the car until it goes pop) and before you know it – you would have a brand new car, but with no finance. Obviously the newer the car that you keep purchasing the longer it is likely to last. Don’t forget though, brand new cars go down in value before you have driven off.

This is similar to what Dave Ramsey talks about over and over again. Get rid of your car payment. Live on less than you earn. It works. It is as simple as that.


30.4 Days of survival


Everyday I am moving further away from debt (the mortgage is my only debt), but not seeing the savings grow; I find very frustrating.

It’s frustrating because debt seemed to grow vastly every day. No matter how much you paid towards it, it still went up. That is because there was still bleeding. You’ve got to stop the bleeding to stop debt. The teachings behind a minimalistic lifestyle – less consumption – are of huge value here. It is working seamlessly for us.

Savings growth, for me/us, is a monthly results situation. That’s really when there is a visual difference. However, it must never be forgotten: no matter how slowly the savings grow, it is far better than the rapid decline into debt prison. Never again.

Imagine having no debt. Nothing. Mortgage free. Zero loans. Zero credit cards. Now you’ve lost your job. Essentially your overheads are food, water, fuel (gas, electricity, petrol/diesel). No one is going to take your home or car or other assets. They. Are. Yours. Granted it would be different if you’re renting.

If you were renting though, but had saved, at least you’ve got something. Something is better than nothing.

Take your savings, divide that by your budget outgoings, times that by 30.4 and this shall equal the days you can live on “something”. The aim: save 3 to 6 months. Example:

2000 (saved) / 2000 (budget) = 1 X 30.4 (average days in a month) = 30.4 days of survival

My Frugal Month: Week 1


There was a massive high-five, whilst the shopping list was being written tonight. We totally made it!

The end of My Frugal Month: Week 1 is done. £30 put in an envelope seven days ago and still there is £30. It has been a mixed week, but the end result is successful. Nothing spent from the envelope for this week. One day at a time. Seven in total. Zero spent. It proves that it is possible.

We have taken the decision to split the £30 between the remaining three envelopes. So we now have £40, £30 and £40 in our envelopes. Although, My Frugal Month is not like other methods, ours is specific about living off one salary. Can we do it for a month? If we can then how much can we save? The end goal is all about the potential second child – no news – and how we can survive on one wage. It is doable. One week down and it is a great boost to morale.

You think that it is not possible, because you have lived everyday up to this point; off two wages. At the same time living with and for worthless stuff, clutter, endless consumption, debt and mindless thoughtless existence. Now; everything is thought through. Every gear change, litre of fuel that goes in the car, every slice of bread, every ale – gave alcohol up for lent too – every chocolate bar, every t-shirt and every-single-thing that you consume, you question: is this worthwhile?

My Frugal Month: week 1, has, definitely been made easier to succeed by asking this question everytime: is this worthwhile? Even when I have been at worked. I’ve questioned; is this worthwhile? is it adding value? I am quickly coming to realise that the combination of ‘the minimalists’ and ‘Dave Ramseys’ principles and teachings could easily be the perfect two. We’ve been living a more meaningful life the last few months, but this new-found frugality added to our minimalists journey is tremendous. Live on less than you make. Simple. Isn’t it?

One day we’ll reach a point of the debt free scream (clear the mortgage) – I did a mini one when I made my last ever Student Loan payment – and a more “polished” minimalists lifestyle.

This is my frugal month…


Put it up

Although it’s early days with My Frugal Month I’ve duplicated this month’s budget sheet ready for May. I will continue to deploy my frugal take-a-ways although my wife won’t be. This is pre-planned though. Every other month will be a frugal month. Frugal Months my wife saves all her wages in preparation to live off one salary.

What take-a-ways will I be making use of? All the money that was used to cover my wife’s outgoings, I will now save. I’m going to continue with this “frugal” approach. Its addictive, challenging and fun. However, to help build a cushion for when (if) baby two comes – no news – I will increase all my outgoings to the nearest £5. So even if something is only 1p over, it’ll go up. Up. Up. Up. This in turn I believe will aid a cash cushion for planned outgoings.

This will aid saving too because everything is “spent”. My budget sheet each month is always balanced at zero. Anything left is saved even though there is a saving entry. There are occasions where more fuel is needed eg unplanned trip to the hospital. The key with this plan is to put it up. Increase the budget so that there is less spending flexibility and more opportunity to save.

Try it: round up all your outgoings to the nearest £5. This doesn’t include savings or debt repayments.

Don’t try this if you’re still on baby step 1 or 2. Just don’t.