Serina Bird wants to reclaim frugality. "Once upon a time, thrift and frugality were celebrated as virtues."
Instead of being equated with negative words such as poor, meagre, paltry, cheap, insufficient or even skimpy, I want frugality to be associated with concepts such as creativity, appreciation, abundance, choice, empowerment and being enterprising and environmentally sound.For her the frugalista lifestyle is about financial empowerment. Don't live a life of FOMO and debt.
There is a better way. And that way is to take control of your finances, to learn to live within your means, to aim to create more wealth and to develop a savings plan.Her underlying themes of self-worth, abidance and gratitude
It is about being authentic and true to myself, and striving (in small, everyday ways) to make the world a better place.And our lives a better place too. Serina provides us with lots of inventive ways to find cheap or free goods and services. And to not be ashamed about that.
It is ok to accept with gratitude the abundance that the universe provides. Something free is not automatically substandard, nor is it wrong (unless, of course, you stole it).Naturally, Serina takes all of this very seriously. She has recorded every dollar she has spent for over 10 years! I couldn't tell you what I spent yesterday, or last week. She even makes a monthly income/expenses report. Like she is a business. While I can see how that makes sense to do that, I can't ever see me doing it. She juggles multiple investment properties, and has for many years, through her first marriage, and then divorce, and now into her second marriage.
I particularly liked the section on The Power of Little Savings, teaching us that every dollar counts. I've been doing something similar for a while. I make lots of small extra payments to my mortgage and superannuation whenever I buy something and make a saving. A trick I learned from the $1000 Project. Serina talks the talk, and walks the walk. She buys second hand clothes and goes urban foraging. She maintained a $50 weekly food budget for herself and her two sons for over a year! I pretty much drop 50 bucks every time I go to the supermarket. Well, not every time, but often.
I also liked the more personal chapters where she recounted her own story. Her marriages. Her habits. Her goals- she wants to be a billionaire! And yet doesn't like FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). It's a sad day when you realise you're already too old to set FIRE to your life...
Serina lives in Canberra, a city that has four distinct season, with a real winter. Well, as real as it gets in Australia. My town does too. She likes embracing the seasons and suggests that we think of our homes as a chalet. She uses the German word gemütlich to convert this sense of wintery cosiness, I'm more used to the Danish term hygge.
But I've been interested in making my life more hygge for a while now. I turn on a sparkly light, day or night, just because it gives me joy. I've bought (and actually use) scented candles. I'm using a furry, soft fake fur blanket (the dog likes that too, dogs have an innate sense of hygge, though perhaps not so much as cats).
Each chapter ends with a Frugalista Challenge. Some of them would be easy peasy. Don't buy any new clothes or shoes for a month. Done. Try to reduce your grocery expenditure to $25 per person per week. I just broke out in a cold sweat. I am going to try and record every dollar that I spend. For a month! I've tried doing this sort of thing before, but have rarely gone beyond a day. We'll see how it goes. I think I might try it as a project for July.
While I'll never be a Frugalista anywhere near Serina Bird level we can always learn things from such books.
You can afford anything, but you can't afford everything.I borrowed The Joyful Frugalista from my library. And so I've just transferred $29.99 into my super. The lessons from this book will take me into retirement. I hope Serina would be proud.
Serina Bird blogs at Joyful Frugalista.