More Truth about the Frugalwoods!

I just thought I’d add this recent Guardian article on The Frugalwoods for your amusement. The truth is that they did not retire at 32, but they both still work (albeit mostly online from home). Sure, they may have abandoned the city for the countryside, but their so-called ‘Living the simple life’ would not be possible without a high-speed internet connection. So please don’t believe the hype.

Oh, it also helps that they both earn ridiculous amounts of money from their jobs (upcoming blog post giving more detail on that). I don’t disagree that they may have decided to stop embracing consumer culture, like many of us have. But once again I just want to warn people who might think they can emulate them.

They may think that they are only spending money on the very ‘basest’ of items. But I love this from the comments section:

       “Food, our mortgage, gas for the car, electricity, an internet connection, toilet paper. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, 2018”.

Whilst I’m glad that only spending on these things helped them to realise their mindless consumption. I think plenty of people in the World would consider the essentials to be food, water, shelter, warmth and rest. They probably don’t realise how Westernised their basics are.

Obviously you can read the article, but I think the comments are hilarious and really call out the truth behind some of the lies! But most of all, I’m still curious as to how they can claim not to be reliant on a salary from a job. Anyway, here’s a selection of my favourites and it’s nice to see I’m not the only one thinking this way:

“Reading the comments has saved me from reading the article. Thank you one and all”.

“Such a small, modest house they have too! I think the book should be called the The Smugwoods: Our transformational journey from city work slaves to rural phoneys who live very far away from everyone, only because we are so annoying”.

“I’m staggered by the fact that you think that living frugally in this way is exceptional. Having to make many of the ‘savings’ you describe in this article is just normal life for many people – and many are worse off than that…”

“I’m too frugalized to buy this ridiculous book”.

“And according to the article it only took them three years. 2014: decided to be frugal. 2018: Retired (!), own 66 acres and a house, book published”.

“Dear Liz (frugalized your name), Will you accept my well thumbed copy of The Bonfire of the Vanities in exchange for Meet the Frugalwoods?”


Our Extreme Minimalism Challenge

OK, this one kind of crept up on us! We had decided not only to redecorate our lounge/ dining room but at the same time get rid of the awful stained and cracked Artex ceiling, complete with Artex coving! We engaged our builder and he informed us we’d need to empty the room. I guess we were putting it off, but in the weeks prior to them starting I dutifully boxed up our books and DVDs. Then, the weekend before when we had family visiting we got them to help us move out the heavy furniture- mostly the 3 piece suite, but also the dining table and chairs, TV and bookcase. Then we ripped up the carpet- originally we thought it might go back down, but it truly does rip when you take it up (more on that later!) Soon after that the builder removed the lights and the radiators, so you can see we really are down to nothing!!!! Except those two garden chairs which are our only seating.

So, I guess we’re playing the minimalist game- at least in part- packing everything up into  boxes and seeing what we can live without. It’s a bit like that series that was recently on Channel 4 – Life Stripped Bare – the one we would have agreed to feature on if they hadn’t insisted on gratuitous nudity!

We would’ve been putting the room back together much sooner if we hadn’t needed to get new flooring. We’ve decided to get parquet installed, though expensive it is beautiful and will last more than a lifetime. We have 2 cats and are seriously sick of vacuuming up their hair from the carpet – no sooner have you completed said task, than it needs completing again! If we wanted to put down carpet it would cost 1.5-2K for a room of this size and parquet is around double that, with the advantage that it will never need doing again. Whereas carpet is likely to need replacing every 10 years or so, in a high traffic area. The parquet installers are booked up until September now, as we didn’t plan in advance. So, we’ll be living without all our stuff for a good couple of months. The perfect test to see exactly what we do and do not need!

In the two weeks we’ve been living like this, pretty much the only things we have missed are the 3 piece suite. Garden chairs just don’t cut it in terms of comfort, especially when sitting for long periods. However, they are much more flexible as the weather is so good – we can just lift them inside or outside as needed and they take up so little space. I have the odd pang for the TV, but watching selected programmes on the internet is a good substitute. I do waste far too many hours watching mindless stuff. However there is also something nice about watching on a larger screen and not having to wait for programmes to buffer. Plus, if we use our DVR box – we can record programmes and fast-forward the adverts, something you can’t do online. All that said, when our current TV breaks I’m not convinced I’d replace it.

Have you tried the minimalists 21-day challenge? How did you fare? What did you keep and what did you get rid of? I’d love to hear from you.