Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Get a life. You have choices.

Hello. I've had an email asking this question....

You mentioned a couple of times in comments that you can afford more now.  But, I was wondering if sometime you would write more about how we can afford more as time goes by when all I hear others say is that money does not go as far and that they can afford less and less.

Yes it's true, prices do go up all the time. I can afford a bit more now because my spending is all calculated, and my self discipline is embedded in my make up. It is probably a bit confusing to some people, how can it be that price rises do not affect me. The truth is that I don't get hung up about it, I am only affected when the regular things I buy are increased in price. I couldn't care less about other stuff because I don't buy it.

When I see that something has gone up which I buy weekly or monthly, I assess whether I want to pay for it, or look for another similar product at a cheaper price. For instance, my soya milk went up in Tesco so I switched to Aldi. The 1kg bags (7 or 8) bananas were changed for five in a bag for the same price in Aldi, so I switched to loose bananas because they worked out cheaper. If I really want to buy that item at a higher price, and I have saved money on other things, I will treat myself to it.

OK, do not listen to others moaning about prices, some people thrive on doom and gloom. Negativity rubs off, it's positive people that you want to mix with. Some people feel hard done by when really they are quite comfortable. People want things they can't realistically afford, it's not because prices are high, it's because they are making the wrong choices. They have a sense of entitlement. They see others around them with the latest this and that, and they want it too. Don't be like a sheep. I say to those people, 'get a life, not a new sofa'.

When I first started this blog I was surviving on a small income, that's because I chose to cut down on my working hours. I lowered my sights, I only spent on things that I needed. After a few years I am now in the position that my emergency fund is pretty much ok, I don't have to worry about when thing break and need replacing. I have saved up the cash.

The key word here is CHOICES. I could choose to splash out and spend my emergency fund on something frivolous, then regret it later. Or I could choose a date to replace my car, which is important to me, and save that money to pay for the car. Planning ahead pays dividends, spontaneous spending gets people locked in debt and possible bankruptcy . The choice is.... KEEP ON TOP OF THINGS, OR FACE YEARS OF MISERY.

It never fails to amaze me that people don't realize they have choices. Read the Debt Free Wannabe on the MSE forum. They are in debt but they don't want to give up the Sky, smoking, socializing, beauty treatments, gym, takeaways, daily coffee in a cardboard cup. OK, if they want to continue in the lifestyle they have created for themselves, always living on the edge, living from month to month, never actually making any progress, then they choose to be poor. I could slap them sometimes.

It's all down to attitude, and expectations, and your entitlements, and how much you think you deserve something. I set my sights low, I am not entitled to anything I can't afford to pay for. My attitude is that I need very little to live, food, and a basic roof over my head. I need specs to help my vision, a hearing aid to help me hear, and a dentist to look after my teeth. If I fall ill I need healthcare. Anything else  that I can pay for is a bonus.

At this point I will remind everyone that LESS is MORE. The less stuff you own, the less you buy, the less you can afford, the less spare money you have, the less decisions you have to make, the more simplified your life will be.

I am an optimist, I think things are pretty good for me at the moment. I have nothing to complain about, even price rises don't bother me. Why should they, I choose what I want to buy. I buy it or I don't buy it, end of. As I said, no point in moaning about it.

Thank you J for your question. Another busy day. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

56 comments:

  1. I wish you were my neighbour, it'd be so lovely to seek your wisdom in person.

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    1. I would invite you round for coffee and chat. Bring your own teabag if you want tea, ha ha.

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  2. I agree some people are not willing to make sacrafices, I am not dissing anyone, but I don't know how people can afford to smoke and drink large amounts of alcohol regularly, we have the odd drink . We would rather spend money on something nicer.

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  3. Yes I agree with the above comment very much. You look like an ordinary person from the outside (I don't mean that in rude way) but you are far from that. Thank you for the time you spend sharing your thoughts as you I have changed my life for the better. Sharon

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  4. good post as always, in 2006 we had a mortgage, hubby was off work recovering from operations, you got about £69 stat sick pay a week then so we lived off credit cards until it got to the point they were all up to the limit, so we ended up missing mortgage/bills etc and eventually got a repossession order on the house and had to sell it, the sale just covered the mortgage but nothing left for any debts (it was a council house we had bought) We moved into another council house in a different area, the credit cards went to debt agencies to stop the interest and we slowly paid them off but that was the kick up the backside we needed and now we don't have any credit cards and have not been overdrawn since then apart from once when BT took out the DD on the wrong date for the wrong amount but we argued it and they covered the bank charges and now, no credit cards, no overdraft, no cheque book, money to pay bills, money saved for emergencies and money left to have a life and no worrying, Jo

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    1. Thank you for that Jo, your experiences are mirrored a thousand time over. People everywhere in the same boat.

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  5. You don't half talk some sense Ilona! It's true - if you don't buy it, you don't need to earn the money to pay for it. Less is definitely more - something that is a constant work in progress in our house. Some people just can't or won't give up their frivolous, want-it-all-have-it-all, lifestyles in favour of a more simple life but unfortunately it all has to be paid for one way or another. Someone very close to me is the perfect example - both partners working long hours, both children either in nursery or free childcare given by family, both frazzled come the weekend - at the cost of new cars, foreign holidays, lots of social life (again babysitters found in the family), lots of unnecessary purchases - you'll know what I mean! But the thing is, neither of them seem very happy and the children don't really have any continuity in their day to day lives. It's a shame.

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    1. What is sad about the lifestyle you describe is that it's the children who suffer. They learn from their parents and the whole cycle starts again with the next generation.

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    2. That's a sore point with me, too, and one where I have a hard time biting my tongue. Other parents tell me they "have to work" they aren't lucky like me. Meanwhile, the bulk of their money goes to daycare, multiple vehicles, overpriced convenience foods, and multiple cell phones for their kids, so they can keep track of their kids. They don't "have t e" to look in thrift shops for clothes for their kids, and blow $500 easily per kid, on clothing. But, they don't want to hear how I did it. It started with a goal to raise our kids on one income, and then every choice was based on that goal. Now, it's a way if life. I have a nice house, great food, no money worries, cash for the kids' college and our time is our own, all because we choices to support that goal. You didn't see us buying lattes, second vehicles, or redecorating our house with every passing fancy. But, somehow, I am "lucky." I am in many ways, but financially, common sense and self denial.
      Why, I could save them $1,000/year by cutting out pizza and lattes. But, because they work, they feel they "deserve" it. It's a crazy cycle.

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  6. People always used to laugh/scoff at me and my way of life. Well, who's laughing now? Best wishes to all who follow Ilona and others' similar advice. Natalie

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  7. With Tom out of work for a lot of the time through ill health we had to make do but when I look back they were good times. We all had bikes, I went to jumble sales, made all of our own cakes etc and the kids all say that they had a lovely childhood. All this with very, very little money.
    I actually feel sorry for the young people now who do not seem to be able to go without a new car and going abroad on holiday, they are missing out.
    Briony
    x

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  8. There is often a different way around a "problem" too I find. When I bake a sponge I like to use butter. This week I noticed that Tesco have increased their price from £1.18 to £1.30 for 250g. I took the decision to buy their spreadable Butterpak which is 75% butter. You can still bake with it but it's £2 for 500g. I like the way this type of thinking uses my brain. Arilx

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  9. your so sensible and speak such sense xx tessa

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  10. I saw the title of this post and new exactly what was coming! Fab. My hubby and I have two children and we constantly teach them that money comes from somewhere and that it is NOT never ending. We have a weekly income based on minimum wage and then we do have working tax and child tax credits. We live off that and nothing else. I should point out here that we don't have a mortgage but that was because we had a business which we sold and were then able to buy into the property market as cash buyers. However, we don't have a credit card and if we need something we put money aside from the weekly income, and that included our recent holiday abroad, every penny. We are very lucky that I can be at home with the children in the holidays and don't have to rely on holiday clubs but we have no close family to help out (more than happy with that!) so we do not have lots of days out as they cost a lot of money. A treat of chips on the beach and an ice cream is what we are looking forward to this week. We don't smoke, go our for lots of meals etc and we are so happy just living where we are, growing our own and living our life. We hope to have a business of our own soon but that will be gradually built up as time and money allows. Everything comes to he who waits, and that happens to us a lot because we are not greedy. Love your thoughtful insights Ilona.

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    1. That's so good to hear - you must be relieved to live such a happy satisfying life .

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  11. This is a wonderful post Ilona! I despair of friends I know endlessly buying 'stuff' on credit then moaning that they can't afford this, that and the other. They are trapped in an ever increasing cycle of spending and it seems that only something tragic like loosing a job or house repossession will make them stop. As always you have given a sensible and balanced view of how to manage your finances and plan for the future.

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  12. Talking sense as always Ilona. X

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  13. Most people that moan about the price of stuff are usually bad managers. We all need money to exist but its how you spend it that counts.Rae x

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  14. Fantastic points. I am always moaning about the fact that people can afford nice clothes and holidays - I'm not in debt though and I should remember this and count my blessings.

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  15. What about buying biological, or with care for the enviroment? I have f.i. trouble with buying at Aldi. They have a bad reputation about working conditions. That goes for a lot of things that you buy cheap. That is for me quite an issue.
    I do buy second hand, but for me it is important to know that my gain is not the loss for some worker or nature.
    And that costs money.
    Sorry, I am not english.
    Mak

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    1. Here in the US I like to shop at Aldi as they use European standards for their food, and that means less additives, more organics etc. Also they pay above the normal rates for grocery store workers. So all in all, a positive experience I think - in the US at least.
      I also shop at the sister store, Trader Joe's, for much the same reasons.

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  16. I just love your no-nonsense attitude!

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  17. i couldn't hold my tongue (I should have) when someone in the office said about not having enough money, "we haven't had a holiday" she said, I said but didn't you go to New York in February, she said yes but that doesn't count as it was with my parents, what?? We miss years and then have a cottage in the uk for our hols, do you hear me complaining. Also both ladies in the office had kids who each had £60+ contracts on their monthly phones as well as them.

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    1. YIKES £60 a month for a mobile. I have a servisable phone and pay £8-£10 per month.Use whats app to send picture messages and the like.If I need new clothes I only shop in the slaes and when jeans become worn patch them. Same withsheets split down the middle and put the good edges together. Hollidays are not on the agenda for many reasons. I live in a beautiful part of the contry so make use of whats on my doorstep. It amazes me what people do and and then bemoan the consequences.I an not advocating living a life of scrouge without redemption just be kinder to yourself long term.

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  18. You are marvelous and so sensible we have sufficient money to have what we like but I don't want it been there done that been in debt for things I would die if I didn't get where are these possession's now broken worn out discarded pay the bills eat have some fun be happy that's all you need Kath

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  19. As you say Ilona, agreed. To my horror, yesterday, I

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  20. I love reading your blog. I do agree with Mak (at 18:50). I spent money buying organic food or good clothes. First I try secondhand but sometimes you have to buy new. Then I buy the best I can afford, with nature and people in mind.

    Misty

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  21. Choices - I had a choice to live or die with grief when my partner committed suicide. For own reasons the deceased chose death; I respect that, and feel the loss every day but I live on and even through some very lonely days I manage and look forward optimistically to the next day. Sorry to go off kilter here and be depressing but MONEY is not the answer. Be kind to one another.

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    1. First of all I'm so sorry about the tragic loss of your partner. I can only imagine how painful and difficult each day must be and hope you're getting the support you need. If you haven't found this website already you might want to look at supportaftersuicide.org.uk. Please take care of yourself. Kristel

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    2. Be strong and be l<ind to yourself too.There is a happy life for you to enjoy after such a
      tragedy.Your partner would want that for you I'm sure.Happiness of spirit is free x

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  22. I totally agree. I am semi retired now and have stashed lots of bits and bobs away throughout my working life. So now I buy very little. When I do go to work I get fed up with young folk in my office going on about new cars, kitchens and bathrooms, not to mention spray tans, gym membership etc . Waste of money. I'm happy with my hubby, an old kitchen and bathroom and a small car. We are happy and have our health and a small home filled with love. Who needs more?

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    1. I could have written your post. I get exhausted just listening to what people spend money on. I would like some of the money they waste!

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    2. Totally agree. I'd rather work less hours and have time to enjoy my home and garden. Time is far more precious than money.

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  23. An excellent post once again. I have more income than you Ilona but this is because I'm still working albeit part time. I've always lived within my means and never bought anything on credit. Our mortgage was paid off a few years ago and I'm now in a position where I can hopefully reduce my hours even more or take a less well paid but more enjoyable job. I'm not surprised people have to work so hard and constantly do overtime when I look at the lifestyle they're trying to maintain. I rarely buy anything new as I feel we live in a culture of surplus so there's no need to. Whatever I'm looking for usually turns up in a charity shop eventually and I'm happy to wait patiently and go without until it does. Kristel

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  24. You should be required reading for all school kids! And maybe older!!

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  25. It's exciting to simplify and also to save for something X best wishes col x

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  26. I come to your blog everyday for a peep and a boost of moral. And, in this day and age with everyone competing for the next 'big' thing and trying to out do one another, I need every bit of boosting I can get. I live the life I aspire to. I spend little, save as much as I can, and make do with what I have. I feel blessed that I can see beyond the fluff and glitter of other peoples' lives and feel no envy or desire to have what they have. At the same time, I am becoming increasingly concerned about rising prices for energy and food. Increasingly, I hear stories of people who have worked all their lives earning an honest living in jobs that didn't pay well finding themselves in housing and energy stress because their pension incomes are not enough to pay for basics. Often these people are women who raised families and found themselves divorced in their later years with no home or financial security. Life can be very hard and unfair. We are not all blessed equally.

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  27. Really good reality check. At one time I wanted to be Emma Orbach but that's so extreme!! I am happy to live my life in the footsteps of Meanqueen instead. Such a wise way to see the world x

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  28. Well said! I get quite frustrated with all the self induced misery folks are talking about. Our choices in life make a huge difference, both in terms of money and health. It took a me a long time to learn how not to spend money but it is possible, and gets easier over time ;)

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  29. I know this is what you do, but thought I would also add, when you buy something you only need to buy it once. Say you buy a set of dishes. You get tired of using the same dishes over and over. So what? Don't buy new dishes. Use the ones you have and be grateful for them. You don't need new. The same goes for anything with which you are tired. Use everything till it falls apart. You don't need new sheets or towels. Use what you have and be grateful. Don't get rid of the old, just use it up and wear it out.

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  30. Care to run for U.S. president in 2020? We Yanks could do with more financial maturity and less negativity right now. Some adult supervision would be nice too. I can hear your answer as you read this, but thought I'd ask anyway. R/Tim

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  31. Really interesting post,Ilona. Thinking and planning your choices are really important. I love spontaneous but not where money is concerned. Once it's spent, it's spent. I live simply and have reduced what I actually own and buy personally over the years and am more contented and happy.

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  32. Another gem Ilona, I agree with every word and can honestly say I've done exactly the same over the years. I can afford to shop wherever I want to now, but still won't be ripped off - old habits die hard. I do enjoy a few "non compromise" deals with myself, such as always using a certain brand of butter and loose tea and I also mostly buy locally produced food where possible. Those are my luxuries. I had to work full time until I retired and now have a decent pension, but having spent most of my life struggling to keep a home and family going I find my decisions are still based on whether I need something, not whether I want or simply can afford something. Looking forward to "our" next trip together - have you decided where are "we" are going yet? Elaine

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  33. Hi I agree with everything you said. We have been retired for fifteen years have a reasonable pension and manage very well, but I am fed up by peoples comments about how rich we must be because we can afford to travel. We never buy coffee out always take a picnic buy our few new clothes at sales, my coats were my mother's waste not want not. Small things like that save us money to spend on what we enjoy. We are experts at free days out shopping is not a hobby. Continue to enjoy your life your way not how the marketing people want.

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  34. Well what a timely post, and me with three more wages, including this month, until I take retirement a couple of years before I get my pension. I was just thinking yesterday of when I was a single parent many years ago, I never went shopping without a list, and stuck to it rigidly, and planned months ahead for shoes, school clothes, and all the essentials that go with having children and running a home. As the years went by and I remarried I got out of a lot of those habits, but we have no mortgage, savings for retirement, and no debts. No halo to polish though, I still spend more than I need, not on smoking and we only have the odd bottle of wine a week, no expensive holidays abroad either, neither do I have a big wardrobe full of expensive clothes or a big car, but it is amazing how much goes on little things. My biggest personal expense is fabric for my hobby, and books, then there is food shopping, we are vegetarian, how do we spend so much? But we do. So I am treating this as a challenge, and I do like a challenge, no more books this year for starters, apart from the one that has been on pre order for six months and is now half price and due out next month, it is rather large and will take a good bit of time to finish though, and I know I will re read it too, so I'm making it the exception. No more hobby spending either, I have plenty to keep me going. The biggest challenge is the food shop, Make a menu, make a list, see how much I can save there, and lets start by eating from the cupboard and freezer. I can see the bank account increasing already.

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  35. Good points made here, I have to say this, sorry, I have spotted Christmas stuff in shops now. I laughed. I got off that treadmill and merchandiser's dream years ago. Then my determination not to get sucked in to the never-ending 'spend' philosophy spread to every day living. It's a real challenge but well worthwhile. I think Ilona somewhere in her blog said she treated it as a 'game' and one she wants to win: I agree with that. Amanda

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  36. There is something a little juvenile about grown people needing stuff they can't afford to impress people they don't like. My brother is like this. He is bankrupt and had his house repossessed. He hasn't learned a thing. Back to his old habits.

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  37. Ive just been out with my 18yr old lad whos heading for uni in two weeks. I quite enjoyed it to be honest, first time hes gone shopping for kitchen items, and its nice to see him choose what he likes (only in asda mind you) colours etc. There is so much he needs though, and as we have been going along ive pointed him in direction of bigger towels for less, reasonably price items etc, spent a whopping 92pound today, but hopefully it will mostly last the three years or more and we had a lot already in the house. once ive kitted him out and he gets his student finance, hes got to look after himself then, bar a bit of food, which I did with my daughter which worked well. Hopefully they will both be independent strong minded, sensible with their spending.

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  38. I think that for some people it takes ages to realize what is getting them into debt. I was a broke child, there were times when my Mom cried because there was little food in the cupboard and she felt like giving up. But she didn't and I still had a great childhood. And that wasn't from getting into debt or having cable TV. We always had used clothes, there was a sack of clothing that went around the neighborhood from house to house for kids to try on (I wish people still did this, so smart). I only ever had new shoes in August to get ready to go back to school in. We had a garden, raised chickens both for meat and for eggs, and I rarely got to participate in those expensive day trips that schools seem fond of (like downhill skiing). Mom did her best. Everyone is different these days though, yesterday I needed a restroom when out so used a coffee shop, you know, those ones that charge $7 for a small coffee that takes a dictionary to order? I bypassed that completely, not feeling guilty at all for using their facilities. My neighbor constantly complains about being broke but is in that coffee shop at least 2-3 times a week. Entitled is how most people feel I think. People need to go back to paying cash and things might change.

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  39. Yes I was brought up by parents who had lived through the last war. They didn't waste anything. If a thing works why replace it? Mum always used to say it's clean and paid for. Like taking cuttings to grow new plants for free and saving seeds to grow plants. Dad used to do all our shoe repairs with stick on soles and metal segs. Mum and I used to knit my school cardigans between us. There's so much waste now, people work all hours but throw half the food they buy into the bin. New kitchens but buy takeaways. Not a world I would ever want to live in.

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  40. OH has just retired and we know that life will go on as before: frugally! It has been our way of life for the last 15 years and I love it. Growing our own veg, keeping chickens for eggs and a few sheep for the freezer. We had our kids late in life and have brought them up on very little, but they both know the value of everything, including frugality.

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  41. What a delight this post was! I like how you refuse to be negative and even turn trying situations into learning experiences. Toodle Pip!

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  42. So right about the choices! We had a goal of retirement at 55 and making sure that our three kids will leave Uni with no debts. The first two were easy as the tuition fees were none and a 1000 per year. Now our last one is about to go and we will need about £50 000, but we new that 15 years ago so we planned. Despite having top income we did live in a smaller house, had second hand cars, shopped in Aldi and charity shops. Holidays were camping or staying with family. Now we are 55 and retired we have no debts and money in the bank for our daughter's uni.

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