What is the Truth about Budgeting, frugality and living on a low income?

There are so many budgeting sites online, though for me it seems most are for families. The really interesting thing I am noting when I go shopping or seeing things online, is that supermarkets are aiming for bulk buyers, vegetables in plastic, and prepared foods.
I find so often that many of these Youtube and blogs do not really seem to discuss the reality and holistic approach to budgeting, frugal living or even simple living. Often they are just about food.

Budgeting can be affected by so many things. Where you live, how you shop, how you get to the shops. What services are available to you. Government services, doctors, hospitals, child care, education, shops, petrol, all the things you need to live today. For some trying to budget involves seeking work, and going to interviews. For others it requires medical costs and visits to doctors, specialists, hospitals. Paying rent or a mortgage is major necessity and should be first priority in my opinion.
Your income of course, and family size, are important factors in setting up a budget that is realistic and possible for you.

I can cook from scratch, and as I have said previously it is this that helps me save a fortune. I also have a vegetable garden, and encourage people to grow what ever they can.
So it is a single person budget I expound. I encourage single people to learn to cook from scratch. For me whipping up an ommlette

I live in a small populated community with a large area 5,497km² (1358338.2819acres) The Huon Valley is the Southern most Council region in Australia.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Census (ABS 2016)
POPULATION (ABS 2016)
3,069 under 14 years
3,338 15-34 years
7,071 35- 64
3,197 65 years and over
16,675 TOTAL POPULATION(ABS 2016)

I bring this up so you will understand that I we have only one big Corporate supermarket, Woolworths, we also have Several Independent Grocery stores in each of the townships that make up the Huon Valley. However in Tasmania it is called Independant Grocery Austraila. Each store is independently owned, but they form I assume a sort of co-operative for buying in bulk. I personally love my local IGA as they will order things in for you, if you are known to them and you are a bit short they will take a note and you sign it and pay it asap. Very few places allow this these days. I can not imagine the likes of Woolworths, Coles or Aldi, or what ever your large supermarket chain doing this for you. They also carry your boxes to the car if required .

So I do not have ready access to ‘competitive’ pricing as most people who live in cities do. Perhaps the lack of competition is why I have to be a very aware shopper.

I could travel further a field to shop to Kingston but it is 93km return and takes about 40mins each way not including shopping time. Petrol wise it would cost me about $20 approx. So when I look at any savings is it really worth the wear and tear on my vehicle every fortnight, and time.
My answer is no.
I would very rarely save enough to make it worthwhile to make this a regular event.

However if I did have to go to Hobart(Capital City of Tasmania 224,000 people population of the Island state of Tasmania is only 522,327 as 2019 ABS) (a further 20km each way from Kingston), I would certainly try to look to see if there were things that might save money if I budgeted for them.

Most people on low incomes, generally are not able to buy in bulk as so many have rent and other costs that I perhaps do not. So again I am very aware that I am very fortunate.
For me I have to have a car to get to the shops. I have no public transport I can catch the school bus occasionally but it is not really aurthorised the drivers just know how hard it can be for locals. I take a freezer carrier bags and reusable material shopping bags. I take a shopping list. (I do not always stick to it believe me).

For my budget not going out saves me money. I usually go shopping once a week.
Budgeting and living simply (frugally) are often shown to be by people as just shopping. To me it is far more than this. To really budget you Have to know how much it costs to fill your car, and how much mileage you get. How much it costs per km/ml. How much it costs for services, tyres, oil, radiator fluid, coolant/anti freeze. Not just the price of fuel.

I do look at online shopping though sadly freight charges are often prohibitive for weighty items. I also do not use online for groceries, as I prefer to pick my own things, and It means I can look at lower levels on the shelves. Though I do see online shopping is spurring an increase in employment in supermarkets as people have to pick out the items to be delivered. (at least here in Tassie).
I imagine it is the same for many people living in rural areas on low incomes.

Most people who live on low incomes are frugal out of necessities. They are not following a trend, nor are they generally able to remain debt free. It can be just the way it is.

I also look at the huge differences in pricing. American budgeting sites especially about groceries seem to be so cheap compared to here in Tasmania. Then I read the comments and find I am not alone in seeing that not just for me but others including from other states in US.

Different countries have vastly different costs for everything, and where you live within that country can have vastly different costs. So for me you have to evaluate and consider your own area and needs, base your budget on only your personal situation.

The other thing that is not always mentioned is what income the family or person may have, nor are the annual costs shared.

I want people to remember that yes some people are honestly sharing how they budget I just wonder as some seem more focused on presentation and looking successful doing it.

Let me tell you I am not always successful with budgeting, as costs spring up and reality of life steps in and sees me eat the same thing for meals over a week or fortnight. Not many people share that on frugal life, or budgeting videos or blogs.

I also have to include in my budget the cost of rubbish removal, I pay to have my rubbish picked up,It is included in costs for my council rates. I do not have recycling as currently I try to recycle at home. Creating compost and worm farms.

Budgeting. I have written before about how I budget. I know how much money it takes for me to live a year all my bills. https://echidna.home.blog/2019/12/29/living-on-a-tiny-budget/

So to truly budget well it is knowing where every cent of your money is going annually. Know your bills and charges if late payment, know how much you save if you can budget to pay your bills annually such as for me registration and insurances, rates. Wood for heating and gas for the year Perhaps my bigger expenses are internet connection, mobile phone, and my dogs food.

I do wonder for some of the budgeting sites online, Youtube, when I see them talking about going from shop to shop how much time, how much petrol is used and how does that add to their cost, and is this actually included in the budgeting.

Blessings to you all Tazzie









Mindfulness

Photography is a very personal thing.
I tend to not have any particular passion for one thing over the other. I just enjoy recording what I see.

So many beautiful videos abound full of movement incredible vistas from all over the world. For me they are stunning but often with music and talking, busy busy. I need less.

For me the art of photography is a lot about mindfulness. Being very present in the moment.

They are unedited. Just simple and taken as I go about my life. So many people are so busy with video cameras instead of stopping and looking being still in the moment. Savouring being present still and for me so often at peace.

I was sitting in a paddock watching the clouds skimming over the hills. They were moving fast. I was watching this cloud when I realised it was unusual in that it looked as if the top had been sliced horizontally off.

Cloud formations are so interesting.

I find it quite lovely to sit out on my deck of an evening and night watching the sky and clouds. This was a stormy night and shows lightning behind the clouds, hitting the hills in the far distance. It makes me feel so small when I see and hear thunder and lightning storms. We do not normally get a lot of thunder and lightning storms where I live. Yet the last couple of years we have had more than ever in the time I have lived here.

Lightning in the clouds

Watching these particular clouds was fascinating. They really had the look of flying saucers, in 3D with the colours, and the way the shadows and light was hitting them. I immediately was taken to the song The Eve of War the song from War of the World.

Lenticular Clouds at sunset

The chances of anything coming from Mars
Are a million to one, he said (ah, ah)
The chances of anything coming from Mars
Are a million to one, but still, they come. (Chorus from The Eve of the War)

Songwriters: Jeff Wayne The Eve of the War lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Please note I am not talking about the horrendous movie from 2005 but the 1938 radio drama where Orson Welles then 23 had a play written by Howard Koch based on H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. It was not great to begin with but with Welles revisions and input of others including the cast, it went on to cause purportedly major panic as people had believed it was real. The radio drama was broadcast with Welles Mercury Theatre on the Air the night before Halloween in 1938. If you are interested in learning more about his see the link below.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/infamous-war-worlds-radio-broadcast-was-magnificent-fluke-180955180/

The clouds are known as Lenticular clouds

My last photograph is a lovely morning reflection on the Huon River. It is not often you have the water so still. The Huon River is a tidal river that meets up with sea water. So with a shifting tide, and usually at least a breeze, wind or birds, disturbing the stillness this was a lovely moment to catch.

Mirror mirror reflection.

For me it is a timely reminder that being aware of my surroundings and taking the time to really look at nature, and all about me is a good way to reflect on how fortunate I am. It keeps me realising that I am blessed, even on my really bad days.

I wanted to share these today reminding me about the things that really help me to live with my CPTSD. To move forward.

Blessings to you all. Tazzie

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