Thursday 29 December 2011

'From Simple to Frugal....and Beyond'

Jointers Farm House when we first moved in 2009

'From Simple to Frugal....and Beyond'
 (one couples journey to jump off the consumer bandwagon)

Last year our sub heading under the Our New Life in the Country header was '...Our Year of Living Simply', this year we are moving on from that, our new sub heading is the one above.  In February we hope to move into our new place.  We have found a good place to rent, a two bedroom bungalow in Berkshire, it has 4 acres of land around it, plenty for our now down scaled operation without the pigs.

Jointers Farm, 4.5 acres highlighted around the house with our 6 acre paddock to the left of the picture.

Here in Oxfordshire we lease a large four bedroom (picture at the top), three bathroom farmhouse with ten and a half acres of land on which we have two huge ponds and a stone barn, it costs us dearly, but was all we could get hold of at the time that we moved.  It has single glazing and large rooms, so although the Aga does a stirling job of heating the kitchen, lots of heat just vanishes through the windows all around the house.  Every room has lots of lights and as we usually end up in different rooms doing different jobs they tend to all be on.  We could have extended this lease but we decided to be sensible, this house is also an 80 minute drive away from where Lovely Hubby works so the round trip each day adds over 2 hours to his already long 10 hour day and in turn costs us lots in fuel for the vehicles.

Now we have decided on our future, and that it includes us being as self-sufficient as possible, rather than farming, we need to save for our very own 'forever home', this entails us down sizing and having some very frugal years while we plough as much of the money that Lovely Hubby earns into our bank account for our deposit, which needs to be as large as possible, for we will then carry on living frugally while we pay off the mortgage, so LH can then reduce his working hours.

Our new home near Pangbourne

We have now signed the rental agreement on our new home for the next three years, and it will be ours from the first week in February.   Hopefully we will be able to completely redecorate (we have decided to paint everywhere white as it is a dark little house and white paint is the cheapest anyway) before we move in as it is tiny in comparison to where we live now.  Once that has been done we will move into the house everything that we need to live comfortably for the next three years.  All excess possessions or things that don't fit will be sold and the money added to our savings.

Although this too is mostly single glazed, it has a wood burner, just five small rooms and is in a nice sheltered spot instead of being in the middle of nowhere with the wind whistling round our ears like now.  Hopefully we will be able to get it warm and cosy and cut our costs dramatically.  The best is just a fifteen minute drive from where LH works and means he will be away from the house for less time each day AND cut down dramatically on our fuel costs.

The move is just our first step on saving money, once there we can put into place all that we have learnt here on the farm and get growing our own foods, providing our own wood for the fire, over our fence to the left of the property is a  HUGE wood and we are able to forage and gather all that we need from there, so we have the prospect of free fire wood for three years.

So that's a smaller house, less land (but more suitable for the chickens and growing our own veggies), free wood for the wood burner, less fuel needed for the cars.  Now what else can we do to make next year less consumer back tomorrow for the unveiling of our main challenge for the year ahead.

Exciting times.

Sue xx


  1. Sounds all very exciting - I shall be tuning in again tomorrow :)

  2. Yep sounds like you have your head screwed on... not exactly what you want but will allow you to make better progress toward your true goals. The journey looks like a very stimulating adventure to me. Right up my street. Goodluck

  3. wow! the start of a great journey- so good to be looking forward!

  4. A wood next to you - now you're talking! Can't wait to follow your journey in frugal living in this lovely new home and wish you lots of fun, success and adventure. Betty

  5. Oh Sue, you are talking my language.

    Less Consumer led is where we are headed too.

    We downsized to our forever cottage and it is so easy to keep warm.

    And the bedroom has never been cold either, as the heat rises from downstairs. It does have a heater but we've never used it.

    You are going to notice so many differences.

    And you DH will be time richer which is fantastic!

    2012 is going to be your year and I hope it will be our year too!

    Sft x

  6. It all sounds exciting and your new home looks lovely. Good luck with the move.
    Daisy xx

  7. Your new life sounds amazing, very best of luck with it. I look forward to reading more.

  8. What a lovely situation the bungalow is in. It reminds me of my first bungalow which sat in 3/4 acre in the country. My ex grew roses from briars and then sold them.

    I think the bungalow could be made really cosy and you should be really happy there, in addition to the obvious reduced travel time.

    Good luck with it and for the New Year.

  9. great plan of action, and because of that you will succeed.......

    Gill in Canada

  10. Can't wait until tomorrows update.

  11. Hello,

    I'm new to your site. Your old spot looks like it was probably brimming with history, but I understand the cold draughty old farmhouse bit - been there twice in my life.

    I'm sure you have carefully thought it all out, but would you not be better with a mortgage than paying rent for the next three years - I realize that a downpayment may be the issue, but with mortgage rates so ridiculously low, you might find a long term mortgage might actually run you less (per month) than renting, and then you have the satisfaction of working on your own forever home and building equity.

    Just another thought, have you considered a rent-to-own option with your new landlord?

    Best of luck with your endeavour, and I look forward to reading about your newest venture.

  12. I'm glad you are taking us along with you!
    Jane x

  13. good for you, here's to another year of sharing your amazing journey

  14. Good luck in your new home xxx

  15. Hi Mr Musical Gardener, just to let you (and anyone else who doesn't know our background) know, that yes, we have thought about buying, but with our financial history that is completely out of the question until we have enough cash to put either a whopping deposit on something or else buy it cash.

    My Lovely Hubby was taken to the cleaners and then spat out by his ex-wife and had to declare himself bankrupt a couple of years ago so his credit rating is a big fat zero. Although mine is brilliant after careful debt repayment over the last few years, we are working firstly on repairing his, we can't live with past shadows hanging over us forever.

    Our new landlord would not consider a 'rent to own' option as we are renting his house (which is his 'forever home' that he loves dearly) while he works abroad for 3 years, he will be moving back in as soon as he returns to England.

    I hope this clears things up for folks that don't know our full story.

    Sue xx

  16. Welcome to Berkshire! You are in a beatuiful area, lucky you. I do enjoy hearing all about you country life and beyond! I look forward to your new plans and dreams that you will share with us. good luck and best wishes for the New Year and new adventure!

  17. Sounds like the start of another great adventure. May the best days of your past be the worst days of your future.

  18. Oh Sue,
    I am so excited for you and your husband. Your new place looks lovely. Sounds like a dream, I hope it makes you happy for the next three years. Happy decorating and safe moving.

    PS We can compare notes on moving. I am off at the weekend to check out our rental accommodation and to sign the lease, for a year in the first instance x

  19. Best of luck with the move. If you are renting it makes so much more sense to get somewhere cheaper and smaller as it is money going into someone else's pocket. For the single glazing I have a really good and cheap tip. We use this window sheeting stuff (like heavy duty cling film) and it works wonders. We will eventually have secondary glazing done, but no point you doing that in a rented place. Obviously you can't open and close the windows, but we just leave it on until spring and take it off again. It only took Tim about 2 hours to fit all the windows.

  20. Wow what an exciting time for you. I wish you both all the very very best of luck and shall be tuning in as always to follow your progress. K xxx

  21. Hey Sue, it totally makes sense with what u are doing hun. Your new bungalow will make a lovely home for the next 3 years for you both, and it's great that LH will only have a 15 drive (walk??) to work each day. I look forward to the next installment tomorrow. S x x

  22. Tinyholder - I have used this film stuff before on windows and it is really good, as most of the windows in the old added on conservatory don't open we may try to get permission to use it in there at least. This will be used as our office and utility room, and as this encompasses all one side of the house it makes sense to keep it as warm as possible.

    Sue - It is a fifteen minute drive....but he is talking about getting a bike for the lighter, warmer days.....haha......we'll see!!

    Thank you everyone for all these lovely comments, I love that you are all interested in this.

    Sue xx

  23. Can't wait to follow your new challenges.

    Take Care

  24. It is exciting!
    I just know the two of you will be happy there, putting all of your knowledge and effort into making a go of it.
    I wish you both loads of luck!

    Here's to 2012!


    Sandie xx

  25. Hope all of your dreams come true and the weather this new year is better than last,
    Love and god Bless xxxx

  26. Blessings to you and LH this new year. I pray that the move will be a great blessing and encouragement too.

  27. Sue,
    best of luck - a couple of things that occurred to me as I renovated a small outer-suburban cottage a few years ago and was in a similar situation to you.

    1. Secondary glazing. Not double glazing - the thickness of double glazing bars cuts down the light. And with secondary you get to keep the original windows.

    2. I painted the downstairs rooms white as also it was a dark little house, but I'm not sure about this now. I feel some colour would have made it more appealing and besides the living room was often used after dark when the lights would be on anyway.



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