little luxuries

Losing the luxuries in times of need

With my brother and I having been brought up by our mum alone, after our dad died when we were young, we were always taught to be careful with money.  My mum was a stickler for saving and only spending within her means, and that rubbed off, even though we both like to spend in our own way.  After she died and we cleared out my mum’s wardrobe though, I was astonished to see how many clothes still had labels on.  So that’s where I get it from!

I’m lucky in that I’ve been careful enough to not have to worry particularly about money, and although I now earn a bit less in my current job, and am now paying childcare costs, I still have enough to go to the places we want to, and not have to scrimp and save.  I’ve always saved, started a workplace pension as soon as I could, and that meant even when I was made redundant and had a couple of months before starting a new one, I was able to be confident I had money in my savings in case I needed it, and tried to ensure that I’ve got at least 3 months pay hidden away in case I need it.

It’s not until you don’t have your usual income that you begin to worry.  I do love to look out for savings, but on maternity leave, it really hit me that living on not much could be a possibility, and wasn’t one I wanted to have to worry about.  It really made me think about the luxuries…at that point I stopped buying magazines (apart from 1 subscription) because I didn’t have time to read them.  My money was now being spent on N, rather than so much on clothes for me or going out dancing 4 nights a week.

Legal & General research has said that on average, people in the UK could be on the breadline in only 29 days, reducing to only 14 days for working age families.  Shocking figures, but understandable when people need to make choices when times are hard.  Alongside the findings, Legal & General have developed a breadline calculator to help educate people and show that often we’re a lot nearer the breadline than we think, if the worst was to happen and we got seriously ill, or lost a job.

little luxuries I'd keep or lose


If the worst happened and I was without a job or got sick, there’s certain things that I couldn’t live without

  • broadband and general wifi connections when out and about
  • mobile phone for the security, boredom relief and having a camera permanently with me
  • music and books
  • a car, because we live in the middle of nowhere, and I don’t fancy a 14 mile+ round trip on a bike to get to town or anywhere worth going to.

I don’t class those as luxuries, because I’d definitely be stuck without them.  But there are some luxuries I could give up if needed.

1. Chocolate (and cake, biscuits, puddings etc).

If we were really stumped, we would have the ability to reduce the cost of our food shopping overall, because we do buy British on meats, do buy a bit of fish and don’t buy value items on the whole.  Being farmers, we’d want to continue buying British where possible.  However chocolate is something I love, so I’d have to give that up and probably be able to save pounds – both cash and weight!  The OH would have to give up his daily Guinness.

2. Kindle

While I couldn’t give up books, I could give up my Kindle.  I do tend to mostly buy cheap deal books for it, rather than my favourite authors so spend less than on paperbacks.  But, I’ve got almost a year’s worth of books in my to read pile (assuming a book a week), as well as a bookcase full of books I could re-read.

3. Dermalogica skincare

I’m not big into skincare on the whole.  There’s a few cheaper brands I rotate round for cleanser, I might use pound shop skincare wipes on occasion, and I don’t regularly moisturise.  But I do use Dermalogica Medibac cleansing and overnight clearing gels.  I ran out a month or so ago and had a month of not using the cleansing wash and reverting to whatever cheaper one was in the house, and my skin really wasn’t great.  I’m back on the Dermalogica and quickly my skin was a lot better and less spottier (You’d think nearing 40, I wouldn’t get spots anymore).  So it does work for me, but it is expensive even though it lasts a long time, so I’d probably have to drop in and find a cheaper version that works just as well.

If you’re interested in more detail of Legal & General’s findings, you can see the research results in their infographic

What luxuries would you give up if needed?  Do you worry about not having enough back up savings?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, all words and opinions are my own.

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  1. This is a topic I worry about. My husband and I are working on building up a savings, but if we had no source of income, we would be in trouble quickly. I learned something eye opening recently, you can’t be stressed with no money or stressed with money, but you can also not be stressed in both situations as well. Changing my mindset didn’t make me rich overnight, but as silly as it sounds, it has helped me!

    1. Hmm, not sure about that says, because some people do get stressed with money although I suppose it’s a different type of stress to what those without would worry about.

      I think if you’re aware of the potential issues, and live within your means or do work on saving, you’re in a much better place than others who have no awareness whatsoever, or who’re in denial. Good luck with your saving.

      Thanks for commenting Ashley

  2. I do worry about things like this and suspect we could do with more of a buffer than we currently have. I got made redundant unexpectedly a few years ago when the company I worked for went into liquidation shortly before I found out I was expecting Jessica. I went self-employed for a few months and while the sudden loss in income did mean that we struggle, it also helped ease the transition into my becoming a full time stay-at-home mum as we had been forced to adjust to a much smaller income earlier.

    1. Sounds like it was an unfortunate but helpful way in to how you guys currently manage your income. It is horrifying the amount of redundancy that went on.

  3. Like you, I am very aware of my money. But due to ill health (for both myself and my husband) we have ended up in debt. I have huge amounts of guilt about this, but as my Cat sessions taught me, the fact we are not in more debt is thanks to my very careful budgeting. On top of my husband missing a lot of work through ill health last year, I was made redundant in February. We’re on a tighter budget than ever. But we’re doing okay. My grocery shop for fresh fruit and veg to last a week (lunches and dinner) cost us a mere £32 this week, as I am using store cupboard stock to bulk it all out. Our Sunday dinner cost £3.25 and was full of vegetables. I’m learning to shop and cook even more wisely than before…

    I rarely buy clothes, and if I do it is often off EBay or charity shops. A few years back we cancelled cable TV and our TV licence and watch Netflix instead (much cheaper option!) I also walk everywhere (but we do live in town so that’s okay). It is exhausting walking an hour’s round trip to collect O from nursery 3 days a week, even more so pushing a heavy 3 year old in a pushchair just so that I can hang the grocery shopping off the handles, but we do it to save money!

    I think about all the little luxuries that we consider necessities nowadays and realise that even with tight budgeting we still have our phones and a warm house etc and that makes me feel so lucky. So many others don’t have anywhere near as much as we have…

    1. Sounds like you’ve managed it really well. I need to go through everything in our larder and freezer to get rid. Reckon we’d be able to eat for 2 months (although have some very odd combos that I’m sure the OH would refuse).

      It’s definitely about being willing to readjust and a lot of planning, and that’s what a lot of people don’t seem to necessarily be able to do.

  4. Hubby and I got into quite a lot of debt in our journey to own houses and things but got to be debt free a couple of years ago. In paying off the debt we learnt to live on so little and that came in handy when I was on maternity leave. Now that I’m back at work we have relaxed a little and it’s nice to not worry about money but have the knowledge to be able to cut back if we need to x

    1. Definitely a learning curve isn’t it. I remember on mat leave saying to the OH I wouldn’t buy his Guinness anymore, and buying chicken thighs instead of breast. He kicked off (and I’m not keen on thighs anyway). He’s really picky for good quality stuff, although meat is usually from the butchers anyway. But I think if we had to cut down our spending he would struggle more than me.

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