My Frugal Life: Starting Over

My frugal life began when my peaceful existence received a sharp jolt. I'd been living in America with my husband where we had a stillborn child, our beloved daughter Kitty, and our marriage broke up. I returned to England with no job, very little money and nowhere to live.

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I have now settled myself in a tiny cottage on the edge of Oxford, in the next village to my sister and nephew. I pay a small rent and take writing jobs to keep me going (in my former life I was a journalist); I am writing a book on domestic service and try to give the whole morning to working on it.

It is nearly a year now since I left New York and I can now think my life there must have been a deep slumber without the disciplines of saving money, buying things only because I really need them, enjoying small treats. I used to roam the streets, sipping enormous Starbucks' coffees that I threw away half-finished - nowadays, I cycle through the country lanes enjoying the smell of spring blossoms; the sight of cowslips in a ditch or my laundry billowing on the line in an April breeze gives me more pleasure than I could ever have imagined.

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Some days I spend no money at all and never give shopping a thought. I've learned to be disciplined about electricity and gas; I shop online (in bulk) or in the village shop for what I really need and I think carefully about what that is. I don't have a car (occasionally I borrow my mother's in emergencies) but don't miss it - I've worked out how to use the buses.

When friends come to see me they bring a bottle of wine and I cook a stew from cheap cuts from the farm shop in the village. I don't see people much so the pleasure of conversation is more intense. What I have learned I am profoundly grateful for: that I can be alone; that the small experiences of everyday life can be as rewarding as the big events; that there is nothing to match the pleasure that comes from working hard for something; and that sometimes the tragedies of our life can lead to a rebirth.

By Lucy from England

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May 5, 20101 found this helpful

Lucy, your story is beautiful and bittersweet. May God Bless you, he seems to have. You have taken something terribly sad and used it to help you grow and appreciate what is truly important. I don't believe God makes theses things happen to teach us,but I do believe when bad things happens he helps you to find something good,whether it be a personal growth/strength, profession,or a need to help others in similar situations. Temember "he causes all things to work together for good to those that love him and are called according to his purpose"(severe paraphrasing here as I don't have the scripture right in front of me). May you always find happiness at whatever point you are on in your journey!

Amy, Rochester NY

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March 22, 20161 found this helpful

Oh my, Lucy...

What a very true to life journey you have traveled. You have inspired me greatly. I read it, and read it again. My eyes filled with sad but happy tears that you have made this journey on your own. You are one empowered woman. You must pat yourself on the shoulder, you deserve it. Some women just let themselves fall apart and fall downhill. You took charge of your situation and made it work for "You." I hope you look at yourself and are proud to say, "I did this for *Me*. You are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing your story with us. This took courage. And you know what courage and strength is.. Best of luck my dear friend....I now feel I can talk about my situation...watch for my story, please?

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May 8, 20100 found this helpful

Lucy, I love your story and your writing. It's obvious you know how to write. So lucky for you, that you have a rare talent and a new life that you love. White light to you.

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May 9, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you for your story which is very sad but comforting to read.

Remember to let us all know when your book is published.

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May 11, 20101 found this helpful

Congratulations on starting over! You really did take the bull by the horns and did an about-face! You were so lucky - you knew what you wanted, went for it and attained it - pure happiness! Once again, congratulations and all the best to you in your new "happy" life!

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May 22, 20100 found this helpful

Lucy, I am hooked! You are a very prolific writer! I want to say KUDOS for your honest portrait of a woman who has to face reality - your sense of honesty shows depth of character, something we can relate to! Keep on writing!

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May 23, 20100 found this helpful

Hi Lucy, I also loved your story, coming from an entirely opposite perspective. I am originally from a very small city in South America, where we ate out only on special occasions and did not even dream of a washing machine. I live in Chicago now, and I try to honor those memories day to day, by making my own coffee and cooking for the family, but it was a huge change. I know what you mean.

I now have a wonderful husband and a one year old girl and I could not conceive life without them.

Just be true to yourself and you'll be happy. Wherever that is!

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September 30, 20100 found this helpful

It is obvious you know how to write, and I would love to read your book. I love anything British and having visited there can picture your bike ride. I am so sorry you have had to live through some real rough times. I pray for only good tomorrows.

Would love to correspond with you.

jean in Ohio

rustycrystal@aol.com

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May 17, 20141 found this helpful

I was so touched by your story. In my younger years I was never frugal. I spent money like I was a millionaire. Today I am older single for 35 years, cancer survivor and many little health challenges. Working 2 part time jobs. and keeping it together. I so enjoy all the frugal stories and have fun finding a way to get what I need and not spend a lot of money. That is more fun than spending all the money did in the past years for things I did not need. Today I get what I need only.

EMH NJ

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August 25, 20140 found this helpful

Bravo. Lovely story.

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