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witterings on OS life

edited 8 December 2009 at 10:46PM in Old Style MoneySaving
89 replies 17.2K views
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  • rosiebenrosieben Forumite
    5K posts
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    For every family I know that live a simpler life, I could point to a dozen who are working their tails off just to finance their designer must-have's and buy the latest gadgets. And, sadly, I think tv is a child minder in many households and only gets switched off at bedtime!

    I've lived in a city area and had my kids been younger they would not have gone outside the door on their own, for more reasons than traffic hazards; luckily we lived in the country when they were growing up and they had quite a bit of freedom, my son especially who was off fishing, shooting and poaching :o as soon as he could find his own way around the woods! We often turned off the tv and played board games and cards at home, but a shocking number of their friends had never done either so its by no means universal.

    Some of us are better are resisting the pressure from the media than others :D I find most ads totally ridiculous but I get mad at the boy who sneezes into his hand and then wipes it on the staircase - surely easier and cheaper to teach your child basic manners, rather than buy yet more chemicals???? however, I digress ..... :p

    ... to answer your original question, mardatha, I think mostly we've swapped physical work for mental and financial pressure! not sure I'd like to go back to coal fires, they are hard work and dirty, but I'm enjoying other aspects of a simpler and slower life now I've retired from the rat race. ;)
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string! :D

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
  • Well I've finished lunch but not cleared away ;)
    Penny has really said most of what I wanted to.

    I'm in my 30's with two small children. I stay at home and my H earns the money. When I got pregnant we decided I'd adopt a stay at home mum role. I gave up a good job as a manager and of course we halved our income.

    The kids don't watch TV (only when I need to distract them for 15 mins with Cbeebies!) My H and I don't watch TV in the evenings and if we do we watch what we want then turn it off.

    We have a homecooked meal eaten all together at the table every lunch time - it's our main meal and H and kids come back home for it then return to work and school for the afternoon.

    We have one TV one laptop, no exotic holidays, no gadgets, no designer clothes etc etc.

    I felt a bit upset (maybe a bit strong but there you go ) by the OP as the kind of life you described isn't the sort that everyone has - we're all different and all make our own choices - it just seemed a bit sweeping to tar all with the same brush ... oh and I'm not an exception, about 50% of my mum friends stay home although a few are now taking PT jobs now the kids are at school. It's a persnal choice.

    I'm sure you had a great childhood (I did in 70's 80's) but maybe life wasn't such a bed of roses for your mum (as I'm sure it wasn't for my mum and certainly isn't for me now I'm a mum!) x Not wording that right but I'm glad we don't live in the 50's anymore and that women can make their own decisions and if they want their own money x

    Thanks for the interesting post

    Norman
    Bon App's Scraps!
    :)
    MFb40 # 13
  • ppollyppolly Forumite
    164 posts
    Its a difficult balance to maintain. My DH works full-time and I work part-time from home so I can be there to drop off and pick up my daughter at school -but we are lucky enough to have a tiny house with one car and a tiny mortgage. We save up for anything we need - for example we are very excited to be going to Paris self-catering next year for a week -the first time abroad in 7 years!
    We waited for the digital switchover rather than subscribe to anything (freeview didn't work in our house) so my DD has only just discovered adverts.
    Children will mainly get their values from their parents -or possibly completely rebel against those values and go to the other extreme.:o
    I think the key is to be very aware of choices made -simply because there is so much choice -far more than in the 50s. To decide on your values first, rather than blindly buying in to whatever is offered.
    I for one am very grateful for central heating, well-made thoughtful TV programmes, the internet and microwave ovens!
  • angukanguk Forumite
    3.4K posts
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    I agree with rosieben, yes here on the old-style board there are many who work yet still home-cook, who don't have multiple tvs, games systems & computers, designer gear, the must-have disinfectant wipes etc but in my experience we are in the minority.

    In my circle of family, friends & acquaintances I'm the only one who cooks every day, who doesn't buy ready meals and rarely has takeaways. I'm also the only one who still has ye olde style telly instead of a flat screen hd ready plasma thingamybob, and we don't have Sky.

    Funnily enough I'm also one of the few who has stayed at home since my children were born. Of the couples I know most both work, children are put into nursery or with child-minders from a young age, take-aways & ready-meals are bought and weekends are spent shopping. There seems to be precious little "family" time with the kids but not to worry they have designer gear and all the latest laptops & games systems just like their friends.

    The older I get the more I think that people in general have become more greedy, think they're entitled to have and rely on credit to get what they want. Sadly I think old stylers are in the minority.

    That said I don't look back on the old days with rose-tinted spectacles, I like my automatic washer and other time and energy saving appliances. I also wouldn't like to go back to the days of freezing every morning dashing for the coal fire in the living room!
    Dum Spiro Spero
  • mardathamardatha Forumite
    15.6K posts
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    :D oh nonono I am not saying modern life is wrong and OS life is right. Not at all! I was trying to say that sometimes we think we have it all and are so smart - when all the time we are just going round in circles..
    My kids grew up first in a high rise flat and then we moved deep into the country 30 years ago. I went to work when the youngest hit high school, I did nightshift because I got more time at home (plus I canny get up in the morning :D).
    So I have experienced different lifestyles, and this was me just musing on it. I watch my daughter and the DIL running around like mad & trying to do ten things in ten minutes - and I think life is too bl**dy short for this constant zonking around.
    Ok so a coal fire means work, home cooking means work. But if you have all day to do it in, then the hassle is gone. I had a coal fire since my youngest was 4 and its the love of my life. You cant sit by a storage heater and gaze into it and dream ! :D
  • do we really think OSers / simpler lifers are in the minority?

    Maybe we're just not as 'obvious' as our flashy-gadget loving cousins?

    I think there are lots of low-octane peeps out there :j
    Bon App's Scraps!
    :)
    MFb40 # 13
  • candygirlcandygirl Forumite
    29K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
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    mardatha wrote: »
    :D oh nonono I am not saying modern life is wrong and OS life is right. Not at all! I was trying to say that sometimes we think we have it all and are so smart - when all the time we are just going round in circles..
    My kids grew up first in a high rise flat and then we moved deep into the country 30 years ago. I went to work when the youngest hit high school, I did nightshift because I got more time at home (plus I canny get up in the morning :D).
    So I have experienced different lifestyles, and this was me just musing on it. I watch my daughter and the DIL running around like mad & trying to do ten things in ten minutes - and I think life is too bl**dy short for this constant zonking around.
    Ok so a coal fire means work, home cooking means work. But if you have all day to do it in, then the hassle is gone. I had a coal fire since my youngest was 4 and its the love of my life. You cant sit by a storage heater and gaze into it and dream ! :D

    I can:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::o:o:oonly joking x:D
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004):D:D:D
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
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    10,000 Posts I've been Money Tipped!
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    As a child that was brought up during the late 1940s-50s My Mum never went out to work as my Dad would have been horrified and felt that he wasn't providing for her and the family.Not many women did work outside the home, but that doesn't mean that to be a SAHM was easy.She spent long hours cooking,cleaning ,baking,sewing,knitting and worst of all queueing for stuff as most food was rationed.It was often a case if there was a queue she joined it :rotfl:. She brought three children up on what today would seem to be very low housekeeping, but she was a brilliant manager,far better than me,although a lot of her frugal ways have rubbed off.
    I came home from school at lunchtime and it was a mile and a half walk each way across Blackheath in all weathers.No buses ran so it was 'Shank's Pony' .In the winter time I dallied on the way home to slide on the frozen ponds, and promptly got a thick ear for coming, not only late home, but often wet, as the ponds,although not deep, often broke and my shoes got soaked. They were removed in stuffed with paper and put to dry near the kitchen range for wearing the next day.Kids didn't often have more than their school shoes and maybe a pair of slippers, and one pair of 'Sunday best for church' often by Thursday it was hard-up supper at 6.00.p.m. after listening to Childrens Hour on the wireless.No t.v. or computers, and entertainment was via the wireless, reading or cards & board games. Crisps were a treat that were bought, if at all, on a Saturday.Housewives fed their families what they cooked themselves from their cupboards.My Mum never owned a washing machine,tumble dryer, microwave,fridge or freezer so food was bought as required. She never even had an electric iron until the mid 1950s as she ironed on an old sheet laid on top of a blanket on the kitchen table with her flat irons off the kitchen range.She was very adept at at it as well, and never burnt anything as she had it down to a fine art testing the heat with a ladylike spit on the bottom to make sure it wouldn't burn. She did own a mangle that I had to help with after school by turning for her.All her washing was done in the sink with a scrubbing board, and then later with a tub in the scullery that was heated up from underneath and boiled her whites to perfection. She donkey-stoned the front doorstep evey morning and God help any child who stepped on it with mucky shoes. Her nets were washed frequently, and she hated it if they got mucky as her ideas of cleanliness were very strict. Our house smelt of lavender polish and fresh air,no electic air fresheners she opened the windows to air our the house first thing in the morning .Her housework was done on various days of the week Monday was always washday, Tuesday ironing,Wednesday cleaned the house from top to bottom,Thursday baking Friday shopping for the weekend joint,Saturday gardening,Sunday church, then home to cook the Sunday lunch.Everyday she also shopped for food and had little spare time.I never saw her sit still and do nothing,she was always sewing or knitting or cooking. Looking after her family was her main aim in life, and to her a full time job.Todays Mums have to juggle jobs, kids,husbands and also try to have a bit of time for themselves.Its just a different life today than it was 50 years ago. Housework is easier as there are machines to help.Women don't have as many children as they did then so they have more freedom to choose what they wish to do with their lives.
    I never felt deprived that I never had the things that todays kids take for granted as what you never have you never miss and I think I had quite a happy childhood in retrospect.Although I always longed for some black shiny wellies but Mum would never let me have them as she associated them with road workmen for some reason:D
    I often wonder what she would have made of todays modern families .Last night my son-in-law arrived home wih a 'real 'Christmas tree for the family ,I must admit I was shocked at the price as our one as a child was usually about 5 shillings, he paid £75 for it .I think he's barking but if he can afford it fair enough.We made all the decorations with paper chains and paper to make chinese lanterns he bought about 20 quids worth from the shop where he bought his tree.Very nice but not the anticipation that I had as a child when my Mum a week before Christmas would buy 4 or 5 packets from Woolworths at 3d a packet, and my brothers and I would spend the evening making them to hang up
    I have lots of good memories of those days, but I can also remember how cold it was in the winter, and how you would run across the linoed floor to jump into bed,no wall to wall fitted carpets either in the bedrooms.The yellow fogs that chocked your lungs and how illness was dreaded in most families as Drs. were an expence, no NHS before 1948.
    I think I am happy that I lived through those austere days as it makes one appreciate how easy life is in comparison today
  • Thank you JackieO :kisses3: That's a great post

    Norman x
    Bon App's Scraps!
    :)
    MFb40 # 13
  • edited 3 December 2009 at 2:37PM
    valk_scotvalk_scot Forumite
    5.3K posts
    edited 3 December 2009 at 2:37PM
    I'm supposed to heat the bedrooms? I never knew that, lol. I buy them thick duvets and knit them wooly socks and jumpers instead. Plus insullated the house to within an inch of its life, of course. But that's different.

    I think I'm a mixture. I gave up a good job and a fat salary when we had kids and we've lived on one income ever since. I'm a good cook, I sew, reuse rather than buy new, love charity shops and jumble sales, have an allotment. I don't need to pay for childcare because I'm not working and i've got time to chase bargains and do all the above. We don't take fancy holidays either...we camp. We don't buy fancy clothes or go with the must have designer culture.

    On the modern side though we've got one PC per person, plus one extra for the cats if they feel so inclined. The kids have a telly and DVD player in each of their rooms. We have a PS2, a Wii (won it in a raffle) and DS funded his own XboX this year. We have two cars because Hubby needs his 18 hours a day and the kids do sports clubs, orchestra, Cubs, Scouts and I need to run the taxi for all this! We have central heating (in all the main rooms) plus washing machine and tumble drier, microwave and two freezers. And we go on holiday for 6 weeks or so per year, usually to France. Yes, camping is just as cheap to do abroad!

    I think I've got the best of both worlds, really. I live an old fashioned life with old fashioned family values and modern conveniences. I remember my mum clearing and setting fires, using a twin tub, having to go to the shops every day, no proper freezer, no phone and even baths in a tin bath in front of the fire. Bah humbug to that! She never seemed to have much time to play with me and she was always knackered from the sheer hard work of all the chores. You think my mum wouldn't have liked a car and a washing machine and a proper bathroom with hot water at the flick of a switch????????? Or detergent that actually worked rather than have to scrub clothes by hand? Our first house still had a wash house at the bottom of the communal garden, though it was obsolete by then. We did still have an outside loo and a tin bath.

    It's like all things...there's a balance. Yes, I've got friends that work their butts off at two jobs just to buy a new car or suite or fancy clothes or gadget or spend two weeks somewhere really fancy, and who never see their families otherwise. We're poorer and certainly less flashy but we've got all we need and most of what we want, plus we've got the time to do a lot of what we want to do. How much better can it get?
    Val.
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