Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Frugality and FI is the gift that keeps on giving.

Pea soup in a bowl.
Not my soup – mine’s still cooking!

There’s a rumour that’s been circulating for a while now that Frogdancer Jones – that’s me – is frugal. Or maybe a tightarse… take your pick. I was told about a conversation that happened in the staff room at work where people were describing a continuum of spending. Apparently, I was on the thriftiest end, while the others spaced themselves along the rest of the line up to the biggest spender.

But hey, I like being frugal. I like the challenges of making material things last longer, enabling my money to go a little further and only shelling out for things I HAVE to have and things I WANT to have. Middle of the road ‘meh’ stuff doesn’t cut it in this household.

Being frugal means that I can cut down unnecessary spending, freeing up my cash for fun things. You know, things we’ve all wanted to buy… a mini dachshund puppy, a trip to North Korea, 6 more apple trees… Things that are by far more important to me than designer handbags and the like.

It’s fun for me to save dried peas from the garden and turn them into soup, using my slow cooker that I’ve had for over 20 years. It makes me smile to look down at my slippered feet and see the ‘Welcome to Nightvale’ patches. My ‘Earn back my council rates’ challenge costs me nothing, but because of it I’ve read 86 books so far this year for free. If you think getting lost in a good book doesn’t add to your quality of life, then I have news for you!

I’m a big fan of finding experiences and activities that entertain and inspire you without having to necessarily cost a whole lot. This automatically leaves money that you can put towards something else.

Being frugal doesn’t mean that you never lash out on expensive items.

Which is why I’m really excited about my latest purchase.

Big box with Poppy ( a cavalier) sniffing it.

This is a gift for David27 and Izzy. It’s an engagement + wedding gift because it’d be an extraordinarily generous engagement gift and I’m not that rich! It was delivered here in the middle of lockdown #5 so it’ll be a while until I can drive over there with it to give it to them.

It’s a product that I hold very dear to my heart. I have 2 of them and I can’t possibly do without them. Just this morning I used one to make bread dough, pizza dough and gratin sauce for cauliflower cheese for lunch. We now have 8 bread rolls and 4 balls of pizza dough in the freezer for literally mere cents. And absolutely no artificial ingredients. Izzy and David27 both have health issues and she’s also lactose intolerant, so this will be perfect for them to eat cleanly and with fresh ingredients, while being able to produce gourmet meals. They’re both foodies.

I’m so excited to be able to provide this for them.

Just to make it fair for the rest of the boys – because 2 have already bought their own thermomixes, while Evan24’s housemate owns one – I’ve decided to give a little less towards the wedding. I’ve always thought that I’d give 5K per boy per FIRST wedding – (any subsequent weddings and they’re on their own!!) – so I’ll give 4K towards this one.

Come to think of it, I also gave them the diamond for Izzy’s engagement ring. There are definite advantages to being the first cab off the rank when weddings come along! This is a product of the practical thinking that frugality brings. I had a very good quality diamond in a ring sitting in the jewellery box, back from when I was in my twenties. I’m never going to wear it again. It makes no sense for it to sit there for decades when Izzy could have it put into a setting she loves and then get to enjoy looking at it every day.

By doing this, I release something that was useless to me and David27 gets to put the money that he would’ve spent on a diamond towards the wedding. Sounds like a win/win to me!

Being frugal and FI is almost like a superpower. When I think back to the days when the boys were small, when I could barely afford to keep a roof over their heads, I feel so very lucky to be able to buy a gift like this now. Back then, I would never have believed it would ever be possible.

All I have to do now is wait for this current lockdown to be over. The box can sit in the hallway, just like the boxes of my customers used to do when I sold thermomixes as a second job. Once we’re free to drive further than 5 km from our homes, I’ll look forward to driving over to Izzy’s parents’ place to deliver it, just as I used to do back in the day for my customers. It’ll be fun.

But if you know them in real life.. sssshhhh!

Don’t spoil the surprise!


  1. Toni

    Having recently ‘FIRE’d’ in our early 50’s I’m loving reading your posts. Not sure if it’s in the realms of what you’d normally post about but I’d love to hear more about freezing pizza dough, I always end up with 3x what I need for the 2 of us, at what stage do you freeze it?

    • FrogdancerJones

      Ok. The next Frugal Friday post is yours!

  2. Kathy Aylward

    Such a wonderful gift and the boys have grown up with you as a role model making and baking at home. I have a TM31 I bought in August 2011 and the kids then [7 and 5] used it to make bread, lemonade etc. they are so easy to use. Ours is still going strong and before I went to a friends demo I had never heard of them and when my friend told me the price I said “what crazy person would spend that on one gadget” – well enter the demo and the home made custard, beetroot, apple, coriander salad made and I was hooked. Given I was making things from scratch this was a perfect extension. We use ours all the time. Yesterday I milled some rice to make rice flour as I was making sourdough and using the rice flour to sprinkle onto the banneton. What a great engagement/wedding gift.

    • FrogdancerJones

      My God. Are we the same person???
      I bought mine in 2012… same ideas going in. What swayed me was the veggie stock paste – so much flavour with absolutely no chemicals and preservatives. Most people have a different tipping point… mine was the humble stock paste.
      It was a HUGE decision at the time but I’ve never since regretted it.

  3. Mandy

    Just purchased Derek the TM6. According to a friend it’s compulsory to name after a hot celebrity so mine is named after Derek on Criminal Minds (his real name is Shemar but that’s a silly name for an appliance ?). I’ve wanted one for many years but what swayed me was the Fruity Dream. After tasting that there was simply no going back.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I haven’t made fruity dream in ages. Hmmm… pretty sure we have some blueberries in the freezer…

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