How To Be Inspired (And Frugal)

January 27, 2014
Peppa Pig Phone

8219c07281c511e39a07124e3f4435e2_8 The internet has brought a lot of good things my way since I bought my first computer 13 years ago. Pinterest, a career, many dates, an online shopping habit. I have a lot to thank Tim Berners-Lee (and ASOS) for.

But what I’m most thankful for – the thing that has brought me the most happiness and inspiration – are the friendships I’ve made, the people I would never have met had the internet never been invented. I know there are plenty of people who don’t quite understand what a tight community this one of bloggers and Twitter users is but it really is something quite remarkable.

In the old days, when my blogging was limited to LiveJournal, Greymatter and some clunky blog I’d coded myself, I was a little bit ashamed of these relationships. Back then it really wasn’t the done thing to make friends online, I know my mum thought that my internet pals were actually 60 year old men in string vests called Keith and Rod talking to me from Dagenham. Happily for me the early-days internet people were actually lovelies like Mia, Kris, Charlotte, Ellie, Ruth (you will forever have a tape avatar in my head) and Helen, people I still count as friends today – some in real life even.  Take that, Rod and Keith.

Fast forward to the arrival of Twitter and even more friends made in 140 characters or less. I’m sure she won’t mind me saying it but I met one of my close friends Bryony this way (she’s not a hugger but I got her to hug me. That counts as close friend, OK B?), along with so many other brilliant women (alright, and a couple of boys… HI JAMES!). If you’re looking for strong, intelligent, interesting people to follow on Twitter I’d definitely recommend these lovely people… Neva, Charlotte, Steph, another Charlotte, Lizzi, Maria, Emma. And me too, of course.

As motivating as I find it to read about Kim Kardashian’s day-to-day shopping escapades with baby Compass (sorry, baby North West) in the Daily Mail it’s these lesser-known women who inspire me every single day. Not just in work but in my parenting, my cooking, my fitness (Emma has lost twelve stone and is training for a marathon, the woman is incredible)  in the way I live my life and try to be the best person I can be. Ladies (and gents), you are all awesome. And if you’re not on Twitter I would recommend you get on there pretty quick so you don’t spend one more moment missing our conversations. We use ‘LOL’ minimally, I promise.

I feel a little bit like I’m waffling here, let’s get to the point, shall we? Yes, let’s.

One inspiring woman I met on Twitter but don’t chat to nearly enough is Hattie Garlick. Ex-Times Journalist and mum to Johnny and Frida, Hattie has spent the last 12 months parenting without spending any money and recording her experience in her blog Free Our Kids. It’s an adventure I’ve avidly followed though I have to admit I haven’t tried to replicate – I’m not sure if it’s out of laziness or business but the last year has been a whirlwind and budgeting on things I buy the children hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind.

But watching this video that Hattie made with LV following their Cost of a Child report 2014 I felt totally inspired. According to LV’s research the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has exceeded £225,000, a huge amount of money and apparently single parents spend a massive 54% of their pay on their kids – thanks for that Elfie and Hux! Thriftiness is something I want to try much harder at in the coming months: we live fairly comfortably but some months my budget is tight and I know I spend money when I could be saving. This is money I could be putting towards bills, holidays or days out and saving as much as it as possible should be a priority. Take a look at what Hattie has to say:

I was lucky enough to share a room with Hattie a couple of years ago at a Mother’s Meeting weekend away and can confirm she’s as inspiring in real life as on film (and a total lady too, we shared a bed and she didn’t even try to spoon me). Plus she has amazingly shiny hair.

If you have any good money saving tips or resources I’d love to hear about them; I love A Thrifty Mrs, The Frugality and I’ve recently started a Pinterest board on this theme.


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  • Reply Mummy Barrow January 27, 2014 at 11:03 am

    WOAH WOAH WOAH to so much of this. TWELVE STONE?!!!!!!! Holy bloody schmoly that is one awesome woman.

    And not spending any money?! How is that possible?! AND shiny hair?! AND NO SPOONING?!!! Surely this is not possible.

    • Reply alice January 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      I know, right? I know some supernatural people, and allll because of Twitter. God bless Twitter. (apart from now, I think it’s down).

  • Reply Stacey Corrin January 27, 2014 at 11:08 am

    What an inspiration and I have to agree that some wonderful and amazing friendships can be made online.

    In terms of money and raising children, I think so much of our parenting is based on other peoples expectations, or our own expectations on how we should parent. I have a friend who refuses to buy anything second hand, another who fills their living room with gifts on birthdays and christmas and we’re all guilty of spending more money on toys than we need. I mean how much of it do our children honestly play with religiously? Yet we feel guilty if we don’t rise to the occasion so to speak.

    Advertising has a lot to answer for, but it would be nice if we could learn to ignore some of that fluff now and then, without feeling like an epic fail. :)

    • Reply alice January 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      I think you’re right: a lot of parenting is expectation, I know I felt that at Christmas I must have a suitably large pile of presents in the Facebook picture of my festive decorations. It’s silly to feel that way and I’m going to work hard on not feeling so shallow next year!

      We’ve recently got Nick Jnr and while it’s amazing from a Peppa Pig perspective the ads are KILLING me ;) x

  • Reply Cakesphotoslife (Angie) January 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

    WoW, spending no money how awesome is that and online friends are the best ones I think these days, yes some are shallow and not what they seem but the most its wonderful x

    • Reply alice January 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      I agree, 90% wonderful! x

  • Reply Jennifer January 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    What a lovely post, and a very inspiring lady. My children are still little, so there isn’t too much pressure on them having the latest toys and gadgets at the moment, but I know that will change. It’s very easy to spoil children with toys, I need to remember sometimes that it is me that they want to play with, not lots of toys.

    • Reply alice January 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Quite right – we’re starting school this September and I’m anticipating a lot more interesting in what other people have.

  • Reply Jenny January 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    What a lovely post – I love reading about online friendships that have lasted the test of time. The not spending any money thing is amazing too – but something I really struggle with – the requirement from school alone in terms of shoes, plimsolls, trainers, football boots, coach fares etc makes a big dent in our pockets and without them the children would miss out. It’s a hard balance…

    • Reply alice January 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Agh, E’s starting school in September, I’m not looking forward to the new financial requirements!

  • Reply Mum of One January 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Blogging has opened up so many new friendships for me and it took a while for my folks to get it too. I think they thought everyone on the internet was a little unhinged. I do try not to spoil my kids with toys but spending no money on them? I couldn’t do to.

  • Reply Emma Kirsten January 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Most lunchtimes I sit down with a coffee to look at my favourite blogs. Well today the coffee has been spat on the monitor. Thank you, lovely lovely Alice for the mention :).

    Inspiration is funny thing that, if you’re lucky, hits you right between the eyes sometimes. You are an amazing, inspiring woman – 12 stone and a bit of running is nothing on what you’re doing raising your beautiful children – you’re a major inspiration Alice J-T and someone I am very proud to call a friend. Online or otherwise ;)

    Frugality? Not my strong point…

  • Reply Donna @ Little Lilypad Co January 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Until I found an amazing blogging community, I think I was as guilty for thinking everyone online wasn’t what they seemed. The internet has opened so many doors and chances to make new friends and opportunities.

    I look forward to reading more about your frugal money saving ideas and tips.

  • Reply Sonya Cisco January 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I lost a friend last week. He was only 29, and we were all shocked and saddened by his passing. But you know what? I never even met him. I knew him only online, he lived in Australia and we met through our mutual love of a band, and chatted regularly for 6 years. The internet used to be painted as a dark and scary place, which of course it can be, but it also a source of great inspiration as your post shows, as well as a place to find friendship and support.

  • Reply Steph (@imcountingufoz) January 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks for the mention, bb, awesome post! I totally cherish my online buddies, some of them are definitely friends for life.

    No money spent on the kids really is frugal, and I thought I was good finding Elliot’s micro scooter in a charity shop and paying the grand total of £2.50 for it, but Hattie knocks the socks off that!

    Just so you know, I’m not as much of a lady, so defo expect some spooning when I visit ;D

  • Reply Anna January 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Me and OH were just discussing this last night, because I only started my blog a few months ago, but already I feel like it has inspired me to try loads of new things. I’d say I really struggled with early motherhood, and blogs like yours really helped me to feel I wasn’t alone. I also love that the bloggers I follow are normal people doing cool stuff – far more inspirational than celebs or so-called telly experts. Blogging motivates me to get out of the house, to pick up my camera (or iPhone ha!) and it also acts like a magnifying glass through which I can see all the great things in my life to be thankful for (though not at all vom-inducing, as there are those days when my daughter hasn’t slept…UGH. There is no tint rosey enough to perk that dark dog up. Except coffee, am I right?)

    As for being frugal – I am always trying to eek out a bit more milage from those pennies. I know it’s an oldie, but I have found meal planning (with the fridge door open so I can see what needs using up), and doing my main shop at Aldi these days (LOVE the Aldi super 6 – 49p for a butternut squash? Why thank you!) For hardcore thrifty living I follow and agirlcalledjack, but I’m sure you are already hooked up with that info!

  • Reply Nick @ Bakingbeardy January 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Really useful right now when so many parents are suffering!

  • Reply Ali at January 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    what a lovely post, the highlight of my day :)

  • Reply Mammasaurus January 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Online friends becoming real-life friends is just the bestest thing. Now I neeeeed to know the secret of the shiny hair!

  • Reply maggy, red ted art January 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Wow, I am so impressed!

  • Reply Hattie January 27, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Guys I hate to spoil the magic but it’s not shiny – it’s greasy! I honestly had to take a special trip to Boots the day before filming to buy a mascara and eye liner – that’s how long it’s been since I looked remotely like a grown up lady and yesterday I found an actual dreadlock behind one ear. Oh, and the baby that looks so sweet tempered in the video? Screaming blue murder in almost every other shot. The amount of cutting, editing and generally magickery they had to do to make us look vaguely functioning and human must be unreal. Those guys deserve a medal or three. Xxx

  • Reply Boo Roo and Tigger Too January 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I feel we are more open with our online friends, whether this is because they can’t ‘see’ us or whether we feel they are more likely to offer an objective viewpoint on the matter at hand

  • Reply lauranne January 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    heading over there now to check out her blog. And your right, it’s amazing what you get from the blogging community!

  • Reply Katie Albury January 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Wow…fab post! Free our Kids video was really interesting…Hattie sounds adorable, a genuinely good hearted person. Amazing what people can do when they really put their mind to something so positive.

    Katie x

  • Reply Cass@frugalfamily January 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Lovely post ;-)

    I have some online friends that have become very good friends in real life – more so than some people I’ve know all my life x

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