Thrifty Living: Can you imagine me camping? No, it's Tuscany or bust
Saturday 08 April 2006
So, the ubiquitous designer and trend-spotter Wayne Hemingway has told us that thrift is preferable to ostentation these days. He cites the equally ubiquitous Cath Kidston (she of the £65 bread bin) as evidence. Kidston has designed a tent in which everyone can go trendily camping. Very beautiful it is too, sprigged with flowers and available from Millets.
Well, I don't want to go camping this summer, I tell Mr Millard. I feel like stamping my foot and shouting: "I WANT TO GO TO TUSCANY!" I want heat, and proper tomatoes, and to stay in a villa with a pool. I'm happy to slum it, a bit. I'll do a bit of self-catering. But I do not want to sleep on a camp bed and eat off plastic plates. I do not want to fight with a Camping Gaz burner, or cut my finger on a tin of baked beans. I particularly do not wish to go camping in England on some ghastly wet campsite, with a communal toilet "block", even though I know this is the sensible option. And living within your means is all about being sensible, and planning ahead. We know this now.
My friend, Thrift Queen Laura, has triumphed over the whole holiday issue by buying her own wood in which to go camping. "What?" I shout at her. "Yes, well, I was given some money and we thought that rather than put it down for a deposit on a cottage in Southwold, which would be far too expensive, why not buy a wood?" she says. "So now we can go camping whenever we like." The wood is about three acres in area, in Kent. There's no running water and no buildings whatsoever, nor are any allowed, but there are trees and birds and, er, insect wildlife.
"What about going to the loo?" Loos - the unavailability of them - are my personal camping phobia. "Well, you go outdoors," says Laura equably. "It's amazing; we drive down and set up the tent, and the next morning we wake up in our own wood! And spend all day there. Just think about it."
I think about it, for about one second. Then I think how much nicer it would be to wake up somewhere like Forte Village in Sardinia where the service is so good that people come and lick the sleep out of your eyes every morning. Sadly, Forte Village costs thousands a week, so clearly the camping option is nearer the Millard reality.
Laura advises me to visit Tightwad Central, which has become her lifestyle guide. This American website (www.tightwad.com) does not look like something Wayne Hemingway would visit. Or Cath Kidston. Advertising itself as a site "dedicated to empowering people via personal economics", it is full of astonishing advice, like how to make a lamp out of a drink can, a tablespoon of corn oil and an old sock. "Perfect for camping," the site says. Another tip is to use liners from cereal packets as greaseproof paper for all that home baking we thrifty people do.
Then the site goes a bit bonkers. One idea is to pay tips in "unusual currency", which will apparently "save you money, and better motivate workers". It suggests $2 bills, which are out of circulation in the US but still legal tender. I suppose Scottish pound notes would do. But can anyone seriously imagine pulling that off? Just think: "Ah, thank you, garçon! This is for you," you say, putting a rustling bunch of one-ers into the hand of your hapless waiter. Once out of the restaurant you charge about laughing your head off, because you have saved a miserly fiver by conning the waiter out of a tip. No, I don't think so either.
However, as I am now hopelessly devoted to frugality, particularly if it means I can somehow still go to Tuscany, I plough on through Tightwad and am led to a picture of a terrifying-looking woman called Jonni McCoy, who gave up a career at Apple in San Francisco to be a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) and learnt to live off 45 per cent of the family income. Her experiences led her to write the "best-sellers" Miserly Moms and Frugal Families, which Tightwad urges us to buy.
Well, now that Jonni is a millionaire thanks to millions of us thrifty mums buying her books, what I really want to know is: is she still living a thrifty lifestyle? Or has she dumped the tent and decided to go to Siena this year?
Here's Rosie's thrift tip. Cutting up all your credit cards is unrealistic, so keep just one. But make sure it never leaves the house with you.
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
£380 - £480 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - Edinburgh - £380 - ...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: My client is a leading financial ...
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (Windows Server, Ne...
Day In a Page
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar