Humility Through Frugality $65 A Week

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(Transferred Post) December 7th 2014

From time to time I like to reflect, face and respond to reality for what it is to me. Let’s face it, and admit it – Australia is expensive. I’d welcome anyone to repeat after me.

Let us first begin this with an honest disclaimer. If the terms “property”, “leverage” and “negative gearing” have meant a lot and has worked to your favour – you can pretty much stop reading this article altogether. If your annual income (pre-or post tax regardless) have more or less able to keep up with the overall current inflation and wages index (as accordingly to your sector of employment) – that includes you too.

Close this browser window and go look at your investment statistics instead. This article is for the patient; not for the privileged – minority. This is for those who are willing to lower themselves not to flourish, but sustain themselves through humility, respect and awareness. I am here to share with you methods which have helped me save enough to sustain myself towards my own financial goal; as well as making me feel convinced to see and feel the world at its’ bare, but healthful necessities.

Please note: many aspects of these previous / old articles are best superseded by their updated counterparts within the full downloadable manuscript of the First Revised Edition of Humility 

Through Frugality™. These are simply a series of suggestions that simply work in favour for what it tries to aim for – sustenance of humility through good, affordable food with just $65 a week. Yes, that is correct – 65 Australian Dollars. For each and every seven days a week. As clearly any and all ways of life are different – this article or “guide” is all by no means the ultimate resource but more likely to serve as a “reminder” over what is important. Something that helps you to differentiate what is important, and what is not.

You need some sort of goal. Everything must have a beginning and an end, and in between them – gaps where by you must fill in yourselves as means to reach to this end. Your goal does not have to be clear and systematically concrete, it can be adaptive whilst relevant through time.

I am going divide this discussion into five sections – Demographics / basic principles, The Plan (as parts one to four), Monitor & Reflection and lastly a section for all you arguing folks – Questions Meet Answers.

Proceed with care with how you feel on the inside, but you must remain limited, humble and patient on the outsidethroughout this life.

This guideline is written in a way of assumptions that you bear and have adhered / committed to the following lifestyle parameters. This guideline also assumes that you are familiar with what is to be expected for adopting the following principles into your daily life:

1 – FOR THOSE REASONABLY HEALTHY AND SOUND IN BOTH MIND AND BODY.

Let me first begin by emphasizing how important it is to exercise; especially through resistance training. Speaking as someone who has just been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (early diagnosis after being dismissed of possibility of contracting the more serious AS / Ankylosing Spondilytis) – I have made numerous attempts to adapt as well as adopt – a fit lifestyle (weight training four days a week since 2009 and now onwards from half of 2014 to increase to five days). This guideline has helped me; and most likely you – of whom I hope you have no serious underlying issues to be willing to commit to this lifestyle. Check with your doctor when any or all doubts of matter arise before hand if you are unsure. I would keenly ask for a blood test to check your liver and stomach for any digestion problems as well as assessing your overall kidney and thyroid health.

Proceed with care with how you feel on the inside, but you must remain limited, humble and patient on the outside throughout this life. Surround yourself with another source of interest along the way. Fitness & regular resistance training is something I’d never admit as viably competent – but having done so regularly for a few years have provided me an alternative “space”. Find yourself an environment outside of this infinitely stressful world. Find or inspire yourself to another safe environment, a way of life, or a source of interest where you could let yourself “be”. My passion in set composing and collecting music; is – another source of interest I maintain, preserve and still follow for more than a decade.

However easy and straightforward these are for me to say and to suggest – it is of course never straightfoward. Like all things in life – it is easier said than done. But aiming to maintain something that sparks your curiosity about the world with some discipline is better than having none at all. 

 

2 – FOR THOSE WITH ONE OR MORE FINANCIAL GOAL/S (CONTINUOUSLY OR SINGULARLY)

How much willingly are you trying to save towards this? This is common sense to many of you as you hear the same question over and over again. But will you be up for it? Theoretically – everything must have a beginning and an end, and in between them – gaps where by you must fill in yourselves as means to an end. A goal does not have to be clear and systematically concrete down to their last detail. As long as they are adaptive but relevant – you will arrive at your destination regardless.

As soon as you limit anything explicitly in life – you will always produce something else implicitly in return; either in conscious form or not. It may not be something that you are able to touch or see – but it is something of a qualitatively mark and extension of yourself that only you can be proud of.
Refusing to commit to the social pressure of others to spend money is a mark of resilience that nobody seems to understand. Ironically they wished for this same, implicit quality amongst themselves. Wear it, and show yours proudly. 

3 – FOR THOSE WITH A BASIC (AND INTEREST) TOWARDS NUTRITION KNOWLEDGE & DISCIPLINE

Make no mistake, this is about 70% food, 30% philosophy. Once you partake in this lifestyle, you’ll no doubt be thinking differently about the food you eat. When was the last time you read a food nutrition label? When was the last time you spend more than 15 seconds reading on a product you see on the shelf? It’s time to forgo your favourite mixed berry (so called “naturally flavoured”, gum, stabilisers and gelatine filled) yoghurt. Avoid all vegetable oils. Still buying meat from your favourite big mainstream outlets? Keep this in mind. 

Still drinking coffee? Sorry, you have to let go of it all. It’s all in your head that you need to get used to. It’s the most abusive form of edible commodity you could ever put in your body. What’s wrong with tea? They just “don’t taste as good”?

4 – FOR THOSE WITH AN UNBIASED WILLINGNESS TO COMMIT TO REGULARITY SIMPLE MOTIONS OF LIVING / AKA. LIVING SEMI-MINIMALISM

Do you always have to be tempted by offers from your social media circles to go out and spend lavishly on food, money, clothing, and other discretionary expenditures too embarrassingly long to list? And how often do you submit to these external offers? I’ll leave you to take a moment and recollect just how many times you have said “yes”.  And does it become an obligation or a task that you simply must fulfil so as not to compromise your ties with others? To live within the honesty of oneself means that you have to be willing to say no and refuse; at times of subjective will/s – from external offers.  
Yes, of course by you refusing  – you will at some stage be seen as a stuck up, closed-in individual. Accept and be persistent on your own way. Be that as it may to that person’s thoughts of you. Make no mistake – living simply by refusing to give up and saying “no”  is strength. Refusing to give in and submit to the majority is resilience. 

By refusing to commit to the social pressure of others to spend is a mark of quality that nobody seems to understand. Ironically they want to possess it amongst themselves. Self -proclamations at its’ worst. Wear it and display yours proudly. 

Make this regiment as part of your daily life – until such time arrives when you look back at what others are doing; you will no doubt be the one that survives; not submitted by the blind wills of the system and all of generalities that followed.
Watch the video below of seeing how just simple, mundane philosophy behind the life of Kai Greene. I do not perceive myself as a devoted as a professional weightlifter or a bodybuilder. But just like anything else in life – we all subconsciously LEARN and adapt small things from other paradigms of life and modifies it to our own.  As long as you remain humble and open to what is given and offered to you. 
Every form of passion you observe and witness from others contain at least one aspect (big or small) that might have some relations to your circumstances. Don’t like skydiving? You may learn a thing or two about addressing and approaching your own fear/s. So for that auditorium speech next time you won’t be as nervous. Not good at finances? You might find that property investment is not for you (as it is a lot more complicated than other means of investment), but you may find investing in gold and precious metals interesting, makes proper sense, and of intrinsic value and meaning to you and your family. Who knows, you may be convinced enough one day opening up an unallocated bullion account to add to your own future nest egg.  
We learn a little bit from others’ mindset just what & how patience, wisdom and devotion really works for them – and how every given details of how they live can relate to yours; either subliminally or in significant ways. As long as you are willing to be humble and grateful enough to craft your own humility in return – you will see a personal development somewhere else. Separate yourself away from your ideal imaginary wants in some place far in time, and you will get not a want you envisioned, but a want you’ve developed.
Repeat this regiment daily until such time arrives when you look back at what others are doing; you will no doubt be the one that survives; not submitted by the blind, exploitative wills of the system and all of generalities that followed.
this will be your regular stop each and every week.

THE PLAN

1/4 – THE BASICS


So, let us begin with the basics. Here is what is to be followed:

WITHDRAW AND USE ENTIRELY IN CASH

Withdraw the entirety of your $65 and put into an envelope (or if you are shopping to that same day – straight to your wallet). You are not to make any withdrawal nor even a single dollar taken out from PayPass® or EFTPOS® for the remainder the week (unless it is for petrol fuel, other bills and utility payments).

SHOP AT YOUR FARMER’S COLLECTIVE / GROWER’S GROCERIES’ MARKET

This holds especially true for only two things – fruits and vegetables. Be on the lookout for reduced bundle specials – this may look cosmetically not as pristine as what’s prepared on the shelves. Exercise basic common sense in identifying reasonably healthy conditions of that food. I have never, if ever – have negative reactions in consuming these on a regular basis. Unless if you are currently under treatment of severe liver or digestion disorders; there is absolutely no reason to save up and be grateful for what is being offered to you.
Food waste is something you would never condone – how often do you end up not finishing that main course last weekend night out? So you refuse to take leftovers home for fear of being frowned upon. Industrial waste is another story altogether. For those on strict paleo regime who only limit their carbohydrate intake as solely fructose from fruits; which quite often so – imagine how much you and EVERYONE would save if the dream concept below is a reality. Oh wait, we need the politicians, the suits and legislations to agree on this, and with the bureaucracy of it all to somehow work together.

SHOP AT AN ORGANIC BUTCHER’S (IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT OUT OF YOUR $65 LIMIT)

As someone who values protein intake as part of his weight training lifestyle – I am convinced to no longer drawn to regularly buy meats from the larger mainstream outlets. For reasons that is highly privatised and frowned upon in the name of these corporations I cannot state them here in writing (Australia only allows freedom of speech to some extent). Here in Perth, WA – I am grateful to always buy from Yeeda®; organic, free-range and produced at more than reasonable prices. Only buy from other outlets if you are not able to squeeze further into $65 limit; OR if your organic outlet does not have meat / group category you’re after. 
Sadly as of 2015 Yeeda no longer is within reach of metro Perth area.

BE PREPARED TO WALK IN AND OUT OF CARPARKS – PARK CLOSE TO YOUR CENTRE’S ENTRANCE AT ALL TIMES

You will be doing a few set of weightlifting exercise/s in the meantime. Carrying 4.5kg of potatoes, 1kg frozen green beans, two tubs of 1kg yoghurt, 1 or 2 halves of pumpkin, 2kg brown / basmati rice, 1x full size uncut celery, 3 to 4 kg of meat and 5x canned 425g mackerels/tuna/salmon across up to 8 individual plastic bags – definitely requires more than one trip to the carpark.  So it pays to always make sure you always park your car close to the centre. 

STAY RESILIENT AND BE PREPARED TO SAY NO

Lastly – stay focused and resilient to your new daily regime. Next time you’re faced with a colleague offering you a sugary treat – be prepared to politely say no.  What is the worst that can happen? These people do not owe anything to you, so why should you owe anything back to them in return? There will be times – many times throughout your days when you will become the subject of ridicule, or plainly stigmatized against what the mainstream of society have dictated you throughout all your life up to this recent point. Yes,  this will; at some point includes your families and relatives. There are of course – exceptions and obligations where you will not be able to refuse – but you should be most aware of all times for building your own independent makeup; both explicitly and implicitly.

Stand firm, and respect however common their mainstream indoctrination is. Say it firmly but not fervently – your intentions of how you wish to take control of things; not to be submitted into things. Wear and display your newly found life proudly.

THE PLAN 2/4 – THE LIST

CONSTRUCT A SET LIST & DETERMINING HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH

Construct a set of list/s. The “I don’t have time to open a notepad” excuses no longer apply. Unless if you know exactly how much items you’re going to buy and to calculate them all simultaneously in your head – then that by all means is a sign that you have developed enough awareness over what is enough for the week. However, the first few month/s is going to be the most difficult period as you are starting to find out, determine and of all understand from your circumstances over how much is enough.

You still have to limit your expenditure/s. So the very first thing you need to do is to start identify and removing any and all redundancies. 

All this is easier said than done. I understand. But the more you do this repeatedly long enough – I guarantee that you will eventually find yourself a final balance / sweet spot milestone where your input is no greater than your output. And better yet – the more often you have to make this documentation in writing – the less you have to do so later on. As you have a clear track record over what you’ve gone and what you’ve had tried so far  and over at least a few month/s – you will have a general idea over what to try for next set of combination of ideas. These are especially important if you are venturing to try an entirely different diet. 
Also, this way you will start realising just how much food waste you have minimised along the way, as well as identifying which foods you thought you wouldn’t be able to fully deplete in time; and extend those where possible.  
How long did it take for me to find that sweet spot? Almost five to six months. It’s taken far longer in my case because not only I had to be cautious of my own developing Fibromyalgia symptoms – the medical and examination cost/s on these over the year/s also was to put it bluntly – a sight to behold. Enough to put forward at least two holidays for a year. Except that I will not be gratified enough to have enough disposable income to fund a holiday for this year (and more likely the next too).
Fast forward from that to present –  what’s in my recent complete list?  Below is the actual set of items of what I’ve consistently purchased at least over the last three  months:

3x Woolworths 425g Homebrand® Mackerel – $1.69 each – $5.07 
2x Woolworths 425g Homebrand® Salmon – $2.29 each – $5.18
Mayvers® Natural Organic Peanut Butter with Cacao – $5.5
Yeeda® 1.5kg Organic / Grass fed Beef Mince  – $12 (Average price)
1kg of chicken breast fillet – $11
1kg of chicken thighs with bones on – $5
1kg Coles® Basmati Rice – $3.5
1kg Cross Cut Green beans – $2
500ml Coles® Olive Oil (not EVOO) – $4
4.5kg Red / Royal Blue Potatoes – $4
1 Whole celery (including leaves for extra) – $1.5
1x Japanese or butternut pumpkin – $1.15 (Average Price)
1x 12 700g caged eggs – $3.6
TOTAL PRINCIPAL SPENDING : $62.36

The remaining is spent (with all other unspent coins) on mixed spices & herbs. For items that require longer time to deplete / finish (eg. Olive Oil, & 4.5kg of potatoes) this can be substituted with Himalayan Salt (do not ever use simple table salt) refills perhaps every two to three months. Other unspent leftover could be used to buy / save towards further organic sweeteners Stevia, Organic Cacao Powder, etc.
If all else in doubt – protein intake is more favourable over carbohydrate supplies; so any leftover amount would be saved towards another 425g can of Mackerel or Salmon.  Tuna is one fish I’d advise not to consume quite regularly overtime.  

THE PLAN 3/4 – IMPLEMENTATION

Potatoes & rice are carbohydrate sources you should aim to always have left over reserves for every two weeks. In other words, I would advise to sustain these long enough for every two weeks before buying another batch. 

I structure my daily food intake into six to seven meals a day, this includes snack/s which I have adapted as mini meal/s. These are a sample plan that I have adhered to as one of few average rotationary set of meal plan ideas. 
  1. BREAKFAST 125g portion of Mackerel, 1x whole egg (2 if on a training day),  bundle of celery leaves / 1/2 cup of green beans, olive oil, and 1 heaped teaspoon of organic peanut butter. Swap Mackerel with Salmon for training days. The goal is to start each day with little to no carbohydrate intake (aka semi Ketosis diet).
  2. BREAKFAST (SECONDARY) Water, Unflavoured Whey Protein Concentrate / Non-GMO Pea Protein blend 20g serve, organic cacao powder, 1 satchel of stevia.
  3. RECESS / EARLY AFTERNOON MEAL 125g portion of Mackerel, two to three small sized potatoes 1/2 cup of green beans, Olive Oil, spices, Himalayan Salt. Potatoes can be substituted with small serve brown rice.  OR 200g greek yoghurt natural unflavoured, 30g serve of Unflavoured WPC, two heaped teaspoon of organic peanut butter, one heaped teaspoon of organic cacao powder. 
  4. LUNCH / POST WORKOUT MEAL (DURING WEEKEND TRAINING DAYS) 300 to 350g of meat protein, two to three medium sized potatoes / brown rice,, 1 cup of green beans / 2 medium celery stalks, Olive Oil, Himalayan Salt, spices. When there is shortage of protein – mix chicken together between beef,  mackerel or salmon left overs. 
  5. DINNER / POST WORKOUT MEAL (DURING EVENING TRAINING DAYS) Same as lunch. 
  6. PRE-BED MEAL  200g greek yoghurt natural unflavoured, 30g serve of Unflavoured WPC, two heaped teaspoon of organic peanut butter, one heaped teaspoon of organic cacao powder. 

THE PLAN 4/4 – MONITOR AND REFLECTION

After each successive week I go back and reflect upon what I have consumed and what is left over and from there I make offset purchases to make up for the left over amount I need to spend. I analyse any existing reserves and gauge from here as to what I should buy more or less of for the next week thereafter. More often than not the following are items that I do usually have as end of food bill cycle left overs. 
  1. POTATOES & RICE These; being carbohydrate sources are ones that you should aim to always have left over reserves for each and every week. In other words, I would advise to aim to sustain these long enough for every two weeks before buying another batch. You can either agree or disagree with your views on GI index – but I still would personally recommend red potatoes over white potatoes. Stop your whinging as well as on brown rice that doesn’t “taste as good” as white rice – really; does white rice has a taste?  Be grateful it’s not raw meat you’re eating. Organic Quinoa, Black Rice and Sweet potatoes can certainly be had  – but beware they are very expensive. 
  2. GARLIC / ONIONS You might be wondering why on earth I include garlic & onions here. For garlic – I would  sustain these long enough for up to even two months. Yes that’s correct – two months. Freshly bought garlic however – go off very quickly in the pantry so it’d be best for you to buy a packet of vacuum sealed & refrigerated whole peeled garlic buds ($3 gets you about 60 to 70 buds…so that last a long time). You should have no problems buying these off from your independent fruit / veg grocer’s store. Secondly – onions add a lot of flavour and being a source of carbs on their own. I would advise adding only a few fresh slices to offset any lacking carbohydrate intakes. When cooking – I’d advise to only cook them very lightly as otherwise you WILL be tempted to use up more than you really need. 
  3. HERBS, SPICES & HIMALAYAN SALT Unless if you are able to grow your own herbs (and can afford time, effort and resources to do so for your own greenhouse) – buying fresh herbs in my opinion is redundant and useless. Why? Either you have to use them all in one go or use them all within one day before them getting discoloured in the fridge. A $2 mixed Italian Herbs dried herb satchel (of at least 60g) goes a long way in flavouring your dishes. Hence, I would aim to sustain these for every two / three weeks. And this goes for spices as well – turmeric, paprikas, peppers, etc. Just make sure whatever grounded condiments you use are free of vegetable oils. As for salt – Himalayan Pink salt is clearly superior over table salt for what it offers to maintain your vital minerals intake. Table salt is simply sodium chloride, and there’s no other electrolyte minerals whatsoever.  Himalayan Pink salt however – contains 84, including magnesium (still, don’t neglect your mag supplementation). Sure it is expensive at $5 for a 500g refill but it goes a long way in sustaining for at least every 3 to 4 months. 

CONCLUSION – WHERE TO GO FROM HERE

For close to one year and a half, I have managed to save enough to setup my own personal financial investment portfolio. Through maintaining and adopting simple parts of minimalism, I have been so far able to not only try to maintain my lifestyle, but through living this way in regularity has opened my eyes (and ears) that so many people have been brainwashed to sheer profitable dine-out and credit / debt fuelled consumerism. I have made (attempts) in sharing what I’ve done and written to my work colleagues in the past – and none of them sees my way of life anyway in positivity. They first were in awe as to how I could comprehend eating relatively the same thing every day, yet always fail in learning how they can apply them no matter how small.   

Food wastage (commercial & industrial) has never been a tolerable sight to behold.  Income equality gap; between the rich and poor or any recent statistics (and always progressively worse today) is still anything but equal. The same old privileged, defensive statement “we are among the luckiest, wealthiest by income compared to by this index, that index, this benchmark, etc” is reservedly tiring and useless if everything else rises in value. Something is telling me that either we are so overly pompous, spoiled society or that we silently & continuously pray amongst ourselves that someone else or worse yet – the overall system – will take care of us. Or worse, sooner or later – they do not care about their own citizens for our existing jobs anymore and out source workers from somewhere else instead.
…And that; to me – speaks volumes about them protecting the interests of the systemic minority. I wonder what would be the percentage for that markup compared to us?
 Have you ever wished for a time where you would be seen as different amongst your social circles? Or have they criticised you for doing so? Is there anything you wish to share with the rest? Post your thoughts below.