Saturday, 16 July 2011

Day 15: Trains

I didn't manage to post yesterday, as I was too tired and ever so slightly depressed.  For I have to report a frugality fail. A fail which was entirely my own fault.

For reasons connected with work, I had to take a day trip to Newcastle.  Now, Edinburgh to Newcastle is a very easy journey.  It is a mere matter of hopping on a train, and the whole journey takes only an hour and a half.  So I went straight to www.thetrainline.com, which is the best place I have found for buying cheap tickets.  Had I been more than a day in advance, they would no doubt have been cheaper, but as it was, I managed to get a return for a painful but not unreasonable £39 - even saving about £6 in the process.

No sooner had I hit "Confirm" than something else hit me.  Not literally, of course: that would probably have been fatal.  For the thing that hit me was a bus. 

A bus!  So conditioned am I by my pre-frugality days that I had gone straight for the train option, and had never even considered a bus.  With an air of futility, I turned to http://www.nationalexpress.com/coach/index.cfm and searched for bus tickets for the same journey.  And sure enough, they would have come in at £21.  Almost half the price.  Certainly, the journey would have taken an hour longer, but that would have been okay.  And so I had a comfortable and speedy journey there and back again, but have wasted £18.  £18 would have fed me for over a week.


More and more I am realising that frugal living is as much about mindset as anything.  In the first place, I have to get into the habit of asking, Do I really need this?  And if the answer is yes, then my second question and natural follow-up has to be, What is the full range of my options?  Until I retrain my brain to remember that I truly cannot spare this money, I will continue to throw away pounds on the more luxury option.  The old saying may be correct, Look after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves.  But what is the point of looking after the pennies and living on the same savoy cabbage for two whole weeks, if I don't first and foremost look after the pounds?

So I have fallen.  Nothing to do now but get back on the frugality bicycle and pedal for all I am worth.


Total Expenditure: £40.95

4 comments:

Jane said...

Yes, it's this retraining the brain thing I have to do about my cholesterol too. And disciplining myself at the point of purchase. I know I will eat chocolate so having it being on special this week and I could just buy it for treats and stop at a small amount... It's just not going to happen. Apparently I should limit things like eggs too so I'm not sure that planning pudding desserts is going to be the answer. It's just plain retraining and discipline so I'm using you as a personal trainer.

Fran said...

That sounds like you have a few extra things to consider than I have, Jane. It can't be easy. Chocolate is just too easy an option when you're tired and hungry. The old saw about not shopping on an empty stomach really does make a difference, I have found. There are also other tricks, such as making a shopping list, and only taking along a certain amount of cash (and no credit card). I don't know if the supermarkets do home delivery in your part of the world? - some friends have found that it is easier to stick to a list when ordering online, and so not tempted by the sights and smells in the supermarket. I am sure you will work out what suits you best, and I am glad to be your long distance personal trainer :) But there is no easy solution, I'm afraid. Good luck - and let us know how you get on.

Anonymous said...

You might also want to consider that buying from the trainline.com incurs a booking fee, while if you go directly to the relevant train company's website this is usually omitted. By all means use thetrainline to work out your journey options, but there might still be savings to had elsewhere.

Fran said...

That is a very good tip indeed, Anonymous. I hadn't thought of that, and will certainly do so next time. Thanks. :)