Today we get to meet a reader who lives verrrry far away from my part of the world! I love meeting readers from anywhere, but it is especially fun to hear from readers who live in countries outside the U.S.
It’s like a little free travel experience. 🙂
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
So, my name is Talia, I’m 55 and I live in Israel with my husband, Gil.
We have three grown kids and share our home with our two dogs and two cats.
I’m a freelance translator and work from home.
In my spare time, I volunteer in a number of capacities and travel around our beautiful country.
Israel is tiny, but is so geographically diverse that you can drive from a snow-capped mountain to the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, in six hours.
We love discovering new places and seeing history come alive in places that you read about in the Old Testament. Jerusalem is my favorite city and I visit whenever I have the chance.
Because Israel is close to so many great locations, we also love finding low-cost flights to remote Greek islands or exciting European cities, especially during the off-season, and discovering them on a shoestring budget.
2. How long have you been reading The Frugal Girl?
I’ve been reading the Frugal Girl for at least three years, maybe longer.
3. How did you get interested in saving money?
I grew up with parents who didn’t really know how to deal with finances.
They both worked very hard and earned relatively well but had no idea how to handle their money. They were always struggling to finish off the month and there was always an air of stress with anything to do with money.
I promised myself that I’d never be like my parents. I worked from a young age and saved most of my money.
When I met my husband, it was a relief that he was of the same mindset. We have been together for over 30 years and agree on nearly all things financial. It was important to both of us that we never go into debt, but it was also important to me, personally, that I be a stay-at-home mom.
We needed to find a way to allow that, and that’s how I started looking at ways to become even more careful with our money since we were on one income for many years.
4. What’s the “why” behind your money-saving efforts?
I think I covered the answer in question 3!
5. What’s your best frugal win?
We managed to buy our first house with a relatively small mortgage. We closed off part of the house, rented it out, and that paid the mortgage. We then lived extra-frugally for a good few years, until it was paid off in total.
We sold the house for a great profit and managed to buy our dream home where we brought our kids up.
6. What’s an embarrassing money mistake you’ve made?
Unfortunately, something that has happened a few times : I sign up for a gym or a sports class with all the motivation in the world to go diligently…. and never manage to carry through with the commitment.
I’m not proud of the money that went down the drain, especially at times when we couldn’t afford it.
7. What’s one thing you splurge on?
It’s important for me to spend quality time with my family, especially now that the kids are older and have their independent lives.
When we do manage to all get together, I like to treat them all to a meal in a restaurant and sit around a table for hours, eating a meal that I didn’t need to cook 🙂
8. What’s one thing you aren’t remotely tempted to splurge on?
Designer clothes and accessories. A total waste for me, IMHO.
9. If $1000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?
I’d spoil my family on a great weekend away and donate anything left over.
10. What is the easiest and hardest part of being frugal?
In the past, the hardest part was trying to explain frugal living to people who had no idea why I chose to live that way. The older I get, the less I care about what people think about me, so it’s become their problem, not mine.
The easiest part is that over the years, being frugal becomes part of you and you don’t need to think about the whys and whats.
11. Is there anything unique about frugal living in your area?
When I came to live in Israel, there wasn’t any awareness of second-hand shopping, mainly because of the cultural stigma. But I’m pleased to note that this has changed drastically in the last decade or so.
I love seeing thrift shops popping up all over the place and seeing people giving away free items on local Whatsapp groups.
Talia, thank you! It’s fun to hear that people from around the world are converging here at my blog. I loved seeing all the snapshots of life in your part of the world, and boy, I didn’t realize there was so much green in Israel!
Do you plan to live in Israel for the rest of your life? Is it hard to live that far from extended family? Did you raise your kids in Israel? What is the climate like where you live?
(And no worries if you don’t want to answer any of those questions. 🙂 )