Don't Burn Anything  

Fallic40 54M
3214 posts
3/7/2006 8:38 pm
Don't Burn Anything

Once again, I was perusing various newspapers on line and came upon this piece.


Miser leaves £2m fortune


A PENNY-pinching recluse who lived in squalor has stunned neighbors . . . by leaving a £2million fortune. Bill Allesbrook, 86, lived alone in one room of his ramshackle £200,000 house and survived on a diet of porridge and stewed apple. He died after accidentally setting the room on fire while cooking on his single-burner stove.

Bill was found by firemen sitting in his favorite chair surrounded by piles of business pages, some dating back to the First World War. But the miser had a Midas touch and had been secretly playing the Stock Market for years. He died with an estate with a net worth of £1,980,133. Bill, a former industrial chemist with a doctorate degree, had repeatedly ignored social services requests to improve his home in Borrowash, Derby, and refused to invest in a new cooker.

Fire investigation officer John Caulton said: “From what I can gather, he grew a lot of his own food and lived in just one room.” Bill was never married and had no kids, and it is not known who will inherit the cash, though £50,000 has been left to the local Tories.


Now what is the reason for my interest in this? I have been accused of being a bit of a tight git at times. I mean it’s in my genes ‒ my granddad was from Glasgow. There is a solid line of good Scottish Presbyterian thriftiness running through my veins (probably fighting it out with the Irish Catholic genes).

It does not mean that I do not spend money. I do not waste money. I always stand my round at the bar (it would be social suicide to do anything else). My sheet metal tools are Craftsman. My woodworking tools are Stanley. My watch is a Rolex. I buy the best but always purchase with care. I do not buy what I do not need ‒ my truck is a ‘94 Ranger and is running so well that I have shelved plans to replace it in the near future.

My oldest daughter fully expects me to be like the guy above when I go. She has said that she will check the mattress, underside of the drawers, sofa and the chair cushions for cash. (She would be looking in the wrong place ‒ but I do not want to disillusion her.) There are investments and the like that she does know about and some gold coins (purchased when gold was much cheaper) that she doesn’t. I have a substantial 401k. I actually think my youngest will be the one who would find everything. She has the same frugal money managing skills that I do ‒ and a tendency to hide her stuff.

Frugality was not necessarily a life choice that I embraced. It was actually forced upon me eight years ago by my ex-wife and the State of Oregon. Unfortunately, when all my child support payments were figured, I found out that the state does not differentiate between regular wages and overtime wages. I had consistently worked 55 ‒ 60 hour weeks at $21 an hour as a stamping press operator and that left me paying over $1000 a month in child support.

Sadly, I was no longer working that job and had left for a different job making less money and with limited overtime options. That was of little consequence to the state and so I scraped and got creative to make a new life for myself. Even though I ended up with a salaried position in the new job, I was still making $20,000 less than Oregon was basing my payments on. I made the mistake one time of figuring out that after paying child support and taxes I had about $15,000 a year to live on.

Somehow though, I have managed to do this ‒ and thrive. My girls have their own room with great furniture that is decorated to match their personalities. I always have good healthy food in the fridge. There is always cash in my wallet. Ironically, my ex and her husband pull in well over $120,000 a year when my contributions are added in and they are always skint.

And so, even though I can be a bit of a Scrooge, I will say that there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained from thriving against the odds. And I have my chair and my single burner stove just in case. And whatever you do, if you come over to play and I am dead, (deceased, stiff, playing football with the angels) check the books on the bookshelf first: nobody keeps that many Dick Francis novels just to read!

rm_titsandtires 53M/43F
3656 posts
3/7/2006 9:31 pm

I've had to do similar things, thanks to your favorite state and mine, OREGON! My ex-wife is similar to yours as well. She makes bank and is still on the verge of bankruptcy. She is horrible with money, and I've had to make up the difference when it comes to teaching the kids the value of a dollar. By the way, which bookshelf was that again?


tillerbabe 57F

3/7/2006 9:33 pm

Nothing wrong with "saving"'ll be better off than most of us inthe long run!

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
3/8/2006 3:07 pm

SSS, where have you been, my darlin'. I have missed you.

Trying to save money has been the hardest thing to accomplish. Fortunately I had a 401k available to me that I went with the maximum input. I have also gradually managed to accumulate some savings and some investments. Basically, I just learned to manage a very strict budget.

FeistySyn 53F

3/8/2006 6:36 pm

Sounds like I could learn lessons from you... I have been notoriously bad at managing money for some odd reason ever since my divorce. The strange thing is, I managed just fine alone all through my 20s and I managed our finances through my entire 7 year marriage in my 30s, but the past 3 1/2 years, I cannot seem to get a handle on my own, strange huh?

Apparently the depth of depravity here is bottomless... don't you feel right at home?

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
3/8/2006 8:52 pm

tires, my ex can squander money faster than anyone I have ever seen, perhaps it should be turned into an olympic sport?

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
3/8/2006 8:53 pm

tiller, I want to retire by the time I am in my mid-50s like my ex-father in law just did. That way you can still have some fun.

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
3/8/2006 8:54 pm

Fiesty, I just got sick of accumulating "useless" things and stopped buying them. I also made sure that I always put something in my savings: even if it was only $20.

Become a member to create a blog