The birth of our son meant that we have had to economise over the last few years. Lots of charity shop shopping, painting of second hand furniture, container veg growing, crafting, freecycling, home brewing and home cooking. It has actually made for a more fulfilling life – we are constantly learning, being more creative and becoming more confident and self reliant. We have saved money, which has allowed us to pay off debts accrued in the dumb years (as I shall now fondly refer to them) much faster.
I still struggle with buying stuff. A few weeks ago I was lusting after some glass storage jars. I have a few Le Parfait jars I bought a few years back. They are beautiful, functional and sturdy - but I have better things to spend a fiver on at the moment.
So instead of buying the jars, I asked the lady at the local chip shop to save me her pickle jars. She only gets through a jar every few weeks these days as pickles have fallen out of favour to mushy peas and curry sauce. But she saved me these two. They hold about 2.5 litres each, are robust and quite attractive sitting in the cupboard filled with barley and pasta. They have saved me about £4.50 a pop for the equivalent sized Le Parfait jars. Thats about 45 minutes worth of real hourly wages for one jar. It also kept them from the recycling plant for another few years.
One day I may have free reign to spend money on stuff that brings me joy, earned through paid work that brings me joy. When I get there, I suspect that I still won't want to buy so much - instead I will want to buy life experiences - travel, learning, a home of our own, a business. The mindset I am developing now will hopefully get us to that point a little faster - and stand us in good stead for a future that is looking rather more austere (if this week's emergency budget is anything to go by) than the last few years of excess.