In January, I imposed a no-spend month. Quietly. I didn’t really announce it as a thing to the family. I tried to lead by example and reason. “Do we need it?” was my rallying call.
It worked. We cut back on food treats. If we wanted cakes or biscuits, we made them from scratch. I bought no craft supplies. Using what I already had.
Backs of wardrobes and drawers were checked for clothes, instead of buying more. We made our own entertainment. There again, reaching into the back of cupboards and book shelves. So much more I could add, but I don’t want to turn this post into a list.
Do you know what? I feel lighter. I don’t mean in the weight sense, although less food treats and more walking has done that. I mean having less stuff, kind of lighter.
In effect, I have de-cluttered. If we are talking reduce/re-use/recycle, I achieved all three. I have not increased our stuff. I’ve decreased it. Steadily.
Ironically, we are throwing less away. Our weekly black bag and recycling bin has been smaller and lighter. Less stuff in, less stuff out too.
I’ve also enjoyed turning up the power of my creativity, to solve the problems. Taking a moment to think about what we’ve got rather than what we’ve not got. Not choosing to buy my way out of the issue.
I’ve also discovered something else. I think this has been the most enlightening. Want to know? Well between you and me, I’m not as busy as I thought I was. It’s true. I’ve found pockets of time to make and bake, that I didn’t know I had. I just needed to look.
It all went so well, I let the no-spend drift on into February. It’s become a habit. Ok, I did start to buy doughnuts (and crisps) for Mondays, as an after school treat. It was our way of coping with back to school. Mondays become something to look forward to.
So why am I writing it now? Ah, yes. Well, you see this week, I compromised. I allowed myself a free pass. The exception that proves the rule. I bought two things into the house. Not big spends, but stuff all the same.
Fabric and a book. I’m not going to justify the book. I can’t really. I have so many books waiting to be read. My only defence was that I had time to kill and it was cheaper than a magazine. Charity shop purchase of £1.50.
The fabric was a creative compromise. Design wise, I needed something plain and uniformed for my star quilt. I didn’t have any suitable candidates skulking in my craft stash. Fabric does tend to skulk, but not red, because I can always use red.
I went to the fabric shop. I resisted the sock yarn and the ribbon racks. It was hard. I bought the fabric I needed and left.
I’m now back to restrained. No impulse buys. No rescuing plants from the supermarket. Only what we genuinely need. There will be a few bags of stuff going down to the charity shops this half term, because I am liking the lighter feeling.
Word of the week, and possibly year, is restrained.
Can I just say how much I am looking forward to the end of term? We’ve hit that ready-to-stop state. I’m yearning to dance to the beat of my own drum.
I want to come down in the morning in pyjamas and stoke the fire. Turn on the Christmas lights. Drink my morning coffee in one uninterrupted sitting. Slowly. Throw a coat over my pjs, pull on wellies and head outside to let the hens out, then scurry back for a bowl of porridge with the rest of the family. Drawing intricate patterns on the top of it with golden syrup. All this, without looking at a clock once. Not once.
It would be bliss. It will be bliss. Just one more week to go.
This week has been undeniably busy. Packing it all in, so that everything will be in place to relax.
I started the week by finally running my first maths tutoring session. It went well. We went to see “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” at the cinema, as a family. We put up Christmas decorations. I ticked off a few gifts that I needed to order. I nudged ahead with my work, so I can take more time off when the children break up from school next week.There were after school events to tick off. Strangely none of them festive related.
We’ve played Christmas music to the point where I think we might need to expand our collection.
I baked festive treats, that disappeared too quickly.
In between the usual picking up, dropping off, organizing and working, I have been making, which of course I cannot show yet. Instead I did finish my snow hare, which is now sitting in among our snow scene. (Note to self: Need to finish off snow scene)
So, yes as I try to cram everything I can in to this coming week, I am dreaming too. Of a more relaxed time ahead, where clocks do not tick quite so loudly.