Day 74: Knowing when to spend

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I bought the above leather folder in a charity shop a couple of years ago – it is one of my favourite ever chairty shop buys. It is specifically for holding travel documents though, judging by the funny road maps and calenders inside, it is from a time when people in the UK would holiday on home soil. It has lots of pockets and sleeves inside which come in very handy. Today I have filled it with all of our paperwork including passports, luggage tags, holiday confirmation (we left it so late to book that we have to pick up the tickets at the airport), parking confirmation and insurance documents so it is ready to go.

I thought the minimal spending was going rather too well. My leather satchel has broken. I love my satchel as it has lots of pockets, is classic in design and can be worn across the body so is great for taking on trips as a) it puts bag-snatchers off and b) leaves your hands free for more important things like, er, waving and eating (?!). I have tried to find someone locally who can mend it but I haven’t had much luck so far. I’m sure I’ll find a place at some point but that isn’t going to help me now so today I bought a replacement – a canvass version for £23. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of use out of it!

I’ve been pondering the whole money thing for the past couple of days. Since I started the Shoestringing I’ve realised a lot of things. I don’t need as much money as I thought I did. Drastically cutting our food budget and avoiding clothes and stationery shops has saved me a lot of money so far this year. I’ve taken a good look at what I already have and have realised that I don’t actually need to buy very much – years of spending money on bits and bobs has built me fairly large supplies of things that will last me a long time. I have bought myself the odd thing here and there (all of which I’ve posted about) but nothing like the amount I used to acquire. I’ve read a lot of downshifting stories both in the media and right here in blogland which I find completely fascinating and inspiring. And yet. There are things I could give up but don’t want to. It is learning the difference between all of these things that helps me define my own version of shoestringing to live by.

When I started this blog I was fairly certain that I would completely stop spending and concentrate on saving and making every single penny that I possibly could. I have actually managed to save quite a lot and it feels great to know I have some funds stashed away. It seems ironic that it was having these savings that gave me the guilt free confidence to book this last minute holiday – probably the most money I’ll spend on a single thing this year. The confidence came from the fact that I knew we’re weren’t blowing everything we’ve got to have this break. Had I not made the chages to my spending, the money wouldn’t have been there to do this in the first place. It gave me an incredible sense of freedom to be able to spontaneously do something that it is making me really happy. By being more thrifty I have been able to spend more on a spontaneous act than I would have if I had been spending randomly these past few months. Funny isn’t it?

I’m considering starting another fund – one for doing things exactly like this. I wouldn’t want to pin down the purpose of this fund too tightly. It wouldn’t just be for holidays…it might be for buying tickets to a play or to see a favourite band or trying out a really great restaurant. Basically a fun fund to be used either in advance or on the spur of the moment. Having a specific fund for this means that I’ll be able to do things without having to interfere with my savings. I’ll plan this out properly when we get back from our holidays…

Does anyone else have a fund specifically for fun or spontaneous flights of fancy?

From the challenge-a-day list:

  • Planning: getting all of our holiday documents organised and ready for the off
Categories: Frugal ideas, Saving, Shoestring Fun | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Day 74: Knowing when to spend

  1. hollyjune

    I am planning on building up a £200 “fun fund” when I have reached my target for emergency and holiday funds. Unfortunately, things keep cropping up that the fund would be perfect for (gigs, weekends away for birthdays etc) which is only delaying my e-fund and holiday targets!

    It’s never as simple as you’d like is it?

    Hope you guys have a fab holiday!

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