My mission is to ‘Spend Less’ – not ‘Spend Nothing’. I admire people who seem to need, well, virtually nothing at all. While I understand the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’ I also find that life without anything new is a bit…dull. That said, I’m often reluctant to buy things these days, not so much because of the cost but because I’ve made such a large effort to clear drawers, cupboards and boxes of junk that I don’t want to have to do the same thing again in a hurry! In 2010 I’ll be sticking to much the same philosophy I’ve developed during 2009. I’m happy to buy myself something provided that I have the money, I’ve paid for all of my essentials and I’ve managed to save a reasonable that month. If I haven’t then I’ve at least mastered the art of waiting.
Sometimes a new ‘thing’ is just the ticket. If you don’t do it very often it feels like a much bigger treat. I abstained from shopping for months and months before venturing back in. I wasn’t a big spender by any means but stopping altogether made me realise how much money I had been wasting – all of those hours worked for bits of tat that I got bored of so quickly! When I buy myself something now I really, really appreciate it. Last month I bought myself a new mug from Habitat. Did I already have a mug at home? Yes. About ten, actually. Did I need a new mug? Nope. They are all perfectly servicable. Could I have bought a mug cheaper somewhere else? Yes – there are hundreds of mugs available at considerably less than £5. And yet. I really wanted it. I loved the shape, the weight of it, the design – everything. So I bought it. I use it every day and get a tiny kick out of it every time for its sheer perfection. I also bought a cardigan some months ago that seems to look great with everything and I’m glad I bought it every time I wear it. So while I’ll stick to not buying stuff very often, I will keep buying things sometimes – as long as I’m convinced I’ll really enjoy/use whatever has taken my fancy.
I’ve been thinking about what I seem to spend my money on, in terms of non-essentials, and what I’ll probably end up buying over the coming year:
- Clothes: I’ll replace anything that starts to look worn out and probably pick up the odd thing here and there. Judging by the past year, this probably wouldn’t even come to one purchase a month. However, I’m going to need maternity clothes which changes things a bit. Since it will take some time before I’m back in my regular clothes and also because I have a job where I need to look smart I’ll have to invest a little.
- Accessories: A great way to update a wardrobe of basics for very little – particularly if they are on sale. I used some of my Christmas money to buy a pair of earrings for £3 and a necklace for £6 (both half price) in the Accesorise sale last week.
- Shoes: I know I’ll need a couple of pairs of summer shoes in a few months time but that’s about it.
- Books: I like to buy new books by authors who I want to support. Other than that, I’ll be frequenting my local charity shops and the second-hand book store. Not to mention Amazon who sell books for as little as 1p plus P&P.
- Make-up & beauty/bathroom products: I’ll buy things when they run out – not for ‘treats’ (unless I have a gift voucher or something like that).
- Stationery: Same rule as above really. Occasionally I have a particular project on the go that requires a new folder or a notepad. However, I’ll only buy one if I don’t already have a suitable alternative.
- Music: itunes. Enough said.
That’s it really. I don’t seem to buy many other non-essentials that would fall into any other category. I’ll just keep asking myself the following questions before I actually buy anything: How much do I want it? Will I really use it? Have I got somewhere to put it? Have I already got something that looks the same or will do the same job? Can I afford it this month?