Over the last few months I’ve been contemplating my attitude towards money and comparing it to that of other people, some who I know in person and others whose blogs and books I’ve read since starting Shoestring Alley. Some people unashamedly want to be richer and others are trying to live on substantially less, sometimes downshifting to barely living on anything. I’m facinated by most people’s stories though I’m not really sure where I fit in.
The thing is this. I don’t believe money makes the world go round and I don’t want savings for the sake of having money in the bank. HOWEVER. Without adopting a very particular kind of frugal lifestyle I can’t seem to escape the fact that I need money to live the life I want. Based on this I’ve roughly realised that:
- I don’t need to buy clothes all the time/regularly but I do like buying them sometimes. Sometimes a new top is just what the doctor ordered. I’m pretty good at sticking to occasional purchases these days. I also like buying accessories as they are cheaper updates than clothes though, again, these days I’m much better at sorting through what I’ve already got and rediscovering things. At the moment I’m happy with the balance I’ve got here: new things occasionally and only when I can afford to buy things without using any kind of credit.
- I can’t pretend I don’t buy books because I do. Some people collect pottery or stamps or have pets or join gyms. Me – I collect books. Mostly they are second-hand and I do use the library a lot. Since I re-read books frequently and enjoy lending them to other people (and it’s a cheap hobby to be frank) I’m okay with my level of spending on this.
- Going out: For lunch, dinner, to see a film, have drinks or whatever. There are loads of things you can do for free but I also like the things that cost a few pennies from time to time too!
The above vices are all fairly small ones and hardly excessive by most people’s standards. So far so good. But these are only small things really. I also like holidays. I like seeing new places and going abroad. We won’t be doing much holidaying in the next year or so but it is something I want to continue with in the future. And they don’t come free.
The major ‘want’ I have is a new home. Husband and I have lived in our flat/maisonette for ten years and it is really small, totally unsuitable for a toddler and just not the place I want to raise a family. It could easily be argued that we are very fortunate to have a roof over our heads and own (with a mortgage) our property when some others can’t afford to – this is all true. But then I’m not expecting a mansion (three bedrooms and a garden are about as ambitious as I get) nor am I asking anyone else to give it to me (though that would be nice). The money for this has got to come from somewhere. As has the money for my retirement. I might not have any debt but I don’t have a pension or any substantial savings either.
I’m about to start making a new plan so that I can:
- Spend as much time as possible with Baby while also earning a wage (from next year)
- Indulge occasionally in my small vices (clothes, books and so on)
- Go out sometimes and have a holiday once a year
- Have money put aside for the future (family stuff, emergencies and retirement)
- Be able to have a larger home
Watch this space!