This week, I decided to make my first visit to town in nearly two months. Out of necessity, nothing else. I could no longer avoid paying some cheques into my bank account and, now that she is officially ‘cruising’, D needs some sort of shoes. I say ‘cruising'; that girl is scaling playgroup halls and the entire length of our house faster than a hungry animal looking for lunch.
The weather aside, I hate shopping in town. I hate feeling like a second-class citizen because I have to manoeuvre a pram and I hate dealing with small aisles, miniscule shop doorways and small-minded people. A trip to town has to be planned, meticulously, lists made and shopping completed in the absolute smallest fraction of time possible. So, for a frugally fabulous non-shopper, I feel I have quite the right attitude to a shopping trip to ensure success with my challenge!
Still, we picked up some lovely little pre-walkers for Daisy from Next – reasonable and not too sickeningly glitzy, then after a few errands we popped to Waterstones to give D her lunch and peruse the craft section in spectacular masochistic fashion. When it comes to missing shopping – I don’t miss clothing, I barely remember the last time I spent time looking at cosmetics, but I’m a book-a-holic! Books are my addiction and I usually find it nigh-on impossible to leave without at least one shiny purchase! I can’t even say I’m into the teccy Kindle stage of reading – and for someone who is looking into self-publishing this may well have to be a relationship that blossoms in the near future! Still, out we walked, heads high (and soaked from the rain) with just one teeny tiny pop-up book for D, with some Christmas money she was given. Go me!
The thing is, people often say ‘I don’t know how you do it’, when I tell them the premise of my year without shopping. I’m not too sure how to answer; there are a thousand reasons I have become so resilient to the ‘wonders’ of shopping that, just 6 weeks in, town trips like the one I braved this week, seem so alien to me already. Here’s how I *THINK* I’m handling it!
I Walk Everywhere – Except in the Direction of Town – Bus trips are infrequent and unnecessary where we live, so I tend to enjoy walking to most places – parks, groups, the sorting office – you name it, we walk it! I grew up without a family car, so walking has always been inherent to my lifestyle. Nottingham has a lot of beauty about it – I love exercising the right to walk for no reason at all sometimes, so destinations are not important, town is a million miles away from us, in my head, I don’t NEED to walk there, when we have parks, charity shop caverns and beauty spots right on our doorstep.
Plans, Plans, Plans – I’m never without plans in operation. It is a strong belief, held by us crafty folk that we thrive in chaotic environments and, though I’d sometimes like my life to be a little more structured, I spend almost all my free time writing, crafting, reading and PLANNING! Right now – I have about 6 books in my head, at least 10 craft projects and a huge mountain to overcome, in the form of mastering my sewing machine. Not to mention a cruising 11 month old, who loves nothing more than snuggling with Mummy and reading. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, all these projects make me happier than shopping, so I devote 100% of my energy to it.
The Importance of My Mum Mafia – As D isn’t going to nursery, I think developing her sociability is really important, so playgroups, singing and swimming are something we frequent as much as we can. I also know how important it is to hang with other mums and I am very lucky to have a small group of mums, my Mum Mafia, that I regularly hang out with. We all take in turns to host tea and cake mornings, who all have similar likes, dislikes, fears, morbid fascinations to me and who I can be entertained by/entertain, without spending ANY MONEY- unless I’m whipping up a cake or need some emergency milk. These ladies are invaluable to me, I love spending time with them putting the world to rights in the comfort of our own homes – time well spent with excellent company and not a Starbucks label in sight!
Charity Shopping with a Difference – I tend to limit my trips to our local row of charity shops – mainly because I’m on pretty much first name terms with them. Since starting my challenge, inspired by some of the lovely crafty tweeps I interact with, I’ve stopped looking so much for ‘clothing’ and more for FABRIC – which has opened up a whole new world of projects and excitement for me! I took an awesome trip with my friend on Saturday and got this amazing HAUL for under £16 – a velvet top that needs some serious sleeve-love, a Joan Holloway-esque graphic print dress that needs a bit of tapering AND a tartan smock that’s about 4 sizes too big BUT with some tapering, a new neckline and a contrast colour, looks to swift become my favourite dress of 2014! Watch this space for more…
Crave It? Then Make It – Fancy a creamy hot chocolate or some cheeky chips? Fancy trying your hand at a posh roast? Good, then make it! As an avid cooker/baker/ kitchen dweller, I love challenging myself in the kitchen and, though I don’t profess to be the best, I like to be adventurous with every day ingredients and make replacements for my favourite treats. A more creative kitchen means you appreciate takeaways even less – because the truth is, you are more than capable of making something better.
Don’t Forget The Ordinary Moments – Not everyday has to be a spectacular display of creative living. I’m my own worst enemy for this – I always have a to-do list as long as my arm and I’m not happy if it doesn’t all get done in 24 hours. Living frugally does mean you learn to bask in the ordinary moments. I take as much pleasure in half an hour reading my book on my new, comfy, wicker chair (It’s a WIP), or getting down and playing with D and her teaset, as I would shopping or any of the other stuff. Your children grow every day and it’s a privilege to watch D growing into such a lovely, cheeky, funny little girl – those are the important moments, the ordinary pieces that make up the patchwork of your family life.
So there you have it, not rocket science I suppose, but a little glimpse into life in the frugal lane…
Stay Peachy x