It only seems like five minutes ago I was scouring the Interweb for a polkadot background that was ‘just right’ and racking my brainage to come up with exciting posts for the first month. Suddenly, we have arrived at the end of the month, February is upon us and I have spent a total of £9.99 (from my Christmas money) on myself ALL MONTH. I managed to kit out the rest of Daisy’s wardrobe with some lovely, hardly worn pieces from eBay. I bought a gorgeous coat, 6 vests, 2 dresses and a pair of pyjamas all totalling under £28.00 inclusive of postage. BARGAIN! Not only that – I’ve spent a total of £5 on new socks for D from Next; I’m beginning to think this whole Frugally Fabulous Year may well encompass the WHOLE family, after all!
January has been easy – though it’s always the money-saving month for everyone isn’t it; paying things off after Christmas, changing our ways. I haven’t had a single urge to go shopping, I’ve managed to keep cosmetic purchases to a minimum and my projects have, thus far, used materials and yarns I have at home. I did spy some rather incredible Elvis fabric on eBay though – which gave me some great, kitsch ideas for my new Frugally Fabulous Wardrobe!
At the beginning of the month, me and Mr J (we got a thiiinnng….going oooo-ooonn), took a rare trip to town to spend our Christmas vouchers and money. Being that most of our vouchers were for good old John Lewis, we headed there to decide which towel bale held the best value (2 bath towels, 2 hands towels AND 2 flannels for £20) and what we would put the rest of the money towards. No sooner were we 5 steps and several slow-walking people away from the front doors of the homeware MECCA, Mr J helpfully turned to me and stated that, by purchasing from this shop – I had already failed my challenge.
It really got me thinking about the self-imposed rules and regulations of The Frugally Fabulous Year. Was I really cherry-picking to make the challenge work for me? No, I wasn’t. And, NO I’m not.
Parts of this challenge feel easier than I thought they would, though I’ve yet to look at a dress pattern and I’ve cautiously stuck to little knitting projects that will keep me fulfilled (and not crazy). The High Street hoarder of the dim, distant past feels a million miles away from who I’ve become. I can’t say I’m missing the atmosphere of a High Street store, nor the rails of (what I now deem to be) age-inappropriate cropped shit that I can’t say I’d even be keen to fit into. Yet, when people question what I’m doing – I do realise I’ve given up the freedom of shopping as and when I want, with no scrutiny as to what I’ve bought and where I’ve been (on the basis that the Frugal Police are in operation). I now realise that, if I was in sudden need of a black layering vest, I’d be pretty pushed to grab some fabric and try and make one. That’s a scary thought. Yet, a bigger part of me can only see the results of what I’ve been slowly giving up, cutting down and turning my back on over the last three or four years.
The thing is, we all HAVE to do it. If you have a baby, you want to buy a house, you want to plan a wedding; there are no money trees from which we can pick. Anymore. This is what I’ve spent the last 10 years slowly realising!
Picture an ever-so-slightly more youthful me, gallavanting through the sites of That London; I would indulge in at least 4 Starbucks a week from the top of the High Street, where I worked. I hated my job. I would spend about £70-£100 a month on clothing, not to mention fashion mags and books, partially due to the
perks demands of the job. The job I hated. My housemate and I would regularly eat out locally or head to trendy Spitalfields where we could vent our rage over a ‘cheap’ Wagamamas. We hated our flat, we had no living room. I would easily spend £40 on gin-fuelled nights out. I had no boyfriend or, sadly, decent taste in men until late 2011. That, right there, was an emotional shopper.
In late September, I took a trip to Camden to see a gig by a bloke I barely knew and, four and a half months later, I moved to The Midlands to live with him. I started to find a new way of living. I got creative with my work and my writing again. I frequented Starbucks less and started to pull out and dust off all those beautiful dresses I had so taken for granted. I started enjoying cooking and cococting recipes in MY OWN kitchen again. We didn’t go out so much. Then, along came Daisy and now, a trip to a restaurant with Mr J really is a treat, a snippet of time to ourselves. A homemade chai latte is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon, watching Daisy taking all the jigsaw pieces out that I just put back. My morning make-up routine is one of my favourite times of the day – because it’s just for me and usually its soundtrack is the quietest birdsong, while all about the house, my family are snoozing away. All those things have changed, I’ve changed.
So, no, I don’t think I’m cherry-picking a thing because, despite being a little scared of the task I’ve set myself, I know that I’ve started my Frugally Fabulous Year, having already learnt the most important lesson of all. Things do not replace people, emotions or experiences. And that is the most valuable lesson I could have learnt so far. All that remains, is to own it.
Stay Peachy x