Saturday, 1 February 2014

Our first month without spending

At the beginning of this year, Chris & I commited to a year without spending.
I first started tossing the idea around about six months ago, shortly after watching this brilliant (& disturbing) short film about consumerism. It's about 20 minutes long, but I highly recommend watching it.

When we first moved into our house together, we had almost nothing. A bed. A fridge my mum wasn't using. With so much space to fill & both working full time, it was amazing how quickly we accumulated material possessions. After a while, we had everything we needed to live a comfortable life. Actually, more than we needed. But we didn't stop spending our money. Now we were just buying things we wanted.

Our spending habits weren't only based around things, though. We were also pretty good at spending our money on little luxuries. Eating out all the time. Going to the movies most weeks. 
Slowly our savings started to dwindle away, & with not much to show for it. A good lifestyle, sure, but wouldn't our life be equally as good with out these things? 

I started thinking, what would happen if we couldn't spend that extra money? The money after the rent & groceries. The power, internet, & petrol. With what is left over from Chris's wage, & me working two days a week, it ends up being about $20,000 a year. 

Once we had that figure in our head, it got easier. Spend $50 on breakfast or have half a house deposit at the end of the year ? 
I am well aware of how lucky we are in this life, to have these kinds of choices. To have the option to spend that kind of money on a meal. 

So now, one month into our year without spending. I'll be sharing updates on our progress on 'doing without' throughout the year, every month or so. 

So far, there have been tough days. Some nights are so boring & we just really want to go to Coco's for dinner. We did decide before we started that we should have a few treats throughout the year, where we can go to a movie or buy new underwear. 

The supermarket shopping is kind of fun now. I add everything up as I go along and buy things with so much more thought & consideration to season & what we truly need.
We've also been utilising our garden a lot more. We've been harvesting a lot ( like those two massive pumpkins!), & finding ways to preserve things instead of just let it go old and back in the compost bin. This week we sun dried a big batch of tomatoes to store in oil for the winter.

It has been frustrating not being able to go for coffee or drinks as frequently with friends. We still can, but we are much more inclined to sit on one drink. I'm also finding it's a good excuse to have people over for dinner instead, which is two birds one stone for me, as one of my goals this year was to cook with people more often.

As for not spending money with a baby?
A little tricky. We are starting to get a little scarce on clothes that fit, but my mum has been sewing up the most beautiful things for Willow. I've also sent out an SOS asking for any hand-me-downs & so far we have had a really generous response.
Books are another thing that I desperately want to buy her, but once I locate my library card I think we will be fine.

So far, I'm feeling positive about the year ahead.
Wish us luck, ha.

H x

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