By all accounts we are not poor. I am well aware that our income puts us well in the upper percentage of the population, please do not post to say how lucky we are, I am well aware of that, but that does not mean we do not have to watch our pennies, that we do not look at our bank account and panic. We don’t party wildly, or have expensive cars (far from it, the elderly RAV has just been condemned, do hope there is no snow this year or we are stuffed) or go on glamorous holidays yet still it can be difficult.
Going down the minimalist route has been interesting, and at times bumpy. Rome was not built in a day, there have been times when I have looked at a scarf or a pair of curtains and thought they would be “just perfect”. However, I have remembered that I already have a perfectly good scarf and perfectly good curtains and even if I did want them and even if I could afford them…. there are more important things I could spend my money on.
This month I have kept a record of every single penny I have spent, and furthermore I have given that record to the Boss. The need to be completely transparent is the best way to keep a rein on spending. My particular weakness has been books, Amazon and every bookshop in County Durham has been the benefit of my obsession. You will not be surprised to know that my to be read pile is so large as to be at risk of attracting the attention of the planning department as an unauthorised structure. This month I have come across several books that I would like to read. This time I put them on my Christmas wish list.
There is a reason why Weightwatchers is so successful, it is the transparency and the sharing. If you are trying to cut back on your spending, then don’t do it alone. It is rarely the big purchases that do the damage but the little ones. “Watch the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves” is indeed true. We don’t begrudge a little treat here and there, a book for £5.99 or a lipstick for £10. If that were all and you have the disposable income then it wouldn’t matter, but it becomes an issue when those little purchases become a habit. Team up with a friend and agree to reveal all your expenditure to each other. You can set your own terms, you may decide to keep your rent or mortgage and heating bills for example to yourself. But try to be as transparent as you can. It will make you question every purchase and you will be surprised if not shocked at how many you really do not need. I certainly have.