Ah, January. A month of abysmal weather, guilt over festive over-indulgence and a definite “back-to-school” feeling as most of us return to work.
But despite the gloom, this is actually one of my favourite times of the year.
Everything feels somehow newer and fresher – the promise of a whole new year stretching before me, like a blank notebook waiting to be filled in.
I always make a list of resolutions and goals that I want to achieve during the next 12 months.
Usually it’s things like “pay off my credit card”/“eat vegetables with every meal”/only drink on weekends/ “get a better job” etc. By around this time of the month, most of them have already been abandoned.
So, this year I’m trying something different. As I’ve lain in bed ill with the flu over the past few weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder my future, and more specifically, my personal finances.
I’m reaching stage in my life where I need to sort out my priorities.
The other half and I have got just over nine months to save enough to pull off a wedding.
As my Gretna Green suggestion was shot down, we are now having the full works – the ceilidh, the vintage cars, the cake, the fancy outfits.
Yes, my OH is a right old groomzilla and it doesn’t come cheap.
Then, in a few years time we may think about starting a family.
All of that means that my current spending habits have to change.
It’s not that I spend extravagantly. It’s usually little, frequent purchases that add up. The dress that’s on sale for £20; the £10 book that I’ll read “one day”; the art supplies that never get opened; some new make-up, just because.
Before I know it, I’m £200 down and I’ve no idea how it’s happened.
There’s also the clutter that is slowly accumulating in my flat.
Recently I’ve been reading some blogs about minimalism and how living with less can actually make you happier.
The main message is that everything you own demands time, effort, money and space in order to store and maintain it.
The less you have, the more free you are to devote yourself to the things that matter,
like family, friends and fun experiences. That makes sense – fewer clothes, for example, means less time washing, ironing and hanging out the laundry, leaving you more time for hobbies.
Now, I’m not planning to turn into one of those hardcore minimalists with clinically tidy, bare homes and capsule wardrobes. That might suit some, but it just isn’t my style. I do think I can learn something from them though.
Over the next year I will minimise my spending, cutting out all unnecessary and frivolous purchases.
That doesn’t mean no fun. It just means spending more…mindfully. Lunch with a close friend is in. FOMO-driven night out with people I don’t even like very much is out.
I will be back with updates on how I’m getting on and how much I’m saving.
What about you? Have you ever attempted minimalism, the No Spend Year or anything similar? Leave a comment in the box below.