Being a tight-fisted git

December 12, 2010

So as you know (if you have read the “About” section) we are on a mission to drastically downsize, save money, and generally opt out of the consumerism driven culture that pervades our society.

Since I started reading a lot of minimalist writing and thinking seriously about the way we live, I have really noticed JUST how consumerist everyone around me is. I feel like every time I go on facebook I see people saying they have just bought more shoes, or 2 dresses they didn’t need, or maxed out their credit cards doing Christmas shopping. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not about living a scrooge-like, miserable existence. But we’re trying to not just buy stuff for the sake of it. Every time I feel the urge to spend money I’m trying to stop and think, do I really need/want this? Is it going to enhance my life? So with this in mind we have told all our relatives not to buy us Christmas presents this year but give the money to charity instead. The last thing we need when we’re trying to clear out stuff is more stuff in the form of Christmas gifts!

But I’m finding it’s hard to not buy into (excuse the pun) this stuff, when there is a certain amount of peer pressure and the feeling that if you don’t spend money, well, people will think you’re a tight-fisted git. For example, my stepmother is graduating this week. As we were discussing the arrangements I said “I suppose we should buy her a graduation gift” – to which OH replied “Really? Isn’t that the sort of thing we’re NOT supposed to be doing?” And he’s right. I mean, I wouldn’t mind spending some money on her if I knew I was getting her something she actually wanted, but there isn’t anything that comes to mind, so we will just end up spending £20 on a card and choccies or wine or something else generic and pointless. But it’s hard not to feel pressured into doing these things. I have the urge to give her a congratulations card and write a message inside explaining in great detail why we haven’t bought her a present, and that it’s not because we are too tight, or because we don’t love her. Ridiculous, I know!

First post

December 11, 2010

I have been wanting to post stuff on this blog for days, and of course as soon as we get it up and running I have writer’s block.

Downsizing is feeling like a huge and mammoth task at the moment.  We have a lot of stuff.  A LOT of stuff.  Much of it crap.  Most of it needs getting rid of.  It’s a huge undertaking and I’m trying not to let it overwhelm me, but approach it one bite sized chunk at a time.  Today I have been ripping CDs that I want to keep to mp3 and listing them on eBay.  Once we’re done with CDs I will move on to books.  I have a HUGE amount of books and know this will be hard to whittle down.  All the Harry Potters, for starters, have to stay and they take up practically a whole shelf on their own!  I’ve toyed with the idea of a kindle, but (a) I love to read in the bath, so not ideal for that; and (b) it would cost a fortune to replace all my books on kindle.  I think wherever we end up will have to be close to a  good library.

I’m struggling with “sentimental value” items too.  I know most of them need to go, but I still feel attached to them.  For example, we have a large stuffed Scooby Doo which was given to us as a wedding present.

(Sidenote: with that kind of wedding present, perhaps I should have known we were destined to be the kind of kooky tree hugging hippies who would chuck in a perfectly good job and house to go off and live by the sea.  But I digress).

Scooby, clearly, has to go.  Large and pointless toys are not an option if you’re living in a small cottage or in a caravan (one of our possible plans at the moment is property renovation either while living on site or in a caravan.  And whatever we end up doing, it’s safe to say it will be in a much smaller property).  But I can’t help but feel a pang at the prospect of binning a wedding present. I’m going to have to get over this if I’m serious about this change.

On a happier note, going through the CDs has been great.  Since redecorating a few years ago our CDs have been upstairs out of the way and we’ve both come across oldies that we haven’t listened to for years. Having them on mp3 will not only save vast amounts of space but we will also end up listening to them more.