My husband has decided, as he does periodically, that we have run out of money and we all (meaning me) have to stop buying absolutely everything we see.
I don’t know what he’s talking about!
It was only those two Ikea chairs, those three Uniqlo jumpers, a Rixo dress, some new flamingo swimming shorts for Sam, a mug with HELL YEAH written on it, 100ml of SJP’s perfume and a teeny weeny weeny bottle of Chanel nail varnish!
What is not perfectly streamlined and economical about that?!
But I like challenges and this no-shopping thing takes me back to the principles of my protestant (with a small p) youth where my mother skip-dived and clothes were strictly hand-me-down or bought from jumble sales.
So no more clothes. No more stuff. No new bikinis for the summer or another pair of espadrilles while the ones I’ve got still have the sole attached.
At first this all really panicked me but then I realised that he’s right (and I don’t always think that). I’ve got too much stuff. And I buy things for bad and potentially mentally ill reasons. I’ve written about it before in the paper, as has Leandra Medine from Man Repeller (this is not the piece I am thinking of but here is an example of her no-shopping philosophy that I can find).
I have of course made a deal with my husband that every time I do one of his Sam early-mornings I get £100 to spend on something. So far I’ve got £100. And I’m thinking about this dress:
OR about saving up a few more early mornings and getting a Manu Atelier Mini Pristine… if I can actually find somewhere that still has them in stock.
Or, just not buying anything FFS, but looking at what I have in a more thoughtful way and finding something else to do with my time other than shopping – like cooking and reading. Maybe one day some work but let’s not get carried away.
Anyway that’s all from me for a bit as it’s HALF TERM NEXT WEEK duhn duhn duhhhhhhhn so I will be busy screaming at my kids and hopping from foot to foot until it’s time for a drink.
Oh Esther, I am so feeling this. I actually feel a bit nauseated thinking about how much money I have spent in the last few weeks. The other day I dropped my eldest at playgroup then dragged the poor baby here and there, in and out the car, picking up click and collect orders, aquiring a car load of stuff in my tiny 2 hour window. Then our local Hermes driver rang my bell again yesterday morning and said ‘another package for you!
And it really is just ‘stuff’ a new paddling pool, a new bubble machine, this summers crocs, some summer clothes for me, a new BBQ, photo frames, a potato ricer, cute things for the baby, a balance bike, a new high chair, expensive make up, cheap jewellery.
And it’s just something for me to do on my phone or ipad with the baby is feeding in his sleep or when they both happen to be asleep at the same time and I just want to sit in the sun, but feel like I’m being productive at the same time. Really, I’m not going to sort my life out by acquiring more stuff. Deep down I know I’m not. And the worst thing about click and collect or home delivery is the packaging. The evidence. The recycling bin full of cardboard boxes and all the plastic, so much plastic! Elaine x
I have a weird relationship with money and Ive no idea why as Ive never been uber wealthy but never been (thankfully) poor either. Its feast of famine here depending on what mood Im in. Im either skip diving and making dahl or Im in restaurants (too much), spending a bloody fortune on things I dont need (hiding boxes from my husband and myself) and food shopping in ridiculously expensive farm shops on the pretext that its healthier food and Im doing the best for my kids etc. We have three sets of school fees at the moment which is like having an expensive crack habit and its very draining. I cant wait for it to be over which is very sad as then I worry Im wishing my children’s lives away. My normal friends who’ve sensibly stuck with state schools worry about university costs but we cant wait for university as its cheaper! I think your shopping list looks very reasonable Esther! Best of luck with half term Xxx
No no no no no no no no no. Either you don’t have the money or you do. If as a couple you can afford something, buy it. If not, don’t. You cannot allow an unequal situation in which one declares there is not enough money and then uses his moral status as breadwinner to dole out small sums in exchange for skipping his obligations. No no no no no.
I am not saying (or even coming close to suggesting) that Giles is abusive, but the system you are now glorying in is a gateway to a very unhealthy relationship.
Now, we do all have too much stuff (having kids makes this so much worse as you get given so much shit). I love the £100 challenge (get out £100 in cash and don’t spend anything else all week!) and desperately don’t want spoilt children. Spending less is good.
No more cash for chores.
Elena the cash for chores was kind of a joke, suggested by me. Giles is not an abuser and our relationship is as fine as you can expect from two high functioning lunatics with two small kids. But your concern is noted x
😂😂😂 this made me laugh, I had EXACTLY the same conversation with my husband last week. I have to remind myself ‘we don’t have any money’ actually means ‘we’re not saving enough’ rather than the bailiffs are fast approaching…
Recently i had a budgeting breakthrough after realising how much my husband & I spent last year… We took a figure for how much we think it’d be ok to spend per year each on everything except groceries. Divided it by 365, and then treated it as daily income. The Spendee app is brilliant for tracking money going in and out. We then each record everything single we spend the moment we spend it (coffees, handbags, random kitchen items, mascara, presents -wine goes in this budget! etc)
Then you get enough money to spend but also it’s satisfying watching it add up if you don’t. The genius is my husband & I both doing it. Given all our cash is joint presents had been a bit meaningless. Now anything we buy each other (even a coffee) is clearly from the other person. Which is kinda romantic.
And our rubbish bins are way less full with the packaging of thousands of purchases. Which is nice.
Katie Apple says
I LOVE your blog, I absolutely loved Recipe Rifle, and I really love On the Spike, you are forever one of my favourite pit stops on the internet.
Please can I put out my first request? I’m 32, getting married end of July, any advice on weddings? It’s a vague request, but as this post was about money I thought it linked in… Any advice on keeping sane in the run up, where to spend, and advice for being a newlywed? Katie xx
Katie! What a good question. I will answer shortly.
We did the money thing, but combined it with a mad decluttering, which was great because it’s such a ball ache to throw away all our stuff that it really put me off buying any more! X