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Month: August 2017

Every house doesn’t need a lawn mower

Every house doesn’t need a lawn mower

Why do we all (most of us) feel the need to create an island out of our home, with everything in it that we could need?

On the street I live in, house after house after house has their own shed, filled with their own bikes (rarely used), their own lawn mower, their own hedge strimmer.

Inside, people keep their little-used pianos, a library’s worth of books, a gym’s worth of equipment, a catering company’s worth of crockery. Even with several years pruning my possessions (with my very own sacotuers) and diligently considering new purchases (or so I thought), my house is still full of stuff. And yes, I have my favourites and most useful things that get used day after day after day. But I have way way way too many ‘occassional’ items.

I sometimes kid myself that I am a lightly treading consumer, that I limit my environmental impact to the slimmest amount. And whilst it’s true that I own things longer than most people perhaps do, and derive glee from reducing my cost per use of items, I’ve just had a bath and could see 9 lotions, potions and bottles just at the end of the bath. Above my head, should I have looked up, as well as in a shelving unit alongside the bath, and in a little hidey hole underneath are dozens more. I know this is a bit of a tangent- I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t own your own shampoo! But how on earth have I, someone who owns one mascara and one eyeshadow pallette, managed to amass so much of this kinda stuff??? What the frick?

Until recently (when I acquired one for free that was taken to the tip and is still in full working order!?), I shared my dad’s garden strimmer. It saved me buying and storing one, and saved one needing to be produced for me. Why is this unusual though? Why do we need to have our own one of everything? We’d all have more money and space if we shared more.

I have a long way to go, but I’m trying to consume less. Not just for the financial benefits, but for my own sanity (I find clutter very stressful) and for the environment. Getting better at sharing isn’t easy when no one needs you to share anything with them. So here’s where I’ve dipped my toe into the communal pool:

  • Owning different board games to the ones owned by friends, and playing with non-board game owning friends
  • Pledging to lend some of my crockery to a friend the next time she throws a family party
  • Lending accessories to my sister on special occassions (honestly, being the big sis, I don’t think I’ll be able to escape this, but I secretly love it!)
  • Lending films and books to people who will enjoy them
  • Taking our own towels when we stay with friends. Some friends did this when they visited us so we wouldn’t have to wash once used towels. I appreciated it so much, I’ve pinched the idea when we visit! 🙂
  • Sharing our suitcases with family when they go on holiday
  • Borrowing my aunt’s smoothie maker on the odd occassions that I feel like making smoothies

Every house doesn’t need one of everything. Virtually every house needs less, not more. This kind of attitude can help save a lot of money, not just by sharing those little used items with others, but by helping you realise you don’t even need to share some stuff because it’s completely unnecessary. Those contraptions that turn courgettes into spaghetti are a fantastic example.

If you’ve got any more ideas, anything you do or are trying, to get away from the ‘my house must have one of these of its very own’ mentality, please do let me know! I sure could use the inspiration…

Looking after ‘current you’ without sacrificing ‘future you’

Looking after ‘current you’ without sacrificing ‘future you’

Current vs futureAre you wrapped in the day to day life of the present version of you, or constantly planning the fate of future you?

Well, current you and future you is and will be the same person. You shouldn’t neglect either version of yourself.

Fortunately, I’ve found there are things you can do that are good for both current you, and future you. Who doesn’t love a win, win situation?

My natural tendency towards ‘future me’

Growing up, I saw my parents have to make decisions. Like the decision to replace windows one year instead of taking a family vacation. And they gave me my own decisions to make from a young age. Like the decision to have a £1.20 comic bought for me, or to have a pound coin that I could use however I wanted. (I almost always took the pound. I almost never spent it. There was something always more appealing in the future).

I presume it’s this environment  that taught me that a short term decision could be regretted in the longer term, which means I now have a strong sense of future self.

The downside of being future focussed

Having this strong sense of future self has been incredibly powerful at stopping me spending money on junk and giving me a strong financial footing. Present me is pretty thankful for the decisions that past me made. Every version of present me makes decisions for the different versions of future me. For example, tomorrow me will be happy to have a sandwich made by past me (still future me at the time of writing). 80 year old me will be happy that years and years of past mes paid into a pension.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted. So much so that, on one Sunday, I gave myself the task of doing nothing more than getting dressed and buying bananas. And that was it. I was pooped!

This weekend, I’ve decided that current me is no use to future me if she’s too exhausted to function. And so, I’ve been investing in the important areas of my current life. I’ve reaped immediate dividends but, rather unexpectedley, set future me up to receive recurring benefits.

Exercise for physical and mental health

Health is the greatest wealth but its an account that many of us fail to top up frequently or regularly enough. Investing in your physical health today will see immediate benefits for your mental health, as well as future benefits to your physical health. It’s just a case of choosing something that’s right for you.

One of the things I’ve been doing this weekend is learning how to use a foam roller, deliberately improving strength and spine health. A by product of this has been a calmer and more positive mental state.

Future me has very little chance of being fit and healthy if current me neglects my physical fitness and emotional wellbeing. This time last week I felt lifeless and lost. Right now, I feel balanced, energised, and ready to tackle the week.


We all know we shouldn’t eat too much sugar or fatty food or drink too much alcohol, etc. It’s easy to do these things mindlessly when you’re focussing relentlessly on future you. Before you know it, you’re opting for lazy, cheap, low nutrition options that leave you lethargic but craving more.

Current me has the priority this weekend, so I’ve coughed up and bought ingredients for a delicious and luxurious breakfast of fresh fruit, yoghurt and granola with fruit juice and my energy today has far exceed the energy I had yesterday. Breakfast is one of the areas where I have to make myself spend more money.

A box of £1 mutlitgrain hoops may last the week but there’s a reason that I don’t last the week- it doesn’t contain enough good stuff. I’ve been guilty of lapsing back to my cheap and lazy ways, but this morning’s breakfast (and how I now feel) is a much needed reminder to think about what nutrition I put into my body. Is there something you cut corners with to save yourself five minutes and a few pounds at a cost to your health?

Another easy way to look after the present version of yourself is simply drink more water. I’m guilty of failing to take in enough fluids usually, so I’ve deliberately upped my water consumption. Current me is better hydrated and future me will benefit from not having spent money to hydrate myself as well as the reinforced habit of drinking water.

Family and friends

Money can’t buy relationships, at least none with meaning. I can think of a million and one things that need doing at home, but those things can wait. It is all to easy to put off investing in relationships, especially when your budget is designed around maximum savings. However, taking your foot of the brake now and then (in a controlled manner!) will most likely to be money well spent.

On Friday, we met up with another couple for a quick (but delish) bite to eat followed by a film. Our friends have a great sense of humour and a night of laughter was a cracking start to the weekend. In a daring bout of extreme luxury, we ate out for a second consecutive night on the Saturday. Whilst board games will probably always be my favourite couple’s activity, you can’t beat sitting down over a meal and just connecting without distraction. It was bliss, made even better by no washing up to be done.

How does this help future me? Well, having the prospect of a meal to look forward to on Saturday evening made us super productive in the day, which we’re really going to benefit from through the week. Never mind limping through the chores of the day, we powered through washing, ironing and a major declutter (several bags will be carted down to the charity shops this week!)

Cutting bills and expenses

If you’re super focussed on future you then like me, you probably don’t enjoy the feeling of constantly spending money. We’ve enjoyed how we spent our money this weekend, but we haven’t let all fiscal prudence go out the window.

We remembered to take our 3D glasses to the cinema to avoid buying more, we chose glasses (rather than a bottle) of wine with dinner on Saturday, we cut the cost of food shopping using cashback vouchers from our credit card, and we switched onto a cheaper energy tarriff that will save around £15 per month.

This meant current me was relaxed and enjoyed how we spent our money, without leaving future me wondering if she’s been fogotten.

How are you balancing future you with current you?

I think I’ll always need to give myself little reminders not to forget about current me, but this weekend has shown me that thinking about the current version me doesn’t mean forsaking the future version of me. Do you have a stronger leaning towards the current version of you or the future version of you, and how do you strike a balance?