I’ve recently been reading this new blog which I found via Sarah and I’ll be following it with interest through the year. It echoes a lot of my thoughts and goals for 2013 around simplifying, buying less and clearing out our clutter. I’m also reminded how lucky I am to live here away from so many trappings of the modern world and how different things may be if we were raising our kids in the UK.
Talking with Made’s mother the other night I was explaining how much I earned in the UK (a fairly decent but average amount there but one that sounds like a fortune here) but that every month it vanished almost immediately on housing, transport, insurance and other necessities, leaving very little with which to enjoy the free time when I wasn’t working. I’ve always been a fairly frugal person and think hard about making big purchases. Most of my money went on travel, I am proud to say, but so much of it also went back into fueling the work-eat-sleep cycle that ultimately got me nowhere.
I have no doubt that if we were living in the UK now I’d be spending a LOT more on ‘stuff’ for the kids, I’d be scouring websites like Aviva for the best car insurance deals and I’d be gasping with shock every time we got a bill for gas/electric/council tax or filled the car up with petrol.
As I’ve said on various occasions, living the simple way we do here in Bali makes things so much easier. I didn’t spend the months when I was pregnant with Maya shopping for prams, cots and other baby ‘essentials’ (when we visited the UK I took Made for a tour of the baby department at John Lewis and we were both totally dumfounded at the cost of the prams – “look, this one is five hundred pounds!”, “look, this one is NINE hundred pounds!”).
Food and nappies are probably the things we spend the most on monthly, along with necessities like insurance and internet access (yes the internet is a necessity). We don’t have ‘baby snacks’ here so that is not an issue but I do buy too much imported food and need to learn to use more local produce and buy less snacks in general to save money (and be healthier). As for the nappies, Maya is toilet trained now and only wearing them for sleep and we’ll be starting to train Kiran in a few months. I wish I’d researched more into cloth 3 years ago but I always assumed it would be too hard to handwash cloth nappies and never even considered buying them second hand to reduce the initial outlay. Oh well.
It all comes back to spending, saving and simplifying and I’m starting with the simplifying. Onwards and upwards!