I have been fortunate to have travelled to many countries. Including some places where the people live in poor conditions, compared to my warm stone-built house with central-heating and double-glazing.
In Cuba we saw people making homes in caves and from sheets of metal. These tiny spaces were homes. I remember being struck by their lifestyles, many still had scooters/mopeds and these huge (old) TVs and they grew food and had chickens running about! In Goa most people work, they work very, very hard and do whatever they can to be able to pay for their homes/food. They mostly have simple houses too. We visited a family event in a small village and there was one toilet for the whole village, it was a luxury; provided by a wealthier resident and mainly for guests to use. Can you imagine living like that?
Overall I was amazed and humbled and it made me extremely grateful for my privileged life. And when those people asked if I was rich (and I am not by my country’s standards) I realised that to them; there I was travelling around the globe, a big house and car at home – it seemed contradictory, insulting, to say ‘No’.
And now I am working from home with a tiny income. I am fortunate that I can stay in my home because there is no mortgage. Yet, I am conscious of not spending unless I absolutely need something.
I have realised: I don’t need new clothes every two months or new make-up because gold is now fashionable; my car is a luxury item (it is likely to go soon as I now have a third-hand bike); I also appreciate that if I go out socially I can say ‘no’ rather feel pressured to join everyone else in expensive shots/toasts (I struggle with that I admit 😉 …
But this downsizing isn’t that terrible. In fact it’s liberating because I don’t feel that peer pressure to colour my hair every 6 weeks, buy the latest clothes and go to every ‘do’.
Of course I have some cash in the bank. And my husband is still working full-time and he pays the bills; but I am aware of not wasting food/energy. I switched my phone to a cheap tariff and I ask for the stuff I need for birthday/Christmas presents (even if I need pens and paper).
I have even remodelled my front garden – it took about 2.5 hours and cost nothing.
I also feel less stress to rush about ‘buying stuff’ to keep up with everyone else or (worse) to show that I am doing well for myself. I honestly don’t care if I wear the dress from So-and-So’s wedding to the next one. Really who cares? I certainly don’t!
Now: £ = 0 🙂 + 10
So don’t be afraid of having less stuff or money ~ have a happier life, that’s far more important!