My New Age of Austerity

My bike

My friend Maria (Feisty Tapas) has been helping me get my life in order. I am a slightly chaotic person with a bit of a ‘to hell with it’ streak, and it’s not really served me well these past few years. So I am in the process of drawing up a life plan for the next two years to get me to where I need to be in my work life, with financial independence, getting ready for slightly scary things like babies and part of this plan is my own personal new age of austerity.

Part of the reason I’ve had to take an abrupt turn and take myself down this path is due to personal health issues that have forced my hand a bit. I’ve had to cut back on some working hours and have a rethink about how I am still going to aim to Make Things Better for myself. So instead of looking at my ingoings and outgoings and panicking a little inside and then trying to carry on as if there’s no issue, I’m going to make the most of what I have – learn to live responsibly, sustainably and still have a bit of fun along the way.

Part One of the plan is my food bills. I am going to embrace making meals with my slow cooker – until now, it has just been a nice shiny contraption that I won in a charity auction for a few pounds that has been sitting on my kitchen countertop. I also need to learn how to shop on a budget and not just play at it. I know vague prices of something things, but couldn’t tell you how much a can of beans costs. Although I do know the cost of a loaf of bread and it’s ridiculous. So home baked bread is definitely back on the menu.

My very modest but very useful third or fourth hand bike - anyone got a basket?!

My very modest but very useful third or fourth hand bike – anyone got a basket?!

Part Two is the car issue. We have two cars, both of which are old and prone to bits dropping off, and recently both cars decided to break at the same time. But luckily Rich is a man with skills and has been working diligently on getting my little 1.2 Corsa fixed and back on the road. It would have cost us more than the car is worth to get it fixed by a mechanic but having someone around with a vested interest and the patience to Fix All The Thing has been a God-send. But really, the car issue isn’t so much about getting the cars back on the road. It’s about not putting so much bloody petrol in them. So the bike has been dusted off and I’m thinking about getting a basket for it (second hand, of course) so I can nip up to the farm shop or the supermarket and do all the local stuff without burning through £1.30 per litre of petrol. Plus, I could really do with the exercise.

Part Three is simple. Lucy does not need any more pairs of Toms shoes, however much she likes them.

Part Four is putting my wardrobe on hold until I’m desperate. I have enough clothes. There are car boot sales locally where you can pick up some great pieces for a couple of quid. Goodness knows Mum manages to fill out her wardrobe with good quality items and great labels at a fraction of the cost. So I just need to look and learn, and stay away from the surf shops.

Part Five is growing even more food.

Part Six is all about reduce, reuse, recycle. And upcycling.

Part Seven is all about asking myself if I really need to buy something, and learning to say no (Maria, I have you telling me no a lot in my head when I’m in the danger zone).

There’s more to do it but I won’t bore you. Instead I’ll start by trying to supply some tasty, cheap and ethical recipes to share the thrifty love. And I’ll keep you posted on how the life plan is panning out…