Somehow austerity measures have sunk in and the last two weeks of ‘Buy Nothing New’ weren’t too difficult. Not buying stuff reminds me of when I first arrived in England straight after my studies and lived with two friends – all of us as poor as church mice due to the unfavourable currency exchange with South Africa. We would spend £10 each a week on all groceries including cleaning equipment. And when we went to a pub, the three of us would share a coke as it was all we could afford! I still only use the tiniest amount of toothpaste and little dabs of face cream due to the ingrained habits of scrimping and saving in 1996.
I have found it difficult not to have flowers in the house but found some beautiful paper flowers that the children had made and with some bright red tins, it all looks rather cheerful. We had friends over for supper and they brought lemon yellow tulips which I am enjoying so much – much more than if I had just bought them myself.
I know that some stuff we would have bought has just been postponed but I’m sure we made savings on gifts and by not pouring money on entertainment and easy treats. I did cheat once this week and bought some glue for my daughter who needed to stick sequins.
The challenges over the month were entertaining the children during half term, gifts for others and no flowers in the grim month of February. But it also made me reflect and realise that 100 years ago, people couldn’t buy cut flowers so easily and I have really appreciated the first signs of spring and greenery outside.