I notice I’m still getting traffic here – but I’ve moved!!
The Phoenix Mind focuses on my student life, science lessons, mental health and re-definition processes.
Wings of Flight is my spiritual hub; my path to Druidry and beyond – including my de-cluttering and simplifying aspects.
Come on over and leave a comment to say you’ve made the switch; don’t forget to update your blogroll links!
In the past couple of weeks I’ve been examining my relationship with money. The maintenance loan from the government covers most of (but not all) my rent. Apart from bills, food, & travel, the money I have is for spending on myself. That can mean all sorts of things: clubs, junk food, pubs, getting to and from ceremonies, books etc.
While pondering my personal spending, I thought about how little I offer to pay that extra £1.80 for a friend to catch the bus, or how little I offer to reimburse if they spend money on me. Yet, my attention was brought today to how easily I spend £15-30 on books.
This morning, I saw two offers for e-books (see below), and signed up to both. Even if I don’t get much out of them, I’m supporting people who, like me, want to work doing what they love; who’re trying to make ends meet by following their passion and their heart.
And that is something I fully support.
And if that isn’t your thing, studies have shown that spending money on others increases your happiness more than spending it on yourself.
What’s your relationship with money like? Are you in debt? How could you give more this week?
Upon reading this post this afternoon, I thought about my arrival home.
Mum’s bought two new items since I’ve been at University…
One, is a kind of plug-holder for each of the sinks; which acts as a drain for the plug. It’s a little plastic mini-basin that sits on the wall with sticky-tape and keeps the plug… tidy?
Personally, I hang the plug over the tap… It drains just fine, I find; and doesn’t get in the way.
Secondly, she bought a plastic semi-circle with holes in it, for draining water from a saucepan… Now; we have a sieve, and a colander, the saucepan lid and a serving spoon with holes in it.. why do we need something else?
“It was cheap.“
“Yes, but that plastic will take centuries to biodegrade… YOU JUST KILLED A POLAR BEAR!!!”
Ahem. Okay, I’m back.
Does anyone have any tips or similar issues about the people they live with? I’ve tried to explain that the media makes us think we need things; I’ve explained the issue of plastic and I’m trying to teach by example: Each time we pass something in the shops; I say “well we don’t need it; we can do this instead, or make our own like this.”
My 20th birthday occurs in the summer and I’m trying to work out how to ask for non-material items [as it’s hard enough to get rid of over 300 fluffy toys, over 200 perfectly usable pencils [but who would buy them when new ones are 1p each?] and all the junk a teenager is supposed to need] from friends and relatives.
I’m thinking of writing an explicit letter that my mother can pass round to anyone who asks what to get me:
Something along the lines of, “please donate money to __charity x or y__ in my name, or give only book tokens or money [to go towards a meditation retreat in 2011]”.
And yet, I don’t know if she would honour that choice; because she has the above mindset. [Can I just point out that I love my mother; she’s a wonderful woman].
Has anyone had any experiences with this? I know there are some ways of getting around having to do this, as mentioned by Everyday Minimalist, but I don’t speak to my great-aunt or my mum’s old best friend, so can’t implement the tips that effectively.
We’d love it if you could share your tips and stories with us in the comments.
Minimal Student has a wonderful post about her challenge for the Spring University Holidays that I think everyone should read and seriously think about [especially students or those who travel a lot/ever].
Yesterday morning I began packing, despite feeling like my head was about to explode [I had to sit down a few times and get my breath back]. I spoke in December of how little I was taking home:
“The make-up I use weekly, clothes, my belt and jewellery. Umm.. Uh.. Notes, diary, magazines I’ve yet to read and a text book. My laptop and speakers… vitamin tablets, tarot cards. My “handbag” items and my cuddly toys”
This time, knowing my mother’s bringing her car, a ford KA [instead of the usual Volvo] and bringing my father with her, I don’t think I can even bring my suitcase. In December, the suitcase sat on the backseat while I sat in the passenger seat and my two cardboard boxes + one carrier bag sat in the boot.
As I will be sitting on the backseat this time, I’m setting myself a challenge of only taking one box of clothes home [and one carrier bag of dirty clothes that I love/know I’ll use].
So my final luggage consists of:
- One box [h11xw8.5xd10”] of shrapnel – books, make-up, knickknacks/photos, Cds, first aid kit, jewellery, stationary.
- One box of clean clothes [favourite tops, shirt for formal evening, winter clothing I won’t need next term]
- A carrier bag of dirty clothes I’ll need at home/winter clothes.
- My handbag
- 6 folders of lecture notes/papers/course folders/handouts + as I’m writing a review this holiday, my last review which got a high mark.
- Towelling robe/Coat/Hoodie/dressing gown/cuddly toys
What could you live without for a while? Next time you go on holiday; pack your bags and then look around your house. What could you live without?
Normally, this would be one of my de-cluttering days. I’m going home from my University accommodation to my bedroom at my parent’s house. Usually, this would involve setting down my suitcase and two cardboard boxes of essentials, and looking around; trying to fill up a box or bag with things I didn’t need at University and thus likely don’t really need sitting here gathering dust. If it’s sitting in a drawer back home, it’s unlikely I need it for my everyday living [having survived 10-12 weeks without it]
But I’ve been a bit silly and let my body get run down without giving it time to rest, fruit and vegetables or enough sleep. So I’ll likely be having a shower and going to bed once I get home.
To update my January goal, I’ve been getting up at 7am every morning since last week [Friday], and had to cut it down to 6am for this Thursday. I felt like I was getting better quality sleep and actually woke up feeling more refreshed after 6.5-7 hours of sleep than I would with 8-9.
This provides two reminders: no matter what your goals are, self-care is highly important. I may want to get up early; but if I know I’m getting a bit ill, I need to go to bed earlier so my body gets the extra rest needed to heal.
Secondly, though all I feel like eating is processed biscuits and chocolate; my body needs fresh fruit and vegetables at this time. I need to provide enough nutrients for it to heal and rest-time for it to work in.
If you only simplify one thing in your life; simplify your self-care with some form of motto:
My health comes first.
Without your health, how are you going to be able to help people/do your job well/earn money to support your family etc. Our health, in my opinion, is the back-bone of society even more-so than money.
Everyone’s situation is different. However, I think it’s safe to say that debt and financial struggle is a pretty common phenomenon these days. I was reading a post over at Becoming Minimalist about getting out of debt and was reminded of my own situation.
I’ve written about this before and about the situation of being an English University student. I take out a loan of around £6,500 a year for university (around £3,200) and a “maintenance loan” (meant to cover food, but only just covers rent). Over the three years of my degree, that will add up to around £20,000 of debt.
I’ve never had a money-earning job. I don’t have a credit card, I don’t pay for any monthly magazine subscriptions. My weekly budget of £20-25 covers a fortnightly shop, presents, seeing friends and experiencing spirituality.
I’m not careless with money, but there is little I can do about the debt until I have full accumulated it. After my three years, it’s likely I’ll work [mainly voluntary I think] for a couple of years and then go on to Postgraduate study where, you guessed it, I can get in more debt. It seems somewhat pointless to try and pay off some of the original £20,000 when I’ll need to save up money to actually find a place to live after study.
Everyone’s plans are different, everyone’s situation is different. What’s your financial situation like? How to do you deal with the trials and tribulations of debt and spending?
When was the last time you took control of your finances? Can you imagine just putting 5% more of your earnings into debt repayment and how wonderful it will feel to see that debt slowly but surely decrease? I love reading the blog over at A Piece of Wood, because it gives me hope and inspiration that I’ll be able to tackle my debt and see it decrease.
How could you simplify your debt this month? Do you have a budget? Have you shopped around for the best rates in banks and building societies? Have you any particular goals set in realistic time (eg. pay off £100 of debt in a month)
This is week 7 of a challenge to have two “simple” main meals a week, with one vegetarian day a week. I’m not suggesting everyone do it, it’s just something I’m trying to see how it affects my body. Tonight’s meal of rice and steamed vegetables is followed by sliced apple and cinnamon.
How could you simplify your meals?