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I feel a bit like a broken record with this one, but we are about a month away from jetting off for a year of travel. With the kids!
Now we haven’t even set off yet, but I’ve learnt a lot about how I think about my money and even more about how I spend it.
The process of review your savings, income and packing up your home makes you acutely aware of what money you have and how you have been spending in the past.
Luckily, I have always lived a frugal lifestyle and, of course, been savvy about money and budgeting. Therefore, I enjoyed the challenge of deciding how much money would we need for our trip.
What I wasn’t prepared for was a change in how I spend and how I view the things I already own.
A few months ago, I began the process of clearing out the house of stuff we no longer needed. I started with the kids’ things review those items that we hadn’t used in a while or that the kids would have grown out of by the time we returned.
I was shocked at the number of toys that my kids had either already outgrown or would outgrow soon. They’re only little but so many of these toys had a short lifespan.
And this didn’t even include the clothes that I had to recycle. It felt like there were hundreds, and I’m good at reviewing our wardrobes every couple of months.
When I turned my attention to the rest of the house, there was so much stuff there too that I couldn’t believe that we kept. Or worse, bought in the first place.
I read this quote a while back:
“All the stuff you own used to be money!”
With every item, I dug out to be sold on or recycled all I could think of what that I had spent my money on it. What else could I have done with that money?
Once I started selling things, I got a little addicted. I began slightly obsessed with turning all that stuff back into money. Money was what I needed, not stuff. Not boxes and boxes of stuff.
At one point, my eldest daughter said “Mummy, don’t sell this! I like this!” whilst holding up a beloved toy. It was then that I realised that maybe I had gone a bit too far.
However, my belongings were what was standing between us and getting the absolute most from our big around the world adventure. So, I was more than prepared to wave them off in exchange for cash.
This was where I had the biggest revelation. Whenever I have had to spend money in the last few weeks, I have had to stop and consider my spending.
I would be standing in shops and reviewing whether I want to buy something because I didn’t know what would happen to it when we went travelling. The big question would be “am I taking this with me or putting it in a box?”
If I couldn’t be confident that I wanted to take it with me then I couldn’t justify buying. The thought of buying something that I could easily live without for a year meant that I probably didn’t need it in the first place.
This got me thinking about whether this was a philosophy that I could roll out all the time. I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy, but I never really felt the deep connection with that phrase. But this “would you take it around the world?” idea makes more sense to me.
It is nice to know that in the middle of spending all my hard-earned money that I’m still learning. And on top of that that I am exercising frugal habits. Maybe I won’t come back completely skint!
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.
Looking After Your Pennies is an eco-friendly personal finance blog written and managed by Charlotte Jessop.
I write on a variety of topics including frugal lifestyle, eco-friendly living, money making ideas and generally how to make your money go further.
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