Hoarder of Hope

Dozens shiny gold stars that look like sequins...

“Where does this go?” asks my mum, waving some trinket at me.

I shrug: “I dunno.” Then I frown. “I just find it really hard to get rid of stuff, even if I know I don’t need it now.”

My mother sighs deeply, acknowledging our similarities. “It’s that poverty mindset.”

And I remember being impressed, because my mum is not someone prone to any sort of deep or constant reflection. And she absolutely hit the nail on the head concerning the reason for my inability to let go of certain things.

It’s definitely something that runs in the family – my mum is a notorious stasher. One of my favourite memories was when my sister and I got sick of not being able to see her vanity table and started clearing it.

Continue reading

The No Spend Year by Michelle McGagh.

I picked this book up in my local library because the bright green cover stood out to me and I’m really glad I did. I don’t really know what I was expecting but based on the title and the supposed emphasis on ‘no spend’ I guess I assumed it would be like the lead protagonist of the Shopaholic series going cold turkey for a year.

Au contraire, my problematic biases!

Michelle is a financial journalist and decided that, for one year, apart from absolute necessities, she is not going to spend any money. She initially wrote it as part of a column for the Guardian before it was a book, so you can get a bit of a peep there if you like.

Something that struck me was that, because she has a bike and cycles most places, she decided to not allow herself the ‘luxury’ of the bus or cabs.

Now think about that for a minute – trying to visit your friends or family or constantly commuting and even going on holiday (yes she does, for free, seriously) purely by bike. What the heck! Only by bike?! I thought as I read. Never mind Man vs Food, this is like Woman vs Life.

Continue reading

My favourite thrifty fitness activities

A person wearing red athletic shoes and a yellow and black striped tracksuit.

As a teacher, I happily put my hands up and admit that summer is my off season. I can put my feet up and relaaaax. Quite often this involves ice cream and cake and a table but sometimes, I relax by…well, working out.

I find it gives me more energy (to do less), my mood is lifted and I generally tend to have more patience with other human beings.
A sedentary Draig is a pretty miserable Draig indeed. Plus, there are a whole load of preventable diseases that run in my family for which exercise seems to be the number 1 solution.

But I resist the siren call of leisure centres and gyms trying to lure me with summer deals and an impressive puns on the word ‘sizzling’. Nope, unless it’s for a swimming pool, I’m not going in.

Rather, I’m trying to make the most of the sunshine, warmth and free Vitamin D I have access to before winter comes a-knocking to stay for what seems like forever…

Continue reading

Money After Marriage: Lessons I learnt from my Aunties

My mum was (is?) a social butterfly in her community. She was the friend her friends called when life got messy because she’s sympathetic and supportive without being abrasive. As the daughter of such a woman, this meant I got to have a peek into the lives of many of my ‘Aunties’ and – unwittingly – how they navigated their money and lives. What I’ve saw definitely impacted my money moves.

Continue reading