As the year begins it’s difficult not to look back and take stock of where we’ve come from and where we’re going. This year is likely to bring more change but, this time, it feels like we’re getting within touching distance of where we’d like to be before we need to start thinking about schools and setting down firm roots for our toddler.
Last year was been all about working incredibly hard and saving incredibly hard. With two parents working more than full time, Frog has had to adjust to only having afternoons at home – but adjust she has.
I’m proud of the way we’ve managed to keep focused on our goal to save and still keep a grip on the important things in life. Joy is jumping in crunchy leaves and playing on swings at the park, it’s not about having the biggest TV or the flashiest car.
Ironically, with the jobs we’re both now doing we’re earning more money than we ever have done before. My salary is now more than double it was in my pre-baby role, but because we’re saving carefully you’d never guess. We don’t buy expensive clothes or splurge money on “stuff”. Frog’s main Christmas present was a second hand doll’s house we painted and gave some TLC – it cost the princely sum of £10.
To contribute to the savings pot we’ve also sold things we no longer need on sites like eBay, as well as following a strict weekly grocery budget. I’ve scaled back much of the clothes I hardly ever wore and recently did a major jewellery sort out too. There are lots of companies that offer cash for gold now and it can be a great way to get some money for the pieces you no longer use. I’ve still got the odd pair of gold earrings languishing at the bottom of my jewellery box and it’s just laziness stopping me making the most of their worth.
We’re not averse to accepting hand-me-downs too, often finding the quality of the children’s clothes Frog is given are just as good as new. And charity shops are also our friend; for Christmas I managed to find four beautiful books for Frog in a local charity shop for the pricey amount of £3.75 for the bundle. Each book is in mint condition, with no sign of second hand wear and tear anywhere.
I hope the hard work and the saving pays off. To know we have a substantial amount in the pot in for the “one day house” is a nice feeling. But it’s also nice to see the rewards of our hard work and to know that, as she grows, our toddler is learning that “things” don’t make you happy – that can only be found in love and warmth and family.
I can’t remember the last thing we bought that wasn’t instantly used and appreciated. It’s satisfying to know that we’ve worked hard for our purchases and our toddler will hopefully see that new things don’t just magically “appear”.
In the meantime, we’re going to continue to work hard and savour the moments of joy where we can get them. I hereby vow never to walk past a pile of crunchy leaves without jumping in them ever again. Promise.
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