Buy Happiness: Try Something New
You may have noticed that my initial intention to introduce new habits ‘one week at a time’ has wavered somewhat. Truth is, my enthusiasm for the idea of developing new habits outstrips my ability to actually develop them. Apparently, one new habit a week is more than I can handle and I am determined to work with the real me, not the ideal me. So I have decided to slooooow it down and aim for just a couple of habits a month now. This month’s second (and last – phew!) new habit is to try out a new, cheap activity.
Why? Surely when you are trying to cut costs, trying out new things that you might not even enjoy is nuts? Well…
- Activity and variety make us happy. So I figure a variety of activities should make us extra happy.
- Doing without gets old pretty quick. Not spending much on treats shouldn’t mean having no treats. At all. Ever.
- Not Spending is a negative, and our minds don’t readily commit to negatives – much more inspiring to aim for something than to avoid something else. So I am aiming to have lots of new experiences rather than avoiding spending money. Experience has taught me that when I just aim to Not Spend, sooner or later I crack.
- Expanding the range of cheap activities we can enjoy will stop us shelling out for the more expensive options just because we can’t think of an alternative.
- Mixing it up a bit will be fun. (Cheap fun!)
So – having discovered recently that I have already paid (with our Council Tax) for lots of family activities we have never tried, I decided to pick one of them for our first new activity. This week sees the start of Glasgow’s first ever Wee Write festival – a literary festival for children. Saturday was Family Fun Day, with lots of free drop-in activities alongside the bookable events so we went along to enjoy the freebies and soak up the atmosphere. That’s not what happened though: I bought tickets for Tartan Boy and myself to attend the Metaphrog workshop while Tartan Dad and Tiny Tartan enjoyed the entirely free PlayTalkRead bus parked outside. Truth to tell, we could have just stuck with the free activities (in fact, Tiny Tartan would have been thrilled to just spend the whole day on the play bus) and spent a very happy few hours there. The atmosphere was buzzy, the big reference library jumping with lively kids, and there was loads to do.
So – do I regret spending a tenner to go to a seminar on comic-writing with Tartan Boy? Nope. It was a brilliant hour: TB lapped up every word, I thoroughly enjoyed watching him watching the presenters, and even enjoyed a little ham-fisted doodling of my own, and when we got home TB spent hours drawing his own top secret comic book. We have talked quite a bit about ideas that came up in the workshop and TB clearly enjoyed having his mum to himself and sharing a special activity with me. I am still mulling over some of the ideas about creativity and story-telling that came up in the workshop. So that tenner has given us both a lot more than the one hour of entertainment we paid for.
It helps, though, that I now have a little fund for treats and outings and so did not have a slightly panicky feeling that we couldn’t afford it when I booked the tickets. Next month, we will definitely try a totally free outing.
I have asked Tartan Boy to do a wee guest post about the outing too. He would love to read your comments!