Save Money: Make Something
Consumption is temporary one-and-done enjoyment. Long term benefits are negligible. And the reason excessive consumption is draining and discouraging, is because it takes the place of creating, which is a natural energizer and encourager.
We have been redecorating Tartan Towers – ripping up carpets and sanding floors, remodelling the Tartanweans’ bedroom, stripping dodgy paper from walls and spending happy hours in B&Q choosing new wallpaper. And I have started recovering a sofa. Our bedroom is so crammed with the contents of the other rooms that we now complete a nightly obstacle course just to get into bed. It’s chaos – and I have felt so happy. I had forgotten how much it lifts me to be making and creating.
I have always loved making things – from my first clumsy clothes peg dolls in childhood to my wedding dress 20 years later. Somehow, though, I just go out of the habit. And my life feels the poorer for it. I have missed the sheer pleasure of creating, and I have paid for products I could actually have made myself. So we are literally the poorer for it too. I need to get back into the habit.
With this in mind, my newest New Thrifty Habit is to Make Something – to start a creative project each month.
When we buy something ready-made we are paying for materials, time and skill. If you have the time and skill already, paying for more than the materials is crazy. Obviously, if you lack the time and/or skill then paying for someone else’s is entirely sensible. We have just paid to have the bathroom remodelled – tiling, wiring and plumbing are not on my list of skills so it was money well spent. Of course, you could argue it would have been time and money even better spent if I had invested instead in a tiling/wiring/plumbing course and you would have a point…
Making at least one thing that we would otherwise buy each month is definitely a thrifty habit to get into. It turns saving money into an empowering, positive experience. Being creative means you always have options, can always be flexible about getting what you want at a low price – we can’t afford to replace our sofa at the moment but the fabric to recover the cushions cost me only £20 and allowed me to get the update I want at a price we can afford.
Making things is good for the soul as well as the purse, by the way. A recent study by Glasgow University found a connection between making and wellbeing. Making things helps you get into Flow, it can be sociable, leads you to learn new skills, beats slumping on the sofa in front of the TV and gives an enormous sense of achievement. It pays to invest in creating not consuming.
Why are you still reading this? Go Make Something!
(If you need inspiration, take a look at the Tartan Thrifty Make Something board on Pinterest)