Simple Living Review: May 2016

Today we enter the final quarter of our first single income year and we’re starting to think about how we might budget differently in the future given how this first year has gone. May has been a really good month and we have saved 10% of our income.

What did we spend and do this month?
An average £13.44 on food an drink per day. We think next year’s target will be £12 per day instead of the very difficult £10 we set ourselves this year!
– Bicycle oil, biodegradable cleaner and an inner tube
– One fill of petrol
– Driving licence renewal
– A few bus journeys
– One choir attendance, one Open Garden day out
– Library loan of Game of Thrones box set
– Garden axe
– 20 bags of gravel for our new seating area (not all used)
– Dental floss, toothpaste, sunblock, soap, deodorant
– Birthday gifts

Brian completed the transformation of part of our garden. It started as a shady and neglected flowerbed and concrete path, and is now a gravel seating area with a flinty feature around the remaining area of soil which has our gooseberry bush in it. The wall at the end is made of the concrete blocks that were under the flowerbed which he dug out.

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We recently enjoyed our first proper sit out there together with cheese sandwiches and crisps, very sophisticated!

05 28 Cheese and crisps in our seating area

We also enjoyed lots of fun and leisure time this month, such as the Eurovision Song Contest which was the perfect opportunity for Lucy to start work on her decorate-it-yourself garden gnome which she got for her birthday. Here is his journey so far:

05 15 Gnome stage one

Stage one: hat and beard

05 29 Gnome stage 2

Stage two: Well on the way to gnome perfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did we learn?
This month has involved slowing right down and letting go of many of our self-imposed schedules and deadlines, to prioritise wellbeing. Our seating area is brilliant but was very physically draining to get done. We’ve realised that nothing in the house or garden is that urgent if we are safe, warm and dry – it can all slow down now.

It has been good for us to rethink a lot of things and talk to each other about it. For Lucy, doing a bit of the cooking and cleaning again has been pretty fun, as its an excuse to listen to music, sing and dance around a bit while achieving something productive!  So, we think we are getting better all the time at being able to adjust and compromise, which feels like a really powerful strength to have.

Goals for next month:
Next month we would like to stay slow and simple in our goals, and just take each day as it comes rather than set ourselves up with a list of things we must achieve. So, if we can relax and enjoy watching Wimbledon at the end of June untroubled by thoughts of what we should have got done, then it will have been a successful month!

05 05 Our oak

Lucy’s Books & Music Corner:

Music
Song of the month:
 Beach House – Lazuli
Penny & The Quarters – You and Me
Christine & The Queens – Half Ladies
Nao – Girlfriend
And Bonnie Raitt on Jools Holland’s show doing a cover of ‘Need You Tonight’ by INXS!

Books 
Book of the month: Anna Gavalda – Consolation
(There was a lot about this book I liked, and a lot I didn’t like, but it was the one which resonated most with me when I was enjoying it, so that’s why it had to be number one.)
Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Tove Jansson – Travelling Light
Graeme Simsion – The Rosie Project

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