I can’t deny it. Since moving out of our box-tight 1-bed flat in Camberwell, south London and into a 4-bed house 13 miles south in Whyteleafe Surrey (for exactly the same price) we have felt the need to fill that extra space with crap. I never thought it would happen. But it has.
Room upon room of vacancy I’d never known before has become progressively populated with a wild variety of soft furnishings, musical instruments, a pool table (god, I love my pool table!), cat toys and all manner of utilities I never felt the need to own before, but now I have space for them I feel compelled to buy, buy, buy.
I’ve never spent so much time on ebay. It’s horrific how we are so easily swayed by the marketing machinations infiltrating our new life. I work in marketing for god’s sake, I have done for years, and I still can’t resist the betterware catalogues and virgin wines vouchers and 30%-off B&Q mega deals on bank holiday weekends.
But, despite our recent ravages on the bank account and sometimes silly luxurious buys in jubilant honour of our new existence, I’ve started to notice that these things actually give payback. Well, kinda. What I mean is, the more time I spend at home, around my cluttered ensemble of shiny new products, the less money I spend in every other facet of my life.
In the box-room in Camberwell there was the chance to furnish it with lovely items but it was so cramped we felt the need to escape constantly. So we would be out with friends, in the pub, in restaurants, at gigs, away for the weekend at every opportunity. That makes your life bloody expensive. Especially when you’re already paying the best part of £1500 a month on rent.
Now, I may have just forked out £99 on a fancy bashed-metal circular table-stand but I will happily sit next to it for years to come, resting my cup of tea on it while we kick back and eat a good cheap meal at home, watch TV, chat with friends and play with the cats.
Welcome to the cheap seats
As we’re spending so much more time at home these days, life has actually becomes incredibly cheap. I used to crush £150 on a regular weekend. Easy. Sometimes a lot more. Now it’s £30, if that. We do very little, and we love it. We hang about the house, have a few beers in the local pub on a Saturday night or go to a neighbour’s house for a party. So the payback has come thick and fast. And keeps on giving.
In all honesty, we need to trim back on both. I don’t really need stuff like the bashed metal table to enjoy my time back at base. I could be living the home life AND saving more cash to shorten my journey to retirement. But hey, one step at a time.