Even if you drank enough over Christmas to spend the last few days hidden under a duvet, it can't have escaped your notice that we're in a new year. 2014 is here and from what I can gather hanging around for another 365 days, so I guess we'd all better make the most of it.
Last year I wrote about the resolution to end all resolutions I which I pledged to give everything I do 110% over the year. I tried to do that, but I have to be honest and say that I don't think I always managed it. I did learn that to give 110% to everything it is very easy to forget yourself in that too – hence spending most of November laid up with pneumonia!
I'm not planning to have resolutions for 2014, but there are some things that I do aim to do this year and other things that I need to do.
For the C family 2014 is going to be the year of Thrift. Partly through necessity, and partly as I am sick to the back teeth of the throw away, wasteful society in which we now seem to live. Money is tight right now, but I need to make sure we stretch what we have got as far as we possibly can. I could take on more paid work, but doing so would just put further strain on myself in terms of juggling family life with work and lookinh after myself, and I need to get the balance between the three better this year. As is the case with everyone, bills seem to be going up and things in the shops are getting more and more expensive. The delightful (* note the sarcasm) letter from our gas and electricity provider telling us that we owed them over £400 and that they're increasing our monthly direct debit from £133 to £258 (yes a monthly increase of £125!!!) was beautifully timed to be waiting for us when we returned from my mum's over Christmas and it has certainly focused the mind. Lights are being switched off before we've even left the room and I'm crocheting blankets as fast as possible.
I wasn't totally joking about the blanket crocheting
On a serious note though – I know we're not the only ones having to work very hard to make ends meet right now and I have blogged here before as Thrifty Mrs C on all things money saving. I plan to do more of that in 2014, but I'm also delighted that Lucy of Lulastic fame has decided that emigrating to the a new country isn't enough of an achievement for the year (she was in the NZ immigration queue with her family just as they welcomed 2014) and she's also launched a new blog Wonderthrift. Knowing Lucy I know it's going to be packed with excellent hints and tips and I look forward to trying some of them out and seeing how many new ones she picks up from local Kiwis. Definitely it's on my must read list for this year.
The second driving force behind my thrifty plans for the year is that I've just had enough of how much we all throw away and waste. I'm not just talking about people not recycling, but also things like food waste and the obsession that people seem to have with buying stuff when something old can be fixed. I've always said on here that I want to learn from my grandparents generation and their make do and mend mind-set and I see this being a key part of my plans. This year I plan to buy as much as possible secondhand and where that is not possible I aim to buy locally from independent shops and as ethically as possible.
I also hope to overhaul the way we eat and buy food, again making the most of the local producers that we have. I accept that I'm still going to end up popping into Tesco for a pint of milk (they're a 2 minute walk away, it would be a waste to drive across town to another supermarket) but I'm hoping that 12 months down the line it will have noticeably changed how we source our food. There are four new raised beds currently getting a good soaking in the back garden and they too form part of my plan. I'm hoping to use this blog to track my progress in this aim and seeing what works and what doesn't.
Starting as we mean to go on – a new year's day lunch of leftovers
What we do together as a family is another area that I want to make a few changes in – although these may be less drastic. We already love exploring the outdoors together and I can see this continuing, especially now that Master C is getting more confident on his feet. I want us to find as many free or cheap family activities and days out as we can and to enjoy them together. I'm also hoping that all our thriftiness will pay off in us being able to afford our first proper holiday as a family of four. We're not fussed about going abroad with Master C still quite small, but instead we want to explore parts of this wonderful country – maybe the Norfolk coast, or Cornwall, or even the Isle of Wight. I'm looking around online for ideas and working out just how much we need to save.
So, a thrifty year ahead, but I'm determined that it won't mean going without and that we're all going to have lots of fun in the process. I hope you'll come and join me for the ride!