Doing without in our early married life was a necessity as money was short, but it’s also a way of life that can be fun and creative and helps you stay off the marketing bandwagon that so often seems to drive life. It’s about living life more simply, thinking for ourselves and making time for what is really important.
Nowadays money isn’t as much of a problem but I still enjoy the creative side of doing without and I also like the fact that it uses up less of the earth’s resources. As well as cooking from scratch, which means less packaging, I also enjoy making meals from leftovers or thinking what I can create from all the stray bits of veg in the bottom of the fridge. It means I often last a couple of days extra before I shop, whereas if I had been to the supermarket I would automatically be drawn to the new food. We are lucky in that we have an allotment, but most people could grow their own herbs on a windowsill or create a small patch in the garden to grow lettuce or beans. I love to be able to pick fresh lettuce for a salad each day in summer and by planting new seed regularly I rarely need to buy any.
Foraging is now becoming more popular and I still love to make nettle soup in spring and pick blackberries for the freezer in autumn. People nowadays spend a fortune on blueberries from the supermarket whereas wild blackberries are not only free but free from pesticides and contain similar properties to blueberries. This year the hedgerows have been laden and picking your own not only gives you some fresh air and exercise but it can also be made into a fun trip out with the family.
I’ve always sewn and it has saved me thousands of pounds over the years. I don’t make as much from scratch now but I still can’t resist looking in charity shops and often come home with a dress or jumper that with a bit of tweaking becomes a desired item. It’s a great way to learn to sew as you are not spending much money so it doesn’t matter too much if it doesn’t work. It also means that I shop less so avoid impulse buys, but if there is something I really want, I can afford it as I have saved the money.
I think we all need to question our lives and decide what is important to us. We need to look behind the marketing hype and work out what makes us happy. Often it’s not doing or having more that makes us happy but having and doing less and spending time with those we love. Being creative can be so fulfilling whether that’s creating meals from scratch or making things for our home or family. Just don’t forget to question and work out what’s right for you.