Month No. 1 of the Compact experience is almost over. So, how have I been doing?
Well, I have still managed to avoid purchases of a thing-ish nature. No clothes, no books, no stuff. I have stuck to only buying food and other necessaries, and instead of buying ‘stuff’, I have done yoga or gone out for some cheap and cheerful meals and snacks and coffee to satisfy my need to be pampered every now and again.
One result of this, which is particularly important to us at the moment, as we deal with unpredictable nature of ESL teaching in Turkey, is that we have spent very little money in the last month, which should really help us get through the coming month even though we’ll have smaller paychecks coming our way at the start of February. I am really excited about this. It feels so good NOT being stressed about money and wondering how we’ll get by, or having to dip into our savings. A small victory for living thrifty!
So, as the end of Compact month 1 rapidly comes to a close, I think I will definitely commit to a second month. But I feel like I need to get more creative in order to make this something that is actually sustainable, and not just an experiment in asceticism. I think balance is the key. Its all about the ‘middle road’, although, I must admit I enjoy the challenge of doing something a bit extreme now and again, to test my will-power. But, like with dieting, the risk is that you deprive yourself completely and then go on a massive binge at the end, which is something I want to avoid.
So, there are some things I want to figure out this next month, to make the Compact a realistic lifestyle choice.
1. See if there are any places at all where I can get second-hand goods and clothes. I have been told that Istanbul doesn’t have a culture of buying things used and there aren’t really any thrift or second-hand shops to be found, but I can keep searching, just in case.
2. If I really can’t get second hand clothes, I want to make a modest list of some things I want/need (such as a few more things to wear for work. I want to look professional, after all), and then figure out where I can get higher-quality clothes that are well-made and will actually last a long time, and therefore, don’t need to be replaced for ages. Part of me just wants to find something really cheap, but it’s sort of false economy to buy something cheap and poorly made, that then just falls apart shortly after you buy it. Better to buy quality items that cost a bit more. I think the same goes for boots. If I get a proper pair, they will last for years and years, and I think that is a reasonable purchase to make.
3. Successfully use Freecycle. We would like to get a lamp for our apartment. The lights are rather dim in our apartment, and a reading lamp would be great. I did sign up for Freecycle, but all the messages are in Turkish (obviously)! At the moment, I’m mostly just deleting the messages in a dejected sort of way, but I have cut-and-pasted a few messages into Google Translate, but they were a bit mixed and mangled in the translation process. Maybe with a bit more effort and ingenuity, I can figure out what’s going on! I know that when we get back to Ireland in the future, I will DEFINITELY become a regular user of Freecycle.
For those of you who might not know what Freecycle is, its basically a network for giving away, or getting stuff you want/need for free. On the group website, you can post items you are offering or that you want, and then arrange to exchange items. It means you don’t send your unwanted items to the landfill and it means that other people can find great useful things of all kinds for FREE! What an amazing concept! I really recommend finding one in your area and trying it out.
Freecycle: find a group near you. There are lots of groups all over the US and in Ireland. Just search for your area and see what comes up.