Zingaro Bimbo Nostro (our little baby gypsy)
I think that as you get older and you start understanding yourself, knowing yourself better, you ultimately become a happier person. Embracing your faults along with your good points is a lot easier than fighting against them or denying them altogether. Some faults can be changed, some modified, some acknowledged as unchangeable but learnt from.
Like my materialism. From an early age I have always had expensive taste. I don't go shopping often and I don't necessarily believe everything needs to be top line. Only some things and I have a hard time budging from my idea surrounding a given item. Like our strollers. We spent a small fortune on our Bugaboo stroller when Z. was first born and then again for our Phil and Ted's double decker stroller. They really have been worth the money though, this is the thing. When I can justify the investment to me its worth the money. Or if there is my nostalgic romantic attachment to some things in life I can't let go of like our beautiful old fashioned wedding invitations or our wedding china, clearly a rather indulgent investment for a life style that we don't yet have and might not ever.
But on the other hand I am afterall still a bit of a Zingara (Gypsy). I can make do with what I have and am greatful for whatever I have and am given (which is a lot by the way) and most material things I don't have such strong feelings about - Our cribs? Ikea and Z.'s new toddler bed is second hand bought from our neighbor. And baby clothes? We have so many hand me downs, M. will never own a single item bought for him poor boy. And toys? I'd say 60% if not more have been given to us. The furniture in our house? A combination of Ikea, freebies (street acquisitions or left to us by former room-mates, neighbors, family), antiques, wedding presents and the furniture from the house. Books? I occasionally will buy new books but I'm much more into searching for gems from charity shops particularly children's books as at this age they're more likely to be ripped a part or bitten then read. I've worked in the fashion industry for thirteen years and so you'd think I'd be a clothes horse and I am but mostly of all the freebies I've received over the years. Thankfully I'm back to my pre-pregnancy size (don't know how that happened perhaps something to do with chasing after two boys under two 12 + hours a day?) so I can thankfully fit back into a lot of my old clothes.
My husband is much more of a spendthrift than I am. He has a great rule which I am now really good at following which is to really never to let any food in the refrigerator go bad. We very rarely throw anything out and make most of our meals from scratch which not only is better for you is much more economical. Spaghetti sauce which what in the States probably costs a couple of dollars a jar? I've been making my own for years now but never more so than married to an Italian. Buy a can of chopped tomatoes for 30 pence and saute a piece of garlic, throw in some basil and salt and maybe oregano and you've got yourself spaghetti sauce for four for under a pound.
Trying to let go of certain steadfast materialist ideas I have isn't easy. For example, we bought our neighbor's toddler bed for. Z as we gave his crib to M. We didn't have sheets for the new bed so I wanted of course to buy a new set of sheets for him. The thing is, we already have so many bedsheets of varying sizes, including three sheets which are too small for our beds which we were going to get rid of, so S. suggested we use them for Z.'s bed. At first I was really mortified. No, Z. needed new sheets, his childhood will be totally ruined without new sheets. Ridiculous. The strange size fitted sheets when folded over fit the new toddler bed perfectly. There is no point in buying another set of sheets we'll use only for this particular bed which we probably won't even bring with us to the States next year. That is money which doesn't need to be spent on more STUFF we don't need.
Once I accepted the sheets and realized that Z.'s childhood would not be ruined, his new/ old bed looks adorable - he still has his colorful Ikea children's pillow cases and duvet cover, his hand sewn owl pillow (gift for M.) and hand knit Afghan (another gift for M.) and his favorite stuffed animals on his bed- it was like the spendthrift in me was born. I thought, if it bothers me that much I can tie dye the sheets and make them more his or I can sew them so that they properly fit the mattress completely - totally not necessary. Then I started examining all the parts of our life where we can start saving more and cutting back, recycling old things in a new way and its becoming not only a great exercise in saving money but in being a little more creative with problems, as opposed to just throwing money at them.
The constant battle I have with myself derives from here, at least I've identified the problem. Now that the problem has been identified I'm working on using both to my advantage...