Sunday, April 09, 2006

Buying Power

We are trying to save the deposit for a house which, in these times, even in east London, is a considerable sum. The problem is that I am not very good at it. I like books, good food, drinking and going places. On the other hand, I don't want to live forever in a one bedroom flat with no garden. I know that we can buy our council flat, and most people have encouraged us to do so, but I do believe in social housing. It's helped us out and I hope that it will do the same for others after us. The only other option is a strict budget.

After the bills are paid we have joint going out money, food money and 'pocket money'. I am trying to spend more wisely and according to the rules of something which I read ages and ages ago. With embarrassment I note these were copied into my journal in November 2002. I obviously thought they were important but it's taken me two and a half years to act!

Do I need it?
How many do I already have?
How much will I use it?
How long will it last?
Is it recyclable?
Could I borrow it?
Do without it?
Repair and maintain it?
Dispose of it environmentally?

It's very difficult. Books are an issue in themselves. I do frequent the local library as I believe they are important, especially for the elderly and the very young. I do, however, like to buy my own copy of a book. If they are crap they are recyclable – I take them to a charity shop.
I have made two purchases this weekend – each for £10 and both very exciting (in my mind at least).

The first is a plain black shopping trolley (ie not tartan or gaudy colours). I can now buy much more at the market and actually get it home. I need it. I don't have one already. I will use it every weekend. It'll last a while. I'm sure my dad could recycle it or repair it. I can't borrow one and I can't see myself needing to dispose of it. Hurrah!

The second – three headbands. The picture on the stall clearly showed four uses. I can remember two (keeping your hair out your eyes and ditto plus less band on top with some round the bottom of your face if its cold). I did nearly find a fifth of my own trying to work out the remaining two- strangulation.


Shep said...

We bought a house in November. I was made to rid myself of 16 carrier bags of books to charity shops. I am now only allowed to bring home books I have never read. As soon as it's been read - off it goes somewhere.

It's a brutal but effective system brought on by our small but perfectly formed house. But it's also a system I hate. I cried many tears as all my book collection was dispersed around the South Hams area. My complete runs of Marquez and Kundera now living amongst the piles of Marian Keyes novels at Scope.

Let's be clear though - I would have never read them again. But I liked having them around.

pat said...

emma - you know you won't last.
i can see a book coming your way soon, ooops there you go, another one bought.

cliff - i know what you mean i have stopped "collecting" some books - they either go to someone i know will read them or go to charity shops or if i have been very heavy handed with the reading of it it then i recycle it.

but then there are the books i want sets of.

the collector in me reasserts itself.

and i curse play as i have just ordered 2 more cds.....

coolbuddha said...

Blimey, has this hit a nerve! Despite having a decent wage I have a stonking great mortgage (and it ain't palatial by any means). Trying to economise by not buying books feels weird. eBay does not seem to be a good place to flog books as most don't get any bids. (I do a lot of pro bono for charity - call me selfish!)
Hint: Keep saving but don't be in a rush to buy. Despite what the building societies say, the housing market isn't going anyway in a hurry.
PS Could we get together and hold a mega car boot sale?

Doug said...

Cool Buddha thinks I should be reading you! So here I am. I am a librarian and I can't stop buying books. I don't know what it is, but there is something about having that stack next to the chair of all the things I own. Then I can't keep them forever so I donate them to the library for the books sale. Sigh. I just can't learn!!!

Ashley said...

I was considering repatriation a few years ago as I really love the UK. However, my plans were temporarily dashed when I noticed in London that the salary (in my field) to mortgage ratio was not favorable. London is freakin' expensive!! So, don't be too hard on yourself. In order to support my international travel habit, I have had to invest in an espresso machine so I won't spend all my money in coffee shops. Also, books are a problem for me, too. My friends and I have all registered with so we can borrow each others' books and keep track of them. Has helped me curb my book buying habits significantly.