I am trying to find a balance between frugality and minimalism. On the surface it would seem that they are compatible but frugality means buying 100 of something if you find it on offer (so that the next 100 times you need that thing you have not paid full price for it) whereas minimalism means never having 100 of something when you only need 1.
I am aiming for frugality because there are some things I want in life (to not have to work full time until I die, to be able to sleep at night without debt hanging over me, to be able to help out my loved ones should they need it). I have found frugality to be extremely satisfying (you are sticking 2 fingers up to capitalism and The Man when you refuse to pay full price for something) and saving money is addictive.
Minimalism appeals to me for well-being and mental heath reasons. NOT being surrounded by possessions is liberating, NOT drowning under the need for the newest or latest item is healthy, NOT clinging to every scrap of paper for sentimental reasons frees you to enjoy new experiences. (BUT – KEEP the things you love – if you truly love them. BUY the newest item – if you truly need it. SAVE the sentimental items (or photograph them) – if they bring you happiness when you get them out).
I was going to write a post about the last four things I bought, not including food and books because obviously those are the essentials for life that everyone needs, but I soon realised that I simply don’t buy enough stuff anymore…it would take me a long time to gather enough new stuff to write about. So food and books are included.
1: Metal straws.
I usually make my own coffee when I travel, I have a very nice reuseable mug for just that purpose, but occasionally I will treat myself to an iced coffee when I’m out…now I can refuse the straw. Less plastic use and more peace of mind, I know when and how well these have been washed before they go in my gob. (If you too want to strike a blow for the health of our planet PLEASE DO NOT BUY THEM FROM AMAZON. There are a million other places to buy these things. Ethical.net to check their credentials).
I bought this lemon because it was a bargain. My shopping companion and I walked past a farmers market stall where their enormous lemons were 3 for £1…how could we possibly refuse?! This lemon is far too perfect to be perfect, I think the skin has probably been waxed so my plan is to scrub it clean then grate some (a LOT) of the zest into my favourite shortbread recipe. The rest of the lemon is likely to end up as salad dressing and included in a mango salsa.
This recipe is the easiest in the world:
- 2oz (55g) sugar
- 4oz (125g) butter
- 6oz (180g) plain flour
- (Zest of a bargain lemon if desired)
The trick to this recipe is to handle the mixture AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. I do all the mixing in a food processor so as to not have to get my hot little hands on it. I find the finished texture is better and it also helps if you chill the mixture before baking. The baking takes less time than you imagine – sometimes as little as 8-10 minutes depending on your oven – so I check mine at the 9 minute mark and take them out as soon as the edges are colouring.
It is possible to make a vegan version of these, swapping vegan spread for the butter, and you can even swap the sugar for sweeteners. Neither of those changes add anything spectacular to the taste but they are still yummy biscuits. This recipe can also be the base for any additions you want, chocolate (of course), hazelnut, lemon (yay!) or even lavender.
Part 2 tomorrow.