The last four things – part 1

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. (BUTKEEP 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).

2: Lemon

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 Β£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.

I reduced the amounts by 2/3 and made 1 large shortbread because…why not?

Part 2 tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “The last four things – part 1

  1. I love and live by both of those concepts and it really is freeing and satisfying. I don’t know the last time I bought anything at full price and in the past three and a half years I went from having a storage unit full of things, to lightly cluttering a few shelves in our apartment. I’m glad you are getting to enjoy peace of mind from your purchases as well.

  2. How exhausting must it be to constantly worry that you’re being judged on not having the ‘best’ or ‘newest’ in everything?! Constantly being in competition with everyone does not sound healthy to me…glad to hear I’m not the only one 😁

  3. I lived in that rat race for too long and I never had the best or newest but boy did I want to and I was envious of those who did. Yuck! I don’t miss that materialistic garbage one bit. I buy my clothes at the thrift store or the last year style markdowns stores now and love what I have!!

  4. So much better to have your own style and not have to stress about how to afford the latest (usually very badly made) stuff. Are those people will wardrobes full of stuff they can’t wear because it’s last year’s fashion really happy? I doubt it.

  5. My closet is still full of stuff like that that my dad took me shopping to get clothes for interviews and such and it just hangs there while I have my neatly (sometimes) folded stacks of jeans and ts stacked against the wall that I actually wear!

    Fashion trends are ridiculous. It may have taken 30 years but I have my style set now and it’s what I wanted to be wearing all along! Ha.

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