Since December when I waved bye bye to my little flat in Fulham I’ve been saving. Like actual saving, for the first time ever. I’ve ‘saved’ before but It’s always been quite half hearted and lame but now I am actually compiling savings that can buy serious adult things. And yes I mean more adult than an electric toothbrush.
It’s all good and well, but becoming really careful and good with money is like learning an art form. It’s made me appreciate what I have a lot, and made me realise how lucky I am that I can save at all, but it has been hard. Hard mostly because having a very active mind and a constant need to be moving around and doing something or seeing someone or visiting somewhere requires cash to splash, and in the past four months I’ve had to overhaul how I spend my free time.
Me and my boyfriend spend a lot time discussing weekend plans and then saying “remember when we used to have money to spend and all those things we did?” When we first put this plan into action and made the move home to my teenage bedroom I thought we would be stuck inside forever averaging one social occasion a month, but it hasn’t been like that. I think we’ve done a good job at learning to fill our time for free and also being able to make money stretch.
It might not sound like something hugely exciting but before we moved, we got a book called London Walks, which literally maps out walks around different parts of London, telling you where there are good pubs or interesting facts and we did a couple. Now, wondering has become a massive past time. I’ve discovered so many parts of London I would never have dreamt of visiting or never even heard of just by taking to the streets and walking.
Yesterday for instance, we went to a car park in Peckham (romance is not dead ladies and gents) that’s sort of abandoned but has insane views over London. We went there, had a nose around, took some arty photos, then looked on google maps and decided to head for a 2 and a half mile walk to London Bridge. Not massively exciting (though we did call the police because we heard someone getting beaten up or something horrid and I HATE violence) but it passed Sunday quite pleasantly for the most part. You don’t need to incorperate brunch and multiple coffee stops for a lazy day mooching around town. I’ve become massively into stumbling upon really cool bits of the city that I would otherwise never have seen, like this weird, watercolour painted pub on Old Kent Road that we found yesterday:
Aside from walking a lot and getting some serious leg muscles, I’ve started to learn when to go home. I’ve been honing in on social events that take place in pubs or casual drinks that aren’t fully blown, all drinking, all dancing nights out, going along for a few hours, seeing my friends, spending minimal or basically no money then going home before I reach the stage of ‘well screw it, I’m out now.’ I won’t lie, I’m excited to get back to that, but it’s not so bad having a few more early nights and getting better acquainted with Netflix.
Another way the last few months have slipped by in about five seconds is through free events. God bless the internet. I sit at work on Friday afternoons before I leave and always look on Time Out or other such sites for free things happening around town, and there are loads. I’ve been to pop up festivals, free wine tasting, a cocktail masterclass, the Sky Garden, a lunchtime coffee tasting event and I’ve got my eye on loads more spring freebies like DJ sets, free fun runs, free exercise classes and free food. These are the kinds of things I used to see advertised, make a note to go but never be that committed to because it didn’t really matter.
Oh and now I run seriously. For real. It’s free and it’s good for me and I’m getting faster and keeping track. 2015 me wouldn’t recognise 2016 me.
I also now realise I don’t need to eat out at every single opportunity which has helped me nurture my cooking skills and roast dinner timings. I didn’t choose the party life.
So yeah. Spending time for free is not that bad, once you get used to it and put out your feelers for all the freebie fun. If anyone knows of anything fun and free coming to LDN, share the love. I’m interested.