Last May I went sailing around the Amalfi Coast; part of the programme was a visit to Capri. A nice little island. No sandy beaches to speak of, berthing costs too much to even contemplate, but you can anchor in front of Marina Piccola, and there are other possible anchorages on the East side of the island. Restaurants usually have a shuttle service that will take a visiting millionaire from his yacht to dinner and back. Everyone else takes a dinghy. A bottle of sparkling water at a restaurant costs €5.
It’s easy to feel poor on the isle of Capri.
And it’s even easier to feel poor when you’re trying to stick to a budget with a 60%+ savings rate. I mean, really, self-imposed famine rations are a pain in the arse. I try to remind myself that it’s all for the greater good of both my present and my future selves, but the weak consumer sucker inside me is all like:
Staying strong is easier said than done. Especially when the crew you’re with are not sailing down the Straights of Self Denial with you. I’ve spent some considerable time feeling a little sorry for myself and contemplating whether it wouldn’t be easier just to throw the battle and carry on working till I’m 58 or 68 or 70 or whatever.
An impartial observer might say that in spite my so-called famine rations, stuff somehow keeps accumulating in Ho’s Keep. This became very obvious when I had to clear out space in the spare bedroom for visitors recently. If I really am so poor then where the hell did all that crap come from?
I think the answer is mostly sales. I’m a sucker for a bargain. Polarised Ray-Bans 50% off? Sure, I’ll have two! Just in case we go sailing and I lose a pair overboard, y’know… there’s no sell-by date on sunglasses. Rationally, I know that any limited time opportunity to save money by spending it is a marketing trick, and still I fall for it by failing to remind myself that a Final Sale is never final. Final reductions are advertised twice a year, and that’s not counting the Black Friday Week (yes, it’s a week now).
I need to have a No New Stuff Year. Realistically though I’m unlikely to last that long, so let’s change that to No New Stuff Five to Six Months.
Here’s what I’m allowed:
- Groceries and drinks;
- Personal hygiene items (e.g a toothbrush);
- Washing powder/detergent and such.
Here’s what I’m not allowed: anything else. And specifically:
- Books and/or magazines;
- A new watch;
- Any items of clothing or footwear;
- Any sports gear that doesn’t already come under clothing or footwear;
- Any cycling gear that doesn’t already come under sports gear, clothing or footwear.
You get the idea.
Let’s see how it goes. I’ll write an update in a couple of months.