Autumn was.....
Eying off the car next door

Learning to be a slow spender

With the rise of the slow movement we’ve seen people embrace slow food, slow travel, slow fashion and numerous other ways to slow down and reduce consumption. I’m thinking many of us could also do with a good dose of “slow spending”.

If my grandparents wanted something they saved for it. They lived in a garage in their early years of marriage and slowly built and improved their home over the following decade, raising the funds as they went. My Dad doesn’t recall them yearning for more than what they could save for. They seemed content with the little they had.

If my parents wanted something when I was younger they used lay-by. I’d actually forgotten about lay-by until questioning my Mum recently about her earlier spending habits. Her reminder brought back memories of us popping in each week to pay a little off the Christmas lay-bys.

These patient spending styles contrast considerably with how many of us spend money today. I can think of many instances where I’ve bought something on credit that I was perfectly capable of saving up for. I’m impatient. There have also been many purchases, that if given a little extra time, I would have found a more economical, ethical or sustainable option, and in many cases may have realised that I didn’t really need the item after all.

I’m trying to embrace slow spending.

I’m learning to resist the urge to buy everything I want immediately on credit and instead take the time to consider whether I truly need it, and if so, save up and find the most ethical and sustainable option.

Slow spending pays off - this preloved cubby didn't cost a cent

Little Eco's cubby house is my favourite example of slow spending. We spent months watching ebay and Gumtree for the right pre-loved cubby to come along. We spotted exactly what we wanted new – but resisted the urge to type in our credit card number – and instead kept searching. Then a friend, not even knowing we were searching for a cubby, turned up at our place with the most delightful pre-loved cubby. It’s almost like it was made for its new home and best of all it didn’t cost us cent.

If we had rushed into buying, what we thought was the perfect new cubby, then we would have missed out on this sweet and very loved cubby.

I like to think that all slow spending could be like this – give spending the time it deserves and what you will end up with is something far more meaningful than an impulse purchase could ever be.

{Originally published in the Newcastle Herald 8th June 2013}

Speaking of gorgeous cubbies - have you seen the Foxs Lane patchwork cubby? Cuute!