My European escapade (or escape?) has been quite eye-opening for me. I have started to see quite a few things very differently and have learned a lot about myself in terms of what is important to me and what I can or can’t live without.
Some days I feel a little bit like one of these troubled economies/countries as I too have bills to pay and need to be conscious of cash flow.
I am not making judgment on aspirational or materialistic people as God knows we need them to help make the world go around, but I have found that personally I can do with less, a lot less, of everything. At least I think I can! At least I can now/have been! I am honestly not sure if I can keep this up, but it feels like I can and I would hope I can.
I find that I consider expenses a lot more carefully than I did before. An early example, that you may recall from a prior post, was when I refused to pay €40 for a pedicure when I could easily perform this task myself! I had also mentioned around that time that many of the students in language school became very conscious of which trattorias, etc., charged cover charges and service fees, etc. All this little expenses add up and can easily be avoided.
I walk to places as much as possible! Public transportation is not very expensive (more costly in Ireland than in Italy), but I have two perfectly good legs and the exercise is good for me!
Clothes! This has been a big eye opener for me. I arrived in Europe with two suitcases (a regular wheelie bag and a piggie-back) and I OFTEN wonder why I brought so much stuff with me! In the meantime, I have LOADS more clothes and shoes at home that I haven’t thought about once, never mind twice! Why do I have all that stuff? Why did I buy it? Why did I think I needed it? God knows how much money I have wasted. Clothes are actually something that have come up in conversation with many students in Italy, most of us feel the same way about why we brought or have so much stuff (either with us or at home).
Then there is my house and other things I have left behind. I love my house, and it is pretty modest so I don’t feel guilty about it, but it is much bigger than what I need. That is not to say that I wouldn’t like to continue improving it, but it does make me realize that I don’t need anything more extravagant. The stuff in the house? Well, I haven’t needed or missed any of it, except maybe my DVR, so it just makes one wonder. I’m not going to rush home and sell anything though, so no solicitations, please! It just all makes me reflect a little. That land-line is back on the table again for getting cut, though!
The above said, I am not the type to start coupon cutting or buying stuff in second-hand stores or anything like that, it is just very clear to me now that I have more than I need.