drEAming, random thoughts

Less is more, more or less…

The ladies down at my local library must think I am either very rich, or very poor or just plain obsessed with money because I am always borrowing books on Finances.  I have read them all from Rich Dad to Poor Dad, Martin Lewis, Suze Orman and Miss Moneypenny.   I even had a great book on explaining mortgages by Robin Banks.  I now know you should hang on to your assests and roll up your toothpaste tubes to squeeze out every last inch but for me the advice is still not quite enough.  It is the same with books and articles on organising – I read them all in the hope of discovering something really profound that will change my life.

I am not sure just what I am hoping to learn from these books maybe I am looking for some kind of definitive answer to budgeting and of course like everything else in life there isn’t one.  When I think back to my grandma and grandad they kept all their financial and other papers in a little old fashioned leather suitcase under the bed (I have a filing cabinet and a filing drawer!) but of course they had less to look after.  They rented so apart from the rent agreement they had no mortgage papers or buildings insurance and no contents as they had so little to insure.  They did have a tiny life policy to pay for their funerals like most people of their time.  They had a TV rented of course and a fridge but no other electrical items apart from the kettle and an iron.   Cakes were made by hand not a mixer, everything was chopped with a knife not a processor.  Computers were not an household item and they only had a phone installed aged 82.  They had a quarteley electricity bill that was paid in cash the same day it dropped through the door.  Their pension was just the one given by the state.  They had one savings book and no current account or cheque book everything was paid for by cash.

All in all their paperwork including any user instructions and guarantees was minimal and very little in the way of junk mail dropped through their door.  They still received those old fashioned things called letters, hand written ones, usually from family and friends and postcards too.   There was very little to maintain or breakdown and they never had to trawl the internet looking for advantageous savings accounts or run through comparison sites.  Their money flowed in and out with a little put by for a rainy day – such a simple life – a good example of the less is more some of us are striving for.

When we packed up their council flat it took us just 2 days to sort through all the stuff in comparison it took every weekend from January to March to go through my mums when she moved!

Yet even with so little Grandma and Grandad loved life and lived it to the full – they were not bogged down being keepers of stuff.  So really I do not need to read all those books I just need to be like dear old gran!

Anyone reading this post will love to read the post over at Marigold Jam  – ‘Less is often more – discuss’ – it seems we have been having very similar thoughts at the same time because like she says so much of blogland at the moment is given over to sorting out and decluttering.

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12 thoughts on “Less is more, more or less…”

  1. What a lovely story and how true. Our lives are so much more complex, and so much of it we invite in on our own accord. I’ve helped clients empty homes after a death. It’s a gift to families to pare back while you’re still here. I applaud your efforts.

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  2. You are so right. I am always reading new finance and organizing books, looking for new ideas, but there are only so many ideas and techniques to be shared. Maybe new technologies and fashions. I like reading people’s stories, though – and also some theory, like how the monetary system works! Not everyone in the old days paid cash – my dad says his parents used to run a tab at the local grocery store, and pay it off every payday!

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    1. The days of the old grocery store – or corner shop as we had here – every row of houses had a shop at the end on the corner of the main road. My gran shopped there daily – no big supermarkets in her day it was buy as you need. Her little store cupboard only had the basics like flour, bread, butter, a packet of loose tea and milk, a bottle of HP brown sauce, jar of mustard for grandad, a jar of jam or marmalade (homemade), a few pickled onions and a bottle of lemonade anything else and we popped to the shop for as required. The shop on the corner was her pantry and fridge!

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      1. My grandparents were the same – they had this kind of corner store too. I didn’t know what word to use for grocery store. In fact, my dad said that people would often come door-to-door selling meat, fish, etc. But they would have had only a small ice box until fridges came in.

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  3. Love this post it has echoes of my own Less is sometimes More post! When my Mum died she had already cleared out all he unwanted “stuff” and her paperwork was all in separate brown envelopes in a small suitcase so very easy for me to deal with and like your grandparents she had lived a very simple life so there was not much to do anyway. I do think that we make more work for ourselves by having so much and not keeping things simple!

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    1. Hi Marigold – yes I read your post and left a comment as I could see myself in your article about the library books I hadn’t actually taken note of your post title though (whoops!) but indeed my recent thoughts whilst doing my financial focus this month do echo and compliment yours in fact I will go now and put a link through to your post if OK with you.

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  4. I agree, there is no one answer, books can only take any of us so far. Eventually we have to pick something and do it, sometimes it’ll be wonderful, sometimes a mistake but it’s just a matter of doing what’s right at the time.

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    1. I often question if they really have – so much more to clean and maintain! At the moment I have to go in search of a new car remote battery, I need to get the fridge temperature looked at and the boiler is on the blink again and that is only 3 of the things on my list!

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