The Rules: Revamped

So. You have spoken. And here’s the result. The grand reveal: our new rules for 2014…

In essence, the old rules stand. No spending AT ALL on kiddy products: not on kids clothes, not on toys, not on activities, or kiddy foods, magazines, haircuts, nappies etc etc. Nada. EXCEPT, this year…

We get 12 ‘get out of jail free’ purchases. As suggested by a few people in this post. The idea is that by allowing ourselves 12 purchases in the year (one a month, in essence) we’ll find a model that cuts out the crappy merry-go-round of kiddy consumerism but is a little more do-able, a wee bit more sustainable, a bit less full-on than last year’s epic adventure. A way of living that we might, conceivably, be able to pull off for the foreseeable future (whether we’d actually want to… well, who knows… ask me at the end of the year…)

So 12 purchases allowed. BUT – only six of these can be new things. The other six have to be second-hand. Not only that, but these second-hand purchases have to come either from a charity shop or direct from another family (via a local swapping site, for example) so that I know that the money’s doing into a deserving pocket.

I’m not going to set any rules about the six new purchases. I think it will be more interesting that way. It means that if I choose to make a frivolous purchase – a gorgeous dress for the baby, say – well that’s cool. But I’ll know that it means one less essential purchase (kids’ underwear for example) that I’ll be able simply to pop to the supermarket for. One more thing I’ll have to find as a swap instead. One more hour hour spent on freecyle instead of in front of The Killing.

And it’ll be different this year for other reasons too. Is getting kids clothes for free even possiblewhen you add a baby into the mix – a wee person who grows out of her clobber not roughly once a year but every three months? And how about the four-year-old-boy Johnny will be by the end of the year? Will he be as easily fobbed off with second hand toys? He’s already far more aware of products and trends than he was at the beginning of last year. Far more influenced by what his friends have and play with. Far more often overheard to say, “we need to buy…”

Who knows. As ever I can only make three promises:

1) Mama don’t preach. This isn’t about telling anyone else what to do. If you’ve read my blog before, even a couple of times, it should be pretty obvious that I DON’T KNOW. I have no answers. Just a few jumbled ideas and a wobbly will to try to do the best thing I can for the kids. Most of the time. When humanly possible. On good days.

2) Liberation not deprivation. If it turns out that any of us (Johnny, Frida, my husband, me) are less happy, more stressed, less healthy, or just generally flourishing less (wilting?) due to cutting out spending in any area, we’ll reintroduce that thing. This isn’t about being stoic, or even doing without. It’s about blundering messily but happily towards a way of life that makes us happy and content.

3) Honesty is the best policy. I will be honest. I’ll always tell you what’s going on. No sneaking purchases past this blog. Hand on heart.

So… what do you think?!