One of my simple pleasures in 2016 was going to the City Centre library-usually each Saturday morning-and picking out new books to read from the money management and economics sections.
Whilst I did still buy books in 2016 it was at a much reduced rate. In 2015 I would use the minimum payment on my credit cards to buy a selection of second hand books on Amazon each month. The cards would be at 90% capacity. I would make the minimum payment, then immediately spend it. The concept of paying off my debts didn’t seem to occur to me.
This year will be like Boot Camp. To be more militant. To have tunnel vision about achieving my goals. So no more books.
Luckily I work in a Library, and have several in my home city to indulge in. This should help me get my fix of books.
I do have about 100 unread books in my house as well, but that’s a whole other story.
The book I have just started reading is called “Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending” by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, and although I am only one chapter in I have already learnt a lot.
The first chapter is called “Buy Experiences” which explains through numerous examples of studies that people value experiences, and experiential purchases, more than they do their material possessions. Not only that but people who spend a bigger percentage of their disposable income on experiences compared to those who spend more on material possessions report to be happier as people.
Which, when you think about it, is what I want to do this year.
The book has just explained to me what I seemed to have stumbled on but wasn’t able to describe.
Last year I bought things. Because I bought things I couldn’t afford to socialise as much as I wanted. I would have to turn things down frequently, or do some sort of convoluted ‘paying for a gig ticket across several months in installments’ deal with my boyfriend.
Yes I did have the anxiety. That was a major problem, and actually still is. However my lack of funds was still very much a major concern, and maybe I did use it as an easy excuse.
I very much am intrigued by the whole ‘spending money on experiences makes you happier’ train of thought that Dunn and Norton argue for in the first chapter. I mean, I am willing to try anything to cure my mental health difficulties. I even take cold showers after reading a report that they can boost your mood…
So it is reassuring to discover that I have decided to do something that has the potential to help ease my anxiety and depression. I am happy to report that at this moment in time I am happy, that my anxiety flares up but isn’t all consuming like it has been at certain points in the past, that I do feel that the Universe is being kind to me.
Of course I have the typical anxious thought of feeling like I’m tempting fate if I dare say I am having a good time, that I’m happy, that I’m ok. I guess I should just be a little bit more trusting.
Two statements I live by are ‘It is what it is’ and ‘This too shall pass’. If I trust in them I should be ok.