Tuesday, 14 January 2014

It's funny how things change

The comments on yesterdays post are an interesting read. A right mixed bag on what constitutes an emergency and what doesn't. Thank you all for airing your views, and welcome to the new readers. Sorry I haven't welcomed you before, I do take note of the new faces which appear in the sidebar, and I do look at your blogs.

I think we have got it pretty much ok here in the UK when it comes to things we have to pay for, and things we can get help with. I reckon we have little to moan about compared to our neighbours across the pond. Not wanting to get political on this issue, politics always seems to creep into it when austerity, scrimping, managing on little, and feeding the poor, come to the forefront of conversation. I am not into bashing the system, because in my mind there is no difference in the parties that govern our country. It's a bloody hard job to have, and I wouldn't volunteer for it in a million years. That's not letting them off, just stating my view. No, I am not a campaigner at all. so no politics please. .

My stance is that we have to do the best we can with what we have, we owe it to ourselves, which is what this blog is about. I look at my home, my life, my income, as my own little powerhouse. It is my domain, I decide what I do with the resources I have within these four walls. I could go down the pub and pee my money up the wall, but I don't. I could splash the cash on a flat screen TV but I don't. What I do instead is to monitor every penny that comes in and every penny that goes out. Everyone has that option, some do it amazingly well, some just scrape by, by the seat of their pants, and those in between make an fairly decent job of it. Monitoring movement of money in and out, and making a plan is essential to survive. Sorry, I am getting a bit preachy now, don't mean to be, will move on.  

Something Sue said reminded me of how it used to be, the pleasures of saving up to buy kitchen utensils one at a time. Yes, I remember that. Not that I ever did it, but my friend did. She had a boyfriend not long after she left school, things were getting pretty serious, one thing led to another and they became engaged. After that she started buying bits and bobs from homestyle shops, bedding, towels, utensils, pots and pans and suchlike. She made a list of what she had, and asked for household items for Christmas and Birthdays presents, and stashed them all in a 'bottom drawer'. Every so often she would empty the drawer to show me what was in there, everything had to match, and it was all lovingly put back in after inspection. This went on for a year or two, and by the time she got married she already had most of what she needed to make a nice home.

It's funny how things change. I haven't heard anyone mention a 'bottom drawer', for years. Shame really, because it was a symbol of a serious relationship, a commitment to a future together with a partner. It all seems a bit rushed these days. Mind you, you can set up a new home a lot quicker now, and probably a lot cheaper, by visiting car boot sales and charity shops. There wasn't any of those options when I was a mere slip of a girl.

My friend with the 'bottom drawer' is now a pensioner like me, she is in the process of giving away most of her stuff. She wants an uncluttered life, so her bottom drawers are slowly emptying. It's funny how our priorities change.

Where is this post going? I have no idea, I've come to a dead end, so I'll finish :o)
Toodle pip.

21 comments:

  1. Things have definitely changed and I think that the use of the credit card means that young people no longer have to wait to get the things they want for their home, and they can have it all new. We're still using the cutlery that my parents were given as a wedding present 49 years ago (they got divorced hence we inherited the cutlery), and the cheese grater and oven proof dishes that were around during my and my husband's childhood, a blanket which belonged to my husband's grandparents and lots of other hand me downs. New stuff never mattered to us - we were just grateful to have it, old or new. While saving for our deposit on our first home, we built up a bottom drawer; Pyrex dishes and dinnerware, towels, etc and folk were great about contributing stuff they no longer wanted when they heard we'd got our flat. Everything was gratefully received and saved us so much money. We also asked for practical things for Christmas and birthday presents. Same when our baby was born - lots of friends and family passed on clothes and baby equipment which were then passed back on to friends and family when their babies appeared.

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  2. I guess myself and partner are in the minority of the younger people never to have owned a credit card or fussed about new furniture and clothes. Looking around our home as I type near everything has been bought from ebay, charity shops, car boots, hand me downs from family etc, I had a bottom drawer when I left home at 18, I added to it, my family added to it and eventually I had most things I needed, I still use the bottom drawer principal now, all the bits I find through out the year for pressies and gifts gets put in the bottom drawer.. :) AFM xx

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  3. We called it a "hope chest" here...companies had a whole line of chests that could be chosen, but they were sold specifically for the purpose...
    The scarey thing about those of us on pensions is that inflation goes up and up, and eventually even after pinching pennies, what comes in will not cover what goes out, no matter how frugal you are...so money we save is kept with the idea that we will need it to supplement the pension thst will be inadequate in the future. When my mother died last year, her out go was more than what came in..a pension that seems enough now can be woefully inadequate in the future, no matter how much you pinch pennies, with the costs of taxes and utilities...THAT is a scarey thought....

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  4. I agree with Sue. We had nothing new when we started out, and I still use many of our wedding presents, 33 years later. On the face of it, it seems easier to get set up these days, but it's an illusion, because it's often down on credit. You're on the money, Ilona - simply have less going out than comes in.
    I read once that people spend the first half of their lives accumulating stuff, and the second half getting rid of it. Just like Winnie the Pooh, I "can't be doing with too many things".

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  5. Your sudden end made me smile and I don't know why - weird. :-)

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  6. I had a 'bottom' drawer. I used to get pyrex stuff from the market...I'm still using it.
    Jane x

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    1. My Pyrex is still going strong too but the pattern has disappeared from most of it. It used to be Iris (I think) and I started collecting it nearly 30 years ago. I used to go into the local department store and buy another item or two on my pay day. Someone bought us a matching set of Pyrex casserole dishes which are still used most days - great stuff isn't it?

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    2. Pyrex, now there's a thing. I used to have quite a few of those dishes, now I am down to two. One is used as a cat drinking bowl, it's on the kitchen floor, and the smaller one I use as a soup and stew bowl. Usually to microwave something frozen in it.

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  7. I have one item left from my 'Bottom Drawer'. Given to me by my Dad in 1972-3. He worked at Raleigh cycle factory in Nottingham in the 'Chrome works' department. Lots of the other people working there had other sources of incomes such as , window cleaning rounds, selling 'Betterware' products and other items. One such item was a enamelled tray with six metal/enamel coasters and six glasses with plastic holders. I have just one of the glasses with it's holder, use it at least once a week for hot lemon and honey drink or herbal tea. So, that's been used since about 1975 when I split with my then boyfriend and shared a house with 3 other girls! The colours of this ensemble? Purple,orange and dark blue! VERY 70's!

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  8. Like Lynda, I had a "hope chest" given to me for my 16th birthday. 46 years later, I've been setting aside things for my sons (ages 26 and 21)... such as pots and pans, sets of dishes, stainless steel silverware, etc. Mainly kitchen things, but since DH and I will downsize when they move out, each son has also expressed interest in various pieces of furniture or artwork to help outfit their first apartments. It's hard for many retirees in the US. Costs of everything from gasoline (just under $4 per gallon in CA) to food (milk is $4.99 per gallon, bread between $2 and $3 per loaf) to utilities (our water bill is about $90 per month, garbage $30) and more ratchet up, up and up at an alarming rate. We're not yet retired. Several neighbors are. Which is one of the reasons I read/love this blog!

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  9. Hope chest, that's a nice name for it. Our bottom drawers were just that, a drawer in a chest which was cleared and used for the purpose of collecting stuff towards a new house.

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  10. I remember my Mum showing me her bottom drawer (it was the bottom drawer (I don't catch on quick) in her bedroom dressing table. I don't have a credit card and it seems like a lot of hard work to send in money every month to pay for it. My total income is £90 per week and I only pay with my debit card or cash. I don't have any savings but can manage to pay for my bills on time. I never get overdrawn. When I look in shop windows at say, a nice pair of boots or a handbag, I think to myself "those things aren't for the likes of me". Natalie

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  11. Having a 'bottom drawer' was so exciting. My mother-in-law used to give me bits and pieces - a spatula one week, potato peeler the next. You never knew what was coming next and I loved it. You've got me reminiscing now and it's put a smile on my face. Sarah.

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  12. My DD started a bottom drawer a few year's back but there's no sign of marriage on the horizon so we've nearly got 2 of everything now. The cupboards are full! I agree with' saving for fun', half our lives are spent accumulating and the final half trying to get rid and simplify.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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  13. My trainee-daughter-in-law has a well-stocked bottom drawer, aged 21! Apparently she started it soon after meeting my middle son four years ago. They've just moved into a house shared with another young couple (best way to afford decent accommodation down here) and she's got just about everything she really needs now to make a home of her own, one way or another. I'm lucky enough to have been able to help, not necessarily in a financial way; I'm a "vintage" market trader, and when I come across things I know they need or they'll like from my regular suppliers, I put them their way rather than sell it on. Plus there's Freecycle, Gumtree and the local grapevine - tomorrow I'm taking over a decent chest freezer a neighbour's mother didn't want any more, to stash their yellow-stickered bargains in, and two lovely old bedspreads/blankets to use as throws & for extra warmth, to keep their heating bills down.

    As my Grandpa would have said, about the young lady in question - she'll do! But the point is, "bottom drawers" are still happening, quietly, and young couples are still "making do" one way or another. I had a lovely couple buy lots of (inexpensive) odd crochet lace doilies and scraps of red & pink velvet from me over several months recently; turned out they were arranging their own "vintage-style" wedding reception, in an old church hall, complete with odd teacups & plates, a second-hand re-fashioned dress, etc. etc. They brought in photos to show us all afterwards; everything looked lovely, they'd had a wonderful, completely individual day to remember, and it had cost them a fraction of what the "bridal" magazines would have us believe a wedding ought to cost. So some of the young are on the ball...

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    1. That's really good to hear because I see so many young people getting in a financial mess through wanting everything new and right now. It's so rewarding saving up and gradually buying bits and bobs to build up your home (or wedding).

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    2. I was wondering if young people today have a bottom drawer. Your trainee daughter in law has the right idea.

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  14. Someone I know had Eight, yes eight, really, eight....pre wedding parties. This meant all the guests had to bring her something each time they came to the shower, she got her stuff that way, and with the engagement and wedding. How damn greedy. I refused to go. She didn't even put the parties on herself, so no outlay there either, just the same set of mates, coming eight time with a gift each time, what a crock!

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  15. My daughter is 23 and is saving things in a 'bottom drawer'. Last year I was talking about doing this when I was young and she said she wanted to start her own. No partner in view yet, but she wants her own place eventually and decided this was a good way of collecting the basics. She has some wine glasses, a set of cutlery, table linen, no pots and pans yet, however I'm at the stage when I'm cutting down so I'm sure there will some some things available there too.

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  16. I was lucky , when i got engaged in 1976 my nan bought me all my bottom draw things over two years when we went shopping ts asda , she would say , have you got one of those , not expensive things but essentials when we got married two years later we had everything you need apart from furniture to start our married life , my daughter started a bottom draw before she moved in to her first home , it really helps , by spreading the cost and this way you can buy them when you see them at bargain prices too.

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