Wishing You a Happy & Thrifty New Year 2014

Miss Thrifty7 January 3, 2014

thrifty new year

It’s January 3rd and I don’t know about you, but I’m spent out – in all senses of the word. In the town centre where I work, the streets and shops are so crowded with grim-faced sale shoppers that it is difficult to get anywhere or get anything done at lunchtimes. And at the same time, there is a dozy atmosphere hanging over the place, like peoples’ heads are still in the holidays. Perhaps it will change on Monday, when the kids go back to school and everybody is finally back at work.

For me, 2013 was the year I learned to cut myself some slack, after a difficult 2012. That year started with an ill newborn and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it maternity leave (the joys of self-employment), and ended with an exhausted me, floored by a common cold.  That cold ended up bursting my eardrum. It REALLY HURT, but it was the health equivalent of a bugle in the ear, proclaiming that things had to change around here. Change they did, although it’s still a work in progress.

For this reason, I don’t want to make any ambitious New Year’s resolutions. I have three and they are all doable.

1. Go to FinCon 2014.

FinCon is the annual conference for personal finance bloggers, which takes place in a different American city every year. I went for the first time in October, after being invited to speak, and returned fizzing with energy and a renewed sense of purpose. You gotta love our can-do American cousins! In truth, going to FinCon was one of the best things I did in 2013.

This year FinCon takes place in New Orleans. It doesn’t take place until September, so I have a little time to work out how to do it all as cheaply as possible. The countdown clock starts here. Any ideas on getting a return flight for a bargain price will be welcomed, because I checked the prices on Opodo just now and they are eyewatering…

2. Renew my love affair with my sewing machine.

I haven’t used it much over the past couple of years. I still have the pieces of a dress I was making before I was pregnant, all folded up neatly in a box. When The Times sent a photographer last year, he wanted to take lots of pictures of me “being thrifty”. This is more difficult than it sounds, because photos of me browsing Quidco and cleaning the bog with homemade toilet cleaner aren’t exactly… visually arresting.

The photographer asked me to dust off my sewing machine so that he could take lots of pictures like the one that now appears in my sidebar.

Miss Thrifty

I extracted my sewing machine from the back of the cupboard, and then realised that I couldn’t remember how to wind the bobbin and thread the machine properly.

“Oh, don’t worry about that”, said the photographer, artfully arranging my pincushions and cotton spools. “I promise you that nobody will be able to tell, from these photographs.” And he was right. They couldn’t. It did make me feel like a fraud though. And it annoyed me something rotten, not least because I come from a family of stitchers. I have a lovely little machine, fabric aplenty and a giant bag full of vintage patterns from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, handed down from my mum and great-grandmother, to be getting on with.  It’s all there on a plate.

Right now my sewing machine is sitting on a shelf next to my desk, twinkling at me. I have also discovered a splendid sewing blog called Tilly and the Buttons, to give me a little push. So watch this space…

3. Start as I mean to go on.

  ripon new year

New Year’s Eve was just as I wanted it to be: relaxing, inexpensive and filled with good chatter and good company. My good friend N came up from London for the night. We had dinner at home, with apple crumble and custard for pudding: is there a better way to sign off on a year than with a good pudding?

When midnight neared, we wrapped up warmly and walked down to the Market Square. This is where everybody in my little Yorkshire city gathers to see in the New Year. This year, as always, there was a late-night service in the cathedral and the bells were ringing. Just before midnight, people streamed out of the big doors holding candles, mixing with the pubgoers on their way to the Square. The New Year was counted in, the city horn was blown from the balcony of the town hall, everybody sang Auld Lang Syne and then there were the fireworks that you can see in the picture at the top of this post.

Afterwards we strolled back home (above), chatted into the early hours and slept well.

This is how I mean to go on in 2014. What about you?

P.S. Don’t forget that you can still claim your free packet of Fisherman’s Friend sweets, from now until 10 January 2014. All the details are here.


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7 Responses to “Wishing You a Happy & Thrifty New Year 2014

ann says:

Hi, I completely agree with you about the Americans’ ‘can do’ attitude. It is so refreshing and such a change from the cynicism people seem to be expert at here. Fin Con sounds really interesting, I’m not surprised you’d like to go back.

Like you I want to do more dressmaking this year. I’ve got stacks of fabrics and patterns, but sometimes lack a bit of confidence, so I just need to get on and do it and worry about problems if and when they arise.

Finally, I too feel a bit shopped out. I’ve done enough sale shopping and found enough bargains for now. I may have one last look when the final reductions are made, but I don’t need anything else so am looking forward to getting back to normal spending patterns.

January 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Pauline says:

Happy New Year Miss Thrifty! I didn’t know there was a date and place for FinCon14 already, may try to get there too 🙂 I always wanted to visit New Orleans.

January 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

Ann – yes, I am all shopped out too. I do have a low threshold though! But how all the sale shoppers still have the energy for it, I really don’t know.

Pauline – please do let me know if you are coming. It would be great to meet you in person. 🙂

January 3, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Amandah says:

Yep, those 3 resolutions are very doable.
My NYE was spent at a friend’s. She’d invited over a few of her g.friends & cousins to see in the N’Y.
Although it only ended up being 7 of us, it was a night full of jokes, food, more jokes & drink.
After spending the last 2-3 yrs declining invites for practically everything (lost my job in 2011, so funds were & still are sacred EVERY month) this is me starting as I mean to go on: having some fun with friends at least once a month. Albeit they’ll have to be very cheap n cheerful.
I’ve also decided to get back into my card making & designing. I never really stopped, but again due to unemployment I haven’t been to a craft fair since 2010.
So now that I’ve found LOADS of cheap & great sellers on eBay I’m going to buy a lil sumthing each month.
I’ve already began stocking up since late November.
All I gota do now is win the lottery & then I can forefill my dream of buying a large-ish 3 bedroom house and turning 1 of the spare bedrms into my Craft room.
Oh boy, I’d be ‘Shakin my groove thang’ all the way to the Birmingham NEC December massive craft show.
Another dream of mine to attend this.
Ok, enough ramblings, I have a power workout to complete & a b.day card to make. 🙂
Glad you had a lovely NYE Miss Thrifty, xx

January 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

Good ones, Miss Thrifty! Interesting this but I also have three seemingly general but doable New Year’s Resolutions one of which is to ‘blog like a pro’. I suppose this means going to New Orleans (I’ve alwasy wanted to go there as well) and given how much fun FinCon13 was looking very much forward to it (Ialso have some unfinished business :)).

January 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Michelle says:

Happy New Year!! I love all three things that you’ve tasked yourself with and of course you will be successful in all your endeavors. My goal is to keep this year as chill as possible…even though I am starting my own business! Last year I went on 6 trips (1 to London), was a bridesmaid (London), was in a Professional Development program for work, got SUPER sick, had a new boss, and another new colleague. That doesn’t include the crazy rains and flooding in Colorado-kind of freaky scary. It was too much!

This year I’m just working on the business, my health, money, and dating. That’s it. I’m trying to keep my commitments to a minimum outside of those priorities. Also, I’m staying closer to home because I’m really trying to amp up my savings and debt repayment.

Can’t wait to hang out in New Orleans-I’ve never been there and am SUPER excited!! A lot of people were hoping for NOLA. The cost will be really affordable and the food is fantastic (fattening) but fantastic. See you in September!

January 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm

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