New Year’s Resolutions are a funny thing. For a start, surely it’s better to turn over a new leaf at a time of year when you are not literally etching the days onto a bleak wall like a prisoner waiting to be released, eking out a cold and miserable existence until the crocuses raise their heads and the daylight finally starts to poke through the unending gloom. And secondly, why do we always want to be better anyway? Aren’t we enough as we are, muddling along, trying to do the best we can? Maybe I don’t want to lose ten pounds. Maybe I’m already pretty fabulous.
Far be it, however, for me to resist putting my two pence in amid all the high expectation and seasonal good cheer. I recently read a post about New Year’s Resolutions for single mums, and as good ole Carrie Bradshaw might say, I got to thinking that there is no point in having a New Year’s resolution unless it is a) worthwhile, and b) going to save you money. It goes without saying that as a single parent money is not in plentiful supply, and although I would hardly describe myself as living in penury, a list that includes treating yourself by outsourcing cooking and cleaning (in the form of getting takeaways and employing a cleaner), as this woman suggested, is out of reach for most of us, myself included. Frankly, it may as well have been a list of resolutions for single mothers sitting on vast divorce settlements. So here is my alternative list; a list of resolutions for us-the majority, I’ll wager-with substantially less money.
- If you’re thinking of dating, use only free dating apps (they’re all crap anyway, and dating is hell. Why pay for the privilege?)
- Set yourself a limit for how much money you are allowed to spend per day and stick to it. I recently read a book about a woman who survived (and not only survived, but thrived) on a pound a day for a year, and though that sounds like it might be a bit too much like hard work for me, I could at least try and be, say, a tenth as good and live on a tenner a day, right?
- Strike up conversations with other parents in the park. It’s free.
- Do all the supermarket shopping online. Less temptation to buy extra stuff you don’t need, and you can buy in bulk (useful for one such as me, who doesn’t drive).
- Do all the cleaning yourself. Don’t get a cleaner. I hear Flash is good these days.
- Book holidays very far in advance. Or just don’t go on holiday. Let one’s passport run out and “forget” to renew.
- Make your own lunch for work. I have actually been doing this, and weirdly, I feel very healthy, even though I am not one of those who brings in a cracker and a sheaf of lettuce leaves (hello colleagues. You know who you are) and calls it a meal. Today I actually ate grapes. Grapes! I don’t even like fruit.
- Don’t pay anything more than you have to for the television. If you get that Netflix you’ll only end up watching endless reruns of Paw Patrol. It’s not worth it. Save your sanity and stick to CBeebies and a sprinkling of Channel 5.
- Never use your phone. The data might run out and anyway you will only end up wasting time on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram (delete as appropriate, or in my case, all three) reading posts from groups you have little to no interest in, getting all in a huff about other people’s pointless arguments and wondering if the dawn of the apocalypse has been announced on Twitter yet. And when things get really bad, you will end up reading the Guardian online again and dying a sad and heartbroken death to the strings of a million liberal violins playing a requiem.
And finally, never, ever read other people’s New Year’s resolutions on the internet. It’s January. Go out there and have some fun.