The obligatory New Year post

Ah, the New Year.

I’ll spare you the trite summaries of 2016, the hopelessly optimistic aims for 2017 and the boring run-down of the tiresome New Year’s resolutions.

Instead, I’ll say a big thank-you to you all for sticking around for another year and a big welcome for anyone who discovered Want Less in the past twelve months.

For anyone new to this site, here are some of my favourite posts of 2016 which should bring you bang-up-to-date:

Will keeping a gratitude journal make you happier

The Millennial Money Rebellion begins here

In praise of wasting time

Wedding bells, balls-ups and budgets

My finances: great advice I live by, great advice I don’t

The reverse bucket list

A beginner’s guide to minimalism

Smartphones and me

Don’t let your life get overgrown: creating a low maintenance existence

The 10 things I’ve noticed since becoming a minimalist

Net worth: not just for millionaires

There will be some minor changes afoot here in 2017. I’m bringing my semi-regular Tune Tuesdays to a close (mainly because I’m running out of tunes about money or possessions to feature) so even though it’s not a Tuesday today, please indulge me as I feature not one, not two but three tunes to round off the series.

Firstly, Jungle’s fabulous Busy Earnin’ goes out to anyone who’s ever needed a reminder that there’s more to life than making money, myself included:

Damn, that’s a boring life
It’s quite busy earnin’
You can’t get enough

And now, for something completely different: Porter Wagoner’s Satisfied Mind. This song harnesses the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, reminding us that true wealth lies in being content with what you have. It was perhaps most famously sung by Johnny Cash but here’s a nice performance by Robert Plant and the Band of Joy:

The wealthiest person is a pauper at times
Compared to the man with a satisfied mind

And let’s mix it up again for the last track. Anyone remember Papa Roach off of the early 2000s? I wonder what those chaps are up to these days. I assume it won’t be shopping, listening to this Fight Club-inspired, anti-materialist song of theirs from 2002, Between Angels and Insects:

Money, possession, obsession,
I don’t need that s***

A new semi-regular feature will be emerging shortly. Watch this space…

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Tune Tuesdays: Peter Doran

I haven’t done one of these for a while, so here’s a little tune from Peter Doran. I first heard this song thanks to The Minimalists, as it’s the theme to their new podcast, which is also worth a listen.

In fact, I’ve been enjoying a few new podcasts recently, so I’ll have to do another list of recommendations soon.

Every little thing that you’re lusting for
How did you ever get along before?
Oh, I bet that you were fine without it.

Tune Tuesdays: Seasick Steve

Here’s the legend that is Seasick Steve. I went to see him live once, and he demonstrated his one-string diddley bow. This guy could probably make a decent blues tune out of a tin of beans.

In this tune, I love the way he describes that sense of freedom that comes from having very little.

I can’t lose what I didn’t have;
You can’t take what I ain’t got.


Tune Tuesdays: Bessie Smith

It’s worth reminding myself just how lucky I am.

I may be battling heaps of debt, but I’ve got a good credit record and have (so far) always been able to afford to put food on the table and a roof over my head.

The cost of my mortgage is less than a fifth of my take-home pay, which is pretty comfortable to be honest.

If the worst ever came to the worst and I lost my job, I have a supportive family who I’m sure would step in with all the help they could afford to give, as I would with them.

I got myself into debt through wanting to buy extravagant things, like post-graduate courses and nearly-new cars. Not through being exploited by payday lenders or having to pay over-the-odds for energy on a prepayment meter because I was on a low income.

A lot of people have things a lot tougher, and in their honour, here’s Bessie Smith singing about the horror of finding the bailiffs’ notice on the door, in the House Rent Blues.

Tune Tuesdays: Lost Property

So, it’s Tune Tuesday again and here’s a lovely little song about how possessions come to mean so much to us: Lost Property by The Divine Comedy.

Possessions of a sentimental kind: they were mine, now they’re not.

It’s about stuff he has mislaid over the years, but would equally apply to items ditched in haste, which is something I have to say I worry about as I try to shed so many of my belongings.

Interestingly, one of the items I had been reluctant to get rid of till now is a t-shirt from this very tour. Maybe I’ll be reunited with it in a dream someday?