I’m Matt, associate at Bauman Lyons, aged 33 and living with my fiancée in our own home in Huddersfield with our 10 month old baby boy & our new au-pair Lucy.
For me the scenario will be slightly different to the rest of the office as I have already been working a reduced week (4 days in 3 long ones to be roughly accurate) for about a year now and as such have begun to realise just how significant a difference this can make in both obvious and unexpected ways. However, what is most surprising now is that it’s things that were completely unexpected that have become amongst the most valued to us.
Less working time means less income but that hasn’t necessarily meant less money. We obviously have been saving on travel costs, childcare and so on, but it’s the small things that have really contributed to us actually having more money in the end, rather than less. Or at least that’s how it feels! One thing’s for sure though: we are certainly living richer lives for it.
The small things that have made the difference weren’t quite so obvious at first and have generally come about through our change in circumstances. The first one we recognised (which came about through me giving my fiancée a lift to work, already +£1.50 in our pockets, saved from the bus fare) was just how good the local weekday market is. I can’t believe how awful the fruit & veggies have become at big supermarkets and how much we’re shelling out for them. We’re now paying a lot less for a lot tastier produce, eating healthier and generally behaving more sustainably – supporting local business and even beginning to realise what’s in season, not because we’re reading up on it but because it’s reflected in the prices! I’m sure this is stuff my Grandma used to know! Who’d have thought??!!
I should also say that the reason I can give my fiancée a lift is because we work slightly more flexible hours (a 9.30 start instead of 9am for me), which has literally revolutionised our mornings, especially since having a baby. Such a small change as this, has meant less time sat on the motorway – as I now miss the worst of the rush hour traffic – therefore enabling me not only to drop-off my fiancée at her workplace on my way to mine, but above all it has enabled us, as a family, to have breakfast all together. I can’t quantify how important this is to us – not least because this is the only time I would get to see my son on a work day, as I wouldn’t normally get home before he was in bed. How about that??!!