With evidence of a triple-dip recession all about us, making ends meet is no easy task. For many, this has been a time of stress, but there are those amongst us for whom life has continued unperturbed. For these folk, killing time need not be about money. In fact, time is not a disposable commodity at all - the more of it the better. In my quest to save a bob or two and make the moment last, I've turned to those in the know. I've turned to the slow lifers.
Ben Hollis: Slow Sport
What could be more soothing and meditative than a day spent on the edge of a river with a fishing rod in your hand? According to Ben Hollis of the Copthorne and District Angling Society, "catching a fish is only a small part of angling. It's great to be out in the fresh air, away from modern distractions. Just being there amongst the wildlife can be enough."
The sport has picked up considerably over the last decade, and the Environment Agency reports that more than 1.4 million people bought rod licenses between 2011 and 2012 - that's about 400 thousand more people than a decade before. Whether this has much to do with increased financial pressures it's impossible to say, but Ben believes the relatively low costs have something to do with it. "Most angling clubs will provide an annual fee for as little as £50," he explains, "and it's even cheaper if you are a junior or over 65. Failing that, numerous day ticket lakes are dotted around the country, and these can offer good fishing for a day rate of around £7 to £15."
Decent fishing equipment - good rods and tackle - are not the only things you need to get started, of course. Somewhere to fish is an obvious essential, and Hollis says the best place to start is your local tackle shop. Failing that he advises looking for, "a spot that shows signs of fish being there! Look out for any kind of cover - lily pads, overhanging trees..." I'm sold already.
Decent fishing rods of all sizes can be bought online from Sports Direct. Rod licenses are available online from the Environment Agency and cost between £27 and £72 depending on the kind of fishing you are interested in. Shorter licenses and concessions are also available.
Delayed Gratification: Slow Journalism
According to the old maxim, yesterday's news is today's fish'n'chips wrapper, so what value could there be in slow journalism? According to Rob Orchard of Delayed Gratification, a quarterly magazine published by The Slow Journalism Company, there is a lot to be said for being, "last to the breaking news". He explains: "We have something in common with the broader slow travel and slow food movements, in that we're all about taking our time to produce something of quality. We wanted to provide the final analysis of stories which the rest of the media picked up briefly then dropped again when the news agenda moved on, to revisit events after the dust had settled and work out their significance."
But can a quarterly magazine really provide an improvement on your lifestyle and finances? At £36 per year it's very reasonable indeed, especially considering how substantial the magazine feels and how beautifully it is put together. "Once every three months," explains Rob, "you'd receive a magazine that looks, feels and even smells good, packed full of stories you missed the first time round, fascinating infographics which make sense out of the quarter and extraordinary long-form investigative stories. You'd be inspired, amused and forced to take a screen break, which is something everyone needs once in a while."
Catch up on the last three months of news with a copy of Delayed Gratification, available via the DGQuarterly website, or from Monocle shops in London, New York and Tokyo. Subscriptions via the website cost £36, and subscribers can get a 10% discount by using the promo code: slownewsday.
Em Kuntze: Slow Clothing
While the slow fashion movement advocates buying from bespoke designers rather than following the "McFashion" crowds, Em Kuntze of the slow life website, Laundry Yard, likes to take it even further, kitting out her burgeoning family in homespun garments of her own making.
"As with anything, it's always possible to spend a small fortune on knitting supplies," she tells me, "but of course you don't have to. The key is: think small. That enormous sweater you've been coveting might seem like a good thing to replicate, but if you're comparing it against the one you saw in H&M, you're unlikely to save any of your hard earned cash. On the other hand, smaller items - wrist warmers, hats and socks - can been fashioned from a mere one or two balls of yarn, and they make wonderful thoughtful gifts for less than a tenner, too."
While knitting may seem like the preserve of the nation's grannies, Em points out that this simply isn't the case. "Youtube provides a wealth of information for every conceivable knitting conundrum and Pinterest will get the creative juices flowing in ways you'd never dreamed." Fire up those needles, folks. The early adopters are all purling these days.
If you're looking for a good place to start with slow fashion, Em curates her favourite designs on the Moshi Boshi Pinterest Board.Suggest a correction