As I write this week I am away exploring my passions for theatre and travelling. I’m enjoying spending time with friends at the Edinburgh Fringe. And spending money on what I love. Fringe theatre.
Although I like to keep my spending low generally, I never skimp on things I love. Things that really bring me joy – both in an immediate sense of fun, and long lasting enrichment. And theatre passes both of those tests.
Know what I love
It takes a long time to understand what you really love. And it’s a privilege, only given to those that have enough stability and resources to cover the essentials. Moreover, I’d say you need to spend and experiment to find out what you live. It’s a trial and error approach, as you explore new concepts and try out new pastimes and hobbies.
Now in comes theatre. I’ve always liked theatre – but only since moving to London did my love become apparent. I find it mesmerising and stimulating and find it such a pleasure to watch good theatre. And in London, I’m spoilt for choice. There are so many theatres and theatre spaces you could go to the theatre each and every day and still not see everything.
My taste is very wide – I adore the classics such as Shakespeare and Ibsen – plays which are timeless in their appeal and can be reinterpreted so many ways. The American canon is also great to watch – such as Miller and Williams to give me a flavour of what life was like in the US. I’ll happily watch most plays from Greek tragedies to modern new plays.
Away from the mainstream I also like the obscure.
Enter fringe theatre. If you are not familiar with the term, it’s what we call smaller theatre – Off West End or Off Broadway. These are shows that have much smaller audiences – anything from 5 to 100 people. They can be commercial but tend towards the non-profit. Moreover, they are not designed to appeal to the masses, but to a niche. And that is what makes them so appealing.
Some of the best theatre I have ever seen has been fringe. Smaller venues are much more intimate, with great sightlines and you feel part of the play. You get to use your imagination more as the staging and props are more basic. And this is what makes it more special in my eyes.
The Edinburgh Fringe
And that brings us to Edinburgh. Edinburgh has always had the Edinburgh International Festival. This is an art and culture festival, which tends towards the high-brow and mainstream. And it used to be the main draw.
However, over the last decade, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has overtaken it in popularity. The fringe features mainly theatre and comedy, and a smattering of spoken word, dance and other events. Compared to the main festival it is much less high brow and the venues are smaller.
But the Fringe is now massive and the main event in August in Edinburgh. The locals go away for long holidays and the festival crowd move in. The city changes, and is full of such a variety of people. From people putting on plays or working on them, to tourists and visitors like myself. Some come for the serious theatre, some for comedy and some just for a party.
Going to the Fringe is like going to the chocolate factory for a chocoholic, or a brewery for a beer lover. It is simply amazing and astounding the number of shows on offer – there are over three thousand different shows on offer. Yes, the hardest part is choosing what to see.
Spend money on that
Many people preach frugality – and while it is true frugality will get you richer quicker, it doesn’t take into account your happiness. And happiness is one of the keys to maintaining progress on your journey to financial independence in my opinion. What use is money if you are unhappy? Or unfulfilled?
Find your priorities
And that’s why I preach you should find your priorities, and spend your money happily on them. If you love something and it’s a priority, spending money on it will bring you more contentment overall.
Hence I am in Edinburgh, going to see all the shows I want to. I am spending money enthusiastically and enjoying every minute of it. And not thinking about the money in any way, because it is worth it to me.
Sidebar: Everything can’t be a priority. And the more priorities you have the more you will have to compromise between them.
Aligning spending with values
In order to keep that contentment, all your personal values must be aligned with that spending.
As a committed feminist, I disagree with the overrepresentation of men in the theatre industry. Hence, I want to support female-centric acts and actors. Therefore I made sure I spent my money in line with my values. I paid to see many, many more female acts than male acts. And it was harder, but not difficult by any means.
Likewise, a committed environmentalist would ensure that all purchases were eco-friendly or a vegan that they were all animal free.
Joy is found
I’m a firm believer that by spending money on things you love, your life is enriched.
Every person has a different perspective on what brings joy, so these are all highly personal. And that’s what makes it so amazing – working out what brings you lasting joy – rather than a quick temporary high.
Once you have found these items and prioritise them, you’ll find life so much more content and happy.
Winning at life
It’s my firm belief that once you have cracked how to spend money on things you love without overspending you are winning at life. You have cracked the self-actualisation segment at the top of Maslow’s pyramid.
That’s not to say you have a perfect life and don’t face challenges on a daily basis. Life will always have good times and times when we face adversity, but by enriching our lives and finding happiness we can overcome the difficult times more easily.
Over to you
- What are your thoughts?
- Have you identified the items you love?
- Are you happy to spend on them?
- Any other theatre fans?
- Have you been to the Edinburgh Fringe?