So there I was, admiring my wash stand and congratulating myself on the accessories I’d found for my Jones machine, when I had a brain wave.

Whenever I enter the electricity meter reading, I always end up having paid too much on my last bill so the account ends up in credit. And with an account in credit, I can justify getting some lovely botanical prints to hang over the wash stand, and perhaps some book ends to keep my craft books on the shelf that’s going to hang beside it. Pointer poised over the ebay search bar, I managed to talk myself into entering the meter reading first.

This was a great mistake. It turned out that I’d actually used three times as much energy as I’d been charged for – thank you prohibitively expensive Calor Gas cylinder heating and therefore portable electric heaters. Winter is a harsh mistress.

But you know – it’s not the end of the world. Suddenly, the old creative streak flares up and I no longer want to buy everything in sight, just because I can. I have all these genius ideas about making food stretch further – using the ham stock from my joint to make pea soup and the leftovers for as many as 4 meals – and I start to think about which things I already have which I can use to create the things I want. I’m going to make some fabric cubes and fill them with some kind of weight to make book ends, and I might just move some of my existing pictures round in the house. Failing that, I could pick up pen and pencil and sketch something myself. I did used to have some vague degree of talent for art…

It’s easy to forget, when you have money, just how satisfying it is to get something for nothing. I was speaking to husband about it and I realised that the things I loved most in the house – except the wash stand! – were the items I’d paid nothing, or next to nothing, for. Take my Jones sewing machine, for example. In full working order, my gorgeous Victorian monster cost only £20. Not only is it decorative, but functional too – total bargain.

The nursery is my favourite room of all – the only thing we spent money on was the chest of drawers and even then, it was money we recouped by selling the old double bed. The rocking chair was an old one which Mum gave me, whilst I made all of the soft furnishings (except the knitted cushion cover) myself. The bath was found on freecycle, as was the pram, and the crib was given to us by our lovely neighbour. It all looks lovely though, and it’s so satisfying to think that it all came from people who love us, or through hard work and ingenuity. All the money we could have spent can be put away into savings now, and all thanks to a little creativity.

So even though the electric bill means I can’t have the things I might have wanted, it has put me back in a better mindset to finish my misshapen jumper and start knitting a tea cosy for myself – something that I don’t actually have!