Monday, February 1, 2010

January Buy Nothing Recap

Okay, so if you read my blog entitled Enough I stated that this year my basic goal is to abstain from buying newly manufactured goods for myself and my household for one year.

I wouldn't call January a bust, but I definitely did not get off to the start that I wanted.
First of all, on January 1st I realized the boys were out of easel paper. In our house this is unacceptable, as the easel is the focus of entertainment for our older son, and definitely gets a goodly amount of use by the younger one as well. I remembered that a good friend sent an amazon gift card, so I figured, okay I 'll use the card. What always happens on Amazon? You have to spend $25 to get the supersaver shipping, so I decided to get a copy of Rodale's Organic Gardening to go with it. At that point I realize I've spent over half the gift card, and that the other half would not qualify for the free shipping later, so I had to spend the whole amount. So I threw in the movie "Up" for the family, plus a new Sarah Ban Breachnach book for myself. I justified it all because I technically received the gift card before the new year.

The next thing that came up was the beef. Over a hundred pounds of it, to be exact. We had ordered a large quantity of grass fed, pastured beef from a local farmer, plus several pounds of venison from a friend, and had to buy a deep freeze. We briefly considered getting a used freezer, but that made no sense since a new Energy Star model only costs $30 a year to operate. Again, I considered it justified because we've been planning on buying one for four years now.

Next, the younger boy needed new shoes, as he obviously is sleeping in a bed of Miracle-Gro each night. Being the younger boy, he has pretty much lived in hand-me-down everything his whole life, so this time around he got new shoes. I don't feel terrible about it because shoes are one of those items I don't buy used for myself either.

Then there was the Michael's trip. Again, I had a Christmas gift card in hand. Basically I purchased a Crayola gift set for a birthday party, two packs of scrapbook pages, several bottles of paint, picture storage boxes for the boys, and a pack of stickers.

On another outing, this time a date with the husband, we ended up at Barnes and Noble, and a copy of Somerset Life went home with me. Next time I will be strong and find a 2nd hand copy!

Finally, there was a month end visit to one thrift store, where I found a few owl friends to upcycle with new coats of paint.

I also found these awesome mid century champagne glasses, just in time for Valentine's Day!

There were few victories along the way. One, I did no impulse buying at the mega grocery store that I go to for the whole month. Two, I kept grocery spending under $100 a week. Three, we almost achieved our family goal of living on 75% of our income. Four, I actually went to Target, again gift card in hand, and came out without buying anything because they did not have exactly, precisely what I was looking for.

Things that I learned this month. For starters, as I read through this list I can tell you that very, very little of it was needed. This tells me that I sometimes feel compelled to buy things just to buy them. Also, from the hindsight is always 20/20 files, the family's reaction to the movie "Up" was that although it was nice, we probably won't be watching it with the frequency that we watch "Cars" or "Toy Story." On the plus side, I have learned that if I can talk myself into waiting just 24 hours, I probably won't end up buying the thing at all.

My basic goals for February are to start planning March and April birthday gift purchases, avoid impulse buys completely, to clean out the basement and art space, and list a ton of stuff on Etsy.

A good, thrifty project this month: I took an old, large basket, lined it with plastic, filled it with a layer of rocks for drainage and potting soil, and planted some of last years peas. It will make great decoration for St. Patrick's day and if I am lucky I will have peas by Easter!

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