I am halfway through a self-imposed Buy Nothing stint for the months of January and February. And I’m going to tell you a little bit about it so far.
Why are you doing this to yourself, crazy lady?
Shut up. You’re crazy.
Okay. So, here’s the honest truth: we were in the red for the last *cough*fewmonths*cough* due to a combination of fewer work hours over the holidays and, well, a fantastic to trip to Puerto Rico. This is an effort to rebalance our spending-to-earning ratio and also fast a little bit from the indulgent spending of the last few months.
I was in indulgent spending mode (checking my favorite clothing sites “just in case there’s a great deal” daily, checking airfare daily, etc etc) and I know when I get like that, a strict spending diet is the only fix for me.
What does a Buy Nothing month entail?
I’m so glad you asked!
Here are my Arbitrary-But-I-Have-To-Draw-The-Line-Somewhere Rules:
- Groceries and gas and bills are obviously okay.
- Medical stuff is okay. I’m not gonna deny Gabe medicine if he’s sick.
- Eating out and getting coffee is allowed as long as it doesn’t come in a disposable container*. (So no fast food.)
- Um, any other emergency that arises.
How’s it going?
Most of the time, I hardly think about it. It’s only when I start to check Gap’s online sale section that I’m like, “Hold up. There’s no point. You can’t buy anything.” And when I go to Target to pick up some groceries or medicine, I just don’t wander around the aisles.
It really is reteaching me how to intentionally spend money. We are fairly frugal most of the time, so it’s amazing to me how a month or two of indulgence can throw me off track so much. The truth is, all that “just checking” a site for good sales gives me the gimmes. And I start think about all the things I want to have. It creates a desire for more stuff that I don’t normally have. You sneaky marketers!
Interestingly, we’ve spent way more on groceries this month than we ever have. (Breaking our ‘record’ by almost $100.) (Don’t think I’m crazy and know that kind of stuff off the top of my head. It’s all MINT.) I’m not sure if that’s related to the lack of shopping or just coincides with being out of a lot of stuff after traveling for two weeks.
Here is what we’ve bought so far:
- A coffee from Earth Fare when I forgot to bring my travel mug. (I’ve gotten Starbucks quite a few times, but I remember my mug!)
- Lots of cold stuff for Gabe and Mike – Kleenex, Boogie Wipes, a thermometer, medicines, etc etc. Contacts for me for two years. (I know this doesn’t “count” since it’s “allowed,” but it still hurts to drop a lot of money at Target when we’re not supposed to be shopping.)
- A water filter.
- Stamps and postcards for holiday cards.
- A patch for my ripping Gap jeans and fabric glue for the toggles that are falling off Mike’s toggle coat.
- An ottoman (it was Mike who got this and, technically, this is not his challenge. He was really excited about the ottoman and I felt bad being strict about my silly little budget challenge).
- And, the worst of all, unexpected repairs for Mike’s MacBook when his trackpad stopped work and then the whole computer crashed (almost $400 worth! Ack!)
(That seems like a lot. Don’t worry. The list of stuff I wanted to buy is longer.)
Here we go. One more month!