Thursday, July 23, 2009

Buy Nothing New Challenge!

This fall, we'll be heading back to the states to visit family and we couldn't be more excited! Or shocked at the cost of things! Between flights, rental cars, and hotels, let's just say it's gonna cost a pretty penny! So that's gotten me to thinking about our finances a lot lately. We also recently purchased a new computer and financial software. And any of you that know Tim very well, know about his penchant for charts and graphs! WELL, after one too many pie charts showing just how much we're spending, I started going a little nuts. We waste a LOT of money! I started looking into ways to reign in our spending and came across some interesting articles about a group of people in San Francisco called The Compact. Basically, they gave up buying anything new for a year. They could buy essential edibles and some hygiene products, but beyond that, anything else had to be free, borrowed, bought used, or bartered for! I'd heard of them before but never thought I could commit to something that intense. But it got me thinking!! IF we could buy nothing new for just one month, we could really save a lot! And learn a little about our spending habits as well as really see the difference between necessities and luxuries.

So, Tim and I chatted about it last night and decided the best thing to do would be to start immediately! That way there's no time to "stock up" before hand. So we came up with our rules and it starts NOW! No new clothes, household goods, toys, tools, makeup, salon services, gourmet foods, restaurants, etc!

1. Buy Nothing New period lasts from July 23rd to August 31st at midnight.
2. Groceries may be bought, but only essentials, no luxuries or prepared foods. (i.e. cookies and frozen pizza are out, flour, butter, sugar, chocolate, cheese, and tomatoes to make cookies and pizza are in!). No going out to eat either! OR coffee runs!
3. Basic hygiene and cleaning products are ok, but makeup, salon services, etc are not (with the exception of Tim's haircut ever other week -- it's technically part of his uniform).
4. Going out cannot cost money, with one exception: Harry Potter is coming to our theater on base next week and we've been waiting a LONG time for it! So at $2.50 each for Tim and I, we are "splurging"...but no popcorn or soda!!!
5. Any prescription or non-prescription products for health reasons are ok to buy.
6. Any car repairs are ok.
7. Postage costs are ok! As are any communication costs (phone and internet).
8. Obviously, we will pay our bills as well!
9. Any thing that comes up that doesn't fit into these categories must only be bought used, free, bartered for or borrowed!

Luckily, Bennet started potty training a few weeks ago, so he's out of diapers, and Jude is breastfed and in cloth diapers, so we don't have to worry about those expenses. I do foresee a few challenges though! Namely the pampered chef party I'm hosting next week and the fact that I am going to be an aunt sometime within the next few weeks!

I'll try to update once in awhile on our progress. I'm actually kind of excited about it! I'm a wee bit of a shopper and I really think that being restricted will open up a whole new world or cost-free hobbies and fun to us!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good luck to you both. i did the same thing! i refuse to buy clothing unless from Sal Val, Wear's Like New, etc. OMG Sara it saves a ton!!! i got two talbots wool lined dress skirts (with tags on them $179 each) for $4.99. sharp shopper is still our fav store we just don't get there as often as we like. Craig's List is another find you'd be amazed what people give away for free. being the dumpster diver i am maybe that will rub off on you now!!! it's fun and the money you'll save will amaze you!!! i love you all and wish you all the best on your new financial journey....make the best of it! frugality rocks!!!

kisses to my boys... xoxoxoxox mimi