Buy Nothing Week: Frugal Living put to the test!

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I love the Buy Nothing Movement, in fact, I’ve hinted and written about it in a few of my posts recently.

Part of their movement is to try a buy nothing week, in fact they have an entire Facebook Group dedicated to it.

I started it this week with mostly successes, but we’ll be doing it again next week and I’d encourage you all to do it too!

It’s easy. Taking into consideration all of your financial obligations (rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, gas, etc.), be mindful to not spend any funds that you don’t HAVE TO. Skip the morning drive thru in favor of setting up the coffee maker before bed the night before and making yourself a quick to go brekkie before you hit the road.

Instead of cruising the aisles of Target to combat boredom, take a walk at a local park, or visit with friends.

There are so many small ways you can save money. But this challenge is more than saving money, it’s about being more self-reliant and helping others too.

  1. Clean out your closets (maybe one per day), and instead of throwing the unwanted items away, try posting them in your local Buy Nothing Group, or on another local group (like Nextdoor, Craigslist, or even a local facebook group like a mom’s group).
  2. If there is an item you need, seek it out on one of the free venues listed above. Earlier this week, I needed a new car booster seat to replace one that was damaged in my recent car accident. I asked on our local Buy Nothing Group, and a friend and neighbor offered me one that her daughter had outgrown. It had never been in an accident and was still in date! Score!
  3. Institute substitutions! Going to bake a cake, but you’ve run out of oil? Substitute applesauce, butter, canned pumpkin, or baby food (seriously)!  A quick Google search and a search of your pantry may lead you to a surprising switch. And who knows, it may be a new favorite!
  4. You may learn a new skill! I learned to sharpen my kitchen knives using the sharpener that came with the knife set, instead of taking my knife set to the sharpener (saved $50!). I watched the video on the knife company website, and read the manual.
  5. Barter or trade. You may be surprised! My mom trades her homemade jams and jellies for fruit, veggies, and eggs.

During our Buy Nothing week, I will still have to buy milk and bread, and maybe some fruit (depending on how much we go through), but I am committing to buy only what is on my list. I will also offer up unwanted stuff from our home to my neighbors. Books, clothes, kitchen gadgets, toys, games, even pantry goods.

But don’t think we’ll sit at home staring at each other, there are tons of fun, free things for us to do! Well, we’ve got some play dates near us planned for a few days during the week, and we always get out each day to the YMCA, or the lakes (also close by) for a walk, and to feed the ducks and play at the playground, and if it’s warm enough, we go in the pool at the YMCA (our HOA pool isn’t warm enough in the winter). We’re never want for activities to fill our days.

How can you participate? Pledge to have aBuy Nothing Week! Meal plan, pack your lunch, take your coffee from home. Find free/inexpensive activities to occupy your free time. Visit a park, go to the library. Take a week off from shopping. It’s a great way to spend more time connecting with family and friends.

I do this a few times a year. It really helps us take stock of what we have, both in the physical sense of what we have in our cupboards, but also how lucky we are to have the option to say, “This week we will not spend any money and our quality of life will not suffer.” I recommend that everyone have a spending freeze week or even a day and see how much money you’ll save.

I’ll be reporting our activities and money saved this week, and for those of you who will be having their own spending freeze (or even a modified one- try going a week without the coffee shop or drive-thru), I can’t wait to hear about your savings too!

How to Save Money with Bartering in 3 Easy Steps

savemoneybarterYou’ve probably heard or read about bartering to save money, but you aren’t sure where to start, or how it works. I’m here to demystify it for you!

I barter all the time! Thankfully, a lot of my friends have large vegetable and fruit gardens, fruit trees, or chickens produce eggs. I trade my time and services that I can provide for these things. I love to trade my ability and skill with sewing for farm fresh eggs. The price of eggs in California is insane! A dozen eggs can be almost $6.00, depending on where you shop.

Here are a few tips that I recommend you try in order to stretch your budget with the use of bartering:

Step One: Make a list of the skills you have. Can you sew? Can you babysit? Do you have a lawnmower and some free time to mow lawns? There are lots of things that you can do the people need help with. Maybe you have a great eye for organization and you could help a friend or a neighbor organize their pantry or their garage. Maybe you Love to clean? You can use that skill to either earn money or to barter for goods and services that you need. Maybe you have an overflowing garden or hen house!

Step Two: Make a list of stuff that you need. Do you need help sewing, cleaning house, or do you need to stretch your grocery budget a little bit further with the help of homegrown fruits and vegetables, farm fresh eggs?

Step Three: Ask! Ask your friends or if you’re feeling shy post on your Facebook page or whatever social media that you use. If you’d like to get a broader reach you can even post on websites like craigslist or fiverr.com.  You’d be surprised at what kind of offers you get!
I’d love to hear about the types of things you barter for!