Our Buy Nothing Week- The Results

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Our first Buy Nothing week was a success. I wrote about my plans here, and they went well. We managed to eat at home all week, pack snacks, and find all kinds of free fun.

I managed to inventory the pantry, clear out and donate some food that we weren’t going to eat, and did a toy purge and gave away some toys that no longer held the kids attention.

We tried it again this week, and well, it didn’t go so well.

Failures:

Wednesday night we went to the Lego Store at Fashion Valley for a free Lego Build (it was a cute platypus), but while we were there, we picked up a few blind bags and Lil’ Man’s Birthday gift. Mr. is part of the Lego Club, where you earn points for every purchase. It is double points month, so we earned enough points for $5.00 off. Since Legos seldom if ever go on sale, we took advantage. Then we had dinner at CPK. I used some money I had earned selling some stuff on Craigslist.

I also had to go buy milk, but I had figured that I would need to, so I set pulled out a few dollars in change from our change jar.

 

But then again, I had a few successes:

We tried some new recipes and improvised using what we had on-hand.

I ran out of tape while packing up a box to mail, so I borrowed some packing tape from my parents.

We played a lot, and did some fun crafts. We also discussed how we could have fun at home and in the neighborhood without spending money.

Yesterday a friend shared her food Co-op bounty with us, so that helps keep me out of the store for a few more days.

Overall, I am pleased with how the week turned out. We were more conscious of spending money and used work arounds and more careful thinking to use what we had, relied on neighbors and family when we needed help.

We’ll be doing it again, but probably not for a month or so. This next week is Lil’ Man’s birthday, and we need to prep for his birthday party. We’re doing a Lego themed party, and I’ll be posting about it next week.

 

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!