04 November 2012

No Spend November

Yesterday, my mom and I took Magdalena to the library. When she was there, my mom picked up a book called Not Buying It, all about a couple's decision to not purchase a single unnecessary item for an entire year.
Doing something like this has been floating around in my head for a while, although I don't think a year is feasible for me - but a month, surely? And then, another month? And then, why not three more months? When the book came home with us, I thought it must be a sign.
So, after reading her and her partner's experiences, and having thought about for a while, I decided I am going to give it a go. Thus, No Spend November has come about, on the fourth day of November, 2012.
Now, what is necessary and what's not? Not such an easy decision as it seems. Gas should be necessary, right? Well, maybe. At first I thought "well of course it is!" But then, I live on a very small island, and nothing much is more than an hour's (round trip!) bike ride away.
But what about the days Magdalena has to go to school and it's a torrential downpour? Sleet? Hail? Meteors?! Well, you get it. So, yes. I need gas. But...what if I don't have to buy any during the whole month of November? The Rav is full up right now. What if I look at rides in the car the same way as I do what I am buying - do I really need to drive to my friends' house to feed their cats? Or can I walk? Do I have to drive Lena to school today, or can we bike?
What about food? Yes, it goes without saying I need food. Printer ink? Yes. Paper? Not so much right now, I have an abundance.
This is the list of what I have decided are the only necessities, the only things my daughter and I really need:
- Gas
- Groceries
- Printer ink (I have to print out shipping labels)
- Packaging materials and shipping fees
- Clothing
- School and school supplies
Yes, clothing. But again, only what Magdalena really needs. I wouldn't have included this item, but we're in dire need of winter pajamas and socks. I want to monitor my spending, not drastically devolve our quality of life, you know?
And groceries is certainly more broad of a term then 'food.' We do need shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and other essentials. But it doesn't include everything in the store - sorry, Magdalena, we don't need to get stickers today!
I love soaps. I don't need a fancy shampoo or face wash, or even bubbles in my bath. But I love soaps. The fancier, the better. I don't know what it is about me, but when I saw a display at the drugstore in town yesterday filled with mini winter themed scented soaps, I wanted them all. And I wanted to get them for all my friends, family, and pets.
Yes, soap is something we need. But do we need the most expensive, organic, lavender smelling bar in the place? I am going to be honest here, I don't know. I enjoy the smell and sight of them so much, and in the grand scheme of things, even the most expensive bar of soap in the grocery or farmer's market isn't that much. And as I just said I enjoy them immensely, and this experiment isn't about punishment or going without, per say...sigh...this one will have to be something I decide when the time comes...
But I think I know what my decision is going to be.
Now, what about yarn? I don't know the answer. I have more yarn than I can shake a stick at. I can make anything I want for myself or Lena without purchasing any. But what if someone wants a custom order and I don't have that yarn? It's something I think I may lose sleep over!
Let No Spend November begin!

1 comment:

Louise said...

I like the way you are thinking. I've set myself this challenge before and it was much harder than I thought it would be. Nevertheless, it definitely helped me to be a more conscious shopper. Best wishes for No spend November

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