Monday, March 4, 2013

How did Don't Buy Anything Month go?

And how did my "Don't Buy Anything" February go, you were wondering?  I think it went swimmingly.

I think I should qualify that statement--it did go quite swimmingly, but lets also remember that January was Buy All The Things month, so it was probably easier than it might otherwise have been.  Also, it is difficult to take a toddler with a broken leg shopping, so that REALLY cut down on my shopping.

My intent in doing a "Don't Buy Anything" month was to slow down the unnecessary house and clothing spending. I felt that I was spending a great deal on mindless shopping at Target and Lowes and JoAnn Fabrics and Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Zappos.  I can't seem to walk out of Target without spending $50, even if I walked in intending to buy only a $3 box of envelopes.  The kids clothing, it just jumps into my cart without my noticing and hangs on tight.

I did not look to cut all spending all the time.  I did not attempt to change the amount of money that we spend on groceries, or dining out, or babysitting.  In fact, for all of February it was extremely difficult to leave the house with Princess and her painful broken leg, so my babysitting budget actually increased so that we could still attend the boys's extracurricular activities.

I was successful in not buying anything for the house. Not one single thing.  I did no projects (notice my lack of blogging?), bought no materials for said projects, and did not wander into HomeGoods to caress pretty pillows and enticing rugs. (I don't know how long I can keep this up.)

I was....less...successful at not buying any clothes.  Well, shoes.  I bought a new pair of sneakers because my current pair are a few years old and the Mister was buying sneakers and hey I need them too! No, I don't. I should take them back.  I also bought (ahem) three pairs of sandals.  I have terribly wide, pontoon-like feet, and have a hard time finding shoes.  Four years ago I bought three pairs of kitten-heel t-strap sandals from Talbots, which I have worn into the ground.  For the past year I have shopped fruitlessly for replacements with no luck.  As luck would have it, during "Don't Buy Anything" month, Talbots came out with a lovely t-strap sandal that fits perfectly and I love them and I bought them and I'm not giving them up!!  (Black, navy and nude.)  Yes, I failed at Don't Buy Anything.

But! Seriously? I didn't buy anything else.  I did not buy sweaters I don't need, or pants for the kids, or hey, we need pens, and I've always wanted to try boysenberry jam, and hmm, this Nate Berkus stuff is on sale, and those camis are on sale too, I've been meaning to replace mine, and I can never find the right lids to the tupperware, I should replace those and so on and so forth.  Four pairs of shoes was all I bought.

I think this little experiment was a success, sandals notwithstanding.  Our credit card bill was cut by nearly 60% this month.

One thing I did see, looking at our reduced spending this month, is that we spend far more than I thought we did on groceries.  The Mister does our weekly shopping on Sundays, and usually spends about the same amount every week.  What I noticed, looking at our receipts, is that we also tend to make at least one more grocery trip each week, if not two, each one totaling at least $40.  So we are spending at least $160 more a month on groceries than I thought we were.

For March, my goal is to start meal planning.  The extra grocery trips are usually me going to the grocery midweek, saying, eh, I'll make this tonight, except I don't have the ingredients, so I'll just go get them, and oh hey, cherry jam! That salsa looks tasty. Ooh, cantaloupe....  Hopefully the meal planning will curb these extra trips, by making sure that we have all the ingredients planned and accounted for in our weekly shopping.

My take-away tip from Don't Buy Anything month?  Don't enter the store.  Seriously.  Shopping for my house is a form of entertainment for me.  I need to start going to the library instead of Target.  I went to Target on Saturday to buy a birthday gift, put some cute dresses for Princess in the cart, and before going up to the register took out everything but the birthday gift and put it all back.  Its hard to resist Target's siren call. I do better at not buying stuff when I just stay home.  


  1. You are a strong girl. I probably could do the clothes but not for the house.

  2. Great takeaways! Good for you! I hate going into Value Village with my Mom. She cnnot help but buy things. It's awful.


Yay! You're commenting! I love comments!