Friday, January 23, 2009

Still More Small Victories

*my best friend gave me a coat she couldn't wear anymore---OMG it's so warm and wonderful and much nicer than any I would have bought.
*I have been doing okay on the grocery front--making creative meals with what I have on hand
*I resisted the urge to buy a new Stephen King book by thinking of all the books I have at home
*I've realized the only way to avoid Blythe cravings is to simply stay off of TIB and just enjoy the dolls I have.
*I almost bought yarn for a felted bag but then had a great idea to do freeform crochet, which will make the varying weights and brands of wool that I have less of a problem and more of a design feature
*I even considered buying a new purse but decided not to even entertain the concept
*I am going to dig out some of my favorite skirts that don't fit and remake them for spring
*we made crayon tarts with our broken crayons. Maggie loves to stack them up

It's odd, my buying impulses have cooled and these are more about creative living than specifically avoiding purchases. In a way I miss Target (I miss having something to do) but I don't miss the stuff--I'm starting to view stuff as "just more crap I have to store" rather than "something I could really use".

Oddly enough, without a constant influx of new purchases I am enjoying the things I have more. When I think a cup of tea sounds nice, instead of considering a new teapot I immediately think of which one I want to use (that I already have). I'm having fun mixing up my current wardrobe rather than going and buying new things when what I have can be used.

I am really really eager for spring though--I would really like to be able to go out and take walks again instead of being cooped up inside!

Friday, January 09, 2009

More Small Victories

I am finding that the secret to this thing is in the so-called small victories. It's the daily decisions and small, seemingly insignificant purchases that are the ones that add up!

*I finished Maggie's socks
*Maggie and I made Valentines together
*I successfully resisted the urge to purchase a travel Scrabble set (since I already have a Scrabble set, and I really don't carry it around that much)
*I was hanging up clothes in my closet and was annoyed at the lack of skirt hangers. My first impulse was to write them on the shopping list, but then I decided to make some out of clothespins and regular hangers. When I went into the laundry room to get those things I found 5 unused skirt hangers I had forgotten about.
*I am involved in a grab bag with my knitting group where we are exchanging things we already have, instead of buying new.

Already I feel a change in the way I look at purchases. Instead of thinking "I'm not so down I need to improvise skirt hangers!" I'm thinking "I could save some money and also if my skirt hanger needs decrease, I can still use the regular hangers and clips". Instead of thinking "I haven't bought anything in a while, I can treat myself" I am thinking "I don't need anything, I have everything I need and can create anything else I might want."

It has become almost a game to see how long I can go without mundane purchases!

I must say, however, that I am making an exception. Since my goal is to purge my life of non-meaningful purchases, I think this one is fair. Yesterday I was on the floor with Maggie and found one single feather from my beloved Columbia stuck between the baseboard and the carpet. I've vacuumed the corner a hundred times--how fortunate it was down deep enough I didn't get it. I had been regretting I didn't save some of his feathers when he passed. So I am paying an independent crafter on Etsy to cast this lone memento of my little blue companion in resin that I can wear as a pendant. I think that's a good use of $25.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Small Victories

*It's January 7th and I have only bought one new thing other than food/cleaning supplies. A workout video.
*I set aside a pressie for my cousin's bday that involves no spending
*I made a pair of socks for Mr. Knitty's bday from stash yarn (made out of CORN!)
*I am working on a pair of kneesocks for Maggie's half bday
*I went to the mall yesterday with my cousin and didn't buy ANYTHING
*I went to Target and failed a little--I bought two $1 picture frames but I'm going to return them
*I cooked dinner 5 nights in a row

Maggie and I are going to make valentines rather than buy them. I am really eager to cut out paper and do them with her!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Buy Nothing New Year

Some friends of mine on another site are trying a Buy Nothing New Year (BNN). The idea behind this is you, well, buy nothing new except consumeables like food, of course, and toiletries, of course, and things like underwear that one just really can't buy used.

The main point of BNN, however, is not to just shift your buying to used things, but to force yourself to really think and slow down before making purchases, rather than impulse bying. The time it takes to locate a used item is time to rethink whether you need the item at all, or whether you might have something at home already that could fulfill the need, or can make something, or can do without the item all together.

I'm not sure that I'll make it a whole year, but I am hoping that the attempt at least for a month or two will help me solve this crazy shopping issue I have.

I am hoping that I will no longer struggle with an overage of stuff, constant trips to the thrift shop, and too many bills. Bill-wise, I am hoping to continue the goal I've had to put my entire paycheck into the savings account and pay expenses out of just my husband's check. I've been doing it for three months already, and I barely noticed that my time was up. I've decided to extend this to a permanent goal.

6 Big Boxes

I use Maggie's diaper boxes as "sharing boxes". This just means they are going to the thrift store, but I like to make the emphasis to Maggie that we are sharing the things we don't need anymore with people who might need them more. The boxes are the perfect size; even when full they're not too heavy, but they're large enough to hold nearly anything.

I had three boxes stacked up in my craft room for ages. I wanted to drop them off but just didn't get the chance. So I put them in the car, figuring sooner or later I'd find myself near the thrift shop and I'd drop them off. Then I did a major cleanout of Maggie's space post-Xmas and ended up with three MORE boxes.

I am contemplating these 6 boxes. I would like to just dump them off and get rid of them and stop thinking about them. But I think I need to consider them a little more, and what they represent.

These 6 boxes represent a large amount of stuff. Enough to cover a twin bed 6 inches deep. These boxes represent money I (or someone else) has spent. They represent 6 boxes worth of stuff I have carried home in my car and up the stairs. They represent 6 boxes worth of stuff I have washed, folded, dusted, sorted, stored, maintained. They represent 6 boxes worth of stuff that I (or someone else) used not enough to use UP, but to leave in good enough condition for donation. They represent 6 boxes worth of things I probably didn't really need in the first place.

That last one is a stunner. It just slapped me as I wrote it. I didn't need that stuff. But instead of putting a bit of thought into the purchase, I bought it. I spent hard earned money, time, effort, and energy to buy this thing that I didn't really need. And now I am spending more time, money, effort, and energy to box it up and take it to the thrift shop.

It sort of makes me sick to think of. I wonder why Americans like me feel like hamsters in a wheel--running, running, running, and not ever getting anywhere. We are spending our money and time and energy buying and caring for things we....don't really care ABOUT.

Although I will eventually drop these boxes off at the thrift shop, I am currently doing a bit of penance by carrying them around in my car and looking at them in the craft room (there are three in each place). A really important point I have to mention is that I CANNOT remember much of what is in those boxes anyway. I do know what's in a couple--either because I just filled them or because I can peek at the contents bursting out of the box top.

But for now, they are Box Filler. I spent money and time and hours of my life energy on Box Filler. Ouch. I hate to think of how many credit card bills I might have dodged, how much more time I would have had to do something else, how much less stuff I would have had to carry up and down the stairs, if I didn't have these 6 boxes of Box Filler.

And then I realized I was a bit *worried* about not having that steady influx of diaper boxes once my daughter is toilet trained. How screwy is that? That I might be *worried* about not spending $60 a month on disposable diapers if only to have the boxes to fill with more Box Filler.

I've got to do something.