Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Buy Nothing Challenge

So I've been toying with the thought about a buy nothing challenge for a long time now. Obviously being frugal and being "green" go hand in hand. A truly frugal person will make stuff LAST.
Crunchy Chicken a fellow Seattle blogger has done this challenge a couple times and she's brutally honest about her spending so I decided to follow her lead and do our own family Buy Nothing Challenge (BNC) starting in September.
I copied that picture from Crunchy's blog and to read more about it click here.
About a year ago I read most of a book called, "Not Buying it, My Year without Shopping" by Judith Levine and while I didn't' finish the entire book the idea fascinated me. A whole year? How interesting and difficult! I wondered if my family would truly be up to it.
And since Hubby isn't working I figured this would be a great way to curb any non-essential spending in our more tight times

Hubby and I sat down and made out a few rules and here are some we came up with:
  • No buying anything new or used
  • Goal is to pay down some of our bills and prepare in case hubby is out for a long time
  • No buying of extra groceries unless both hubby and i agree its essential
  • No lame excuses about something being such a great deal we can't pass it up
  • No Eating out. This includes Sonic's Happy Hour...oh so sad....
  • No eating out includes Coffee Shops
  • No iTunes downloads for me unless a giftcard is available to me

But here are some items that are allowed or AKA: Depletables

  • Food (must be agreed upon)
  • Prescriptions
  • Dog & Chicken Food
  • Gas
  • Any emergency parts for vehicle's that require repairs or else it won't operate. This also includes necessary appliances like the Fridge
  • When buying any necessary items like food we seek out the cheapest, most local and/or organic items. Or items should have a coupon if possible. not always possible at farmers markets, but hey if we NEED it then a coupon is encouraged.
  • Bathroom essentials like toilet paper, but I have about a 5 month supply so I'm not worried about it. I will be using up all we have of things like Shampoo or toothpaste before any others are purchased. Part of the challenge is to see how long we can go without "stocking up."
  • We can barter or trade to get items, but no money can be exchanged for items
  • Bike repairs can be included in "vehicle" repairs
  • school items that Noah might require, but will seek out free or see if others might have it before breaking down and buying it
  • Gift cards can be spent if we are given any or have any, but no going over
  • Experiences like going to the Zoo or visiting someplace local could be considered not spending if both parties agree its ok. Supporting locally is tops on the list if an experience is desired and again, coupons encouraged
  • If having to buy something comes up for us to bless someone else then spending is allowed

As a whole we just want to see not only how long we can make things last, but also to teach ourselves that spending isn't necessary. Plus, I want to prove to myself that it is possible to go without and its OK. I don't spend a lot, but I'll admit sometimes I get a little nervous because I'm one of those, "Its such great deal I couldn't pass it up" people. While I do shop locally and think globally when I shop, there are times when I get weak in the knees at great deals.
Noah is getting into this and last night we told him about it and he didn't seem to fazed by it until we said no eating out. That kind of floored him a bit. Tonight he said, "You have to get the washer fixed Dad and you can't do ti because you can't spend." I think he'll be a good accountability person for this challenge.

Would you join me? I'm hoping to start a trend and keep it going for as long as possible. Its important that we as consumers (and CONSUME we DO) consider how much of our spending is necessary. If it takes 21 days to form a good habit or break a bad one, then 30 days should be a breeze! I'm thinking of turning this challenge into as long as possible, but I don't want to get to proud yet. This isn't going to be easy and I'll be the first to admit. I think I'll be in search of Free stuff A LOT more next month, but hopefully I'm not looking for Free just to amass more things.

So think about it. Let's start this on September 1st and go from there. I will try to confess as often as possible.....Let's hope anyway!

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