I found a really good web blog dedicated to making a commitment not to buy new products for a period of 2,4,6,8 or 12 months. It is called Compacting Mamas and it is very inspiring. I am going to do a 2 month informal trial run and see how well I can do before actually making the leap. Hey, it's a big step! I am a rampant consumer aka. impulse shopper, so this is really going to be like going cold turkey with chocolate. Thankfully that is not one of the things since it is a food item....technically.
One of the biggest reason for doing this is to save money. With gas prices being what they are, I will cut corners whenever and however I can. That will entail a drastic reduction in fluff spending. With Compacting Mamas, basics such as food,shampoo and hygiene things are exempt. Thank God! And you can name exemptions of things that are necessary. For example, I am going to sell some of my stitch markers and handmade jewelry, pottery and craft objects. so supplies related to this venture are exempt.
One of the ways that I plan on getting away from spending on new is to avoid shopping for ANYTHING when I am bored and tired. This will help save gas too.
I have been prompted to make these changes because of the high cost of gas. Let's face it, if you have a choice between getting to work or buying something new, the new item has to be given up. If I am getting screwed by the oil/gas companies, I will not spend my money on consumer stuff..This will mean being really careful when I am on the Internet too. I tend to shop at Amazon for books too much. That will stop for two months, at least. I am hoping this helps ease me into curbing spending long term. I have a membership in a book club that automatically sends a book from my reading list (books I've chosen) so that will have to be exempt too. I get charged if I cancel. Plus the books are $9.99 shipping included, so it isn't a huge bite into the budget.
Some other things we have been doing to cut out a little extra spending is to eat at home more. With the exception of our biweekly dinner group outing, we have been eating at home a lot more than in the past. When I was working outside the home, we were always stopping and getting something pre-made because hubby and I were too tired to cook. That has been seriously cut down. I think making it from scratch or at home also cut out a lot of salt and preservatives, depending on what you are cooking. Obviously if you are using boxed dinners, you have sodium and preservatives to contend with, but I think overall homecooked meals tend to be healthier. Hubby and I love to drink coffee in the morning. Good coffee--not the pre-canned and stale stuff. We buy whole beans from a roaster here in town and sometimes from the bulk bin at the natural foods store and then grind our own as we need them. The difference in flavor is phenomenal, and the savings over getting a coffee at Starbucks or another coffee shop is significant. I will splurge on our dinner nights out every two weeks, but not in between. Eventually I want to cut that in half. The really interesting things is that there are so many varieties of coffee from different places and each one has different characteristics. Grinding and brewing at home has definitely educated my palate. In the mornings I grind the beans and make coffee while hubby is in the shower. We have a small collection of insulated travel mugs, so he goes out the door with his coffee and we save $.
It will be interesting to see how well I do in the upcoming weekend. A friend and I are going to Kansas City to take a cooking class and do a little exploring. I know we are going to hit a couple used books stores, so I am not even going to pretend I won't be buying. I plan on taking a load of books to trade for store credit. One of our favorite places to go is a chain store called Half Price Books. They always have an incredible selection of books. I may also go to the spice store in downtown Overland Park, but probably just to look since I really can't think of anything I need that I can't get locally. There is a yarn shop there also, but I will try not to splurge there. For the most part, I have more than enough yarn, so if I buy, it has to be something really incredible that I can't get in the shops in Wichita or Newton. The 2 months of "no buying new", I plan to work on reducing and using what I already have in my stash.
As far as spending today and the past couple days, I had a lot of things that needed to be paid as far as pottery studio memberships for both my son and I (this is important to us), dinner out with out dinner group, bills to pay, and a little bead buying. The beads are actually part of my business and will be used in things I am selling, so I am not to worried about that. I have to sit down and make up stitch markers as soon as I get the wire I ordered earlier in the week.
How have the soaring gas prices affected your routines and spending? Have you cut down, cut back, or just plain stopped spending? Leave me a comment and let me know how you make the ends meet!
Good coffee and great friends to you and yours!