Saturday, February 12, 2011

How are we doing?

If you’re just finding this, I’m trying to spend February not spending money on things I don’t need. I’ve defined need rather broadly. This is not about spending no money. It’s about being aware of what you’re buying and why you’re buying it. It’s about stepping off the consumer treadmill, and insisting that we are more than Homo economicus. We are Homo sapiens sapiens—the creature that is aware that it is aware.

No Buy February’s followers have taken the concept to heart. Just Another Day on The Farm, amysflock, and Put the Fork Down hardly seemed to need to be reminded not to spend money.As my friend Sage at The Flowerweaver explains it, this is a phenomenon of rural living--it’s a lot harder to spend money when you have to drive 25 miles to do so. The suburban road less traveled also has it going on—from reading her, I’m not sure that she doesn’t actually have sheep tucked away somewhere on that surburban lot so she can weave her own wool cloth. (remember Good Neighbors?)

Chiot’s Run has added their own challenge, with Make-Your-Own how to’s on Wednesdays. These terrific folks also made our fantastic No-Buy badge. Grab it from my sidebar (haven’t been able to find someone to code it for me, or however you do that, so it’s just a pdf right now).

Chiot’s Run also blogs at Not Dabbling at Normal, along with several other wonderful sustainability and householding bloggers like Jen at Unearthing This Life. Jen helped get the challenge going by posting the No Buy February challenge at NDIN.

The World According to Julie has been tracking progress on a daily basis with wonderful humor. The post that starts “I made it out of [Costco] only buying food” kind of sums up the whole issue. Julie also posts her kids’ adventures in eating and some fantastic recipes at Just Eat It Already. Jenn’s Cooking Garden has been cooking, and growing, and, of all things, preserving lemons.

As for me, I’ve had some moments, some failures, some successes. I’ve started a list of the things that cross my mind that I “need” which I’ll post on the last day of the month. I’m not sure that I would have bought them anyway, even without the challenge to hold me back, but it’s astonishing the money that my animal brain wants me to spend. I was afforded dispensation by the community (such as it is) for what I thought of as my “foodie” grocery shopping (to which I’m going to have to add coconut oil, thanks to Chiot’s Run). I’ve been out to eat twice, just can’t resist my husband’s big brown eyes when he says we should go out to lunch.

And I confess, on the way to a party last week I couldn’t stand the old, unfashionable, slightly too small in the waist pants I was wearing for another second, and impulsively pulled into the mall and bought a pair of black pants that fit me.

It’s hard to resist the call of Homo economicus.


  1. Well, its been a tough week, I have been out and off the farm four times for visiting, girls nights out, or a Cross Country Ski Trip, and I made an packed food/drinks for all the trips, including bringing dinner to the one event, which I turned from our regular go out for dinner an visit, into a pot-luck dinner, everyone bring something, which is kinda tricky when its not your house, so I explained we were on the No Buy Feb and they all said OK..

    Our 12 year anniversy fell on this friday, and normally we go out, but I made a special meal and dessert instead, even though hubby said he was taking me out, when you arrive home from work and wife as the whole set up done with candles etc waiting, can't really say no at that point :)

    Total saved this week was 115, plus whatever hubby planned to spend on dinner out, my guess would have been another 60 to 80 dollars.

    Shopping itself rocked, I got 9 things at the grocery store and that was it.

    So grand total to date $282

  2. I told my husband I was going to do this and I'm not sure he believed me. But with Valentine's day coming and me sticking to the "I want a practical present" line, I think he's starting to get it. Practical present as in a larger purchase that I have already been wanting and needing.
    Grocery shopping yesterday was good. I really tried to plan meals that used things already in the pantry. We stocked up for the big snow storm the other week so there are a lot of things to choose from.

  3. I am LOVING this no spend February. I had no idea how valuable it would be. started off the month discovering that I had no money left to pay my mortgage so no spend feb has been FORCED upon me. But it has been so liberating. Other than having to get McDonalds for dinner for hte kids last night as the day ran so late we have hardly bought a thing. The only thing I have HAD to spend is some food and petrol and our registration fees for sport. This means that next month I hope to catch up. I have also been spurred into decluttering and have made my food money for the week on ebay. Love it. Thanks for the inspiration to do it.