Sunday, January 01, 2012

A year of living frugally

(frugal - 4x6 -- made from stuff that was already on my desk)

I am challenging myself in 2012 to a year without retail -- in-store or online shopping. This is not something I'm undertaking lightly. I am very serious and committed to this. Why? Because I feel that I'm buying things that I don't truly need. Last year (2010) I read Annie Leonard's book "The Story of STuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health -- and a Vision for Change". Read it or read about it if you like. don't worry -- I'm not going to try to brainwash anyone into joining me. This is my journey, not yours :)

I am going to (try to) buy only consumable items for the whole year. Consumables include toiletries -- I might need to buy some antiperspirant sometime during the year and I don't want anyone else to have to suffer through my challenge :).

My exceptions will be books if they are gifts or for my classroom -- I live a few blocks from the library and really should be using it more than I do-- and anything that I already have that breaks and needs to be replaced (like my washing machine that currently needs replacing) (and something like a toner cartridge for my printer -- printing report cards and newsletters, etc. is part of my job).

I think that I'll allow myself exceptions at thrift shops and yard sales... (and I get to use up the gift cards that I currently have -- those were GIFTS to me-- and I have one for the Workroom and to Deserres to use when I really need an art fix :)

I have enough art supplies to get me through the year (okay, to get me through a lifetime). Enough paper, tape and staples...

I have enough clothes. And plenty of fabric if I run out.... I even have enough thread...

I certainly have enough stuff... too much stuff....

So, if you are getting a gift from me, or a trade in 2012, it will either be thrifted or handmade using materials that I already have. Or it will be edible -- I promise that I won't use any thrifted ingredients to make food, lol.

Anyone care to join me in this challenge? I am going to list every single purchase that I have made and then publish it at the end of each month (Mr. B buys the groceries, so I should be able to "balance" my wallet).

The part that I anticipate as difficult will be the online shopping, and the book buying. And the magazine buying. Wish me luck!!

(my word of the year this year is "frugal" -- and it's not even a pretty word, like meander was in 2009, remarkable in 2010 and content in 2011)

starting balance in my wallet:
$100

17 comments:

donna!ee said...

AMEN sister...i've been preaching for quite some time to my son this creed...be safe, be smart, be thrifty and no trouble. sound advise for now AND the effect on the future is positive. blest be :)

MarissaDW said...

Martha...good luck with your quest this year! This is a big challenge indeed. I can't say I'm really good at being frugal. I'm horrible with online shopping, but definitely great with not buying books because I've been hitting the library; for the art supplies - I'm selling my stuff at Bizzy B, so at least I have that credit that usually last me for a awhile.

Lisa PN said...

Martha! So amazing. And although i can't say that i will join you, i will definitely try to be more frugal this year. We are moving to Hamilton for that exact reason. And i too have enough art supplies for the rest of my life. What about gifts from others, i have a gazillion books that i am trying to get rid of before i move! Interested?

Jenxo said...

brilliant post:) i started this last year and although i went by the wayside a bit, it did make question every purchase...

my goal is to buy as much secondhand and support artists like from etsy [cos if we stop buying online all those lovely little home businesses will dry up]
im also getting rid of lots of stuff to declutter my life, my word for 2012....PURGE!!!!
Happy New Year...

Halle said...

What a great plan! Best wishes! Can't wait to see each months totals.

Maija said...

I'll think about t.....ok, thought abut t it and decided NO, but I'll meet you half way- I will cut back on the more frivolous indulgences. After the last year or so I have learned that money Is fun but The blessing is that when it's gone, you are left with the truest blessing- family and friends.

Maija said...

I'll think about t.....ok, thought abut t it and decided NO, but I'll meet you half way- I will cut back on the more frivolous indulgences. After the last year or so I have learned that money Is fun but The blessing is that when it's gone, you are left with the truest blessing- family and friends.

vivian said...

good for you. I too need to change my spending habits.. but not quite as drastically. Magazines would be very hard to give up.. i just spent 50.00 on them this weekend! If the library carried all the ones I like I might be able to cut back.. but then I'd probably get in trouble for not returning them! lol!
but really martha, I do admire that youre doing this. I have a friend.. blog "tomato soup" You can find her on my side bar, that did this the year before. she did a good job.. maybe you can check out her blog to see how she did it.
okeedokie.. well I really do hope we get to visit sometime soon!
xoxo
vivian

Carmi said...

That is an amazing challenge Martha....I too could meet you somewhere in the middle. I keep trying to stop getting new supplies...and then things get shipped to me for free and I have to buy something else to use it...it really is a cycle. I think if you are working on a project this year...and find you do need something that you should post it and those of us in over stashed mode can send or trade with you!

kandeland said...

Martha, I think this is awesome! I have had the thought in my head to be very frugal this year too. I was thinking how I really don't NEED anything. The only thing I will continue to buy is books, but I plan on buying them all second-hand. There's a great place that has them for a quarter! I wish you much success with this. I know you will feel so wonderful being frugal. Keep us posted!! Happy New Year, xo

A bird in the hand said...

I've had to be frugal these past few years but now that things are better, I have to be careful that I don't relapse. So I'm joining you in parts of this challenge, but off-line. I actually started a scrap journal using things already on my desk.
See you soon, I hope. xoxox

lbrownie said...

Go Mom! What a great challenge! Although I'm sure you'll only make a small dent in the artsy supply mound down in the basement. Your year of frugal is definitely and inspiration, and I will think of it at every purchase.
Hope to see you for tea soon!
xox

grrl + dog said...

wow,

My hat is off to you. While I am MUCH more aware of consumption, I'm too much of an on line addict to forgo ALL.

I will be looking forward to how you go. Even half would be be amazing.

Jacky said...

Martha I wish you luck. What a great challenge, we should all be more frugal in this fast food, millions of options world that we live in.
I will try to be frugal too as I know I am a bit of a hoarder (being Taurean, my friend Dot tells me that we love to collect beautiful things). I cant promise, but I will try to curb my ways too. I do need the odd magazine though...especially if my 'friends' are in them!!!. This year I will stop and think before I make any purchases from now on.
You are an inspiration and I will be as good as I can for you and the planet.

Jacky xox

p.s. maybe we can do a little swap later in the year from our 'stashes'

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

another great book Martha is "Not buying it", can't remeber the author and the book is at home, but you moght borrow from the library! Great goal, good luck. xox Corrine

Cat said...

Good luck with your goal of living frugally!! You're a better woman than I am!! I need to do this but unfortunately, I love receiving packages in the mail too much and trying out new art supplies....puhlease!! I'd probably quit breathing first!! I'm weak, I admit it!! I really envy you your strength of character for even setting such a difficult goal. I am rooting for you!!

Cat said...

Good luck with your goal of living frugally!! You're a better woman than I am!! I need to do this but unfortunately, I love receiving packages in the mail too much and trying out new art supplies....puhlease!! I'd probably quit breathing first!! I'm weak, I admit it!! I really envy you your strength of character for even setting such a difficult goal. I am rooting for you!!