Urban Adaptation

Sustainable urban living, rural dreams, and daily change for a homemade life.

No spending, week one

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Week one (which was actually week one and a few days, since I decided to update on Fridays) went…okay.

The bad: Monday was my annual physical.  I dread my annual physical.  To be fair, it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be (although it’s still not so pleasant for a variety of reasons).  My doctor is fantastic, but the doctor I originally started seeing was not, and the absolute horror of those first few appointments has stuck with me.  I know it’s necessary, I know it’s a vast spell better than the alternative, but I still find myself trying to find ways to get out of it every year.

This year was no exception, and so I bribed myself.  I promised myself that if I went, I could have $10 to spend at Goodwill’s used bookstore, which is right down the street from me.  However, there were limits.  I could only get books that I really wanted, was already familiar with, and that were already on my wishlist.

Of course, the day that I went there were a number of books that met the criteria.  So, I came home with Mark Bitten’s excellent “How to Cook Everything,” Kate DiCamillo’s “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” George Saunder’s “The Very Persistent Grappers of Frip,” and Annie Dillard’s “The Living”.  Not bad for $10, but still…

Normally, I try to avoid rewards.  I think it’s worthwhile to do things that should be done for their own merit, and too easy to get in the habit of giving rewards for just about anything. But, sometimes…well, sometimes a reward or a treat is a nice thing to have.  It didn’t really fit in with what I wanted to do this month, but I don’ feel too bad about $10, and it was lovely to get out of the appointment and head to the bookstore.

The questionable: In anticipation of the coming semester, I’ve been ordering some books to have a look at for course texts.  I generally don’t have to pay for them – the publishers’ hope is that I’ll like them, use them for my class, and therefore generate 30 or 40 more sales when I assign it.  But…it struck me when two arrived this week that I’m still consuming, even if I’m not spending, and I wasn’t really sure how I felt about that.  I also have a methods book coming in that will be covered by a research grant, although this doesn’t really bother me – the dissertation needs to get done, and the book is important for that.

The good: Those are the only two questionable things (although I suppose given that we’re talking about the span of week and change maybe that’s not so good after all).  Other than that, my only purchases have been food and a new (reuseable!) toothbrush.  I’ve still been doing a bunch of shopping at the farmers’ market and trying new foods and new ways to cook them.  I’ve been better about waste, too.  In order to keep costs down I’ve been trying to be better about using up leftovers, making use of the whole of food (beet greens, anyone), and trying to cut down on how much we throw out.

I’ve also been taking more time to work and exercise.  I’ve been out almost daily, and when it’s been too hot to run or bike, I’ve headed over to use the campus pool (free for students).  Although i can’t say that I really felt bad before, I feel loads better.

Finally, I’ve made a lot more use of the public library.  I got my card renewed a few weeks ago and since then the books have been pouring in – mostly homesteading-type books, but also some novels that I’ve really been wanting to read.  There are some waiting for me now, and I’ll be biking over later today to pick them up.

A final note: I’ve realised how much easier it is to head out shopping when I have a car at my disposal.  I had access to one at a friend’s request for three weeks, and it was so simple to just run out for something or pop in somewhere on my way home when I didn’t have to figure out bus schedules.  I think it may have increased my spending (such as it was, not to mention my gas consumption) just by making it that much easier to get there whenever I wanted and, to be honest, I’m glad that’s over.


Written by Jenn

July 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

One Response

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  1. Kudos to your non-spending month! And good luck getting through it. I find that every time I leave my house, I come home with various purchased items, even if most of it is food. Thrift shops and books are also my weakness and if it weren’t for the financial boundaries being unemployed for the summer puts on me, I’d be bringing home even more stuff. For at thrift shops you have to buy what you find, when you find it, or else it’s gone! The only way to resist is to simply not go through the doors…

    Regarding ordering books for courses next year, I think this is necessary in order to do your job properly, and now is the time to be ordering for September courses. So I’d say you’re safe with that one 🙂 (or so I tell myself, going through the same process…)


    July 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm

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