Urban Adaptation

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

No spending – the verdict

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After a month of no spending, I thought it might be worthwhile to give some thought to what I learned, what I thought I did well on, and where I thought I could use some improvement.

In general, I did fairly well, I think.  Now, I don’t buy that much at the best of times, and what I do get is second-hand anyway, so the difference aren’t all that noticeable on the surface, and tend to have more to do with attitude than with more measurable things.  That said, I do think my attitude has started to shift a bit.  I’ve been out shopping less than in the past.  Although there were a few slip-ups, I use it even less as a crutch or a distraction than I did before.

There’s room for improvement, though.  Perhaps the biggest thing that I noticed was that when the going gets rough, I get going to the bookstore.  My biggest not-so-great decisions came around fairly rough times and involved the purchase of books.  In both cases the shopping extravaganzas came in at under $10, which isn’t exactly bank breaking, even on a student budget.  On principle, though, I think I’d like to tighten this up a bit more, or at least control it a bit better.  I love books.  I love having a wide range of reading material around me.  I love curling up on the couch or in bed with a book and some tea for some quiet time.  But I don’t want to be blindly shopping just because I’m having  bit of a rough go.

I also noticed that I got rather good at justifying work related purchases.  Books for research, office supplies, and desk accessories became pretty exciting purchases and were easy to explain away, both because they appear to be useful and because I get reimbursed for some of them.  While I don’t regret these purchases (which made up the bulk of my questionable category), I don’t necessarily want to be simply replacing my old shopping habits with ones that may be equally as problematic but more easily justified.

Other than that, I think things went well.  Having the no spending ideal in place made me reconsider and avoid things I would have shopped for before.  While books still showed up here and there, there were plenty of things that didn’t.  I acquired no new dishes (I love dishes) or other housewares.  No clothes, shoes, or jewelry came home.  I avoided craft supplies, including wool for knitting and patterns for sewing.  I even left behind wool blankets in a few instances, and those tend to be my shopping kryptonite.

The things I bought were also more intentional – they were on my radar for a long time, and when I happened across them I spent a fair amount of time debating their merits before making a final decision.  Things were more likely to make it back onto the shelf than home with me.

I didn’t buy anything new – those few things that did come home were either food or used items.

I also had more time for other things.  Recently, I’ve been reading more than I have in awhile, just for pleasure.  I’ve spent a lot more time exercising.  I’ve spent time with friends more than I used to.  And I’ve been getting a lot more work done.  I don’t know that this can all be attributed to the fact that I’ve seriously curbed my shopping, but if it is, it’s been a nice effect.

So, where to from here?  Well, honestly, I’m a bit torn.  I’d like to carry on with the no spending project, but there are some purchases on my standing shopping list that will need to be made soon, and I don’t really need any additional guilt or questioning associated with them (I’m plenty good enough at that without a no spending project factored in as well – spending money is not something that I enjoy very much).  That said, I also don’t know that I want free rein – I’m not out of the woods with work yet, and athough that sounds far more dire than it is, allowing myself to shop when I want is perhaps not the best idea going.

Not to leave things hanging, but this is something that I want to think about a bit more.  While I did spring for two mugs when I was out and about and poking my head into the local thrift store the other day (vintage Fire King, which I adore – pictures soon, probably), the only spending that I’ve done so far in August has been on food, so I’m actually off to a reasonable start.  But I think I’d like to come up with some more specific goals and guidelines before I launch into something else.

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Written by Jenn

August 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm

One Response

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  1. […] efforts (The Anyway Project and 10×30), I’ve also decided to have another month of no spending beyond the […]


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