Not Buying It
Lifestyle

Not Buying It! Part 3

By on January 22, 2017

This is Part 3 of a 90-day “Not Buying It” challenge.  You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.  My goals are to break my consumer habit, spend my time and money more intentionally, use and waste less, and pay down some debt.

Here are my rules for the 90 days:
* No shopping except food and essential items
* No new books, clothes, or music
* No eating in restaurants or buying take-out
* Try to use up food items that are already in the house
* I’m still allowed to pay for dance and yoga

Day 15: It’s been fun to see the range of reactions of my friends.  Some are so impressed!  They say they would never be able to do this, and that three months seems too ambitious!  Some are inspired and are following my lead and making changes.  And some have said they already live like this all the time anyway!  I am also very aware that there are billions of people in the world who live in survival mode, including some of my friends, including myself in the past. It is quite a luxury to be able to say, “I’ve chosen not shop right now.”

This weekend I went to two dance parties and an open mic for a total of $24. No apologies and no regrets!!

I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and spent almost $200.  This seems pretty high considering I’m actively trying to reduce spending.  But it may be inevitable considering the following: I have two teenagers in the house; We’re eating all meals from home, no restaurants or take-out; I buy almost everything organic; I buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and go through them quickly because I’ve been juicing, making smoothies, and eating more raw foods…   So yeah, I could probably live on almost nothing if I was willing to just eat up all the pasta and rice in my cupboards, but that doesn’t seem like the best choice.   But maybe I didn’t actually need four different kinds of salsa.

Day 16: If you read Part 1 you’ll see that I promised to crochet my daughter a scarf instead of buying a new one.  I did it!!  This is quite an accomplishment for me.  I’m the kind of mom that would wait until Halloween day and then go to the CVS to find a last-minute costume.  In the bag of yarn I found the shawl I started more than 10 years ago and never finished, and a half-finished hat I don’t even remember working on.  But today I was determined.  I’ve got a bit of a cold, and was tired from my two late nights of dancing, so it was the perfect day to just sit and watch a couple of movies and crochet.  I finished the whole thing in one day!  My daughter says it’s perfect, and she is not quick to give compliments, so this made me really happy!

IMG_3154

Day 17: I sold a book on Amazon!  I don’t actually buy a lot of books, and most that I buy I want to keep.  But I definitely have a small stack of books I don’t want anymore.  It was a $25 hardcover, and I sold it for $19.  Definitely worth the effort!  Excited by my success, I list 5 more books, but quickly see that the average profit for most of them is going to be about $3.  Maybe not so worth it…

My kids are so spoiled.  It was going to be pasta and salad for dinner, but they convinced my mom to buy them fried chicken from a spot in Harvard Square. Delivery!!  I guess spoiling the kids is what Grandmas are for :-)

Day 18: Okay, so here is my problem.  I run out of face lotion. I go to CVS to replace it.  I check for coupons and get a $3 off any facial product, perfect!  But then…  Spend $30 and get $10 in Extrabucks.  I looooove Extrabucks.  My lotion is only $12.  So I grab a $20 nighttime lotion with salicylic acid.  Okay…  But they have cleverly marked both of them off by 25%, a good deal but the total is still under $30.  So I grab a third lotion (I know, I know!!  I have a problem!)  The third one is for my daughter with the brand she uses.  I get my $10 in Extrabucks  (the third one is basically free, right?) The lotions won’t go to waste, and I will have visibly less wrinkled skin in only one week 😉  In retrospect I probably could have waited until April 1st to buy any lotion at all, but it didn’t even occur to me at the time!

My mom brings by a margarita pizza for the kids.  I’m not sure if they are going to learn the right lesson from this challenge…

Day 19: My daughter is going to DC for the weekend to the Women’s March on Washington.  I’m so proud of her! I buy her a bus ticket and give her spending cash.  Actually bought her friend a bus ticket too, which is on my card, but I’ll get reimbursed for that.

Day 20: Payday!!  This is not nearly as exciting as last payday.  This whole check needs to go towards mortgage, condo fee, and bills.  And my credit card balance is creeping back up again…

I usually like to treat myself to Thai food for lunch on payday, but not today.  Today I eat the same curry quinoa salad I’ve been eating all week!

quinoa curry

I got some fun and free stuff this week!!  My dance studio gave me a mug with the logo on it as an appreciation gift, which I really love <3  My work made super cute hats with our logo on it, given only to people participating in the Women’s March tomorrow.  I love it!  And we got a free lunch yesterday! That I could actually eat.  I don’t know the reason why platters of Middle Eastern cuisine showed up in the kitchen, but we don’t worry about that, we just grab a plate of free food!  I know everyone loves free stuff, but right now, knowing I can’t buy those things myself, makes it all feel extra special.

Day 21: Today, along with more than 2 million other people around the world, I marched.  I am not usually very politically active, but I do feel strongly about social issues, and women’s rights.  Especially reproductive rights.  I wanted to make a sign for the march, but didn’t want to buy the usual poster board, markers, etc.  I was trying to think if I had any large pieces of cardboard I could use, but then it occurred to me that my sign didn’t have to be huge. I found a pocket folder in good shape, cut it, and luckily had a black Sharpie laying around.  I’m very proud of my sign :)

women's march

 

So, summary for the week: I’m getting pretty used to not shopping, and for the most part don’t really think about it.  My credit card bill is back up to over $1,700, and climbing.  And it’s going to be a couple weeks before I can make another payment.  The internet has caught on to my love of leather boots, and every webpage I visit I am taunted with advertisements, but I remain strong.

 

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4 Comments
  1. Reply

    Amy Finlay

    January 22, 2017

    It sounds like you remain committed to spending on what is truly important; healthy eating, women’s rights, community dancing to uplift the soul–all things that are TRULY about who YOU are. While cutting out the rest. What a powerful exercise, not just in financial growth, but spiritual clarity as well!

    That curry salad looks really good! Are you enjoying it, after more than one day? If so, I’d love the recipe!

    • Reply

      Amber

      January 29, 2017

      Thanks, Amy!! The curry quinoa salad is really good!! Let’s see. I mixed together a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, a little fresh garlic, and lots of curry powder, mixed in the quinoa with pine nuts, scallions, craisins, and peas. Yum!! And I served it on a bed of arugula.

      • Reply

        Amy Finlay

        January 29, 2017

        Thanks! Sounds delicious, I’m taking note!

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Amber
Cambridge, MA

From nine to five, I am a Senior Program Officer at a small non-profit working in International Public Health. In the rest of my hours I am a yoga and meditation teacher, a health enthusiast, an aspiring vegan, an amateur photographer, and most importantly, a mother of two.

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