Not Buying It

Not Buying It! Part 4

This is Part 4 of a 90-day “Not Buying It” challenge.  You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 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 22: I don’t like when bananas get too ripe, so I often peel them and throw them in the freezer for smoothies and “nice cream”.  Well, today I sort through my freezer and find lots and lots of frozen bananas.  Lots.  My solution: banana muffins!!  This also takes care of the last of the gluten-free pancake mix.
banana muffins
Day 23: In December I took a trip to DC for work, and today I got the reimbursement for my travel expenses including extra for meals, almost $400.  I put the whole thing towards my credit card.
My 16-year-old daughter wants to take driver’s ed.  I REALLY tried to talk her out of this.  To postpone it to next year.  First, the idea of a 16-year-old driving really terrifies me.  Second, we live in a city and there is public transportation everywhere.  Third, it turns out it costs $600!!  Supposedly I agreed to this last year.  But I’m sure I didn’t know the cost, plus that was before the end-of-the-year expenses that put me in debt!  But my daughter was insistent, so we came to an agreement.  She will pay for $200 out of her own money, and she will also pay the other $400 until I get my tax refund so I don’t have to put it on my credit card.  This is an unexpected expense, and I’m not happy about it.
Day 24:  I’m saved! My daughter’s friends aren’t taking driver’s ed this session, so she doesn’t want to either.  Plus, I think she may have been reluctant to put forward all that money herself.  Phew!!  Maybe next year.
I have a lot of rice in the house.  Brown rice, white rice, basmati rice, sushi rice, long grain, short grain…  I cooked some white basmati and made a risotto style dish with mushrooms, vegetable broth, peas, and parsley.  It turned out pretty good!  This is what I’ll be bringing for lunch most of the week.  With salad, and maybe some lentil soup.
Day 25: I want a new nose ring.  I’ve been wearing the exact same tiny stud for I don’t know how many years, probably almost 20!  I want a small hoop.  I’ve never really worn a hoop, but I guess I’m feeling more rebellious, and more artistic/creative these days.  I’m adding it as #2 on my list of things to buy on April 1st.  The last time I bought a nose ring (20 years ago!) I had to go to a specialty shop in The Garage in Harvard Square.  It’s so weird to realize I can just order a new one on Amazon!!  What??
I went on a shopping spree at CVS.  I hate shopping for clothes, but I can easily drop a hundred every time I walk into a CVS.  This was nothing fancy: batteries, toilet paper, make-up remover, hair conditioner, toothpaste, etc.  I was going to try to skip the toothpaste and use the little samples of Crest my dentist gives me, but decided that stuff is too gross.  I had $14 in coupons, $15 in Extrabucks, and a $30 store credit from some make-up I’d returned.  In the end I only paid $6.46 and got $5.00 in Extrabucks.  I can see why people get addicted to extreme couponing! It’s fun!!
Day 26: We had a couple of celebrations at work this week.  And you know what that means! Free food!!  Usually it’s a lot of stuff I don’t eat, but I got lucky with fresh fruit, veggies, and hummus.
Day 27: As a single mom, working full-time, and with a busy social life, I will pay almost any amount of money for something that I think will make my life more convenient.  This explains why I buy too much take-out.  This also explains why when I go shopping I often buy twice as much as I need, to prevent running out, and also to prevent needing to go back to the store.  This week’s “convenience” expense?  Lyft rides.  My mom usually gives the kids a ride to the high school in the morning.  This week my mom is away, it’s cold, it was raining, and the kids had finals.  I could have gotten them up earlier to take the bus or subways, or I could have left the house early to drive them myself.  But we all have trouble moving in the morning, a lot of trouble, so I told them to go ahead an order a Lyft for the days they had finals.  Usually it’s less than $5, but it was a lot more, I guess because it was a peak time.  Damage for the week?  More than $50.  Yikes. I think my daughter snuck in some extra rides…
It’s Friday and I’m seriously craving some Thai food for lunch.  Pad Thai!!  My reward for making it through the work week.  I’m such a regular at the Thai restaurant next door to the office that they know me by name and know my exact order.  It’s pretty cute.  “Oh hi, Amber!  Are you sure you want peppers in your Pad Thai today?  You don’t usually get them.” Sigh.  No Pad Thai for me today, just more rice and salad.
Day 28:  I check my bank accounts and decide I can put another $500 towards the credit card.  This brings my checking account balances a lot lower than I feel comfortable having them, but I decide to risk it. My credit card balance is below $1,000!!  I’m so excited!!!