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Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Year Without Shopping

I didn't start this $1,200 just to save money but also to see the difference between wants and needs. Coming in close to my goal, the very first month in, is thrilling and mind opening.

I'm not the first person to challenge them self is some way. Proving that point is Judith Levine, author of Not Buying It; My Year Without Shopping. I just started reading this book this morning and am on just chapter three but it has so far been quite interesting. Judith attempted to go a whole year with just buying what she needed. Not only does she highlight what their true needs are (are Kleenex a need or a want? If Kleenex is a need, are the plush ones with lotion on them a need or should you make do with the cheap scratchy ones?) but also highlights what type of consumers we Americans are. For example, we are just 4.5 percent of the world's population and yet we use 24 percent of it's resources. In one study conducted 78 percent of participants stated that most Americans are "very materialistic", and yet only 8% considered themselves very materialistic.

I'll be very curious to finish the book and see if she was able to last the whole year and what she learned from it.


  1. I should read this book. We live in a small duplex and for the past year or so I have been very careful about what we bring into the house simply because we are overwhelmed with "stuff". Do we need another stainless steel water bottle when we already have 6 reusable water bottles? What about that free lunch tote from work...it might be free but I have three under the sink that don't get used. Same for home decor. Before we had kids I loved to change the look of the dining room or living room on a whim- now it's just junk that ends up in a closet, do I really need that? It has helped with the budget for sure and I think I have done pretty well on keeping the extra clutter out. My husband is a different story- he takes anything free that is offered to him and if just piles up, everywhere.

    Nice job on your first month- for us the key is to only shop every 2 weeks for groceries. I have a pretty strict list and match coupons after that list is written, no buying something I wouldn't buy anyways just because I have a coupon. Of course I do leave room for buying milk and produce halfway through the 2 weeks but I spend way less if I get my meals planned and paid for at the beginning instead of shopping every few days. We'd never be able to do $1200, rent alone would eat that up- I might see what we can reasonably do here, we are toying with the idea of me staying at home after this next baby is born, so we'd need to tighten the budget up quite a bit.

  2. Miss Erin-
    I'd like to start shopping just a few times a month. The more you keep out of the store the less you spend. I'm so used to my weekly shopping that it will be an adjustment but I think I can attempt it at some point.:)

    A post is scheduled to be published tomorrow about stay-at-home moms vs. working. I'm sure it doesn't quite apply to you as I mention the women who live way above their means but then say they *wish* they could stay at home with their kids...you know, without giving up their lifestyle.

    I think that seeing how low you can possibly go is an excellent idea to see if you will be able to manage on just one income. It is extremely difficult going from two incomes to one, but it is do-able. It is actually surprising how much you can SAVE by being a stay-at-home mom. Good luck!

  3. I also reduced my shopping trips - from every week and a half, to every two weeks, and now once a month. That excludes fresh produce, milk, and an extra carton or two of eggs.

    Not only do you save on groceries that way (I create a monthly shopping list based on budget), but you also save a lot of time and cost of gas!

    It tooke me about two months to stop missing the supermarket, which is generally my only shopping experience in this tight budget :) Now I love that we only have to deal with it once a month!

    Good luck with your challenge.



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