31 Day No Spending Challenge – Week 1 Recap

random week stuff Week 1 of the 31 Day No Spending Challenge is coming to an end, and I thought I’d recap. It wasn’t a perfect week, but I know we saved ourselves a bit this week by being conscious of our spending, and not running out to pick up some little thing here and there (especially as it always leads to picking up a few other things “while we are there.”)

A few interesting observations:

  1. I think (more) about how much I already have (in a gratitude way and a stifled-by-stuff way, depending on the moment). This is an entire post for another day.:)
  2. I notice my thoughts and energy directed more toward the things that make me truly happy, the simpler things. It’s cliche, I know. But so true. I tend to spend more time outdoors and dreaming about travel (yeah, that costs money, but it’s not about *stuff* so it’s different.) More time actually reading, than adding books to my Amazon wishlist. More time sitting on the deck, burning incense and watching the hummingbirds with my family. It doesn’t take a spending challenge to enjoy these things – but it feels less like carving out time for it and more like there is already plenty of time for it. It’s hard to explain!
  3. I always want to downsize. When I think about my real, true values, it goes back to this every.single.time. I want less: a smaller home, a smaller yard, fewer things, a tiny garden. It’s a weird world we live in when so many people have so little – not enough – and yet many of us have so much – too much. How did that happen and how can we change it? It’s become so needlessly complex. It’s something on my mind a lot, amplified by my latest no-spending challenge.
  4. Also interesting is there’s guilt associated with wanting less, because it means I have so much. It seems ungrateful. But I am not. Sometimes I forget I’m lucky, but overall, I know how fortunate I am. But I also feel guilty for the excess. Excess is completely relative – in the Western World we are all comparatively better off that much of the world. But I’m even better off than many (MANY) people right here in my own community. We don’t have debt and we work for all we have, so it’s easy to feel we deserve it. There are days, though, that it feels like having less would be less of a burden. There’s a happy balance, and it’s having enough, whatever that is. For us, I know that it’s far less than we have. It’s something I need to formulate into real action.

On to the recap:bathroom before and after

The GOOD:

  1. I signed up for milk delivery from a local dairy. Once a week we will have our milk (and other dairy we need) delivered to the doorstep for only a $5/month delivery fee. It’s good quality, a small, local business, and will save me from little trips to the store that add up in gas and impulse buys. This is a step to help our grocery budget in the long run. My goal is to go to Costco at the beginning of each month for the staple items needed and have milk delivered weekly. The rest of the grocery budget will be divided between two additional shopping trips to a regular grocery store each month for fresh items and non-bulk items. This may be easier now through October while the garden is producing lots of good stuff, but I plan to make the that goal from here on out.
  2. I must be putting out “cheapskate” vibes into the universe because I swear people keep offering me free things. People who don’t read my blog as well as my family who does. 🙂 My mom dejunked her massive (to me) fabric stash and gifted to me a whole bunch of fat quarters in a weird and random assortment of patterns and colors I can’t WAIT to sort through and make things with!
  3. I got a LOT done for one week!
  • Went to a BBQ/pool party (Hannah’s first time in a pool – she loved it!)
  • Wrote a legit snail-mail letter to my cousin.
  • Painted the little bathroom (formerly green, now painted pale grey with leftover paint from the basement finishing project.)
  • Hit the Farmer’s Market
  • Dejunked and sorted the master bedroom closet.
  • Dejunked, sorted and labeled my dresser drawers (to help keep it nice and organized..)
  • Cleaned out the glove box in my car.
  • Cleaned out the stack of mail/ads in the kitchen.
  • Filled 2 decent-sized boxes of items to donate (they remain on the kitchen table as I’m adding to the pile daily. I’m about to start a third box, actually.)
  • Tidied up and rearranged the deck.
  • Removed some spent plants from the back yard pots. (Trying to decide if I should fill them for the remainder of the season or put them away. There are at least 2 more months to enjoy them, but it would require buying something…)
  • Tidied up the garden a bit (weeded, dug up spent plants, pruned the grape vine).
  • Made a batch of refrigerator pickles from garden cucumbers (This is my favorite easy recipe!)
  • Dejunked and sorted the kitchen utensil drawers.
  • Cleaned up the landing of the garage and made a *tiny* dent in cleaning up the rest of the garage (needs a lot more work this fall)
  • Began reading Infinite Jest (it’s my foremost “bucketlist” book. It felt so indulgent to get up early the other day and read out on the deck with my coffee. I might just make it a once a week thing! – I already get up early to work while Hannah’s sleeping so I will just take a morning for myself instead of being a slave to email from the wee hours.)
  • Almost finished scrapbooking all the 2011 photos I printed in August. (Using the Project Life system, so “scrapbooking” entails shoving the photos into pockets and journaling a bit on each page). PS my ultimate goal is to be caught up by the end of the year…

The “BAD” (or just.. the less than perfect):

  • Whenever I tell myself I can’t spend money I *always* want to make an exception for plants. I don’t know why! I think in my mind they symbolize something opposite of consumption and should be exempt, but it’s still spending, right? I have to tell myself I can wait until September for succulents and potted mums.
  • Yesterday morning was rough – I got very little sleep and was dealing with cramps and some anxiety issues. I just felt like I needed a little pampering. So I took my little mini out for a breakfast. We shared a grilled veggie sandwich at a local bakery and ate outside at a little bistro table on the sidewalk. It was indulgent to go out for breakfast at all – especially during a no spending challenge- but it was a pick-me-up I needed. And Hannah loved the cookie they gave her, and watching/grinning at people passing by our table. Sorrynotsorry for this little cheat:))

Goals for this weekend/next week:

  • Take yard/garden photos.
  • Take Hannah’s 18 month photos.
  • Put together Yellowstone trip plan (rough itinerary).
  • Dry some herbs from the garden.
  • Finish 2011 Project Life album (possible blog post on the progress..)
  • Make something.
  • Possible hike?
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