So I thought I'd do an update on our Buy Nothing New Project.
We've definitely saved a bunch of money mostly by watching costs on our road trips, and by cutting out unnecessary purchase, aka "impulse buys" in general.
We visit G's folks, almost two hours away, pretty frequently. Besides gas, we almost always buy snacks at the gas station. And/or stop at 5 Guys for burgers. By making snacks and bringing water with us we save $20 to $30+ round trip. So far, homemade tortilla chips, and kale chips are our go-to nibbles.
- I bought sunglasses on our way to G's parents' house the other day. I could have waited and thrifted them, but I didn't. They were $10. My reasoning was that I would waste an afternoon looking for some at a thrift shop, that may or may not have been cheaper. Even if that were true, I should have stuck to my guns on principle. [See below on forming habits.]
- I bought pillow cases at Ikea. I went for work stuff and ended up adding pillow cases to my bag. I really like them. This was totally against the rules.
- I took G out for a celebratory "You Got a New Job!" dinner. I'm happy we went. But I acknowledge this is cheating.
- I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting.
The most interesting part of this project has been how much it's made me pause when I reach to buy something. Do I really need that XYZ? Many times the answer is no, and so I put it back. I'm surprised how often this happens. I didn't think of myself as an impulse buyer before.
It's also made me consider what I can make, or repurpose, instead of purchase. Though for us, that can be a fine line. Sometimes it's actually cheaper and smarter to buy said item, than to make it from scratch. --The two of us can get a bit carried away with our craft projects. But still, I'm definitely more on the lookout for items that can be repurposed.
It's also interesting how many things we're getting rid of. Not buying stuff we don't need, + purging stuff we own and don't need, seem to be closely tied to each other.
Things we've edited:
- ikea mattress with foam topper (does this count? We gave it away as we got a new mattress... So probably not.)
- Four+ shopping bags full of various items to Savers.
- a bag full of clothes I gave to my mom
- we will soon be rid of an old laptop and a redundant ipod
One thing I've found helpful, at least for now in this beginning stage, is to stick to your "rules" even if monetarily it might not be that big of deal. Case in point: We've been cutting costs on our movie/tv watching. Redbox ($1 rentals,) the library, Hulu, and Netflix streaming are allowed. Going to movie theaters, or renting online from iTunes or Amazon, is not. The other day we wanted to watch 50/50 (which, by the way, I think is my favorite movie of 2011. Go see it if you haven't.) I forgot to pick it up from Redbox (--the library didn't have it.) We almost rented it through Amazon for $3, but decided not to. We ended up watching it the next night.
Now, $2 is not such a big deal-- especially compared to actually going out to the movies (an easy $20+ for both of us.) But waiting the extra night, helped reinforce our new habits of planning ahead. $3 once in a while isn't a big deal, but $3 every other night is ridiculous when there are cheaper options available. I think this is probably "new habits 101" right?
Anyone have some money-saving tips that work for you? Please share- I'd love to hear!