Thursday, January 2, 2014

Buy Nothing New Month: Ready, Set, Go!

2013 turned out to be an expensive year for us. On top of private high school tuition for our teenager (a choice we were glad we made but it is not a small sacrifice), we had to take down a tree (neighbor problems), make expensive car repairs, pay for my final ear surgery and related health expenses, and pay an insurance deductible for a car accident. We also took a road trip to California in the summer and had other unexpected expenses...and did not stick to a budget. Consequently, our savings are depleted and we are, uncharacteristically, not able to pay our credit card in full at the end of the month (I know this is not abnormal, but we are the type of people who like to pay our bills in full each month). So it's get tough time!

I am committing to designating January as "Buy Nothing New Month." I am the person in the family who buys most non-food items, but I'm also hoping to engage my family in this campaign. The Internet is full of ideas on how to do this; it's hardly an original idea. This is how I propose to do it:

  • Try to use the food we have on hand, in the pantry or the freezer
  • Buy mostly fresh food (not packaged or processed) to supplement what we have
  • Refrain from buying new clothes, books, toiletries, gifts, or other items if possible
  • Spend time to hand-craft gifts for upcoming birthdays or events (I certainly have enough craft supplies on hand!)
  • Minimize lunches or dinners out (including my weekly jaunt to the food carts)...or if I do eat out, spend as little as possible
  • Avoid paying full price for entertainment (movies, etc.)--look for cheap entertainment options
  • Use the gift cards, Groupons, etc. we seem to have amassed instead of spending money on eating out or purchasing things
  • Allow myself to spend only credit I've earned at my favorite consignment store
  • Think twice each time I spend money on anything--do I have any alternatives? Can I put it off?
  • Track what we are spending (we've never been able to maintain that habit for long) and explore other ways to cut our spending
My Yahoo e-mail account seems to be bombarded daily with various bargains and discounts, so I will have to do my best not to succumb. Instead I will read inspiring stories like this one about people who've found a way to cut back spending, relieve debt, and save money. I'm declaring these intentions on my blog today and at the end of the month, I will give a report.

Wish me luck!


  1. Funny, but we committed to the same thing this month. We will have to share stories -- and maybe frozen food!

  2. “…high school tuition… make expensive car repairs, pay for my final ear surgery and related health expenses, and pay an insurance deductible for a car accident.” – I agree that 2013 was an expensive year for your family. It’s sounds impossible to save money with these kind of expenses but with inspiring stories as your guide, anything is possible. Just stay strong!

    Cheryl @