2.03.2010

Let the Non-Spending Officially Commence

I'm not sure that joanna henderson's perfect photo has anything to do with my spending hiatus, but it feels lovely and simple and, well...kinda, somehow appropriate.

I’ve been procrastinating writing this post all week, as once I write it, say it out loud if you will, there’s no going back, right?

On February 1st, I officially kicked off my spending hiatus.

(insert a little nail biting here...)

A little back-story for those of you not familiar with the hiatus… For the past couple of years, I’ve committed to not making any “non-essential” purchases for three months. If my girlies legitimately needed a new pack of socks (say all their old ones were too small and riddled with holes) or if they’d outgrown their tennis shoes, of course I’d buy new ones, but those sweet metallic ballet flats that Audrey “had to have”, no deal. You get the idea.

While there was certainly some financial motivation (i.e. recovery from the spend-fest that was the holidays) involved in my previous periods of non-spending, my primary driver for doing the hiatus was more a “consumption reset.” I like the idea of really appreciating and getting reacquainted with what we already own. There’s a boost in creativity when I’m forced to “mend and make do” and a sense of clarity that comes with not bringing a seemingly endless stream of new (and often unnecessary) stuff into the house. And all that time I’m not spending shopping, I tend to fill with more creative pursuits. During last year’s hiatus, we spent way more time at the museum, at the park, making things, cooking, reading…

This time around, I changed things up a bit. Instead of starting on January 1st, I decided to wait a month in order to take advantage of some of the post holiday sales + I didn’t want to feel guilty about throwing Millie a fun/festive b-day party…oh and there were those pre-Alt purchases too. It’s all about full disclosure here friends.

I also decided to do this for 60 days this year instead of 90. Looking back on previous years, I realized three months may have been a bit too long, as I seemed to have a tendency to go crazy upon breaking the hiatus in April. (Crazy like some deranged desert island castaway who makes it back to civilization and gorges on chocolate cake. ) Let’s just say that my Barney’s card got a lot of play last spring. Not good. (It's probably not good that I even have a Barney's card, but that's a topic for another time.)

So this year’s hiatus will go from February 1st- April 1st, and during this time my goal is no “non-essential” purchases on stuff. We'll still spend money on experiences, as I’m not limiting museum visits, road trips, meals out, etc…but we’ll be mindful when we do these things too. I’m also leaving some wiggle room for gifts, as it’s not always easy to make something for a six-year old boy’s birthday gift, but again, the goal is to be mindful...

Last year I asked if anyone wanted to join in the hiatus and blog about their experiences and many of you did. We ended up with a good support group, and that accountability certainly helped me when I was madly coveting some killer dress or a new little lovely for the house. So, I’m throwing it out there again but with a twist. Since this is such a personal decision, if you do join, you can decide how you want to do it.Some of you may be more interested in saving money than not buying anything new, so maybe your goal will be not to spend money during this time but instead use leftover gift cards from the holidays. Or you might decide 30 days is long enough for you or that you’ll only buy local or handmade for some period of time, and all that is great, as the goal is really to set a goal and be mindful and support each other in this endeavor.

So here I go…anyone care to join?

53 comments:

Me said...

I'm in. Tho I'll be traveling this month and my rules may have to bend if there are any EUREKA moments on the road. Also in the spirit of being mindful with resources, we've talked about trying to have a month without any eating out. No quick pizza, no gelato fix, nothing. I'll conference with the family and keep you posted.
Thanks for the inspiration!

megmullins.blogspot.com

Ana said...

Yay for non-spending season!... I am with you!

In 3 months time I am planing to take a trip back home which will be OH SO IMPOSSIBLE if I dont keep an eye on my spending.

By the way, I love the photo, it does give a minimalistic and free-spirited look.

Christina said...

I have to say that I started my spending freeze because of yours last year. I started on January 1, and I am actually running into some problems because my sister is getting married in the spring (bridesmaid dress) and it was my boyfriend's birthday. But, I have managed to not spend on impulse buys including clothes, which are my weaknesses anyways. And I have found that I am spending my time in better ways, I have become much more creative in my money management, and I am enjoying the things I own a lot more. So thanks for the inspiration and good luck!

nicole said...

totally in!

LobotoME said...

I'm in too!

Pretty Mommy said...

I'm in starting Monday (headed to SF for the weekend and would be sure to break it...)!

Sherry said...

I'm with you too! I try to do this every year after xmas until the shopping for spring break goodies begins in March. It's kind like a diet. Then I get so good at it, that I start to notice how much I was carelessly spending before. Are you counting eating out as spending?? If, so, I'm finished already. I can't resist sushi on Sunday nights. Good luck!!

karey m. said...

ok. i think i'm in. but i don't really spend much money, anyway.

{uncle sugar might be gagging somewhere at this faux disclosure.}

but. i may use this dirty thirty to detox from sugar. which means the only thing on which i really spend money? sour patch kids?

gulp.


no. more.

ok. it's in writing. will follow-up on mackin ink.

let the grumpy commence.

stephanie said...

I can't remember if I have said this before, but I really enjoy your blog. I am totally in for a spending hiatus. It's perfect timing for me anyhow, because my husband and I are in the countdown to buying our first house, so saving is in order. Thanks for the great idea.

iheartkiwi said...

i am so in... i went back to school and got married this year and i am really feeling the loss of my paycheck!

that being said, i love the idea of rediscovering what you already have. my mom has always told me to "shop your own closet" i can't wait to see what i can come up with!

keep us posted!

molly said...

ahem, I'm daring to join. 60 days. No mindless spending. Only buy what we need. We will still have the occasional out to eat with a movie or two but I really want to be aware of what I am purchasing. Starting today [because I did buy a few things online over the weekend]. No turning back now.

Alexis said...

I'll join in too. We recently had whopping unexpected dental bills (no insurance, or course) and I need to reign it in. Thanks for the impetus!

katie said...

i also decided to do a spending ban this month [right now it's just for february, but extending it though march might not be the worst idea ever]. between overspending for the holidays, and all the little random purchases i seem to make over the course of a month, my savings account could really use some deposits.

trish k said...

I'm joining along even though I pretty much failed miserably last year...

shellbell said...

i began a similar endeavour on January 1st - i resolve not to buy myself new things for a year! i have plenty of clothes and other items, there is no need to keep accumulating things when i have abundance already.

on top of this, i feel the need to reduce the impact i'm having on the planet by keeping things out of landfills, which means fixing things that are broken, and recycle recycle recycle!

i've called it Out with the New, In with the Old!

glad to see i'm not the only one who feels this way :)

Liz said...

I'm with you! 60 days seems do-able. I say that now, but I know this will be tough.

Glad to have other's support.

http://messingaboutthehouse.blogspot.com/

Shayna said...

okay.

i'm adding another okay category: planned building/project materials okay. non-essential pretty house stuff, etc: no.

egads.

you are a bad influence.

side note: you're always gorgeous but you look particularly fetching in all of those Alt and Maggie photos...

Kate said...

I'm nervous and a little bit scared- but I'm on board!

I also decided to cut up my "splurges" credit card and plan to operate on a cash basis for the next 60 days!

There's no looking back and no way out!

KR said...

So tough, but I'm gonna give it a try through the rest of the month and do cash-only purchases. I'm always more mindful of what's leaving my bank account when I use cash.

Elsa May said...

I take my hat off to you (and everyone else who's opted it - wow!). I'm in (gulp) starting next Sunday, this allows for any 'little finds' in Palm Springs next week.

adornedunicorn said...

I've started doing this since Jan 1st and I love shopping- but I've discovered I love what I have a finding "new things" in my closet. I also have so much craft stuff, so that is to be used up, too. It's made me so much more creative and actually spending time crafting! Our goal is doing this for the year, but my husband and I get a discretionary $20 per week for Starbucks, etc. Having the choice has really helped in not feeling deprived,and I haven't spent it! Ok, this is a long way to say I'm glad I'm in too!

Rachel said...

I'm in! And I think D is on board this year as well. We'll start next week, as this weekend is going to involve a few boring but necessary purchases for the new apartment.

Engracia said...

Yes I'm in for 2 months no spending on non essential items. I started on Monday the 1st after reading some of your recent posts on the upcoming hiatus. I know it is going to hurt as the new season clothes have just arrived in the stores and there are two dresses and a leather jacket I have been dreaming about since I saw them last Sunday!!! I'll post about this little journey on my blog.
Cheers
Engracia

Anonymous said...

hey, i'm doing something like that too! but the extra money is going to UNICEF.
good luck! :D

Leah said...

I'm in :)

pamwares said...

joining. started this a couple of weeks actually. saving to redo my bathroom and hopefully break the buying cycle of stuff I just don't really need!

megan said...

this is awesome. i'm attempting to do something similar--restraint is hard, but can be so worth it!

Kristin @ Contented Me said...

I'm in. (She types v-e-r-y slowly just to be sure she means it.) I was going to start this on February 25th for Lent, but your post inspired, so I guess I'll start a little early.

Oh boy... this is going to be tough. ;(

The Story of the Stutz's said...

I started to this in February after what I will call a conversation with my husband about the credit card bill. Although saving money is a perk, for me it is about self control, willpower, and like you..getting back to basics. I want to be able to do this and have it be no big deal. Already I am trying to get more creative with my current wardrobe, cook with what is on hand and generally avoid non essential purchases.

I miss it though!:)

Melissa said...

Count me in! I really want to save for a little summer trip this year! But I know I'll for sure need the support. I'm very addicted to buying books - mostly at second hand stores, but nonetheless, I probably have enough to get me through to April 1st. So... let it begin!!

leni said...

i definitely should be doing this, but i'm not sure i can actually do it! i lost my job a few months back and now that i finally landed a new one (i start monday) i have been spending money that i don't even have yet!

Alix said...

I'm in. What do I need to do on the blog besides check-in for accountability?

Heather said...

I'm in. Need to take the focus off all the things I think I need and realize I just want them. I'm also going to add to the challenge of trying to reduce the bills or elimante some expenses we currently have. Like paying for 100 channels that we never watch.

modern eve said...

i followed your example last year for a period of time, as well. man, was it tough. but also really necessary for us since husband was starting his own business. i became super lax around and after christmas -- darn those after-holiday sales!

i need to start again, but i want to flesh it out. i am thinking less of a spending hiatus, more of a mindful consumption approach. i want to be more intentional with what i do choose to spend my money on...

Laura said...

I'm in; this is just what I've been waiting for, I keep buying nice new things for the house that we don't need. The only thing I'm allowing myself to buy is paint.

sk said...

I'm in!
I rememebered your spending hiatus from last year and had already talked my mom into doing it with me this year. We also started Feb 1st, and even though I'm not a huge "shopper" it has been surprisingly hard already! I am thinking of allowing thrift-shopping, though.....because I do love to swing through the local shops every so often. My goal is to be extrememly mindful, and to save money for our vacation in April!

Ashley V said...

I'm in!

It's nice to have a support group (and to share online our shopping wishes!)Although I do plan to cheat just a little...I will be buying fresh flowers for the house. I need a little color in the winter!

Stephanie said...

I followed this last year and learned a lot while enjoying each read. In addition to planning to try the two-monther, I also need a reason to get my blog going again. I may not blog about this very much since the content is directed in a little bit of a different direction, but I might submit some cryptic posts here and there!

Thanks!

PS~Erin said...

While I'm not in (We're still recovering from not spending for 7 months due to hubby's layoff), I pledge to be mindful. And I look forward to hanging out with you on yours and gaining some mindfulness through it. Good luck!!

Jane Flanagan said...

Good for you! I did a spending fast last year and think I'm due another one. It was so beneficial last year and did really reset my outlook!

Fern and Feather said...

I am in BUT I am going to start the 15th... I need some time to pep-talk. This is coming at the perfect time. Thank you for the inspiration.

KJ said...

I'm in. can't speak for my husband, though, unfortunately.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I'm in too! I vow to spend no unnecessary money until the Easter holidays which start 26th March. I'm getting married this year and renovating a house so I desperatley need to save. Thank you for giving me the push I needed!

jacqueline said...

I'm in, too too ;) Great idea! I am saving money to start graduate school sometime next year and need to learn how to spend more wisely. Sometimes, it's important to find the beauty in more than things on the store shelves.
Thank you for this gentle nudge.

Simply Grove said...

I just think you are the coolest!!!! I kindoof have already been on a bit of a hiatus so I wont be totally joining but this has very much motivated me in other areas! xx

Emily said...

I'm planning a trip to Europe this summer and there's no way I'm going to be able to afford it without a hiatus! I'm planning on 60 days start this Sunday, and mostly going to cut out frivolous shopping on clothing. I'm also going to try and limit eating out! Here goes...

Dana said...

I am in starting tomorrow (really scared though). No more daily trips to whole foods and those oh do delicious impulsive buys. I have an overflowing fridge and a freezer that I need to empty and to get impulsive shopping under control. I will be mindful with all other spending (no splurging for my toddler at the gap) though we have a birthday coming up and we are already splurging for a bday bash at gymboree. Oh well!

jen shannon said...

I'm in! I'm somewhat excited and I'm sure my husband will be thrilled. I think 60 days of not buying anything that isn't a necessity will teach me quite a bit. I will make the extra effort to go to the library, no more magazines (I spend a fortune on mags) and no more random house ware purchases.

Good Luck to Me!

Bri said...

COUNT me in! I've been trying to do this ever since i got married last july. let's just say we've improved, but i'm not where i want to be right now. it's always a good idea to play around with what we already have, and be creative. along with your goal, i'm also trying to open up more to charity/giving opportunities. when i feel like buying something unnecessary, instead i put my time and money where it counts.

well, this should be fun! =)

Ashley said...

Joining you in solidarity at least on the no-eating-out front. I started this on Feb. 1, but maybe I will expand to non-necessary purchases...? Nice little challenge.

Christine Vi said...

I know I'm late but I've also decided to join! I've been trying to do this and I think having a group of people dedicating themselves to do this will really help me do it!

Kristia said...

I'm going to join in! I've decided to go on a 6 month clothes shopping hiatus. This includes shoes, bags and my personal weakness... scarves.

That's about all the non-shopping I can manage. We're mid-renovation and still in need of building supplies.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Jenelle said...

I'm unofficially joining! We'll see how it goes for the next month :) Great idea, btw!

Jenelle