As Crunchy would say, "Forgive me, people, for I have spent." It has been 6 days since I signed on for the Buy Nothing Challenge and it's been interesting so far to track what's been most difficult. For about six months, I have been trying to curb our expenditures for a host of reasons so I thought this exercise wouldn't be very different. But it is! It's curious how you can delude yourself. I mean, I thought I was being pretty restrained. But faced with an absolute (Buy Nothing!), I'm getting to see the pattern of my consumption.
I kept track of both things I wanted to buy and didn't and things I went ahead and bought. Some stuff I bought because I decided it was worthy and some stuff I was just careless or weak.
Stuff I wanted to buy and didn't (thanks, Crunchy)!
- Believe it or not, my sins have predominantly and oddly revolved around coffee. Yet I am a sporadic decaf drinker! Kind of a surprise weakness this past week. I hate the effect caffeine has on me but in my defense I was sleep deprives and had endured, in the past two weeks: 3 trips to the DMV, 2 hour-plus chats with Verizon customer service, 4 trips to the pediatrician and 1 to the Social Security Administration (at which I was given an assigned number, a two hour wait, and a quizzical "I don't think you can get that done here" even though I'd spent many an hour on the phone discussing my desires...) Sent me scurrying around the corner to an Illy coffeeshop. Sigh. As I took the first (admittedly delicious) sip I remembered! Aaaigh! And that was on Day ONE. A mere ten minutes after I'd been daydreaming about how on earth I'm going to pull off my soon-to-be five year old's birthday with no expenditures.
- 2nd coffee expenditure: just this morning, I bought another coffee (long night last night) and a travel thermos/tumbler. I didn't want to use a disposable cup and we don't have a travel mug that's not made of suspect plastic. This one was really cool, made of metal (plastic top, but not inside the stainless steel like lots I've seen. And it has a cool drinkable cap. Still, it was a $20 acquisition. And could I really just skip the caffeine already since I don't like how it affects me?
- I bought eight nuts and bolts from the hardware store to assemble my composter. I'm not too worried about that one. ;)
- I had to pay the plumber to fix a pipe that inexplicably developed a pea-sized hole under the kid's sink. Obvious need.
- The other sins are of the eating-out variety. A friend came in town from Vermont and we went out to a fancy dinner with him (not sorry!) and we went out for bagel sandwiches this morning. Also, I got a pre-made quiche one night for dinner at Whole Foods that was not only egregiously expensive but also egregiously plastic-encased. Almost a clamshell dinner.
Victory of the Week? Getting hand-me-down shin guards for the five year old's first soccer game. I totally didn't think I would pull this off since I didn't realize until the day before that I needed them. But my neighbors rock! A friend with whom I trade kidstuff even scolded me for looking around on the local listserv without checking in with her first!
So, all in all, good lessons:
- I clearly spend more than I admit to myself on a routine basis.
- My first impulse is to buy something (ie earbuds) even if I know I have that thing already if my convenience is affected. Time to develop patience and forbearance.
- Food, drink, and gifting are areas I can examine to see if I can accomplish what I want (nourishing, healthy food; tiny caffeine boosts; and communicating love to friends and family) with less consumption/waste.