Going on a shopping detox

Do you know about the Compact? I’m going to try my own version of it for February where I stop buying so much stuff. And I’ll give you weekly status reports.

My rules:

  1. No buying new stuff. Exceptions include food, necessary toiletries, shoes, undies.
  2. No take out food. In order to cut down on overall packaging and waste, we’re cutting out the carry-out. If we’re in a crunch for a meal, eating in a restaurant is ok. Three Stone Hearth, a local community supported kitchen that uses returnable glass jars (while not cheap) is perfect.
  3. Borrow, barter, or buy used.
  4. Blog successes and failures. Be honest about what’s easy and what’s impossible.

I don’t think I was nearly as cheap before I met my husband. I ate out constantly and didn’t think twice before buying the cutest snowboard that I could afford.

As husbands go, I hit the jackpot. He’s a born saver; Alec doesn’t fritter away our money and he helps me think twice before buying stuff.

Aside from the genetic thrift, there’s an environmental component to his frugality that I can’t help but admire. He got me to start questioning the products I buy and whether they can be found cheaper on craig’s list or ebay.

Again, I’ve hit the jackpot with that mindset on baby gear. Between Craig’s List, Ebay, freecycle, the Berkeley Parents Network Marketplace, hand-me-downs, garage sales, resale shops, and the occasional board book on the sidewalk, my home is brimming with things I didn’t pay full price for.

Of course — with honesty in mind — they’re not all winners, some are just life lessons: I drove 45 minutes for an $8 diaper bag a few years ago. Last weekend, we saved a bundle on a TV twice as far away. We never even used that sad diaper bag; at least the TV has been plugged in.

We freecycle or pass along everything we think can be useful to other folks. And my annual clothing swap is the gift that keeps on giving for many of my friends. With all that good karma out there, surely I can hang on to my cute pink Burton snowboard just a few more years in case I start riding again…[Alec just asked, “is it pink? I’ve never seen it”]