Sunday, July 5, 2009

Compacting -- Month One Update

I started my Compact at the beginning of June. Now that we are officially in July, here's a look at how June turned out.

As a recap, here are my rules:

1. Avoid Buying
2. Avoid Buying New
Exceptions: personal care items (includes shoes and underwear), food, supplies for projects or schooling (only after I have gone through step one to decide if we need it or can make due with something else), gifts for birthdays (unless I have time to make something)
If I have honestly exhausted all of the above means, and I am unable to wait it out, purchases should support local or
independently owned businesses.

3. Food Rules (since this is something we have to buy)
Minimal convenience foods
Buy local and organic where possible
Shop the farmer's markets first
Minimize packaging, buy bulk, bring my shopping bags
If we do eat out (let's be reasonable folks... this is sure to happen... I can only make so many changes at once) we'll keep it to local establishments

1. I am getting much better about sorting out wants vs. needs. This is such a valuable skill to cultivate. I like that I am slowly becoming less of a mindless consumer at the mercy of impulse buys. It's amazing to realize how much junk and clutter would have made it into my house if I hadn't been paying attention. So many little thing that caught my eye and that I otherwise might have bought that were not really practical or well-made or even necessary. It was nice to recognize that I really didn't need a pack of Tinkerbell gel pens, or a resin garden gnome... even if they were on sale :) That's not to say there weren't a few struggles.

I had a moment of weakness over some dish towels... I know, I know... they're just dish towels. But man, I really really really wanted them. I knew it was just a want. Yet, every time I was in Target for groceries I would detour past that section and look at them LOL. I actually bought them, thought better of it, and returned them to Target. :) Whew! I made it past that hurdle, just barely. And the thing was, once I brought them home, I was able to realize that 1. I didn't really need them and 2. they weren't even very well made. I can't believe how much the WANTING could cloud my judgement.

2. Shopping second hand is fun! I bought my wardrobe updates at the thrift store and scored some great deals. I made gifts for a few of the birthday parties we went to, and they turned out super cute... little Waldorf-style dolls. Not only did they turn out well, but K got to help me with picking the patterns and the fabric. I bought a few books on, bought W a much needed pair of new shoes (I did buy these brand new), and I think that's it. Oh, there were the beeswax tapers I bought at the farm market. Definitely an impulse buy, but they were useful and hand-made so I didn't feel too bad about it.

The only NEW thing besides food that I bought were holiday socks for the kids, and some fireworks for the fourth.

3. Ahhh... food! This is where I have to keep it real. I knew going into it that this area would be tough. But I'm emarassed by how poorly I managed. Our food bill for the month was ridiculous... really, it bordered on obscene. We ate way too much fast food, bought snacks and other convenience foods, and just didn't plan well at all. We did have that whole two weeks of illness to contend with... most of the fast food and poor purchases took place during that time. And so much of the healthy fresh food in the fridge went bad during that time. SIGH I realize now the need to keep a more in the way of healthy pantry stuff for tough times. Canned beans or broth aren't things we normally buy but would have been much appreciated when I was too sick to set beans to cook or make homemade stock. I'm going to address this further once we get settled from our move.

So that about sums up June on the Compacting frontier. I have some other thoughts about it that will have to wait til later. Also, I'll post my plans for July later.

1 comment:

  1. your blog is incredibly hard to read!, what about adding a white backing to the text?