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We made it.  We went a whole month without eating out at a restaurant, or setting foot in a mall or thrift shop.

I had no problem with not eating out; it drove Will a little crazy.

Will had no problem with not shopping; it drove me a little crazy.

In the shopping category, we spent $15 this month (Will needed a pair of rubber boots, and when you find rubber boots, you buy them, because they quickly disappear), compared to $355 last month.  It’s amazing how little I spend when Value Village and iTunes and Amazon are off limits.

“Buy Nothing” was a good thing for me.  At the start, I was itching to buy something, anything.  I dreamed about the things I would buy in May.  I had stuff all picked out online that I was going to purchase the second this month was done.  But without even realizing it, the excitement to buy, buy, buy kinda disappeared.  The urge, the need simply vanished.   I’ve gone a month without them; do I really need them as badly as I thought I did?  I guess not.

We didn’t incorporate any drastic frugal measures, other than cleaning the pantry and using up some old food.  Because restaurants were off the list, we decided to spare no expense when it came to groceries.  Even then, we still spent less than the $500 we budgeted this month on groceries, compared to the $985 we spent on food and dining out last month.  Yes, $985.  More than our house bills for the month.  We were out of control.  So you see why we needed a “Buy Nothing” month.

Going forward, it would be impossible to cut out shopping and eating out at restaurants for ever.  No pizza make Will crazy.  Plus, I only have two pairs of jeans in rotation at the moment – thrift store, here I come!  But we do need to exercise a bit more control and restraint.  Perhaps only ordering pizza once a week, and maybe only a couple of trips to Value Village a month would be doable.  We’ll see.

If you’re having spending problems, I highly recommend doing a “Buy Nothing” month.  It really is like pushing “reset” on your spending habits.  It brings your priorities sharply into focus, and makes you confront what you’re avoiding by spending time and money on all that “stuff.”  For me, shopping at a thrift store is very relaxing and creatively satisfying.  Without that outlet, I found myself being more creative with writing and baking.  I spent more time with my animals and my husband.  It forced me to find other ways to relax and be creative that didn’t require spending a dime, like going to the library, or walking the dogs.  If things start to spiral out of control again, I wouldn’t hesitate to do another “Buy Nothing” month.

Have you every tried a “Buy Nothing” month?  What was your experience like?  What did you learn?  Leave me comment – I’d love to hear from you!

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