Buy Nothing Month
I will be posting my expenses for April 2017 later this week but I want to write about one expense cutting attempt I made last month.
I declared April Buy Nothing Month. The definition was pretty flexible. I would buy groceries and household necessities but I wouldn’t buy anything we didn’t need. There were a couple things I purchased that I wouldn’t call necessities but I think I did pretty well overall.
I spent $563 on shopping through April 28. I averaged $1k per month for the 15 months before that so I definitely made progress. $63 was for things I ordered online in March and was charged for in early April.
Home repair supplies
$146 was spent at Home Depot and a local hardware store related to some plumbing repair that I did in April, supplies for yard work, and buying a new mailbox. My old mailbox was hit by something (snow plow?) during the winter and is falling apart. It no longer has a door or a red flag and it’s about to fall off the post. I bought a heavy duty mailbox this time because the one I’m replacing lasted less than a year. I also spent $137 on a new drill because the batteries for my old drill had died and it was so old Home Depot didn't even carry the replacements. The new drill is more powerful, lighter (much appreciated), and comes with a lifetime warranty so I can just request new batteries from the manufacturer when these die. I also bought a home repair Kindle book for $18 because I have a bunch of projects to tackle around the house and I wanted a general resource to use along with Youtube.
I spent $23 on hair products at Sally Beauty and another $32 on conditioner from Amazon. I have naturally curly hair and the products I use on my hair are not cheap. I have been investigating natural recipes for the products and I will try some soon. However, that requires buying ingredients that may not work out. Also, none of the recipes I’ve seen really replace the $32 conditioner. It is a 32 oz. bottle and I generally buy it every two months. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with only using it every other day to stretch the bottles out longer.
I also ordered an 8-pack of dimmable LED light bulbs ($25) and a 16 pack of regular LED light bulbs ($27). I had a CFL bulb break in my hand and decided I was done with them. I find that they break very easily and they are filled with mercury. Breaking them releases the mercury into the air. I can’t have them in my house anymore. I did some research and determined that LED light bulbs are the better choice. They are cheaper to run and they last longer. They are more expensive than CFLs but prices have come down and THEY AREN’T TOXIC. I priced them at BJ’s and Costco and the Amazon price was better. I’ve used them to replace some bulbs that were burnt out and I will continue to replace the CFLs with LEDs as they burn out.
That leaves $90. I spent that money on things I did not absolutely need.
I spent $11 on a yoga book to help me create a home practice rather than going to a studio and a canning cookbook.
I have been really looking forward to summer. One of the ways I decided I was going to enjoy myself without traveling as much this year was to get a season pass to one of the beautiful local beaches and go every weekend. I knew that I would need an umbrella (I love the beach but I’m allergic to most sunscreens and also the sun so I need to keep covered when I’m not in the water.), a new beach chair (my old beach chair broke last summer), a cooler for bringing healthy snacks and drinks from home, and a beach cart to help me carry it all. I know it sounds like a lot but it replaces thousands I spent on travel in 2016 and keeps me from buying unhealthy and expensive food and drinks at the beach. BJ’s had all the items I needed and I decided that I would spread the cost out over the next couple of months by buying only one item per shopping trip. This trip I spent $40 on a beach cart. I also purchased a $10 metal steamer to use in my Instant Pot.
I watched the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why (What? I have a teen-aged daughter!) (That’s not why I watched it. She wasn’t even interested in it. I got totally sucked in and binged all 13 episodes in less than a week.). One of the characters had an octopus pillow in her room. I love octopi and the pillow was in my favorite color so I Google searched for it. I found it at Pier 1 Imports and I bought it. It was 15% but that didn’t really matter. I went there to buy it and I bought it. It was $31.
I know it sounds like I am making excuses for some of these purchases and maybe I am. Honestly, I’m proud of myself. I brought my spending way down and I learned something about myself in the process. Also, I love my pillow.