Wednesday, February 18, 2015

28 - 36: Snow, Books, Pathfinder, and a Bit of Slippage

"Life is full of banana skins. 
You slip, you carry on."
~ Daphne Guinness

We've had a smattering of snow here, but as it does every year in my neck of the woods it turns to sleet shortly thereafter making it nigh impossible to travel anywhere for a few days.

Ice, ice, baby. 

But you hear no complaints from these lips - I'd rather take a few inches of ice that will melt come the weekend as opposed the six foot piles of snow further up north!

Courtesy of the weather I'm also now nine books down for my one hundred and fifteen book reading challenge. Read 'em and chuck 'em (in the donation bin that is). Success! 

Yet . . . so many left . . . 


Also, once again I spent a nice weekend free of shopping this past Saturday with friends. We sat around and generated characters for a new tabletop campaign. I'll take that any day over the store. 

However there are some expenditures to report. 

Oh, come on. You saw it in the title right there. *points* "A bit of slippage", see? 

It goes like this - in case you haven't gathered at this point, I'm female. And as such there are certain garments required (or rather shall I say strongly encouraged via society) for me to don. 

Namely bras. 

And when I find myself left with a single sports bra and all others beyond serviceable repair you will bet your heinie I am trucking to the store to acquire a new one. 

Additionally, I'm here to report a purchase made by the husband. With the bluray unable to handle streaming Netflix and freezing up every few minutes, he ordered a Roku to do the job instead. 

That's right, people. A bra and a Roku. I have come clean. 

And I'm still feeling darn proud of us nonetheless. We're only 36 days in for 365 and have purchased a few items along the way (bra, Roku, cat toy, and 2 laptop chargers), but already we've made some massive strides on using what we have and curbing some serious spending tendencies. 

We're buying things when we need them and not frivolously. We're making careful decisions about them as well. In nine days we purchased only three things aside from food and regular housing bills. Three. Things. 

Yes, I know I listed only two just now. But you see, well, ahem . . . 

My true 'slippage' refers to when I was shopping for my bra. I discovered a comfy satin/cotton blend spaghetti strap night gown as I was pushing my cart to the register. My last one had died from years of use and I had decided to not purchase another. After all, shorts and tank tops are perfectly comfortable and my preferred sleeping attire anyway. But some impulsive, rebellious, care-gone-to-the-wind-and-damned-if-I-do impulse took over and that nightie was in the cart and out the door faster than you could blink. 

My one purchase that wasn't thoughtful or considerate in this time. Impulsive. Just how I used to shop (and with big bills to show for it). So I'll be having to keep a close eye on that little thumb biting, shopping imp inside. Argh.

Pay Up Time!

What did I buy on days 28 - 36 (9 days!) of my 365 days of No Buy, No Way, No How?

I am proud (sort of) to report that I have purchased only:

  • One impulsive, rampaging against self-imposed regulations nightie
  • Bra
  • Roku

This comes to a whopping (no, really, it is. Roku's are expensive) total of: 110.00 USD!


Monday, February 9, 2015

25 - 27: Competitive Flossing

"Some people don't like competition
because it makes them work harder, better."
~Drew Carey

I do so love Drew Carey. Though I doubt he had in mind my competitive flossing when making this statement. 

Wuh? What? It should totally be an Olympic sport. Don't look at me like that. 

Hm. Perhaps I should explain this a bit better. 

Since I've been staying away from purchasing material possessions, I've been focusing on what I already own and, not just that, but my own self as well. 

First I began using the media I already had - the countless unread books, the video games, the beautiful outdoors just a few steps away. 

Then I found myself focusing on my body as well. My state of mind changed. My priorities even shifted a bit. With my attention removed from the latest thing I could acquire, I focused on myself more. 

No, I don't mean this in a selfish sense. I did not gobble up all the cookies in the house and leave none for my husband while screeching, "MINE! MINE!" Ahem. At least not this time. But I'm referencing taking care of my body in this case. Focusing on *gestures head to toe* me. 

Sure, I exercised semi-regularly prior to the 365 day challenge, but now I'm doing so with more consistency (I still have a bit of ways to go to be spot-on all the time, I'll admit). Additionally I'm taking time to really take care of myself. 

It began with the floss. 

On a dark and stormy night . . . 

No, I'm sorry. I just felt that bit needed some punching up. I'm not really sure about the state of the weather at the time. 

When I was cleaning out my bathroom closet I found four rolls of floss. I kept buying floss and then rarely using it. Because, let's be honest, flossing is not a highlight of one's day and it's easy to get in the habit of not doing it. 

But thanks to this challenge I'm becoming more frugal and more competitive with myself regarding my frugality. I was determined to use that floss up before buying any more and I began flossing daily. I would use up every bit of that floss (without cheating by tossing it out) and take better care of my teeth. Day one and two was filled with sore gums, but now ahh so much better. 

An Aside: No, I do not have horrid teeth. I have nice pearly whites, but I admit to a laziness in flossing that is probably the reason for why I had to get a few fillings a couple of years back. Ahem. Hey, at least I admitted it! 

In other words, this challenge is beginning to focus my attention on many other areas of my life. Areas that are more fulfilling, more important than the latest bauble or shirt. I'm focusing on going outside, seeing friends more, reading my books and letting them go and so much more. 

I'm excited. Who knows what will come next? 

Pay Up Time!

What did I buy on days 25 - 27 of my 365 days of No Buy, No Way, No How?

  • Nothing!
This comes to a whopping total of: 0.00 USD!

Friday, February 6, 2015

17 - 24: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

"I dote on his very absence."
~ William Shakespeare

Did you miss me while I was gone? D-did you even know I was gone? 

Wait a minute...

You all held a celebration, didn't you? Aha! I'm onto you now!

But where in the fark was I? Ah, now that is a rather boring tale actually. I'm sorry, but no dragons, quests, exciting adventures were had by me on this hiatus. Though I suppose I could try and punch up the explanation a bit just for kicks, eh? 

Okay. Settle in boys and girls. I'm going to tell you the tale of . . . The Evil Laptop Charger That Could Not. 

Well, actually the title kind of says it all. My laptop charger died and I had to purchase (GASP! DANG IT ALL!) a new one. Though I would like for my laptop to charge on the very air I breathe and try as we may with positive thinking on that one, it didn't happen. 

So, yes, in the eight days that I have been an absentee I had to spend money on a laptop charger. And not just one. Oh, no. See, I attempted valiantly to hold out on spending anything. When my charger died I filched my husband's.

What? What? Don't look at me like that. I shared it with him, dammit. 

But then that one died too. I envision it did so with a puff of sheer spiteful glee and whatever accounts for giving the bird when you don't have a finger with which to give it. 

And so to Amazon we went. And two chargers were purchased. Sniffle.

However, on the plus side, in  24 days of this challenge I have purchased only three things: the cat toy and two laptop chargers. So, there is that! 

Wooo...hooo? Maybe?

I still feel a bit of a failure. Alas.



And so on.

Pay Up Time!

What did I buy on days 17 - 24 of my 365 days of No Buy, No Way, No How?

I am proud to report that I have purchased only:

  • 2 Laptop Chargers of Better Last A Long Time Damn It Quality
This comes to a whopping total of: 43.85 USD!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

14, 15, & 16: Reading, Still Reading, and Cat Toys

"One small cat changes coming home to an empty house 
to coming home."
~ Pam Brown

Since starting my serious, heavy duty declutter rampage (round gazillion) I am continuously confronted with the knowledge that I own an incredible mound of books that I have never read. 

If I had to start a fire to survive, I think my books could provide at least a full 48 hours of warmth. 

All of the ones I have kept are ones I want to read and so I have started making sure to read one throughout the day - especially before going to bed instead of putzing around uselessly on the internet. 

And I can stare in a vegetative state at a computer screen with the best of 'em, just so you know. 

My eventual goal is to read these books and donate them. It's almost as daunting a job as my current resolution, but I can do it! I swear!

I want only to keep the ones I know I'll need to reference again or that bring me explicit joy by merely their presence like my copy of The Blue Sword. That book has been read so many times since middle school that it is held together with a rubber band. 

I've also decided not to continue posting my grocery purchases. Much like my mortgage, my insurance, my utility bills for electricity and water, one's grocery bill is a bit of a necessity. And listing the entire thing right down to the specific bit of chow I got seems a waste of time considering I'm doing this to control spending in the shops for unnecessary items. 

And, seriously, once you start cleaning out your entire house with the mind to simplify, you realize how much you really own and how few things truly are necessary. Good grief. 

Oh, well. I'll thank myself for this when I move next year at least. Packing will be a helluva lot easier, that's for sure.

I'm still going to be posting my "holy shit, you guys, look how much I saved this month compared to before on these items" posts, however. So I am paying attention to what is coming into the house grocery-wise, I'm just not going to list it item by item for the world's perusal. 

Speaking of noms . . . Today I purchased something in the store that was not edible. 

Well, I suppose I could eat it, but I'm sure it wouldn't go down easily. Yikes. 

I went to the pet store and replaced my cat's jangle toy. It's the only kind she'll play with and being nearly blind, bell toys are the ones that she responds to best. And because she goes into a whirling frenzy after her toys, I prefer them to have strings attached for the sake of retaining all of my digits. 

So, regarding her vision, let me just turn a long story short: 

At the tender age of Not Quite Four, she developed idiopathic uveitis and glaucoma that wasn't responding to medication. As a result she went entirely blind in one eye and subsequently had it removed and expensive laser surgery on the remaining eye to extend her ability to see out of it for at least another year. She recovered, can see, but mostly it's just vague shapes and changes in lighting thus if she is going to play, she needs toys that jangle and make noise. 

And, yes, for my cat it is worth breaking my No Buy Budget regarding her having the one toy she loves. 

Thus, today I bought something for the first time that wasn't a bill or grocery item in sixteen days. And it felt weird. Despite enjoying a quick meander through the pet store (KITTIES FOR ADOPTION! ZOMG! *petpetpet*), I felt no desire to purchase anything other than that which I had came for. 

That right there, ladies and gents, is a darn good success! Woot!

Pay Up Time!

What did I buy on days 14, 15, & 16 of my 365 days of No Buy, No Way, No How?

I am proud to report that I have purchased only:

  • One jangle jingly bell cat toy on a string
This comes to a whopping total of: 3.29 USD!

Jingle bells, cats with sharp nails, I still have my fingers after playing! La, la, la!

Monday, January 26, 2015

13: A Romp with the Ol' Calculator and Some Eye Opening Numbers

"Just the facts, ma'am.'" 
~Sgt. Joe Friday (Dragnet)

Do you want to take a little peek at something with me? 

No! Not like that. Put that curtain back down, you naughty thing! 

Though in truth, showing the amounts I'm spending on bills and especially what I'm about to show you regarding what I have spent in the past does feel a little like being eyeballed by peeping toms. It's a smidge uncomfortable, but incredibly eye opening. 

When I ran these numbers this morning, it blew my mind and I knew I had to share it with you (Wait, someone is reading these blog posts other than me, right? H-Hello? Is that an echo I hear?)

Okay, empty stadium or no, here goes!

So far I have been on my No Buy resolution for 365 days. In addition to that I have begun being more conscious on the amount of money being spent on groceries. I know I have room for improvement, but already it's impressive. Let me show you why: 

For the 13 days that I have been limiting my consumption and expenditures I have spent 213.98 USD on groceries. 

Wait, wait! 

Before you pelt me with a bunch of rotten veg, let me explain. I know that is still a high number. Yes, I purchase organic and ethical food products when I have the option. I know that boosts my grocery number, but those matters are important to me. Even still, I'm sure I can lower the value in time. But for now, it's still a damn sight better and I'll show you why. So just follow with me here and lower that tomato!

For the 13 days immediately prior to this resolution I spent 201.40 USD on groceries. 

Wait, I'm higher now? What kind of cockamamy is this . . .

BUT let us dig a little deeper. 

Within those 13 days immediately prior to this deal my husband and I also ate out for a total of 163.48 USD! 

This equates to a total of 346.97 USD in food expenditures prior to this 365 No Buy budget. 

That makes for an overall difference of 150.99 USD that I have not spent by eating out this month. Now consider that grocery bill of 213.98 USD and that's one helluva change! In fact, just from the numbers alone this is a 41.3% decrease in food expense! Yes!

Now, let's be a little more hardcore, hmm? 

Obviously the 13 days previous to my resolution enacting we were both still spending at the stores. Steam sales for video games, Etsy purchases, clothes, what-have-you frivolously here and there. Nickel and dimes that seriously added up. 

Phew. Give me a moment to prepare myself to admit this. 

Okay, here goes. 

As I rather crudely titled it when I was doing the math here is my "Random Shit Bought Before Resolution" at a staggering total of 189.08 USD. This is nearly 200 dollars spent on random stuff between two people in JUST THIRTEEN DAYS. 

Let us add that number to the grocery and restaurant totals (prepare to wince. I know I am): 536.05 USD. 

That's right. A little over half of a thousand dollars in groceries, restaurant bills, and random crap that we don't even need. How freaking embarrassing. How fiscally irresponsible! No wonder my savings account was only inching up higher a little at a time! 

So let's take a look at this in context, yes? 

Within the immediate 13 days prior to the resolution my household spent a total of 536.05 USD.

Within the 13 days of the resolution my household spent a total of 213.98 USD. 

A difference of 322.07 USD! 

In other words, we have experienced a 60.1% decrease in overall expenses. Yes! Hot damn!

Pay Up Time!

What did I buy on day 13 of my 365 days of No Buy, No Way, No How?

I am proud to report that I have purchased only:

  • 1 bunch of organic kale
  • 1 box of non-gmo flour
  • 1 large glass container of organic lemon juice 
  • 5 organic apples
  • 2 organic pears
  • 1 large bottle of Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap
  • 1 stick of deodorant (You don't want to smell me without deodorant! Good god, it's inhumane)
  • 2 bunches of organic bananas
  • 1 container of organic mushrooms
  • 1 bag of organic grapes
This comes to a whopping total of: 44.57 USD!

And yes this amount was totaled into the math listed earlier! Squee!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

10, 11, & 12: Reading, Reading Some More, and Decluttering Continues

"He that loves reading
has everything within his reach." 
~ William Godwin

Don't worry. I haven't fallen off the ol' blog wagon wheel yet and I am still on track for not buying things from the shops! It's just been a busy weekend thus far. 

Friday I spent nearly all of my free time pulling out tons of miscellaneous items from closets and cabinets. I sorted, I organized and I bagged so much more for trash and donation than I thought possible. 

I've been paring down and cleaning up for a few years now. I've read nearly all the books and blogs on the topic because they give me motivation in addition to new ways of looking at not only my successes, but my failures. 

KonMari Method is the first that has taught me to ruthlessly throw away that which is not bringing pleasure, that is not useful and that I don't need regardless of when I purchased it. 

"But, but, I just bought that this year?" I wailed when I came across a metal shelving unit I had thought I needed to house my copious bathroom supplies. The problem with that shelf was that it made the bathroom dark, cluttered and a bit more cramped when it was already a matchbox sized room. The shelf was pretty, I admit that, but it did not bring me pleasure. Onto the donate pile it went!

That pile is in my downstairs closet. And it keeps growing. 

And growing

And growing.

I love it. 

When I pulled every bathroom related object into the hallway floor and sorted through it, I found that most of the items there were expired or very near to expiring! Suddenly, I had no need of that shelf. 

Though I do have enough bar soaps and lotion to last through the rest of this year, I suspect. 

Of all the things to stockpile in this world, I chose bathroom supplies. Not food. Oh, no. Come the apocalypse I need to be squeaky clean as opposed to well fed, apparently. 

Ah, but also this weekend has been a huge readathon fest for me. Saturday was a national readathon day and I finished two books then started a third. 

And those books are going onto the donate pile as well. 

Don't be sad, books! It's not a burn pile, I swear! 

I'm keeping only those books that bring me joy to look at and that I know I'll read or reference again in the future. Already it's a big book shaped weight off me and watching that stack of "all read!" grow is motivating me to read more. I own way too many unread books.

However yesterday was, by far, my favorite day this weekend. My father and I went to a pub for a few drinks, lots of random chitchat and a tasty, tasty mussel appetizer. His treat! I love spending time with him. Our talks are worth more than anything material on this whole planet. 

Speaking of material things: 

Today I plan to finish that third book I started. I'm on a space and universe science kick at the moment. So fascinating! 

I also plan to rip out everything from my inside kitchen shelves and cabinets, pile the whole lot up on the floor and sort some more! I know I have several recipe books and bits of dishes that I don't want and if I can streamline my shelving, that'll be grand. 

I know, I know. I'm living it up. Who needs parties and vacations when there is a kitchen to clean? 


But in truth, this is powerfully helpful to my resolution to not purchase. I am constantly being reminded of all the things I already have available to me to occupy my time - books, movies, the out of doors, family and friends. In addition to how much I have already spent my money on and that I'm now booting out of the house as excess clutter. 


Pay Up Time!

What did I buy on day 10, 11, & 12 of my 365 days of No Buy, No Way, No How?

I am proud to report that I have purchased only:
  • Broccoli 
  • Mushrooms
  • Ginger Root
  • Mango Slices
  • Papaya Spears
  • Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Happy Chicky Pasture Raised Eggs
This comes to a whopping total of: 29.03 USD

I also returned some unopened Citadel paints to the store purchased earlier in the month (prior to my resolution enacting). I'll stick with my current Testor paints for my minis. Cringe and wail if you must, people of the interwebs, but I'm not a professional painter and Citadel paints are hella expensive! So I got 21.00 USD back into the checking account. 


Thursday, January 22, 2015

9: Walking, Walking, and a Little More Walking

"Walking is the best possible exercise. 
Habituate yourself to walk very far." 
~ Thomas Jefferson

After hauling five miles on just my tootsies to pick up a few groceries for tonight's dinner, I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Jefferson. My feet, on the other hand, want to file a complaint for ill treatment. 

There is a great feeling of success and appreciation when you walk to your destinations. At least that is the case for me. Not to mention the joy of the journey. 

And all the trash along the way. 

Seriously people - stop throwing things out of your car window or tossing it to the side while waiting on the bus. If you don't have a trash can nearby, tuck that stuff into a bag or a pocket or just simply hold onto it until you reach a waste or recycle bin. 


You animals. 

Luckily the beauty outweighs the trash (most of the time). 

As I walked I saw the trees up close and personal that line the sidewalk. I smelled the grass that was freshly cut and the field that lays dormant until Christmas time when the tree salesmen plop tons of dead-but-not-yet-aware-of-it Douglas Firs out for sale. I saw cracks in the sidewalk that spidered across the concrete in whimsical, chaotic shapes. 

Best of all I felt my muscles shifting and pulling, contracting and stretching. And I am very lucky, I thought to myself, that I am physically able and capable of walking on my own two feet for five miles to grab some grub. 

Unfortunately I forgot my reusable water bottle and was thirsty upon arriving at the store. In addition to my few bits of veg, I needed to pick up a plastic bottle of water so I didn't keel over from dehydration. 

Okay, that's an exaggeration. But I was sweating a bit from the sun and the exercise. If I didn't drink anything experience told me I would end up with a whopper of a headache by the time I returned home. 

So, alas, plastic bottle of water it was. 

But (and this is for all you litter bugs out there) I carried that empty sucker home with me and put it in the recycling bin! 

Pay Up Time!

What did I buy on day 9 of my 365 days of No Buy, No Way, No How?

I am proud to report that I have purchased only:

  • Green Peppers (2x)
  • Organic Tomatoes (3x)
  • Mango (my snack on the walk back home)
  • Plastic Bottle of Water (recycle that, people!)
  • Cheese (this cheese was not so tasty. Not to self: don't buy that cheese again. Bleah)
This comes to a whopping total of: 21.25 USD!

Acquired using my lovely, tired feet! No car required. Wahoo!