(Photo source: The Frugalista)
A few years ago I was driving down the road listening to NPR and got inspired by Natalie McNeal—also known as “The Frugalista.” She was talking about how the idea of “No Buy Month” started out as a news story or an experiment that she would do and then write about it during the month. What she discovered was that she saved $400 the first time she did it! That’s a substantial savings in one month’s time! This was around the time we were thinking about buying a house and we knew we would have to really start budgeting our money in order for that to happen. So, while I was listening to “The Frugalista” on NPR that day, I decided to take charge of our finances and stop senseless and unnecessary spending.
I got inspired by being frugal! I decided to look at where our money was going and how to shop and spend money responsibly. I attribute this one day and this one NPR story to a lot of changes I made about spending money. That was really when I started buying clothes at Goodwill. I RARELY spend money on clothes at stores other than thrift stores anymore. This is actually for a couple of reasons—reason #1 is that it saves me money. Reason #2 is that it’s good for the environment b/c I am recycling and reason #3 is that I am not supporting sweat shops by purchasing my clothes this way. It’s a win-win-win scenario! However, after I started losing weight, I did start to slack off a bit. Instead of always going to a thrift shop, I did start to go to stores like Target because I wanted to be able to try on clothes and buy new clothes in a smaller size. I don’t do this often and I don’t feel guilty about going into Target and being able to fit into and buy a pair of size 10 jeans! Granted, I could have done the same thing at Goodwill, but I was near a Target and it was convenient for me that day.
When I first heard about the Frugalista that day, we already had a trip planned to NYC for the summer. We had paid for the airplane tickets and where we were staying. This trip was actually a bargain. I also don’t regret spending money on travel because it’s one of my greatest joys in life. I LOVE to travel and I would rather go without a lot of “things” to be able to spend more money on traveling. Anyway, as I started reading the Frugalista’s blog, she talked about finding free things to do on vacation or when you are in a different city. She also had a trip planned to NYC and decided to find all of the free and fabulous things you could do there. There are so many! I also did some research on this and found a lot of great things we were able to do. Many museums have discounts and even free days. We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art for FREE! Yes, it was crowded, but isn’t all of NYC?! J I can handle a few more people to be able to get in for free! We also did a lot of walking and using the Subway instead of taking cabs. We saw so much of the city this way and we got a lot of exercise. It really was an inexpensive GREAT trip and part of that was because I was so inspired by the Frugalista’s blog.
We were able to buy a house that summer and slowly but surely, I got back into my old ways of buying too many books on Amazon and making too many senseless purchases. But lately, I am really trying to focus again on making smart financial choices. That is why I am taking part in the “No Buy Month” challenge. Here’s what it will include:
-I will still buy groceries but I will work to be as frugal as possible with what I buy at the grocery store. (I plan to blog a lot more about this very soon!)
-No dining out
-No paying for entertainment
-No shopping for clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets, etc. (Basically, the necessities are it-that’s all I can spend money on.)
-No spending money on Valentine’s Day-we are going to figure out how to celebrate without spending any money.
-We will still pay our bills (of course).
There are a few exceptions to the “No Buy Month” challenge:
-We are going to pay $5 a piece to see Forks Over Knives (the $5 also includes vegan dessert and tea)
-R will get her car stereo installed that she got for her birthday.
-I have a hair appt. that’s been scheduled for a long time that’s at the end of February-I may keep it and not reschedule since I have had it planned since before the “No Buy Month" Challenge. We will see.
So, that’s basically it in a nutshell. How can we be frugal and fabulous? How can we not spend money but still have a good time and not miss out on things? That’s what February is going to be all about!