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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More For Less: Nothing New

About a week ago, the Dallas Morning News ran an article about this husband and wife who took a pledge not to buy anything new for an entire year. A lofty goal.

Although their hearts were in the right place, I thought their process needed some work. They automatically put limits on their pledge by saying that the only things they would buy new would be food and toiletries. That's perfectly understandable.

But then they broke their pledge the first day by buying some non-essential clearance items. Okay. Everyone slips off the wagon. Further down the article, the wife says that she will buy any item she can get free, as in buy one get one free, or with coupons.

In the end, the article came off as one excuse after another and that disappointed me.

Still, the kernel of their idea is a sound one and it's easy to do if you take it one step at a time--one item at a time. What if you decided that you would buy no NEW clothes in 2009. Or toys? Or electronic gadgets? Could you do it?

Other than a light sweater, I don't think I've bought any clothing for myself in over two years. I haven't gotten any bigger--or smaller, and I have plenty of everything. But then it's easy for me to go without because I'm not a clothes horse. Limit something I really love, like Coke Zero and there might be tears.

If you'd like to challenge yourself, take a look in your closet. Do you REALLY need another pair of jeans, or another blouse? How many pairs of socks do you go through in a year?

Back in November when we moved to the new house, I had a real wake up call on how much we had. Now that I had a nice big closet, I carefully went through each piece of clothing and decided whether I still liked it or not. I had a bag full for Goodwill by the time I was finished sorting, and I still had 15 feet of my clothes alone on the rack. Good grief!!

I don't believe in depriving myself if it's something I love, but I also know that love is fleeting. So when I shop and see something that catches my eye, I ask myself if it's truly love---or is it lust. 9 times out of 10, it'll go back on the rack.

The frugal plan this husband and wife team tried out is perhaps a little more intense than most people can handle, but done in small doses it could add up to significant savings in a year.

Start small. Start with something you know you already have enough of. You'll be surprised what you can do without.

Next week: My super secret technique for staying on budget.

For more money saving tips, be sure to visit my buddy, Marianne Arkins.


And on a totally unrelated subject. My husband was THIS close to giving me a heart attack yesterday. He had a stress test at 2:30. I've had a couple of those and I'm usually in and out in an hour. 2 hours go by. No word from him. 3 hours go by and I am racking my brain trying to remember the name of the clinic he went to.

For those of you who don't know, Greg and I live 300 miles apart. We are connected virtually all the time and visit each other when we can, so when I can't reach him, I worry.

Somehow I tracked him down to the right clinic. And thankfully someone answered. He was nearly ready to be released when I called.

Under normal circumstances, my reaction was probably over the top, but when all you have is a cell phone that just rings, all sorts of terrible thoughts cross your mind.

You see the last time he did that to me, an old lady ran a stop sign and hit him when he was on his motorcycle. I drove five hours in the dead of night to find him entirely bandaged up. He was badly scraped up, but if he hadn't been wearing his helmet, he'd be dead. We still have that helmet with a huge gouge scooped out of one side.

He is the luckiest *@%# I know. Not only did he survive the motorcycle accident, yesterday his doctor told him that these were the most amazing results he'd ever seen for a man his age.

Meanwhile, I'm the one pacing the floor. There is no justice.


Marianne Arkins said...

Husbands... I swear. They are clueless. My DH does stuff like that all the time. Goober.

And, RE: Clothes. I don't buy any unless I'm replacing something that has fallen apart. I'm so not into fashion, lol. My DH actually uses more of the closet than I do.

If "not buying something new" included books, I'd be sunk. Otherwise? I could do it, easy-peasy.

Looking forward to next week!

Kaz Augustin said...

Oh, I'm a bad girl. I've only just started ramping UP my clothes buying. But I hadn't bought anything for myself for literally years and I even have 20-year old t-shirts in perfect nick that I still wear! And 20-year old shoes, still with their original laces threaded. LOL So I figure I'm forgiven ... I *am* forgiven, right, M? ;)

As for hubbies, mine tends to over-inform rather than under-inform, but every now and then .... Yeah, not a happy place for a wife to be.

Kaz Augustin said...

Oh, and did you know that the "appellation" you gave Greg is being interpreted as a "mailto" link? Hilarious!

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: link
I don't know why it did that. When I typed it, it automatically made it a link. It didn't open in my email, so I let it go.

Ref: buying habits
Yes, you are forgiven. We can't have you going around in 20 year old fashions. lol.

(It took me years to give up my bell bottoms, and wouldn't you know it they came back in fashion--at least for a little while.)

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: You know what my husband tells me? "Relax. You're overreacting. Calm down."

He's a regular Dr. Phil.

And I've never even told the stories of what he put me through when he was flying. No wonder I panic. He's had nearly 34 years of practice.

Ref: clothes horse.
My hubby is the clothes hound in our house too. you think they're related? lol

Dru said...

Great tips. The lesson learned by this couple would be to start slow and I like your notion of starting with one item. I could easily give up clothes. Books and electronic items would be hard to give up.

Maria Zannini said...

Glad they were helpful, Dru.

Ref: Books

LOL! I know the crowd I'm writing to. I would never ask you to give up books.