Please come in. Have a seat. I want to show you some of the plans I made for a no spend month. What? No I don’t think I’m being too dramatic. Trust me I have lots of examples of that. The only way I can alter my behaviour is to be intentional. Here is what I needed to do. First I had to recognize my patterns, where I spend and what to do when I feel the pull to my ancestoral stomping grounds. OK yes that one was a little over the top but I know I am going to struggle in two top areas.
First off I am a hunter/ gatherer. I do not like the mall but I do like to hunt. I have a favourite thrift store. It is staged every week with new things and i love to explore and find out of print book titles, vintage mirrors or sunglasses. I drop things off at least once a week and then I swing in just to look. The paperback books are .50 so what’s the harm? No that was a rhetorical question.
The other weakness is eating out. I like to have someone cook for me. I like not having to take the time to prep. and cook and just be able to eat.
Neither of these things worked with my plans so I needed a default. One of the things I did was check out some of the local foraging. No not portaging. Foraging for materials to make my baskets, or for alder tree buds to make salve will help with the impulse to search for treasure. No I do not have access to a canoe or gold panning supplies. Can we stay on track?
For the eating out I’ve pooled some of my gift cards, or coupons that offer a free anything consumable and will have them as my safety net.
Being invited out to someone’s house is OK as is being taken out but the point is not to continue in my old behaviours. For me that means not wasting money eating out when I can cook for a fraction of the price.
To have a real no spend month I needed to take stock of my supplies in my freezer, fridge and cupboards.
I needed to plan some meals around the food stuff I already had. If I don’t have it and I want it I have to learn to make it from scratch. If I’m missing an item I will need to substitute. You can barter or swap items with friends or family but try to create some sustainable habits. For the last few weeks I’ve been writing down our dinner meals to help me come up with quick ideas. Allrecipes.com comes with a search function that allows you to enter the ingredients you have and ones you do not want. There is also PInterest for specific food items and accompanying recipes. With both of those the caution is that you do not know if the recipes will be to your liking. I am making lists of some of my favourites that match my supplies so I am less tempted to run out and yell my requests into someone else’s window. No I do not mean a neighbors. No I will not be yelling in your window. I’m sorry to have alarmed you.
The other thing I will have to do is throw out all flyers before reading them to avoid temptation to get a deal. I will also have to stay off of the auction sites. I usually go to try and sell but inevitably look at what everyone else is trying to sell.
So here we go. There is no avoiding the fixed costs of life. The taxman frowns on that behaviour. It is the variables that are to be frozen with the exception of some perishable items. These will be listed in advance and the list is surprisingly small. What’s that? Yes you are still invited for dinner. No it will not be foraged. You are welcome. Meeting adjourned.