Thursday, May 31, 2012

No-Buy Month

Today was the last day of my "no-buy month." And man, it's been hard.
I can now get my grass cut.
I can go buy some sunglasses. Can you imagine me being out in the sun and heat without shades?
I've already made a hair appointment (yes !).
I plan to get my car washed sometime this weekend. It's a hot mess.

I feel... free!

I think the hardest thing about "no-buy month" was not socializing with my friends. I couldn't go to Happy Hours or the movies (I missed the Avengers). I'm glad I was able to use some vouchers that I had bought a long time ago — one for brunch and one for dinner - and I thank my friends who agreed to pay the taxes and tip on the vouchers. I'm also happy for close friends who "treated" me to dinner because they knew I was doing "no-buy month."

I got the idea to do a "no-buy month" from Natalie McNeal, founder of The Frugalista Files. Natalie came up with the idea in 2008. The purpose was to, for a month, only spend money on the necessities: groceries, gas, your bills. So she went a month without getting her hair and nails done or eating out and was able to save about $400. She eventually got out of debt and detailed her journey in the book, The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life.  Here are some of her  rules for "no-buy month." McNeal now does a "no-buy month" every February.

Note to Lottie: Never do a "no-buy month" in the spring and summer months, when it's nice outside and lots of fun things to do.

But I decided to do it in May because I had gone home in April for Easter and also to celebrate my niece's first birthday. I went a little overboard with my sister, so a "no-buy month" was my way of reeling myself in.

I never realized until now how much I spend on little things. I'm not the type of person who goes on a lot of trips, has a lot of designer clothes, shoes or bags, or even eats out a lot. But I realized that during the week, I do a lot of impulse buying - maybe picking up an iced tea from McDonald's on the way home or some dark-chocolate raisinets. I always thought of myself as frugal - until I couldn't spend money.

I did slip up a few times. For example, though I used my store credit at TJMAXX to buy Mother's Day gifts for my sister and step-mother, I had to spend money to actually send the gifts to Mississippi. Also, I was required to fax an important document for a project I'm working on. I no longer work in an office and I don't have a fax at home, so I had to go to FEDEX/Kinkos to fax.

Overall, it was a very eye-opening experience. I'll do it again, but this time maybe in January - or March :)

So, what's your thoughts on "no-buy month"?
Would you do it? Why or Why not?
What would be the hardest thing for you to give up? (coffee? hair appointments? going out to eat?)

Holla at me...

1 comment:

uneek said...

I like that idea. However, I think getting my hair done is a necessity, so I will have to work that out. Are there any guidelines? My church does a fasting every January, so I can include it during this month.