Several years ago while browsing the Internet I read about a woman who committed to not buying anything for an entire year. Not that new skirt, cute blouse or must have purse....my personal weakness. At the time this experiment was an acknowledgement of the excess we so often have in our lives and the consumerism that brought about the excess.
Since that time the nations economy has changed as has our families personal financial situation. But what hasn't really changed is the amount of excess "stuff" we have. So with that in mind this is the year I have decided on my own experiment......and by year I really mean 11 months.
So this is my plan for the first 11 months of 2012....BUY NOTHING. Simple right?....well, no. Of course food has to be excluded from this plan - I have a husband and a 9 year old daughter at home (and a son away at college) who expect to be fed daily. There are ways to drastically reduce your food costs. My friend at Couponing To Disney (http://www.couponingtodisney.com/) shows you great ways every day to stretch your food budget by using coupons. But do I NEED that new kitchen gadget? The adorable cookie cutter that is just perfect for the class party cookies?....truth is NO - I don't need those things and this year I will make every effort to say no to them.
Clothing....well, unless the 9 year old cooperates fully with this project and stops growing for the next 11 months I will be forced to buy clothes and shoes for her. But the truth of the matter is this child has a closet FULL of clothes, many that she will be able to easily wear for the next year. Still there are some things she will need and those things we will buy - but throughout this project we will carefully evaluate need vs. want. Same applies to the adults in the house...there will be clothing items we will need - but we will NOT be making impulse purchases (I hope) of that shirt that is too cute to live with out or the purse that I just MUST have because, well, look at it, it's AMAZING.
The other thing that comes up when you have a 9 year old is birthday parties - gifts for others are excluded from this project BUT family gifts are not - so this year we will be making birthday gifts for each other.
So that is The 11 Month Project in a nut shell.....oh and as for why it is the 11 Month Project and not the One Year Project...well....I just couldn't bring myself to include Christmas in this project...maybe next year.
So how about you? Want to join me in The 11 Month Project? I am embarking on the project to simply reduce our households consumerism but you could do it for what ever reason you like. Saving money for a big trip? Take the amount of money that you would have spent on that must have item and put it directly into your savings account instead. Sponsor a child from Love Without Boundaries (http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/sponsor-child/) with your monthly savings. We are not undertaking complete austerity measures - we will still eat out once in a while and I am SURE that we will make an occasional decision to purchase something despite the ongoing project but our goal is to evaluate everything against project compliance.
We'll share our successes and failures with you via this blog and I want you to feel free to do the same. Tell me what helped you to stay on target....what things you just found you could not live without....how are the kids doing with it? Often impulse buys are as much of a problem for our little ones as it is for us. Now is a great time to teach our kids the difference between something they really NEED and something they just really want and will have no value, monetary or emotional, in just a week.
So we have 6 weeks to prepare for The 11 Month Project to start. WILL YOU JOIN ME?