Wednesday, 30 April 2008

April Challenge Summary

This month I signed up for two challenges: Crunchy's Buy Nothing in April, and Chile's Cut the Crap decluttering challenge. I did reasonably well with these challenges, but as usual, they were harder than I thought.

I did pretty well in not buying any unnecessary goods this month - we bought a window blind duster/cleaner that was on sale and which Gord really wanted (he likes a clean blind!) and a 205 litre rainwater collection barrel that was also on sale. The water barrel may not 'count,' by Crunchy's rules, since it will collect water for the garden and therefore is related to growing our own food, but it is nonetheless a fairly big household item. Other than these two things, we bought just groceries, vehicle fuel and paid the monthly bills. We resisted buying a new TV, and that turned out to be fairly easy, actually.

Where I didn't do so well was in resisting buying my lunch instead of making it. I make my lunch most days, but usually do have a day or two per week where I am too lazy or too tired or just don't feel like it. On those days I usually get something from the cafeteria at work or I go to my favorite cafe, Three Bananas. I had intended not to do this at all in April, but I gave in and did it anyway, once a week, sometimes twice. And I also went out for dinner twice - once planned and once unplanned.

As for the decluttering challenge, I was pretty low key with it. I gave away a spare hand blender and some items of clothing, cleaned out my filing cabinet up to to and including the letter "C", earmarked some items for a future garage sale, dealt with a backlog of receipts and bills, and had a bonfire to deal with some rotten deadfall and brush that isn't suitable for burning in the woodstove. I didn't add to my clutter at least, since I barely bought anything!

There have been some good outcomes from these challenges for me! It was quite free-ing not to have to decide to buy something or not. I just didn't buy it. And the two things we did buy, we really thought about if we needed them first - there was no impulse shopping at all. Not buying unnecessary things also spilled over into our grocery shopping habits - our monthly bill was 24% less than usual and we still ate as much as we normally do! It was just that the food was in the form of unprocessed, non-prepared items. And, I was able to double our normal monthly debt repayment amount because of all the money we didn't spend this month! All in all, it was a good month of learning that stuff doesn't equal happiness!

Thanks to Crunchy and Chile for organizing these challenges. I've gone ahead and signed up for three challenges in May but I will blog about that in another post soon....


Anonymous said...

Well I'm sorry I missed out on your book draw...been working too hard lately! I'm in the Buy Nothing Challenge too and am wrapping up the month with pride. Though I confess I don't buy much extra stuff anyways so it wasn't a huge lifestyle change or anything. But I just loved the spirit of the challenge.

Verde said...

Good for you for completing one challenge and being up for another.

What a great way to get a leg up on debt repayments without it being such a drag.

Theresa said...

RA - it sounds from your blog that you've been busy indeed! I hope you got a chance to sign up for the book draws over at Crunchy's site...

Verde - thank you! The debt payment was a great feeling, definitely!