Monday, 12 February 2018

Buy Nothing New Challenge - Update 2

Buy Nothing New 2 month challenge

After my early fail last weekend with the flowers (see Update 1 here), I have managed to stick to the rules of my Buy Nothing New Challenge.  However, this week, I feel that the stakes are starting to edge up a bit:

St Valentine's Day

The first challenge of the week has been Valentine's Day, coming up on Wednesday.  Luckily, my partner and I have never really bought each other gifts, so that's one shopping dilemma out of the way.  But we do send cards.  Normally, I'd head to Paperchase as I can be fairly certain of finding a card I like there.  But this year I couldn't, as it would break the rules of my challenge.

Fortunately, I've been able to sort this one out quite easily.  I have a box of random unused cards that have accumulated over the years.  For some reason, I've bought these cards but never sent them, and now I can't even remember who they were for. 

So at lunchtime, I went to the box and picked out a card would make a reasonable Valentine's card - my partner dislikes 'traditional' Valentine's cards, so I often customise a bit anyway. The card has been sent off in good time for Wednesday - job done....!  (My partner works away during the week, hence the need to post the card.)

Birthday present No 1

This Saturday is an old friend's birthday, and also my brother's birthday.  They were born not only on the exact same day but in the exact same year, which I always find a little strange for some reason. 

For my brother, I got a Lumie Bodyclock.  I've had one for years, and I'm always going on about it to anybody who will listen, because it has genuinely revolutionised my winter mornings.  My brother is no more a morning person than I am, so I thought I'd share its life-changing powers with him.

But could I get hold of one without buying new?  Indeed I could.

At New Year, I had an email from Lumie to say that they had various refurbished clocks and lamps for sale at discounted prices on their website.  These are items that have been sent out for a trial period, but people have then sent them back for a refund.  The company checks that they are in good condition, and re-sells them for quite a bit less then the original price. 

So I got a refurbished model for my brother.  Technically, I bought it last month, but still, that's one birthday present achieved within the challenge rules.  And I also have a birthday card from the stash to send with it.  Success!

Birthday present No 2

My friend is easy to buy for as she is perfectly happy with thrifted items, or, say, a book I've read that I know she would really like.  This is a reciprocal arrangement, as I am just as happy to receive the same sort of gift from her. 

This year, I'm going to send her some nice handcreams.  I acquired two or three through my TVK beauty subscription box, but I don't really use handcream myself.  She uses lots, so it makes sense to send mine off to a good home.  So that's another good result for the challenge. 

Looking ahead...

So Valentine's Day and two birthdays have been successfully negotiated this week.  But there are a couple of things about the house that are going to need repaired or replaced quite soon, and these will take a bit of thought if I'm going to stick to the rules.  I mean things like the cat's scratching post, which she has worn through.  Also, the washing machine has developed a fault, and I need a new pair of boots. 

I'll let you know how I get on in the next update...

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Buy Nothing New Challenge - Update 1

Buy Nothing New Challenge frugal minimalist

10 days in, and it's time for Update 1 on my Buy Nothing New Challenge for February and March 2018.

I'm glad to report that things started out quite well.  I had an early success last Friday, when I went to the supermarket to get some things in for tea.  I usually stop by the magazine aisle, especially at the start the month, when the new editions come out. 

So there I was, as usual, having a look at the shiny new magazines.  I was about to choose one when I remembered my challenge - buy nothing new, which clearly precludes new magazines.  I have a bit of a magazine habit, but I managed to step away from that aisle empty-handed.  Go me!

So far so good, but it was not to last.  The next day (Saturday 3rd), I went back to the supermarket.  I was making a sweet potato, spinach and cashew nut curry, and I had everything in except the sweet potato.  Now, sweet potatoes fall within the rules of the challenge, but fresh flowers do not.  Yes, by day three, I'd failed. 

On my trip to get a single vegetable, I also bought a little bunch of yellow gerberas and a little bunch of freesias.  The thing is, I'd completely forgotten about the challenge at that moment.  I saw the flowers, thought they were gorgeous, and stuck them in the basket.  I didn't even realise what I'd done until the next morning.  I was sitting in my kitchen waiting for the coffee to brew, looking at the flowers, and eventually it came to me that they broke the rules of the challenge.  Only three days in!!  Aghhhhh....!

At this point, I just want to say that, whilst I am taking my challenge seriously, it's also meant to be a light-hearted one.  Hopefully even fun!  So I was a bit miffed with myself, but I'm not going to beat myself up about one little slip.  Well, not too severely, anyway. 

Since then, I've stuck to the challenge.  This week, I've bought only food and drink, and replaced an empty deodorant (I don't think I mentioned it in the rules, but basic toiletries are allowed as required.)

And I have enjoyed the flowers - here they are:

Buy Nothing new challenge frigal minimalist
Next update coming soon!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Haulternative - recent charity shop finds

Haulternative charity shop finds frugal thrifting

(NB - firstly, I just want to say that, although these charity shop buys would not break the rules of my Buy Nothing New Challenge, I bought them in January.  I'd decluttered enough stuff to fill up a couple of charity donation bags, and I felt a bit rubbish with a cold, so I treated myself...!)

So let's jump in:
Haulternative charity shop buys frugal thifted

First up, there's a T-shirt from George (Asda) for £1.25 at Cancer Research.  I live in T-shirts and jeans, so an extra tee never goes amiss, especially at that price. 

Next, a new cotton facecloth for 50p, also Cancer Research.  For a long time, muslin cloths have been the thing, but actually, I prefer an proper old-fashioned facecloth.  I've noticed that hotels are more likely to provide them with the towels these days, so maybe they're having a bit of a comeback.

Then I got a bracelet and a necklace for 99p each from the Salvation Army shop.  I've noticed they've put their prices up quite a bit, especially in the trinket and ornament department.  These two didn't have price tags, but the lady at the till just asked for 99p each for them, which was fine by me.

Here's a closer pic of them:

Haulternative charity shop buys frugal thrift

The bracelet has a casual, summery feel, and the little charms are extra cute. I haven't worn it yet as it doesn't feel right with long sleeves and wintery layers.  I've worn the necklace a couple of times, though - it's really delicate and pretty. 

Next, I got a book about houseplants, also 99p from the Salvation Army.  I need more plants in my life, and this is a good place to start. 

Haulternative charity shop buys frugal thrift

And finally.... a gorgeous little penguin!  (£2.99 from Oxfam, for the record.)

Haulternative charity shop buys frugal thrift

OK, I don't actually need a penguin ornament, but I couldn't walk out without him.  The lady at the till was not best pleased - she'd had her eye one him, and was hoping he wouldn't find his way out to the shop floor.  Too bad - he's mine!

(And the Buy Nothing New Challenge? I've had a blip, but not a terrible one.  I'll let you know how it's going in my first update, which will be on its way very soon...!)

Thursday, 1 February 2018

My 'Buy Nothing New' challenge for February and March

It would be fantastic to do a whole no-spend year, but I know for a fact that I don't have what it takes.  I love reading about other people's no-spend challenges, though, it's seriously addictive.  But because I'm such a light-weight, I've decided to kick off with a two-month 'Buy Nothing New' challenge. 

If it isn't a total disaster, I'll tackle a longer spell in the future. It's important to pace yourself, after all.

My partner's birthday comes up in April and I'm not mean enough not to get him a present, so that conveniently leaves February and March.  A challenge is not a challenge without rules, so here are mine:

For February and March 2018, I will:
  • buy groceries and household necessities
  • pay all the regular household bills
  • pay the usual travel costs
  • buy our usual Saturday paper (we've been getting the paper for years, it would be strange to do without it)
  • allow for our usual trip to the local pub on Saturday evenings (this is really the only time we pay money to go out, so again, it seems a bit restrictive to give it up)

For February and March 2018, barring disaster, I will not:
  • buy anything new for myself or for the house.

If I need, or more accurately, want anything, I'll see if I can find a good alternative to buying new.  This challenge is partly about saving a bit of money, but also about being a bit more creative and thoughtful with the stuff I already have.  Of which there is plenty...

At the moment, the challenge doesn't feel like Mission Impossible, but I guess we'll soon find out. 

I wish me luck!