Wrap-Up of No-Buy-Month

by Katy on March 1, 2009 · 4 comments



Today ended The Frugalista’s No-Buy-Month, and with it ended my 28 days of no eating out, no shopping and no movies. 


Because even though I had signed up for the no-buy challenge, I did slip up a tiny bit.

I took my sons to see a second-run showing of The Tale of Despereaux at a locally owned theater. (I did have a coupon, so I only had to pay for two out of the three of us.) I also indulged in a quickie Goodwill shopping trip last week. (I was donating, plus I had a $20 gift card from my birthday last month.) My 13-year-old son had a birthday party today, and I wanted to grab a couple books as gifts. I also came across a pair of brand-new-with-tags boy’s size 10 carpenter-style Levi’s for only $4.50. ($38 new!) They had a black tag, which meant they were half off. I set them aside as a birthday present, and I’m thinking the jeans will serve as an anchor for a whole cool-dude birthday outfit.

So did I really slip up?

We didn’t eat out at all, not even for school or work lunches. Nobody shopped recreationally, and our weekend trip up to Seattle incorporated a no-buy theme. (Much to the chagrin of my sister Jessica.)

And it’s not fair to punish the kids for mommy’s weird challenges. 

“I know you love The Tale of Despereaux book, and that it only costs $6 for the three of us to go to the movies, but I’ve made a random commitment to buy nothing.”

Umm . . . that doesn’t fit into my whole big-picture plan of conscious frugality. To be thoughtful and deliberate with how I spend my money in a way that is neither miserly nor cheap. Portland, Oregon is cold, damp and frankly, depressing this time of year, and going to a movie is a perfect crap-weather treat.

Did I learn anything doing an entire no-buy-month?

I was vigilant about packing lunches for my sons, even when we were in a hurry. I froze individual slices of pumpkin pie as well as chocolate-chip bran muffins, which made lunches easier to assemble. I’ll often let my younger son choose a school lunch if I’m pressed for time, or if his lunch boxes get left at school. But I kept at it, and I think both of us were happier with the result, (even if he had to bring home three, count ’em three lunch boxes yesterday.)

So yeah, I learned that I can assemble a school lunch even when I only have a minute to pull it together.

I also learned how easy the no-buy challenge was for me, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it did. I love to browse in thrift shops, but I have to say I didn’t miss it at all. I would have been able to go the whole month without stepping foot into a Goodwill if it weren’t for that darned birthday party. But I’m proud that I only bought the books and the jeans. The books, which looked brand new cost $4.50 for the three of them, and the jeans were a necessity. (Can’t let the boy roam about sans pants.)

So will I go out and paint the town red tomorrow? Hardly. I’ll most likely take my older son on a free neighborhood art walk and then chill out at home.

Because I am more frugal than I am fabulous. And I’m okay with that.

Did you participate in No-Buy-Month? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy March 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Katy, yes I did buy (second hand of course). But I still counted it a successful month. Our overall spending was cut in half. We ate out a couple of times, but spent about 1/4 of usual. Eating out is my biggest issue. Also there were a couple of rummage sales I couldn’t pass up. So next month I’m planning on a “low spend” rather than “no spend” month still with the goal of not eating out and working my way through my freezer and pantry.


The Frugalista FIles March 2, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I think you handled No-Buy Month with more ease than I did. I stuck with it, but I got a little cranky in the end. I’ve been eating like a hog at restaurants since No-Buy Month ended. On the plus side, I saved some cash, which is good. I had $427 worth of car repairs. It’s called life, right?


Julia Parker March 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I like these kinds of challenges. They help me stay on target in terms of my frugal lifestyle. I live in the Northwest too and sometimes shopping seems like a decent activity to get through the winter. But, I usually regret it afterward.
I didn’t do no-buy month, but I am having a no-new-clothes year and it keeps me from adding to my already full closet of clothes.


Rhonda March 4, 2009 at 8:52 pm

What a great way to save money! I really, really like this idea, I think I am going to try it!


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