A few years ago one of my favorite bloggers embarked upon what she referred to as “a slow year”. She no longer blogs but is very active on Flickr where you can read all about what she means by “a slow year”, as well as view her gorgeous and inspiring photos. I found her story so inspiring and while I’m not prepared to follow her lead for a full year, or even to the extent she did for a shorter period, I have decided to do my version, which I’m thinking of as “No Buy January”.
I went grocery shopping this past Friday and my rule for January is that I will allow myself $25 per week for dairy and fresh produce but otherwise will not be shopping. I will be challenging myself to come up with interesting meals from what I have on hand. This is going to be my incentive to try my hand at some things I’ve been wanting to learn to make such as pita bread, tortillas and maybe some pasta. I am well stocked with basic ingredients such as flour, sugar, spices, etc. so I am going to put them to good use.
I will also be avoiding other buying to the extent that I have the control. This is my project, not my husband’s so if he wants us to go out to eat or purchase something himself, that will be up to him (besides, our entertainment and meals out don’t come out of my household allowance). The only other things I will be purchasing this month will be cat food if the big bag we have doesn’t last the month (the cats aren’t in on this experiment, either) and my 2012 calendars that I put in my cart on Amazon but never got around to ordering. Oh, and a small co-op order from Azure Standard. I would skip it this month but there is a new drop-off site here in town instead of 20 minutes away and this is the first month to order with it. I’ve started working on my order and aside from some produce I will be purchasing organic masa harina to make corn tortillas.
- Making do if I run out of things. I do have a case of toilet paper, though. 😉
- Planning ahead. I will be making all of our bread which is at least a two hour process to make 5 loaves. I can’t allow myself to run out and just pick up a loaf at the store.
- Being creative with basic ingredients so that we will have a varied diet.
- Using up leftovers and not allowing anything to go to waste.
- Learning new recipes.
- Diligence, determination and yes, work.
Today I spent a couple of hours thoroughly cleaning out my refrigerator and reorganizing it in such a way that everything is easy to locate. Tomorrow I plan to work on the freezer compartment and hopefully the chest freezer, too. I want to make a list of what I have on hand and start jotting down ideas for how to use those things. I already organized my baking center and the top portion of my pantry not long ago. I’ve still got the bottom half of the pantry to do and then I’ll have a good idea of exactly what I have on hand.
There are other aspects to this challenge which I’ll be sharing as the days go by. I foresee this as not just a one-time experiment but as the start of a more deliberate way of spending my days, as well as my money. I hope you’ll follow along on my journey and let me know what you think.
Updated: I decided to change the name of this challenge to “A Slow Month”. For one thing, it more accurately describes what I’m doing than “No Buy”. Additionally, I’ve found that others have done similar challenges using the term “slow year” (like Riana, whom I referenced above) or “slow month”. If you’ll look under the header, there is a page titled, “A Slow Month” and I will be linking all my related posts there for easy access.
Update #2: I’m participating in a “Pantry Challenge”. Check out the link to read more.