Several years ago one of my favorite people to follow on Flickr (sadly, no longer has an account) did a challenge which she referred to as “a slow year”. For a period of one year she eschewed consumerism. Instead she chose to:
“Refurbish, recreate, restyle your wardrobe and life. Slowly.
Can, jar, forage and wildcraft foods, grow a garden, bake bread,
recycle everything last thing, barter & trade, simplify!” ~Riana Lagarde
It was an amazing challenge to read and follow for a year. Riana Lagarde is one of the most creative and resourceful women I’ve ever known. Since that year she has done similar challenges for shorter periods of time. These are always very inspiring. In fact, because of her example I’ve done something similar in January a couple of times. You can read about the first one here.
I find that January is an excellent time to do a challenge like this. December is a rather “spendy” month because of Christmas so a “no buy January” is good for the bank account. Here are the reasons I like to do this each year:
1. As mentioned, it’s a good way to recover from the extra holiday spending.
2. It is good to take stock of what is in my freezers and pantry, use up anything close to expiration, and get these storage areas cleaned, defrosted and organized.
3. While I’m not generally one who does much shopping other than household goods, Christmas shopping can sometimes get me into that mode. A “no buy January” puts me back into my usual frame of mind regarding shopping.
4. It encourages creativity. If I run out of something or there is something I think I *need*, I am forced to think outside the box.
5. It gets me back in the habit of baking bread, making homemade tortillas, etc. I’ve gotten rather lazy about these things in the past couple of years.
The rules are pretty simple. With a few exceptions, I just don’t plan to buy anything during the month of January.
- I am allowing myself $20-25 a week for dairy and fresh produce.
- My son’s birthday is this month so we will buy him a gift, but I plan to make his birthday card.
- We should have enough dog food but we will need another bag of cat food before the month is out.
- I have a monthly, standing hair appointment (today, in fact) and I don’t plan to skip that.
- At Christmas, my cousin and I made plans to meet in the city for lunch on the 15th.
- My daughter and I are meeting at a coffee shop later this week to discuss a project we are working on. A cup of tea is about $2.
Also, this is my project, not my husband’s. If he wants to go out at some point that’s his decision. This only applies to the things *I* purchase.
I’ll keep you posted throughout the month and do a summary of how it went at the end of January. There will probably be photos about this on Instagram and Flickr if you’d like to check those out, too.
I think it’s a great idea, and look forward to reading your updates on how it goes.