Thursday, March 5, 2015

40-Day Challenge: 40 Days of Make Do and Mend

Billy with the little bread roll he made (although not in that kitchen)
If you read my previous post you will remember that I set myself a Lenten challenge of not spending any money (except on groceries). And just over two weeks in, it has been harder than I thought. A sunny morning trip to a road filled with shops and time to kill was pure torture. If I hadn't forced myself not to spend money, I could easily have come home with two pairs of cute spring shoes, a new lipstick, a darling little blouse and a bunch of ranunculus. I didn't realize what an impulse shopper I am until I had consciously stopped buying; so to keep track of what I saved I've been writing down every item I wanted to buy but didn't. So far--remember, this is within two weeks-- I have saved a grand total of £408.23 ($623.75).


Granted, a huge amount of that bill is on all the stuff I wanted to buy for the garden-- and to be honest, some of that probably will get bought at some point-- and also the shoes I spotted would be perfect for work, but more than half of that amount is just nonsense I saw and thought would change my life (hello, bb cream), which because I didn't buy it, I know that it won't. One of the things on that list includes a household item that broke after the first use, which we were able to to exchange at Amazon since it was still within the product warranty (although well outside of the Amazon returns policy--you must always ask!). Given the amount of hassle involved in trying to connect with a human being at Amazon, on any other day I probably would have just bought a second one.

One huge DIY money-saver has been baking bread, even though bread technically falls into the remit of groceries. Billy and I have made two loaves of bread, which were fun afternoon projects as well as being good for the soul, and saved a ton of money at the same time because a 5-lb bag of flour costs £1.95, whereas a loaf of sourdough at the bakery costs £2.75.

This project is about a fixed period in time, but I hope ultimately to be playing a long game and be more thoughtful about how I choose to spend my money. Bringing my lunch to work has been a bit more trouble (planning has never been my strongest skill), but has saved me £24.50 so far, so, worth it. The stuff I didn't buy for the garden includes vegetable seeds, which need to get started pretty soon, so maybe that non-purchase hasn't been worth it in the end.

Anyway, we're not even halfway through, so I'll keep you updated around Easter.

Are you giving anything up for Lent? How are things going? Does your soul feel cleaner? Do tell.

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