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Monday, December 15, 2008

A frugal new year. . . . .

As I've struggled to keep a handle on my expenses while increasing the money sent to savings (and, hopefully at some point to student loan debt), I've felt the need for a new motivator. Some new goal or strategy to help me stay on track and learn new frugal skills.

I recently came across an article about a Colorado couple who, for the past year, have been living The Compact. This is an informal agreement that people make with one another to spend an entire year not buying anything new, except for food, personal grooming items, and perhaps some underwear (this particular couple also made an exception for items that they were simply unable to find in a thrift store, on Craigslist, or using Freecycle). The idea grew out of a anti-consumerism compact ten people in California's Bay Area made with each other in 1996. The idea grew wings, and there are currently over 10,000 members of the Yahoo Group associated with The Compact.

While something this radical will take some additional thought (and imagination), it's definitely an idea that appeals to me. What better way to 'force' myself to become more familiar with the thrift stores in the Portland area, while quelling my desire for new clothes and shoes (one of my vices)? Making frugal living a challenge may bring inspiration (and a fair amount of frustration, I'm guessing); more importantly, it will allow me to really 'feel' what it's like to live with what I have, rather than always striving for something new and better.

If I choose to take up The Compact for the 2009 year, I predict that I would not only find new motivation to reduce, reuse and recycle, but would also create a newfound appreciation for how good I really have it.

4 comments:

marci357 said...

Some of us were mostly doing this before it was waaaayyy cool :) I do most of my shopping at garage sales!

I allow myself new sneakers tho - usually at $14 or $15/pair, as once they are worn in by someone else, they don't fit my foot right. And the grease and oil at work seems to wear them down to no soles after 6 months.

Once I broke myself of drinking soda pop, I rarely go to the grocery store anymore now either! Good way to stay out of the store and no impulse buying either!

I would suggest if you do the compact, to give yourself 3 Free Passes - make them guiltfree ones :)

Erin said...

There is a book called Not Buying It that describes one couple's endeavor to go an entire year without buying anything at all except for very necessary things like food. I think the library carries it. You should check it out!

Finally Frugal said...

Not Buying It! Thanks for the reminder, Erin; I actually reviewed this book awhile back: http://finallyfrugal.blogspot.com/2008/02/book-review-not-buying-it-by-judith.html

And, I LOVE the idea of 3 Free Passes! Takes the anxiety out of the prospect of purchasing everything used a bit. . . .

Finally Frugal said...

Okay, that URL didn't exactly work out as planned; if you do a search for 'Not Buying It' in the search box above, it will take you to that post, which I clearly need to re-read myself! (-:

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