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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year, new frugal strategies. . .

I mentioned in my Finally Frugal 2009 Goals post that this year I would be following The Compact, which is an agreement to buy used rather than new items, in an effort to reduce waste and increase savings. I'm having difficulty with my 'vice', which is new clothes and shoes, and in an effort to get a handle on this area, I'm willing to go to great lengths.

You can learn more about The Compact by clicking on the video below, or by reading this article in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Learning To Be an Un-Consumer
Learning To Be an Un-Consumer

What following The Compact will require is an intimate knowledge of my local thrift stores. Luckily, I came across another great blog, called The Thrifty Chicks, which is basically a primer to thrift shopping. Lots of great tips abound on this website, which I hope to check often over the next year.

I should note that I'm embarking on somewhat of a 'modified' Compact. Here are my modifications:
  • I am allowing myself six 'freebies' during the year. These will be purchases of new clothing or other items that I cannot find used. I hope not to use all of my 'freebies', but just the thought that I can buy something new makes this endeavor a bit less scary;
  • I am allowing myself to purchase items such as underwear and other personal garments (like socks) new;
  • If safety is an issue, I'm allowing myself to purchase new (such as the tire I thought I was going to have to buy recently);
  • I'm allowing myself to purchase gifts for others that are new. I just don't have the time to create something myself or to spend hours at the thrift stores finding something appropriate.
Although I've not yet truly 'begun' (there's nothing I need desperately at the moment), I have noticed one positive side-effect of The Compact. I'm becoming more aware of my 'consumer' thoughts. That is, I've caught myself several times thinking: "maybe I'll go to the mall and see what's on sale". It's a comfortable thought, to be honest. After so many years of frittering my money away at the mall, it feels right. But then the next moment I remember: "oh yeah, I'm not buying new right now." And the thought passes.

Ultimately, I'm hoping that challenging myself with The Compact will help change those automatic thoughts that have led to so many unnecessary purchases (and the credit card bills that followed).

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The Compact" is an interesting idea; I've been doing something vaguely similar for the last 6 months or so to help save up for a big trip I'm planning (it's also supposed to stop me from accumulating more stuff that I'll just have to put in storage during my trip). I only allow myself to buy things in these categories: consumables, emergencies, gifts, items related to fixing up my house for sale, items that don't occupy physical space, and items directly related to the trip. Like you mentioned - it's really interesting subtracting yourself from the consumer culture. Interesting, and liberating!

Finally Frugal said...

Liberation from 'stuff' is a great concept! And I love the idea of saving money on things in order to invest in a trip---an actual experience. Research has shown that we actually find more fulfillment in the experiences that we have, rather than the objects that fill our spaces. Thanks for your comment!

momstheword said...

I think it's great that you are modifying things to suit your needs. So often we start something and are likely to quit it when it doesn't suit our needs, instead of modifying it until it does. Good for you!

momstheword said...

I have been reading you for a couple of months (even before I began blogging) and you have done an awesome job!

Glad you are going to check the free minutes plan. It's a great way to save money although a silly name, lol!

marci357 said...

Way cool - and good luck with this project! Like most people, you'll probably find you can go a whole year on the clothes in your closet already! And if not, garage sales are a great way to go! I even buy all my work boots at garage sales!

Erin said...

In the PDX area, Value Village is my favorite for clothing. :) You can buy a season's worth of clothing for $50ish! I don't know how often you get over to the West Side suburbs but I will warn you to stay away from the Goodwill on TV Hwy in Hillsboro. That place is heinous in every way possible!

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