How will I manage without shopping?

Hello Dear Reader,

Thanks to every one for your words of encouragement. Firstly, your comments on Judith Levine’s book. I read it when it came out and in 2006 took part in a social experiment to not buy anything ‘new’ for the year. I managed it but didn’t keep it up after the year. This time, my personal social experiment will try and go a whole lot deeper. I will often use free time to browse around car boot sales, jumble sales, charity shops and flea markets. I’m not going to do that this year. I justify my consuming by seeing my purchases as recycling. I want to get rid of the need to spend money on things I don’t need. No really! I don’t need another piece of Wood’s ware utility china from the 1950’s, even if it is only £1 from the charity shop! I don’t need any more books as I can borrow them for free from the library. Furthermore, if we don’t use the library, they will cut back funding on the basis that people don’t want it. Please, dear reader, if I can encourage you to do anything this year, please use your library and don’t buy any books. I’m also going to have a clear out and arrange a book swap at some time, which I see as a good excuse for a get together, a cuppa and some homemade cake.

In more recent times, since becoming debt free, I’ve slipped into coffee shops or bought a takeaway. This year, I am going to return to my old habit of making up a flask and taking some homemade cake with me when I go out. I’m going to replace second hand shopping with bracing cliff top or moorland walks. I’ll take my library book with me and just walk over to the park and sit and read in the shade of the oaks. I will make sure that I make a monthly donation to charity as I’ve always looked at my charity shop shopping as how we ‘give back’. I want to continue to ‘do my bit’ but without purchasing anything that can be physically brought into my own home. There really isn’t anything I need.

I am also going to have another year of not eating out, unlike Judith though, I will politely decline any invitations to do so at someone else’s generosity. I ate out twice last year and on both occasions it was because someone paid. None of that hypocrisy this year. Everything I will eat will be homemade or made in someone’s home as they’ve invited me to lunch. We will also not buy any takeaways and will again, take food with us when we go out. We always take our own coffee and sandwiches to work and will continue to do so.

We gave up newspapers in 2009 and will continue to read the papers that Dearly Beloved finds on his daily commute by train. He gets his train from Plymouth, which is often where people ‘change trains’ so they stop for longer and usually change staff or drivers. He has time to get on the ‘London train’ which is en route from Paddington to Penzance and he will often walk from one end of the train to the other and bring home a variety of the daily papers, plus magazines. We have plenty to read and papers to light the fire.

Now onto the issue of clothing. I have one chest of drawers, with five drawers and it contains most of my clothes. I tend to wear the same things over and over. I dress modestly and simply, I can’t say plainly as I enjoy colour but I dress to suit the job I’m doing and never ‘dress up’. I certainly don’t need anything else this year. I’m really careful with tights and mend them if they ladder and mostly I wear thick tights in the winter and go bare legged when it warms up. I won’t need to buy any clothes.

You must be thinking what I will do with any spare money I have. I’m going to aim to pay off another 10% of the balance of my mortgage capital. I still want to sell my big house and downsize but that will be decided by market values, the mortgage company and the open market and as I can’t predict that, I will have to wait until things ‘pick up. I’ll also look at earning extra money this year. Exam marking, working another job in the holidays, get another lodger and see if we can get some delivery work too. On top of paying off the mortgage capital, I’ll also need general household savings which we need for car maintenance, insurance and household repairs.

Finally, and certainly the easiest to not buy, we won’t be going on holiday this year. A holiday of any kind will cost a lot and will holiday at home. We’ll make the point of going out on our bikes, go to the beach, walk on moors and the cliff tops and spend a week doing things for free but as a daily outing from our home. We also won’t limit ourselves to having seven consecutive days of holidays at home but have promised ourselves seven days out next year. None of which will cost us any money. We will look for the free offers for days out if you collect tokens, which we do from the free newspapers we find on trains and by collecting points from Tesco. For example, we ate out twice at Cafe Rouge last year because we saved the loyalty points from Tesco and I shall do so again this year! I’ve noticed lots of people paying with Tesco vouchers and don’t feel at all embarrassed at claiming my free lunch.

There you are then, my plans for the year but in greater detail. I will of course buy food and toiletries but will do so mindfully and carefully. I don’t want to over spend there either. I’ll make sure I menu plan before I shop and aim to do my supermarket shop ‘online’ so I don’t buy anything I didn’t plan to buy.

I have no idea if this year will liberate or constrain me, together, as I do this and you read about it, we’ll just have to see how this works.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs


25 thoughts on “How will I manage without shopping?

  1. I don't do charity shop impulse clothes buying any more although I still visit and buy the occasional gem in the way of books and household stuff (e.g. lovely big Cornish ware mug for £4.50 before Christmas that is now in constant use). What I was finding before that I didn't get my money's worth out of 99% of the pieces that I bought. 99p isn't cheap if it's worn once or not at all I'm buying more and more of my clothes secondhand on Ebay and paying a bit more for things chosen with more care that I'm wearing to death.


  2. Great post – I personally have received lots of tips not just from this post but from others you have written – thank you.
    Here is a tip I picked up from someone elses blog and it works! Hang all of the clothes with the hook part of the coathanger pointing outwards, then as you wear and replace the clothes on the coathanger turn the coat hanger round and at the end of a certain time see what is left hanging the other way and get rid because you haven't worn them in that time!
    Julie xxxxxxxxx


  3. very inspiring (as always) I look forward to seeing how you get on with this. I've also decided to use the library more. I will also be having a big wardrobe clear out on ebay sand will use any funds to purchase anything newer. Well when I say new of course I mean second hand.

    I'm also going more back to basics with food and making things from scratch again. I very rarely bake and always use pre bought pastry – Not anymore. I've been making my own soup once a week for a few years now. It's lovely just knowing you can have something cheap and nutritious to hand – I always think having a big pot of home made soup to hand is the ultimate in fast food.

    I have stacks of cookery books to explore,so I will also not be buying cookery magazines this year – the recipes are available free on the bbc food website, so that's saving money and paper.

    I thought of you the other day as I was looking in the fridge at some left over pork from xmas day. There really wasn't much left,but a couple of tins of toms,butter beans,kidney beans, 2 left over slices of bacon and some chilli and I created a massive pot of casserole. This lasted us about 6 meals all in all. All from the cupboard and the leftovers in the fridge.

    Sorry for such a long comment! I do find your blog very very inspiring and whilst I'm not trying to cut down to pay off a mortgage, I am trying to cut down so when I do treat myself to something (maybe I will find the £1 utility ware crockery! ) it won't be such a frivilous spend because I know I've been careful on other spends in my life.


  4. I plan to use the library more too. I shall take my son and we will have quality time there together. I need to be extra careful as we have another baby on the way. I buy and sell clothes on eBay, so I'll be doing a lot of selling to buy a second hand pushchair and an electric breast pump. Wish me luck! Keep up the good work, I really enjoy your posts xxxx


  5. Excellent plans.

    Sometimes it's good to get it down in black and white to motivater yourself to go forward.

    It sounds like you could save an awful lot this year, and that will be brilliant if the housing market finally gets going and you can manage to end this mortgage and look to getting your smaller house.

    Sue xx


  6. Froogs
    Have you read Mark Boyle's book on living without money? I am sure they would have it in your local library, I know your plans do involve some money and I don't think Mark has a mortgage to pay but he is quite inspiring.


  7. We do use our library, in fact when we go in the librarian says oh good here come most of our stock back…..8 books each last us about 2 weeks,

    I must admit that I am buying a series of books from the US, they are quilting stories which I know I will read over and over again and when (if) i get fed up with them I will sell them.

    Our library does have some of them but a majority I have to reserve from other libraies for which we have to pay.

    I did venture into the charity shops in the town last week, but came out without anything for a change, I will be avoiding them from now on.

    Clotheswise I have allowed £50 this year for clothes and shoes, half of that has just gone on trousers for OH, his cords were so worn between the legs there is nothing left to sew to put them back together. I do not need any more clothes spend most of my time in trousers. I have 2 pairs I keep for 'going out' and wear my old ones round the house.

    My one luxury is my machine but this year it is going to have to pay for itself……so starting this week I am preparing stuff for 4 craft fairs through the year. I do get orders for things through posting pictures on my blog as well.

    This year for the first time we are going to have a weeks holiday on Skye, I am putting the money away. The cottage is expensive. We are going in October which can be very chilly, so we needed somewhere with a decent heating system. I will take all our meals with us with the exception of one, we will have fish and chips for supper one night,

    I will be reading your blog as usual, I know you will achieve what you set out to do. Good luck..


  8. Keep up this great blog. I recommend it to many people who have questions on saving money for the support and interesting perspective.

    I read the Levine book and, other than the fact she was a New Yorker, it was another good view of the use of money and what is possible.


  9. I've recently started using the library after a spell of quite a few years, inspired by another blog member. Mainly I have used it for looking for crochet and knitting patterns but they don't really have many in our local one. In fact I have probably more!

    The other thing is, I like to read many out of print books which you can't get at the library, so have just been getting things that I read at breakfast, coffee breaks etc, easy reading.

    I've just noticed the advice email from Lidl where they've got the tiny ovens in. Also so heat pads for bad backs, pulled muscles etc.

    I'm trying to reduce what I get from charity shops and going far less frequently and am proud when I go out with nothing!

    Good luck with your mortgage capital – it really does make such a difference, I did it a few years ago and then was able to repay the lot when I casually rang up to ask the value of my endownment policy which paid it off plus some spare! I almost snatched their hands off, so it was well worth it.


  10. You make soo much sense! We too are trying to overpay our mortgage, so it's no unneccessary spending here. I have a notebook where I've done a budget and we're writing down where every penny goes, I think just doing that will help.
    A friend in our village does a regular book swap, her daughter had liver disease and she raises money for a charity associated with it. We all take our books and take away the same amount for free, any extras are 50p and entry is 50p. She also does DVDs, jewellery and a raffle, it's really good.


  11. Happy New Year FQ.

    Brilliant post as always. I'm with you on the subject of libraries. I love my local library and they made things easier now by having an online catalogue and reservation system. I would be in deep mourning if they cut library funding.

    Linda xx


  12. Good luck Froogs – my continuation of mindful spending seems very lukewarm in comparison. No-spend is too hardcore for me – at least at the mo – but if the job situation changes I'll do it. Don't want to cut back right to the quick yet – I feel strangely comforted knowing I can cut back a little more if the need arises.

    We're living out of the store cupboard/freezer now and saving the money (we pay our council tax monthly and up here at least, it is paid for 10 months – leaving 2 months where I can bank those payments) – March is when I do my big larder/household/freezer restock – which pretty much gives me a bedrock of tinned/jar/frozen basics for the year – as well as a 'special offer' kitty for when my most-used are on a BOGOFF or at Approved Foods!


  13. Happy New Year FQ

    In 'teacher-speak' I am finally going to 'pull my socks up!' and finish paying off my 'old life' (student loans, credit/store cards etc.). I'm meant to be paying until August 2013 but I really believe I can do it in 12 months. My store cupboard (OH calls it 'The Warehouse'!) is bulging and with the exception of my wished-for 3 stone weight loss 😉 there doesn't need to be any clothes spending either!

    Time to finish the Xmas vodka I think (well, I am using things up! 😉 !!!!)

    Best wishes to all.


  14. I did the 'no clothes' thing for a year, and actually enjoyed it once I got into it!

    It was a relief not to have to think about whether or not to buy something I saw, or some 'bargain' in the sales – quite a liberation really. People got used to me saying 'yes it's lovely but I don't need any new clothes at the moment' and didn't ever press the point. Like you, I have a decent supply of clothes for the life I lead.

    Good luck to you in your quest!



  15. I have been thinking if I would be able to sort out a house swap for a holiday…

    ~I havent a clue how to work it all out. I dont really want to fly anywhere and because of the euro I was thinking of somewhere in the UK…

    Have you thought about this before? As camping seems realy quite expensive…


  16. One of my fave books is 'How I lived on £1 a day' by Kath Kelly. She's also a teacher. I know there are some cheats in a way in it as she didn't include rent etc in the challenge, but I still found it really inspiring. The Judith Levine book, I found some of her priorities a bit questionable, but hey we're all different and find different things important. I love books like these because despite their flaws they bolster up my own resolve to do better in being frugal and not buying wastefully.


  17. You have inspired me to actually visit the library and borrow that book instead of buying it! I hope you don't mind but I have mentioned you in todays thrifty post and linked back to your wonderful inspirational blog


  18. If you want to move house keep an eye on the market – if your house in increasing in value so is everything you want to move to. Worth doing the sums every six months.
    We dont really have any charity shops here expect Goodwill and the Savalvation Army which are huge and are not in a high street setting. Garage sales are very numerous and traditionally very cheap and I usually stop if I am passing or make a special trip if it is a sub-division sale with 10 or more homes.
    I have a list with me of what I am looking to buy.
    childrens literature, toys, which are plentiful and very inexpensive, soap and shampoo – I will buy a half a bottle if it is what I want; picture frames. Most of the time I leave without buying anything.
    I limit myself to $30 (approx. 20 pounds a year)
    I think if I lived full time in the u.k. I would go to boot fairs – individuals with no overheads who are willing to bargin.


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