See the Original Blog Post About My 2013 New Year's Resolution by Clicking Here
January 1, 2013Went to the grocery store and loaded up on groceries for the next week or so. Honestly, the hardest part about my buy nothing but food resolution might be just remembering it. Yes, I was successful in walking out of the store with nothing but food, but I didn't actually actively remember my resolution until I got back into the car. Maybe with time I'll be more mindful of it, but I guess that's where the freedom to make returns comes in. With the TV running while I've been working today, I've given up counting how many times I have been bombarded with ads and attempts to persuade me to purchase needless things. The standard reaction I have to it is, "okay, now THAT is not going to be the wasteful purchase that breaks my New Year's Resolution." Also, looking back at my expenses last month, it's so easy to see how quickly several $10 and $20 Amazon purchases add up to real money. This strategy of buying nothing might actually be the way to go.
January 3, 2013Made some ridiculously healthy and delicious veggie soup last night with my Blendtec blender but decided it needed a French Onion Soup-type kick to it. I shredded some mozzarella on top and searched every cabinet and drawer for my crème brûlée torch (yes, I own a culinary torch) to caramelize the cheese, but couldn't find it. I still can't find that thing. My first thought was to get in the car and drive to HomeGoods or TJ Maxx to buy a cheap replacement, but then I remembered the resolution to buy nothing but food all year. The soup recipe, it turns out, was a moment of genius, something I just threw together that totally hit the spot as comfort food. I'll be making it often, and will also apparently be microwaving the cheese. That golden-brown, bubbly cheese on top will have to wait like 362 more days.
Then I saw an ad for a digital subscription to my favorite magazine: Scientific American Mind. I've never had a subscription, but it's the only magazine I rush to read in libraries and whenever I see it. The digital subscription is cheap. Very cheap. And gives you a year of unlimited access to issues dating back to 1993. I was so close to buying it. It's not technically tangible, so it would almost work with my resolution, but it's also not food (food for the brain?) and it's enjoyable, so it was a miss. It would have to wait until next year. I would have purchased it in a heartbeat had I not made this resolution. After more research, I discovered that the digital access doesn't include Scientific American Mind, only Scientific American, so I would have then paid more just to have a print subscription to mind.
This morning, the secretary at the office emailed me to let me know that a coworker was given a $550 LG Flatscreen TV for the holidays and he wanted to let go of it quickly since he had a nicer TV. He was selling it off for $100. She emailed to ask me if I was interested. Oh man was that hard. 42 inches? I own one TV and it is old and 32 inches. $100? What a steal. I thought about it and struggled to figure out a way I could "buy" it without "buying it." Three days in and I'm really that weak? On top of the fact that it would be a great deal, it would also be something I would look at multiple times a day, at the center of my living room, as a reminder of the New Year's Resolution that lasted 48 hours. I replied and said I was very interested, but had to decline due to my New Year's Resolution and said thanks anyway. That was a very difficult email to send. I had to put things in perspective, though. How pathetic does this resolution and these postings, temptations, and near failures sound to, say, families living on less than a dollar a day in Southeast Asia? Many people around the world go years buying only food, and struggling to afford even that. Are we so privileged that we can't even imagine doing that for 2 days? I moved on with my day, only to get a reply from the secretary, indicating that the whole thing was just a joke and a test of my willpower. Well-played. Both of us.
Ridiculous infomercial item I'm too embarrassed to describe: $15.95
Cheap culinary torch: $16
Imaginary TV with which to stare at my failures day and night: $100
Scientific American Mind Subscription: $20
Scientific American Digital Subscription (which would have been purchased by mistake): $39.95
Immunology, Psychology, Curriculum, and other books/textbooks from my Amazon wishlist: $97.53
Total money saved so far by sticking to my resolution: $289.43
Hmm, maybe I shouldn't be SO transparent in future posts. Meh, dignity is overrated. I write books about talking deep-fried chicken products, I don't think I need to worry about people losing too much respect for me :-)
January 4, 2013Turns out, there are oh so many books out there about consumer culture, the downsides of retail therapy, overconsumption, and the adverse psychological, financial, social, and environmental effects of buying too much stuff. Books that could strengthen my willpower and resolve. Books that might give me even more reasons to refuse to buy more stuff I don't need or Groupons that I ultimately regret purchasing. There are Psych textbooks, memoirs, and even a super cute one called Affluenza. Man oh man, you know you're in deep when your pledge to buy nothing leads you to desperately want to buy books on buying nothing.
January 9, 2013
Okay, so I've made it 9 days. Since my last post, my only temptations have been:
A $25 Friends of the Library Card that gives me borrowing privileges at UNC Chapel Hill
The $99 FitBit Flex wristband that I'd otherwise have purchased on the spot, but now have to wait a year.
A $12 biopsych book on Amazon
A $1 lighter for lighting incense. Who knew I should have stocked up in December?
So, that plus the earlier temptations puts me at a total of $426.43.
February 23, 2013Still going strong. No huge temptations of late, although I now want to buy every one of Seth Godin's books. I wouldn't mind a backup magsafe charge for my laptop, but seeing as how they are horribly designed, I'm better off spending my money on Sundrops.
March 19, 2013
I'm shocked at how easy this has been for me. The fact that I am working such long hours and have no time for anything helps a lot. I've come to love libraries. I mean, they always had a special place in my heart, but now, well, now that I can't buy books, I spend so much time doing research at local libraries and checking out books that I really have no idea how I would do this New Year's Resolution without them.
That said, it's time to make a slight change to my resolution. Given the fact that I work with kids after school, I need to be able to purchase instructional materials and little rewards for them. I am modifying the resolution to now allow me to purchase things for other people. I can't purchase things for myself (you know, aside from necessary car repairs, health care, insurance, etc), but I can purchase things for others. I'm also contemplating a return to the classroom this year, and if that happens, there's just now way to avoid purchasing instructional supplies out of pocket.
The good news is that I haven't had any major temptations, and most of the things I posted about wanting to buy in earlier posts, well, I'm just not so into them anymore. And honestly, I'm too busy to shop!