Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Buy Nothing Challenge

Buy Nothing Challenge - April 2008First off, I have to admit that over the last 8 or so years, I've been a bit of a spendthrift. I spent far too many years as a dirt-poor college student. So once I had a reasonable salary, I didn't pay attention to what I was spending because I didn't really have to anymore. Couple that with the American mentality of purchasing as sport and I would blow through money pretty quickly.

And it's not like I had much to show for it. It's amazing how so many little things add up. Since the majority of the expenses were for books and food or eating out I didn't feel like I was being extravagant. Only my credit card bills told me otherwise.

Well, I just realized that it's been months since I spent anything substantial. Sure, I've purchased a few books (for the book club) and bought a few sweaters from the thrift store (because I was freezing), but that's about it. Oh yeah, and I got my hair cut for the first time in almost a year. But, everything except the thrift sweaters were bought using gift cards.

With the end of the Freeze Yer Buns Challenge, I don't want you going through withdrawals. So I'm challenging you, for the month of April, to buy nothing. Now, I'm not talking about food, medications or other essentials, but everything else.

This is like Buy Nothing Day. Except that it lasts all month long. Sort of a mini-Compact. A compact Compact. A sub Compact.

Anyway, this means none of the following:
  • No new clothes
  • No new gadgets
  • No new furniture or housewares
  • No salon services
  • No makeup
  • No tools
  • No whatever the hell else people buy
Why did I only give you one day to prepare? Because I didn't want you out there binge buying in preparation for the month. I want you to really focus on whether or not what you are buying is a necessity or something frivolous.

If you must absolutely acquire something non-edible or not essential to growing your own food or for your survival, then you must borrow, barter, or buy it used. If you end up buying something new that is non-essential, I'll be hosting a weekly Sunday Confessional for you to justify your purchase. So, just think about having to confess to the world what you couldn't hold off on buying.

What do you say? Are you up for it? If you are, leave a comment and I'll add you to the sidebar under the list of participants. For those of you who stumble upon this later, you can still join. If you want to put the graphic up on your blog, just paste the following code:

<a href="http://crunchychicken.blogspot.com/2008/03/buy-nothing-challenge.html"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_8ndgSYbdkZ0/R_Bf-rOOfiI/AAAAAAAABL4/gk2ccaef-Bs/S1600-R/banner.jpg" border="0" alt="Buy Nothing Challenge - April 2008" /></a>

By the way, I'll be hosting a truly heinous challenge during the month of May, so if you are unprepared for this one, I'll be giving you plenty of warning for the next one. It's gonna be a doozy.

247 comments:

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eco 'burban mom said...

oooohhh, I'm in, but this is so hard! Already have planned a trip to Chicago (part work, part fun) and not buying anything will be tough. I might need that Sunday confessional!!!

Karen said...

I am so up for your challenge even though I do have a monthly standing hair appt. to cover the gray and the in-laws coming over from the UK this month! I guess I may be making a few appearances in your Sunday confessional!

Sachi Tripp said...

Ok--I decided on my way home from IKEA today (am having to buy things to stage my house because we are selling it), that I was going to do this again (I did it in February too). So here I go. I am committed. I may have to cheat if the realtor tells me too, but I will confess.

Tara said...

OOOOH. Now this will be a challenge!

sweetp said...

I'm a bit late signing up but I'm in. I haven't bought anything since the beginning of the month anyway. We are relocating to the other end of the country in a few weeks so I anticipate there may be a few "getting set up" purchases later...hubby is going to buy a bike to commute to work.

lindbeam said...

i am in! i FEEL like i don't buy much but i'm very interested in ACTUALLY not buying anything and seeing how it is :)

Anonymous said...

i'm in! how do you feel about buying lunch when there was nothing in the fridge and you are at work starving'marvin? Is that buying?

Bonnie G. said...

I used to be very impulsive, however I've gotton better over the past few months. There have been time when I've walked out of the store with nothing even though I had a cart full of things. However, I can still be suckered into buying useless things if I am feeling down. I'm ready for the challenge!

Miss Kris said...

I'm up for this challenge! I have to profess that I will be buying plastic diapers for night-time use for the babe. Whenever I use the cloth diapers overnight, he gets a rash :(

Cathy said...

I was being very thrifty earlier this year and am now slipping into spending again. Sign me up.

kym said...

This is perfect for me!
I just spent much of March buying for the baby. And I need a break!
I have not spent much in the past few months before that. I am trying to watch what I buy and avoid what we don't need.
Fantastic idea.

Sally said...

OK Crunchy,

I'm starting late, but Sign me up. I just got a promotion at work but luckily I don't have to "dress for success" there. And I just bought a new camera (on March 30), which was my biggest purchase in a long time... I've often thought about doing the Compact, but the time never "seemed right." No time like the present, though!! We'll see if I can keep out of that Sunday confessional.

Riana Lagarde said...

yup, we have been doing this for 9 months now, it has changed my life. we only buy food and even that is limited. its SO liberating! I am sure that everyone will enjoy it.

I have a flickr group that is dedicated to it called
A Slow Year. If anyone is interested in posting photos and discussing yogurt making, composting, resuing, and refusing.

Leah said...

I'm in too...although it's going to be interesting! I just went on a thrift store binge last weekend, so I should be good for awhile. :) In actuality I'm really excited. I think I'm in need of an anti-materialistic reality check.

Geggie said...

I'd decided to do this before I read your post! I'm in.

stephanie said...

I bought some books (new) a few days ago, so I can't claim to have bought nothing for the month of April -- but from this day on, I'd be up for the challenge!

Please sign me up.

Keri said...

I've already done the "Not Buying It" project for one whole year. It was tough but it definitely changed our spending habits for the long term. On the plus side, we saved thousands of dollars. It's amazing how all the little things add up! Currently, we are not spending as much as before but we definitely need to keep an eye on our spending so that we don't go back to our old ways. Good luck with your challenge! =)

Laura said...

I've been thinking about this for a couple of weeks, but just found this blog & post today (by way of Tiny Choices, I think. It was also new to me today).

My main decision is to buy as little food as possible during April - I have a freezer and cabinets with *plenty* of food packed into them - healthy food no less - and I still end up not bothering to make my lunch when I head to work, and end up buying something that's handed to me in a paper or plastic bag.

I've been doing ok on not buying much other stuff, but I'm hoping that focusing on not buying will help me with better financial control as well as controlling my consumption.

World without Humans said...

This is very easy for me since I've not bought anything except food for a while. I'm subscribed to this.

Tim said...

Ok, count me in even though I'm late!

Lela said...

I am totally in. I buy way too much crap, but have been thinking of ways to recycle other than just my garbage. Including buying clothes off ebay or at thrift stores instead of brand new. Something else I've come up with is for gift giving, instead of buying a disposable bag to wrap the present in, put it in a reusable shopping bag, two gifts in one! Plus you are encouraging them to reuse as well!

Tino Schwarze said...

I like this action! I like how it inspired people! I like how it makes people think and get more conscious about their consuming habits.

Allison said...

So I am 6 days late. It took me that long to think about it. What if I need new underwear or deoderant? I don't think I will so I am up for the challenge. You will see my on Sunday confessional. Ha Ha.

Anne said...

I'm in. Better late than never, hopefully. I've been practicing not driving at least one day each week and that cuts down on Saturday outings to shop. It's actually worked really well. I didn't see your challenge until today, though and I have to admit that I had a haircut yesterday. No other purchases to confess this month, though so hopefully I can join now with a clear conscience.

jamie & matt said...

Count us in too! Don't worry we've been doing it the last week... just didn't 'officially' sign up yet.

Great idea!!

Melissa said...

Ok, this is my first challenge, and I'm already late, but I don't think I bought any non-food items yet this month anyways.

I'm in.

lavonne said...

Hell, I can't afford to buy anything anyway--might as well get credit for it.

Claire said...

Sign me up, too, please! I figure I can still get in 3.5 good weeks of buying nothing!

Claire

nicole said...

Wow, Crunchy Chicken. You are amazing - and clearly inspiring! Look at all of us jumping off the consumer bandwagon!

Can't wait to see what you're cooking up for next month...

In the meantime, I just came across this -- might help anyone who may feel their resolve weakening as we get further along in this challenge (I'll definitely be re-viewing it if I get another urge to splurge on balloons!):

http://www.miniature-earth.com/index.html

Chile said...

Nicole, thank you for linking to that site. I watched the video and found another one. I challenge every one of Crunchy Chicken's readers to watch this one and watch every desire to spend money on frivolous crap just evaporate.

Anonymous said...

Count me in. I need less stuff, not more!

RJS said...

Better late than never...I'm in.

Mud Mama said...

I'm in I know I'm a few days late but I just discovered your most excellent blog!

In the last 8 days I bought...a bat hotel...I think thats it...oh and my real purchasing weakness - 3 books online.

I'll keep it up til May 8th...do vegetable seeds count? We start our garden on May 19th in these parts so this coming weekend was/is seed starting day and I need tomatoes and peppers still.

Sarah said...

I hope it's not too late to sign up. My weakness is gardening and crafting supplies. I need to stop buying and focus on finishing the projects I've got started. This challenge is just the thing I need right now.

Mama Randa Morning Glory said...

Hey, maybe THIS is why my Etsy sales have slowed!
I have been spending way too much. It's almost all on supplies for me to build with, and handmade toys from other Etsy sellers.. but, it's come to a point where I don't have enough money to pay the bills and yet I keep buying little treasures. Honestly, I don't think I can commit to this challenge at this point, but I am certainly committing to buying MUCH LESS.

EcoWarrior said...

Count me in! Love it. I've been doing my best with the compact for about a year now. Admittedly, some things are just gross bought used.

Ellen said...

Just found this but I'd love to join in! I need the guilt factor to help me out.

Kolfinna said...

This sounds easy enough. THe Freeze Yer Buns Challenge was easy peasy. (and our heating bill was cheap this year). Count me in on this one too! I love 2nd hand and free things. Forget buying them new!

amanda said...

please, please, please let me in...i am also doing mamas on the compact!
amanda o

Jen said...

I am definitely up for it. I actually started on April 1st, but couldn't figure out how to sign up!! Duh!! I guess I should have read that better! Well please add me..I am doing good, but it is getting increasingly difficult!!

Jen

greenmama said...

We have been on this kick since my little one was born in January. The question is not "What do we need?", but "What can we live without?" Turns out, we don't NEED much.

Anonymous said...

I'm too late to join, but in March I just finished my year of buying nothing new. I have to admit, I made some exceptions and purchased a thing or two, but the experiment made me more aware of my purchasing habits. Terrible! I have actual urges to buy stuff! But I learned that if I window-shop online, I can satisfy my urges without purchasing anything. Since I was too busy with school, I did not even shop at second hand stores. Even though my year of buying nothing new is over, my shopping habits did not change much (I did buy a pair of jeans...) and I'm hoping to keep it this way.

Monika

ckeese said...

very late in the game (very) but need remedial help so for me, not purchasing for a week will be an achievement. So guess that makes me a semi-lurking sideline Monday morning quarterback carpetbagger? But if you need one look no further

Heather said...

Sorry I'm just now signing up, but better late then never, right? I have bought nothing other than food this month. So far so good!

dkzody said...

Ok, it's been a month? How did you do? Let's hear a report.

Judy said...

It a nice site collecting all info about shopping goods.
I need this info because i want to buy a good dress.
Thanks

Judy said...

Its a great post and useful also because today everybody want to buy shopping goods online.
Thanks for such an helpful post.

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