Thursday, December 30, 2010

Not Buying It: Opting into The Creative Economy in 2011

Posted by Crystal Pepperdine, Founder and Executive Director of Flint Handmade

I want to confess something to you all.

In 2005, I racked up $15,000 in credit card debt. I was recently divorced and newly-in-love and I spent money like there was no tomorrow.

In Spring of 2006, I realized that I was in trouble with my credit cards and I went to my credit union, Dort Federal, for help. I was fortunate enough to get a home equity loan before the housing bubble burst and I paid off all my credit cards with their exorbitant interest rates.

Today, I made THE FINAL PAYMENT on my home equity loan.

And something has happened to the way I view money…

…I don’t want to spend it anymore…

…at all.

I know that I have to participate in the cash economy to pay my mortgage and utility bills. I know that I have to buy myself and my dog food and medicine and other essentials.

But, other than that, I’m done.

In the past 5 years, I have developed so many creative skills since founding Flint Handmade. I now have the confidence that I can make, trade, borrow or barter the vast majority of any thing I could ever want or need.

So, here and now, I am declaring that I am going to spend as little and save as much as I possibly can in 2011.

As long as I have consumer debt in the form of a mortgage and car payment as well as consumer desires for things I could definitely live without, I cannot be a true advocate for the local and handmade movements in which I so strongly believe.

So, that’s it.

For one year, I’m opting out of the cash economy…and opting into the creative economy.

Join me, won’t you?

Help hold me accountable as I blog about this journey I am taking in 2011.

I will, of course, still organize all of the regularly scheduled Flint Handmade events and support the fair compensation of local crafters for their work.

But, just for this year, I will not be spending any of my personal money on the cause.

And, maybe by not spending any money, I will have the time and energy and space in my life to give even more of myself to Flint Handmade?

We shall see…


  1. That is amazing and congrats! I am one who also lives without credit cards and only pays in cash for each purchase I make. I support you and am eager to hear your updates through out the year! Cheers and Happy New Year to you!

    Re-Zip It!

  2. Since I haven't been able to find a suitable job for the past few years, I have had to scramble for every penny that came my way. My census job and my daughter's willingness to back me up helped fund my sewing business and etsy account. I don't have a credit card, barely keep funds in my credit union account and paypal, so I needed her help with the etsy shop which needs a credit card to open. Other than that, I have been mostly self-funded through careful expenditures and digging deep into my stashes, and Flint Handmade's craft swap.

    I'm hoping you will succeed with your financial overhaul, and hope also we can all stick together for our mutual benefit! As a consumer-driven economy we all support each other, but need to make sure we are wise in our expenditures and choose quality over quantity. Good luck!

  3. A great goal and I will join you! I don't have the debt issue, but do have an issue with over consumption. It's time to use only what I have on hand as something that will not only inspire my creativity, but also reduce what I'm leaving behind. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Tell it like it is.

    As I work at a job where the pay and benefits keep shrinking like..oh...a piece of felted wool...I keep thinking: A) Why isn't there a job in a fruticake factory, like those monks have, and I could do that, instead of the incredibly dull job that I have? And I could live cheaply enough, to be poor like the "ex-pats" in 1920s Paris...with my part-time fruitcake factory job (yes, I am one of the few people who like fruitcake!) And B: I'm always thinking: "I'm not living poor enough," like there's more of a way down or out (down and out?) to push more creative projects out the door, into the world...why does "not having a lot of money," have to equate to sheer economic terror? I mean seriously, I don't think terror is too strong a word, for what some people are going through economically.

    Well, that's my 2 cents (make that 1-1/2 cents) worth.

  5. Where is the LIKE button on this thing....

    Great job.