Thursday, January 6, 2011

Not Buying It Update 1: Measuring My Success

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

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive (online and in real life) of the Not Buying It Project I am undertaking in 2011. 

I really appreciate the positive feedback I am getting in person and the comments you left on my first post about my choice to opt out of the cash economy and into the creative economy.

I know we are only 6 days into the new year, but I already feel so much more connected to my creativity. 

Ideas are swirling around in my brain about all of the crafty projects I want to do with the materials I already have on hand or hope to pick up at the Craft Supply Swap in February.  

I have already started working on pistachio shell flower brooches (shown above) and my next project will be picture frame dry erase boards with pretty fabric behind the glass.

I have been thinking about how I want to measure my success at the Not Buying It Project.  I decided that it's not enough for me to just tally up all the money I am hoping to save.  I want to take a more holistic approach, so I will be measuring my success according to 5 variables:

1) Money Saved - My goal is to purchase a $1,000 Certificate of Deposit at the beginning of each month when I get paid.  In the past, I have tried to save whatever money I had leftover at end of the month, but it's better to just save it upfront.  As long as I don't have to tap into the CD or take money out of my Savings Account, I will have met my Money Saved goal for the month.

2) Pounds Lost - Those of you who know me personally know that my weight tends to go up and down.  I feel fairly comfortable with my current weight, but I would still like to lose about 15-25 pounds.  My goal is to lose 1 pound per week until I reach a weight/size that feels completely comfortable.  So, I am going to be thinking very carefully about which groceries are a necessity and which groceries are a luxury. 

3) Bags Donated - I own a lot of stuff.  Most of my possessions (e.g. my book collection, craft supplies, kitchen gadgets, etc.) contribute positively to my life.  My home is well-decorated and comfortable and I don't feel like I really need anything else at this point in my life.  However, my garage and especially my basement are cluttered with items that are of no real use to me, but could be valuable to others if I just took the time to clear out these areas and donate what I don't want to Goodwill.  My goal is to donate at least 1 bag (about the size of a 13 gallon trash bag) per month, if not more, to those in need.

4) Projects Completed - I have a lot of craft projects and projects around my house/yard that need to get done.  Since I won't be spending time buying things and figuring out where to put them in my already cozy home, I think I will have more time to do all of the projects that I have been wanting to do.  My goal is to finish 5 craft or house/yard projects per month.

5) Reserves Spent - I got a $400 bonus at the end of 2010.  I decided to keep it tucked away just in case there is something that I absolutely feel I cannot live without in 2011.  I was mostly concerned that there would be gifts that I wanted to buy for my loved ones or craft supplies that I needed to finish a project.  My goal is to use as little of this money as possible.

At the start and end of each month, I will post a simple "by the numbers" chart to track my monthly and total year-to-date progress.  For the begining of January, the chart is as follows:

January 2011 Start
Money Saved: 0 (Total Saved: 0)
Pounds Lost: 0 (Total Lost: 0)
Bags Donated: 0 (Total Donated: 0)
Projects Completed: 0 (Total Completed: 0)
Reserves Spent: 0 (Total Spent: 0)
At the end of January, I would like the chart to look like this:
January 2011 End
Money Saved: $1,000 (Total Saved: $1,000)
Pounds Lost: 4 (Total Lost: 4)
Bags Donated: 1 (Total Donated: 1)
Projects Completed: 5 (Total Completed: 5)
Reserves Spent: 0 (Total Spent: 0)

Wish me luck!

P.S. I want to take a moment to acknowledge my gratitute to Judith Levine who wrote a book called Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping.  I checked this book out from the Flint Public Library about 5 years ago and fell in love with the idea of going a year without buying anything unnecessary.  I am so glad that 2011 is finally going to be that year for me!

Since I couldn't stand the idea of buying a book about not buying anything, I got my own copy of the book through PaperBackSwap.  I would encourage anyone else who is interested in giving up shopping to read this book immediately!

P.P.S. Here's another Swap you may be interested in!  :)

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the article and will try to conquer some of the five points in 2011. I am planning on coming to the swap in Feb. and have two boxes of sewing patterns I no longer use. Can anyone tell me if this is something that people would be interested in? Thanks