Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Not Buying It Update 3: February Results

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

I met four of my five Not Buying It Goals for February 2011!  Not as good as my January Results, but still some major progress!

Here's a look at my results by the numbers:

February 2011 Results
Money Saved: $1,000 (Total Saved: $2,000)
Pounds Lost: 0 (Total Lost: 4)
Bags Donated: 1 (Total Donated: 4)
Projects Completed: 5 (Total Completed: 10)
Reserves Spent: 0 (Total Spent: 0)

Now, here's the story of how I made it happen by each measure of success:

Money Saved: $1,000 (Total Saved: $1,000)

As in January, I bought my certificate of deposit at the beginning of the month, paid all my regular bills and lived off the remaining money from my paycheck, which was $792.

For February, I kept very specific track of each dollar I spent.  Here's the breakdown of my discretionary income:

$094 : GAS
$585 : TOTAL SPENT +
$792 - $785 = $7 REMAINING INCOME

Technically, the $200 I SET ASIDE FOR AUGUST was actually saved rather than spent.  I make less money in August-January than I do in February-July, so I need to set aside some income to cover the difference in the leaner months.

As you can see above, I put expenditures that were not gas or groceries in red.  I justified the digital kitchen scale as being related to food preparation and/or storage, but really, I know it was not a necessity.  The postage for PaperBackSwap was not a necessity either, but I deemed it a worthy expense.  I am going to try very hard not to have any "justified" or "worthy expenses" in March.

The vegetable garden supplies and dog food are actually a form of groceries and they are not regular monthly expenses, so I am fine with these purchases.  One bag of dog food usually lasts at least 2 months and I now have about 2.5 bags, so I shouldn't need to buy more food forYasha until late summer.

The tax preparation and license/plate renewal are just those once-a-year expenses that we income-earning, car-driving adults have to pay.  I'm glad that they came up, though, because it reminded me that I cannot realistically keep my expenses exactly the same every month at least for now.

I haven't officially decided what I am going to do with the $7 of remaining income.  I want to pay off my car loan as soon as possible, so I will probably just apply it there.

Pounds Lost: 0 (Total Lost: 4)

Well, February was not a good month for this measurement of success.  There were just a lots of cakes and cookies and candies around for Valentine's Day.  I didn't buy any treats, but people still gave them to me or brought them into work.

In March, I'm going to try to be very conscious of how much food I am eating in the same way that I am conscious of how much money I am spending.  I realize now that have always been a bit of an emotional shopper/eater and just as I no longer feel any desire to waste money on stuff I don't need, so too do I want to eliminate any desire for unnecessary calories.

Bags Donated: 1 (Total Donated: 4)

Last month, I donated 3 bags to Goodwill.  This month, I only donated 1 bag, but that's still meeting my goal.

I mailed enough PaperBackSwap books to fill another bag, though, so that is more stuff that I no longer need or want being redistributed to others.

I also went through my jewelry and found about 10 pairs of earrings that I am never going to wear again and may have never worn in the first place.  I'm trying to decide if they are worth trying to put on consignment (along with clothes that no longer fit me) at a local vintage or resale clothing store. 

Has anyone had any experience with this?  I could definitely use the extra money to pay off my car loan sooner, but my time is extremely valuable to me.  If consigning is too much of a hassle, it's not a good return on (time) investment and I wouldn't want to do it.

Projects Completed: 5 (Total Completed: 5)

Once again, I am so excited about the 5 projects I finished this month!


Unlike in previous years, when I was scrambling at the last minute to finish my quilt for the Flint Festival of Quilts in September, this year I have gotten a head start on the project.  I recently finished reading Radical Homemakers: Reclaming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes.  I HIGHLY recommend it.

Homemakers were once the producers of most domestic goods used by their families: candles, soap, clothing, quilts, bread, wine, etc.  Now, so many homemakers are just consumers of these goods...which are often manufactured by underpaid workers in sweatshops in developing nations.

One day, I would like to produce the vast majority of goods I use.  So, I have decided to make a quilt of radical homemaking activites, such as baking, spinning yarn and crocheting.  My friends and familty members are each embroidering a fabric square I provide them with a traditional craft that they actually do or aspire to do.  I finished the plan this month and am now distributing the squares.  I can't wait to put it all together!


I bought a digital kitchen scale this month to bake more accurately.  My first baking project with the scale was making mini-loaves of carrot cake from a recipe in Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food Cookbook.  They turned out so delicious!

I baked on Valentine's Day with my sweetheart and gave away three loaves as little thank you gifts to special people in my life who have been kind to me throughout the past year.  I decided to make this my new tradition.  Showing gratitude towards others seems to me like a much better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than spending a bunch of money on unnecessary cards and flowers and gifts.


I made a gift for someone's birthday (not telling who!) and I needed a something cute in which to put said gift.  I've had this dark denim fabric for ages and made a pouch out of it with a simple elastic/button closure.  I already had the fabric, thread, elastic and vintage button, so it was completely free...not to mention easy and adorable!


After a sledding playdate with 2.5-year-old Milo, I was inspired to do a CRAFT TUTORIAL and made this Wine Cork Board with Stacked Button Thumb Tacks.  I decided after I made it to donate it to the 2011 Cool City Art Auction to benefit Flint Handmade.  More info about the Art Auction will be posted soon!


One of the first blog posts I did back in 2009 was to say thank you to The Lunch Studio and El Charrito's Restaurant for saving bottle caps for me.  I use bottle caps that would otherwise be thrown away to make magnet sets and, now, pinback buttons.  The magnets are consistently my bestsellering item at craft shows.  I made 16 more sets to sell at the 2011 Flint Handmade Spring Craft Market.

Reserves Spent: 0 (Total Spent: 0)

I did not spend any of my $400 cash reserves. However, as I did in January, I did tap into my change jar.  This month, I spent about $4 on a sled for Milo, which resulted in the aforementioned CRAFT TUTORIAL: Wine Cork Board Blog Post

Last month, I spent $3 from my change jar on craft supplies and video rentals for a friend.  It makes me happy to know that my miniscule splurges are going toward creativity and/or my loved ones.

Wish me luck for Not Buying It in March!

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