Thursday, June 2, 2011

Not Buying It Update 5: April and May Results

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

NOTE: Blogger went kablooey about a month ago when I tried to post my April results, so I am reposting them after my May results.  :)


Money Saved: $1,000

I won't include a breakdown this time, but suffice it to say that I did not overspend and I did not buy any gifts in May.  :)

Projects Completed: 8


My friend, Amy of Made with Luv, gave me 25 strawberry plants from her garden.  Amazingly, some of the plants are already bearing fruit despite the trauma of being transplanted!

Above is my Linda Mac apple tree from the Genesee Conservation District.  In two years, I should have fresh apples from my own front yard.  How awesome is that?!? 

Potatoes, onion, broccoli, peppers and tomatoes are now in the garden!  Corn, carrots, cucumbers and beans are up next.

I made the garden signs out of a old pack of wood shims in my garage.  I used a spare tip on my stained glass soldering iron to burn the words into the wood. 


Last summer, I had an uneven concrete walkway removed my front yard.  The broken concrete (aka urbanite) sat in my backyard for a year, but it is ALL gone now!


I spent $14 on supplies for an outdoor clothesline.  I've already used it once and I'm eager to line dry my bed linens.


I made these from Scrabble tile holders, vintage buttons and hot glue.  They will be on sale at Craft City at Buckham Alley Fest on July 16, 2011!


These cookies are made from just three ingredients (butter, sugar, flour) and drizzled with chocolate.  So easy and so tasty!


I had been paying $3.50 for an 8oz bottle of cleaner. I made my own cleaner using a 16oz bottle rubbing alcohol ($1) and 16oz of water (free) with a few drops of dish soap (basically free).

I got 32oz of homemade eyeglass cleaner for $1. I would have paid $14 for that much at the store...and, my homemade cleaner seems to work better!

Credit goes to Ashley English's small measure blog for the motivation to finally get this eyeglass cleaner project done!

Reserves Spent: $0
Emergency Funds Spent: $1,348

I didn't fess up at the beginning of this project about my Emergency Funds. 

For the past few years, I have been trying to follow the advice of financial professionals and build up about 3-6 months of living expenses in a separate account for emergencies.

I am SO glad that I did, because I had several large emergencies in May.

First, all of my patio furniture was stolen from my front porch in late April.  In order to try to protect the patio furniture in my backyard (not to mention my car, my house, myself and my dog), I paid $530 to have the rest of my fence and two gates installed.  My backyard is now entirely fenced in, which is something I have been working on since I moved into my house over 9 years ago.  So, I'm glad to have it done, but it was still a major financial blow.

Then, my dog broke my front window.  My beau and I tried to fix it, but to no avail.  So, I paid $400 for a new window which will be installed in June/July.

Then, my dryer died.  I bought the $8 part online (with my discretionary income) and I hope to fix it myself soon to avoid an $80 repair bill.

With all of this money flying out the door, I decided to go ahead and buy a cordless electric lawnmower for $365.  I admit, this was not really an emergency, but dragging a 50 foot extension cord around for my corded lawnmower and trying to mow around the apple, nut and berry trees we planted was just not going to work for me. 

I did buy the lawnmower from Gill-Roy's, a Michigan-owned business, and I plan to loan/give my corded lawnmower to a friend of mine, who is a self-employed single mom trying to run her own handcrafting business.  She could really use the help and I could really use the good karma.  ;)

Finally, my cell phone died near the end of the month.  I had a new phone credit and I'm getting a mail-in rebate, which should cover the cost of the phone, but I still had to shell out $53 upfront.  I really didn't want to get a new phone and I avoided any unnecessary upgrades to a smartphone. 

Going into the phone store was extremely uncomfortable for me.  I was surrounded by completely gratuituous glowing rectangles and salesworkers who were taking about driving 20 minutes to pick up fast food for lunch.  This was not my place and these were not my people.

I am now completely certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that I do not belong to that mainstream, consumption-obsessed society.  I am so grateful for my life of burgeoning self-sufficiency and sustainability.


Money Saved: $1,000

Here's the breakdown of my $745 in discretionary income for the month:

$083 : GAS
$031 : GIFTS
$546 : TOTAL SPENT +
$745 - $746 = -$1 REMAINING INCOME

I spent $1 extra this month, but my change jar covered the overage. ;)

I did cheat a bit on the Flint River Farm CSA, though. I had about $100 sitting in my personal PayPal account that I used to pay the majority of my share of the half share that my beau and I purchased. But, this upfront investment will help keep my grocery bill low during July-October when we get CSA veggies.

Another major investment I made this month was $170 on Garden/Yard Supplies, which will be explained below in the Projects Completed section.

I did spent $31 on gifts. $6 went to flowers for my beau's other grandma when I met her on Easter and $25 was actually a charitable donation to a student scholarship endowment in honor the upcoming wedding of two of my friends/colleagues. But, I am really going to try not to spend any money on gifts in May!

Projects Completed: 1 Huge Project - Vegetable Garden Prep



With the help of my beau and my mom, I transplanted about 100 square feet of grass to the mud pit on the side of my house, tilled up the entire 800 square foot garden and brought in 3 cubic yards of compost ($99) to create 20 perfect vegetable rows behind my garage.

I worked almost 20 hours total on this project, so I didn't have much time for another other projects this month, but I'm hoping to complete more (smaller) projects in May.

One of the those smaller projects will be planting in my front yard the fruit, nut and berry trees I bought this month ($71) from Genesee Conservation District. So, that's how I spent $170 on Garden/Yard Supplies in April. It should not be nearly as high in May.

Reserves Spent: $0

Well, I've completed 4 months of my Not Buying It Project and I still really haven't felt the scarcity.

There was a brief moment when I was trying to decide what to wear to Easter dinner when I felt like I maybe needed to buy some new-to-me (aka thrift/consignment store) clothes.

But, this was just temporary insanity. Lol I have a closet and a couple of dressers FULL of clothes and I just had to be creative about putting together an outfit. :)

I'm sure the creative juices will continue to flow in May, too.

So, have any of you readers been inspired by these updates to make some Not Buying It changes in your lives? I would love to hear about them!

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