I feel very motivated! I know we can do this! Can't we HONEY?

With the economy like it is, everyone is in a panic over money. Including us. My husband is the only one working while I stay at home and take care of the kids, house and him. :) I have ads on my blogs but they don't bring in any money at this time. HA HA!

Yesterday, I was reading though my favorite blogs and came across this from Mrs Furious. Then I went to the link at the bottom of her post. Let the Compacting Begin More about it here. We could TOTALLY do this! I think I could more than Superdad. I can give ANYTHING to Goodwill and have! I sent a request through Yahoo Groups to join Freecycle this morning. I already browse Craigslist. I am set. This is the list that Sara made herself to get started.

  1. I will not buy any NEW items for one year.
  2. I will only buy items that I NEED.
  3. I will not buy any convenience foods when grocery shopping with the exception of bread and chips. I will strive to eat in season, buying as local as possible. I will bring cloth grocery bags to the store, and I will create a weekly menu/grocery list EVERY week.
  4. I will not go out to eat at a restaurant if I have the option of eating at home.
Not a hard list to go by. Lets look a bit closer. Not buy any NEW items in a year. My mind is screaming, "NO WAY". Sure we can though. Cut out the IMPULSE buying. Even the 1.00 section at Target adds up as someone already calculated what you spend a year letting the kids buy something every time you visit Target. Okay, number 2. Buy only items that I NEED. Believe it or not there IS a difference between NEED AND WANT!!!!!! I have always tried to teach my kids the difference. They would be watching TV and see a commercial. MOM, I NEED THAT!!! No, you want it, there is a difference. I think EVERYONE in the house could learn a valuable lesson between wanting and needing. Maybe this compacting would be good for all of us! No convenience foods. Well, I think we are pretty good about this sometimes. We do buy granola bars, cereal and pop tarts. I already make a menu before I grocery shop. Cloth bags--CHECK. Eating out. We already have talked about this before. We are working on it. Sometimes I just CRAVE a Chicken Chipotle Burrito from Urban though.

I want to come up with a Compacting list for my family. Sit down with them and come up with a plan! I KNOW WE CAN DO THIS!! Think of the money we will be saving and the valuable lesson we would be teaching our children.

This is an update on her story:
When I committed to The Compact in October of 2006, I had no idea how radically it would change my life. I set out on a mission to simply stop buying new stuff…but instead the experiment changed my entire view of our consumerism-obsessed culture, marketing, wants vs. needs, giving vs. selling, the poor…the list goes on and on. While I did not complete the entire year of Compacting by my “rules”… I will be forever changed by this experience. I have blogged in the past about my journey, but here are some effects of The Compact that are still with me today:

I LOVE buying used. It’s almost physically painful for me to buy things new/full retail cost. I could spend hours and hours at Goodwill…especially if I have a list of things I’ve been looking for. The thrill of the hunt is so fun. Whenever we need something, whether it be RV related, clothing, kitchen gadgets…we always turn to eBay, Craigslist, or Goodwill first before ever looking for it new. I would have to say that this ONE THING has been the biggest change for us.

I’ve become appalled at the price of things…and have started to realize the crazy profit companies make on our purchases because we are just too lazy to search out the alternative. My current pair of jeans (yes I only have one pair) were 99 cents at Goodwill. Matt found them for me in the men’s section and said “here honey…these will be cute on you”. I LOVE them! And now, when I go in and I’m browsing the jeans, a tag for $3.99 seems ludicrous! Ha ha! How dare they think they can charge $3.99! :) This also happens when I’ve been to too many garage sales…I get used to the LOW prices and it’s hard to go back to eBay or consignment stores after that!

I started to give a lot more stuff away. I think that when you come to the realization that it’s the STUFF that is bogging you down emotionally, mentally, and physically…you just want to get rid of it! So I got very good at filling boxes and going to Goodwill. Is there anything that feels better than handing over boxes of stuff that has been cluttering your home to the Goodwill attendant in the back of the store? I love it…a natural high!

Handmade gifts are where it’s at…if it’s a handmade/recycled/found object art gift, even better! I think it was during my Compacting days that I discovered Etsy. Oh my goodness. How can you not love Etsy?!I am so much more sensitive to the marketing teams whose main goal is to make me feel like my current state of being is not good enough. They want me to want something. They scheme all day long on the by putting “want creators” on TV, Internet, billboards, junk mail…it’s rampant.

Because I am more sensitive to these things…I can hardly stand to set foot in a mall. The bright lights, the busyness, the insane amounts of money being exchanged. It’s overload.

I can now walk into a Target or any other store and actually only buy what I went in for. Prior to The Compact, I almost felt like a zombie as I walked out of Target…wondering what just happened in there! Last night, we went as a family to buy a few items that we’ve had on our list for weeks. And it felt so good to come out with just a few things on the receipt.

Now that Bella is at the age where she can understand purchasing, money, wants, etc…it has become more time consuming to go into stores because I need to discuss everything with her as we go. She amazes me with her self-control though. When we walk by the $1 section in Target, she likes to stop and look, but is not thrown into a frenzy if we decide not to get something there. We talk through it and it becomes a teaching moment about consumerism, money, and priorities. We talk about whether or not we need it…does she already have something similar in the RV? And if we were to get that item, would she be willing to give something else in her toy box away to make room for it? Young minds are hungry for teaching…I try as hard as I can to teach her things that aren’t in a normal school syllabus! :) Of course, it’s pretty rare that we even go to Target, so I think this is the key to success. Keep children focused on the abundance they DO have…not what they don’t have. Gratitude breeds contentment.

And oh what JOY will come if we can learn contentment! Pray for it…Christ wants to give it to you!

I have already come up with one thing for our Compacting List.

  • No more buying until the basement is cleaned of things that can go to Goodwill, Craigslist, Freecycle or need to be to thrown away. Our basement is packed full of things that I know we don't need and will never need. I use to have a motto for cleaning out my closet and I should make one for the basement.

    "Will I use this 6 months from now? No. Then LET IT GO.
    In the mean time I am going to needlepoint a pillow that says something like this,
    "We don't have to keep everything". ~gentle smile here~
  • I will look through Craiglist, Freecycle and Goodwill FIRST. After the basement is clean, of course.
  • No more impulse buying for me. (I guess the watch I bought Saturday will by my last impulse buy for the foreseeable future. I have always wanted a big chunky black watch and could never find one I really liked. I was in Steinmart to buy my niece a little necklace for her birthday and saw this great looking chunky black watch and bought it.) I think that would be an impulse buy even though I have been looking for one.
  • What about toys for kids? I have no problem with this one. I can say NO and do say NO. I will no longer allow 1.00 Target bin shopping though. That adds up.
  • What about books, magazines and bike stuff with my husband? He'll have to come up with a system on that because it does add up as well. Perhaps go ahead and sell the pinball machine in the basement? I don't know. He'll have to decide if he wants to get on the Compacting Wagon himself. (Plus, most of the stuff in the basement that I don't have a problem getting rid of--belongs to him. So, he will have to decide on that himself. I do know if he'd let things go he would have a great big list to add to Craigslist and then Freecycle if he couldn't get rid of it.)
Okay, I have to stop and go fix the girls a nice hot breakfast. I hope that this post, Mrs Furious's post and Sara's post has motivated you to do something. I know it has ME. Now to talk to the family and get everyone on board. Wish me luck!


Katie Mae said…
We have looked into this stuff as well! One idea that I got from another group was this...

One month each quarter (4 times a year) you don't go to the grocery store for anything (other than milk and perishables that are 'necessary' for a healthy diet.)

You only eat what you have! Waste-not, want-not!

And I love love love freecycle! The freecycles I belong to are amazing! Folks get rid of big and small things... and they take them in as well!

Great blog... this stuff is fun!

~ Katie Mae
Mon said…
Hooray to another compacter! Excellent progress. Look forward to your journey. And feel free to add your pledge to mine.
Supermom said…
Thanks for the great comments!

I am really excited about this and I know I can do it. :)

Michelle :)
Mrs Furious said…
Hey thanks for the shout out!
This will be much more fun with someone I know doing it. We can brainstorm together.