Saturday, April 01, 2006

Could you do it?

I couldn't.

Go a whole year without shopping. Except for the essentials, obviously. I thnk it's an incredibly interesting experiment - no purchases except those that are absolutely essential. By this author's definition, things like toilet paper, haircuts, basic foods and cleaning products are essential. Any food bought "out," clothes, desserts, entertainment, gourmet foods are not. And they did this for an entire year.

Thinking of all the things I would have to give up - eating out, movies, CDs, Old Navy, Starbucks, flavored water, and so on and so on. And it's not like they gave these things up to go be a missionary in Africa or something. They did this right in the middle of Urbania itself. I can honestly say that I could never do it.
We went to my parents' place tonight. It was my mom's birthday, and we drove out to surprise her and have dinner with them and my sister. It was fun, and the restaurant (the Port Royal Tavern) was really nice - very 1800s setting and decor. I had the crabcakes (yum) and Matt had a steak, of course. We got my mom a super-pretty bunch of flowers, art supplies, and an Omaha Steak Company cheesecake.

Daylight savings time stinks in the spring, so I better get to bed.
Happy = extra hour of daylight, warm weather this weekend
Sad = one less hour of sleep, cold again after Tuesday


Liz said...

I saw an Oprah last week that followed a couple in debt who were being coached by a debt counselor. They both went out for coffee every day and either did fast food or ordered in most of time. So they started actually grocery shopping and made coffee and bagged lunches, and in a year saved $30,000. That's crazy!

So if you could actually give up all that for a year, you could get something pretty extravagent the next year. Something to think about, huh?

Courtney said...

Well, I think that that's a slightly different situation. The people who did the experiment weren't in debt, they were just tired of all the consumerism. And in the end, they only saved about $8000.

I am all about cutting back in the name of debt reduction, if you need to. But I only hit up Starbucks twice a week or so anyways, and we only eat out about once a I doubt we'd come anywhere close to $30,000. That's more than my salary!

Jim said...

Even if it is 30,000 a year - if you can afford it, I don't see the problem. Some people like to take all their meals out. Yeah, its pricey, but if they can afford it, why not? Being in debt is a different issues obviously, because there you are inherently living outside your means. But assuming you are saving, paying your bills on time, etc, what someone does with their left over disposable income is their business! =).

And I agree, I couldn't last a year. The cooking alone would kill me, fast.

Staci said...

I'm sure they "saved" a lot more by writing the book about it and appearing on all the TV shows they did. At one point she mentioned watching The Bachelor because she was bored, which seems like cheating to me. The TV is ok just because she bought it before they decided to stop shopping? And it's ok for the husband to drink wine because it's "necessary"? I just don't like it.

Courtney said...

Again, the point of the article wasn't about saving money. It was about stuff, or cutting back on stuff, per se. Yes, not shopping for a year had the side effect of saving them $8000, but that was never the primary goal. And that's exactly why I wouldn't be able to do it. If I were $30,000 in debt like the people Liz mentioned on Oprah, then I would certainly have no problem giving up Starbucks and clothes and stuff. But giving up consumerism just for the sake of giving it up is a little too Lent-en for me.

Staci said...

I was sarcastically calling their book proceeds "savings" - I understand they weren't supposedly trying to save in the budget sense, but I do think they were trying to make some money from a book deal. And they were in debt - 8K for credit card purchases. Also, I think if you're going to give up consumerism you can't just continue to enjoy all the crap you bought beforehand and still act all hardcore about it.