All day, I’ve been putting off writing this post because I don’t like the finality of it. I feel like because of what it represents, it should be profound, or enlightened, or at least mildly funny, but I am really not feeling any of those ways today, so you get what you get and you don’t get upset.
What you get is an honest evaluation of The Rules (est. 2014) and how I did with them. Here goes.
1. Buy nothing.
Seems simple enough. If you’ve read just about anything else I’ve written, you will know that there were some notable exceptions: new winter rims for my tires, a congratulatory Lego set for my kid for passing his swimming level, a new windshield for my car (technically the windshield was free, but I had to pay my deductible), those thigh shorts and bras (which were worth every penny). That’s just off the top of my head. I bought some dumb flip flops at Disney World last week because I wore Toms and it rained that day. That was just poor planning on my part, but I wasn’t going to wreck my feet over it.
2. Well, I have to buy food.
And I did. My food budget, in fact, is so out of whack that it needs a serious reckoning. I wouldn’t even call it a budget at this point. I have lost ground in this area.
3. But not convenience food.
Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. I think the initial rule was unnecessarily restrictive, and although I shouldn’t be buying or eating most of that stuff anyway, sometimes a working mom/mature student/good time gal deserves a break today.
4. And toilet paper. I have to buy that.
Yes. I bought toilet paper. I am not ready for family cloth just yet. I did not, however, buy any other paper goods.
5. Consumables, in general, are allowed.
Other consumables purchased throughout the year include, but are not limited to, essential oils, art/craft supplies, sunscreen, medication, vitamins & supplements, and deodorant (I was out).
6. But no toiletries of any kind. I have enough of those already.
Other than the above exceptions, this rule held. I didn’t buy so much as a bar of soap this year. Not a mascara or a lip balm. Not a single hair care product, even though I got my hair cut a few months ago and could really use some salt spray (I think I am going to make it instead). This was a tough one for me, since those things are usually small purchases that have a high enjoyment:cost ratio. Instead, I got right with my already healthy product supply and I’m still burrowing through it.
7. Paying for services is not prohibited, but should be limited.
I bought movie tickets a few times. Some concert tickets. Flights and hotels. All of these fall under the “services” banner and are not prohibited. I had my hair cut and coloured exactly once in the past year: June 19th. I think I did well on this one.
8. One carefully chosen, store-bought Christmas gift for my son allowed. No price cap.
I picked out a huge Lego set for my son as his Christmas gift, and it is still sitting, mostly unbuilt, in his closet. I think knowing that this was my one free purchase this year made it into a bigger deal for me than it needed to be, and I went a little overboard. I hope to not do that again.
9. Raw materials for making clothing and gifts are not limited, but must be used within one month of purchase.
I didn’t buy a lot of this stuff, but some of what I did buy was definitely around longer than a month. I thought I would make more things, but most of my time this year was spent dealing with my existing stuff. I had planned on learning to sew this year, and that didn’t happen. I’m not abandoning that dream just yet.
10. Buy nothing else.
I almost made it, you guys.
I bought a watch on the last day of my vacation, August 29th, because my current watch is broken and there is a Swatch store at MCO. I knew I’d need a replacement very soon and I really like the Swatch stretchy links watches, and there’s no store near where I live. Gather ye rosebuds, etc. I feel badly about this. I was weak. It proved to me just how easily I could slip, even after all this time.
…this is not really the end for me. One year of making do has given me a good foundation. It’s changed old patterns and wrought new ones. A year seems like a long time, but it isn’t really. It’s only a start.