week #5 in an experimental year…

One of my rituals for this new year is to choose a word for the coming year.  My word for 2011 is EXPERIMENT.  You can read more about that here.    To support my EXPERIMENTAL focus, I commit to post the results of a new experiment each Sunday of this year.  I’ll warn you in advance, the movie rights for these Experimental Year post haven’t been sold.  Some of these experiments will seem larger than others.  Some will seem inconsequential – to you.   They won’t be to me though.  What they all represent to me is a willingness to learn, stretch and discover. As always, I welcome your comments, reactions and observations.

My experiment this week was not to buy anything all week.  My intention was to be more mindful in my spending.

I expected it to be tough, not impossible – tough.

Well, I’m not sure if it’s IMpossible.   I didn’t make it though.  And ya know what made me stumble?  A clock.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a GREAT clock – made by my friend Pam at Paper, Scissors, Rock. But really – a clock?  And it happened before I even realized it.

Along with the whole not making it part, the toughest parts of this experiment were the simple things:  a cuppa java to go; running to the store because I just FELT like using fresh rosemary in my dinner recipe; or topping off my gas tank because I spotted gas for less than $3.00 a gallon (actually, I wish I HAD slipped on that one).

Lessons from this experiment:

  • while planning ahead makes all the difference, there are some things for which I can’t plan – be forewarned;
  • I have some GREAT veggies in the back of my freezer (fewer now though ;));
  • my homemade veggie omelet is ALMOST as good as the one at CCC Bistro;
  • there’s that age old want -v- need thing and  THEN there’s the need-v- get over it and make due, buster! thing;
  • and I am MUCH more wasteful than I ever thought possible;

Here’s how this experiment will impact how I live:

  • I’m not going grocery shopping til my freezer is even more empty;
  • I’m going to go back to confirming area gas prices before I fill up;
  • While I’ll continue to visit my favorite restaurants/ coffee shops, I’m going to change my frame of reference a bit.  I want my creating/taking my own to feel like a treat, too;
  • EBay will remain my friend  in the same way it always had.  I don’t buy anything from there  if I haven’t sold something there to supply the $$ and space in my life;
  • and I’m going to LOVE that clock – guilt-free.

And yep, I’ll be trying THIS experiment again this year.  SO stay tuned.

How do you deal with the whole mindful spending thing?

PS – here’s the clock that was SO worth it.

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11 thoughts on “week #5 in an experimental year…

  1. I love the theme of experiment! (Isn’t life one big experiment, anyway?) I definitely need to work on this one. I’m bad for stockpiling things! I still have some foot lotion from 10th grade. I’m trying to use up what I have now before re-stockpiling!

  2. hummmmmm – ok, the truth is – – I have decided to buy what I really want, and know WHY I’m buying it and what it’s place will be – or pass it by – there is no more “making do” with something/s I sort of want – need. If it’s not the real thing, it’s no thing.

  3. Due to recent changes in my life circumstances, I have less disposable income than I am accustomed to….which means I have had to become very mindful of my spending. REALLY like looking at this situation as an adventure or experiment!

    I am finding that I am making a list of household items that would help make life easier,but are not immediate necessities. I will buy an item when I find it at a good price or when I absolutely need it. I’ve always been pretty good at making do and making over. These skills are being refined for sure! (Did you know filing drawers covered with a pretty tablecloth can make a nice plantstand?)

    I am most definitely with you on eating out of the freezer until real meal items are gone. I’m only buying other food items as I need them and at that, I’m trying to go to the grocery store only once a week.

    I have three fun travel mugs (two I bought myself and one was a gift). I make enough coffee each morning to have a cup at home AND to fill my travel mug so I have coffee on my way to work. I do splurge on buying really good coffee when the price is right and/or I have a coupon. I have at least six pounds of different coffees in my freezer, and I have my own bean grinder, so my selection is always pretty good. Also, I splurge and buy flavored creamers so that is always available too! (This practice started because there is no real Starbucks in Lumberton!)

    So, thanks Lisa for letting me visit my spending habits this week! Your experiments are really making me much more mindful. And that is starting to help me simplify my life! Yes, following and joining your blog is cheap therapy for me FOR SURE!!!! Love ya!

  4. Love this experiment! And I especially appreciated “I want my creating/taking my own to feel like a treat, too.” On a frugal website once, I saw someone suggest having good ingredients on hand and getting creative, so that eating out felt like less of a treat compared to what is at home. I have enjoyed getting more creative as a cook and using what’s on hand in creative ways, making ordinary meals feel special. Great post!

  5. I love this experiment. We should all try it. Shannon is having to learn to live it everyday. It does show us that we treat ourselves too much too often. With all the cookbooks I have, I’m trying to learn to treat us to new dishes rather than going out. Keep up the good examples.

  6. amma, will post when it arrives 🙂

    Rachel, good luck with that un.stockpiling thang… 😉

    Carol, “If it’s not the real thing, it’s no thing.” YES!

    Judi, your travel mug system rocks! yay you!

    Alicia, ooooooooo creative home cooking, LOVE it!

    Judy, tickled that this experiment nudged you (and Shannon), too!

    thanks for commenting, ya’ll!

  7. Hi Lisa,
    Found my way to you through my friend Pam, the clock maker, and I am now enjoying your experiments. I lost my straight job last year and I deemed it a message from the Universe telling me it was time to make art fulltime. I am mildly successful and gaining ground every day, which is the Universe telling me I’m an idiot and should have done it ten years ago. I digress from the topic hand–here’s how I spend less and spend it mindfully now that I don’t have as much income. We eat vegetarian at least three times a week which is less expensive and healthier for us so that’s a win-win. I love to shop but I have learned that its the thrill of the hunt not necessarily the acquistion of the goods. So, I give myself an alllowance and I spend hours in Goodwill, Value Village or other “jumble” stores. This works well for me because I’m an artist who works in repurposed materials as much as possible, again, win win. I love the idea that I’m saving something from the end of the road not contributing to global pollution on a bunch of levels. I have started putting my favorite recipes in my blog to share with friends which gets me up and at ’em cooking the good stuff too. Thanks for making me take the time to think about how I can do more. I am looking forward to following you in the future. Thanks a bunch!

  8. Roxanna, SO GLAD you found your way here. am right there with you in celebrating all the joys of the thrill of the hunt. 🙂 and YAY YOU for stepping into your new life so boldly!
    THANKS for joining in our fun here, looking forward to getting to know you.

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