March Accounting

Oops, I nearly forgot! We are nearly at the end of April, but here is what I bought in March. To recap - I am trying to Buy Nothing New in 2015. Actually, clearly I have not quite managed that, so let's say I will be buying LESS new in 2015.

Here is the blurb from February. In the spirit of Nothing New I have decided to recycle my words too:

This year I have decided, wherever possible, to not buy anything new, and at the end of every month I will be exposing all my purchases here as a kind of confessional.. because if I have to do that, I will certainly be thinking twice before I pop into a big box store.. I am using you shamelessly, dear readers, as my virtual conscience, my interweb Jiminy Crickets.

Why not buy new? In a word, externalities. All of us, my darlings, who can access the intenet on an electronic device, are more or less the 1% of the world's population who benefit unfairly from the sweat, habitat destruction, pollution, ill health, exploitation and death of the 99% whose lives are degraded in some way so that we can have machines to wash our clothes and make our toast, and have access to cheap t-shirts and chocolate.

One day I woke up and the invisible wake of destruction that trails behind my trips to Target suddenly became unbearable, so I have started on a different path to providing for my needs and wants, and those of my lovely children, dog, two cats and two budgies.

Here are my guidelines:

1 Make do with what I have.
2 Try to find what I need second hand - there is a world of stuff out there that needs to be rescued and used again.
3 Buy from a local craftsperson.
4 As a last resort, buy from a local, independent store, so that at least my money stays in my community.

So in March I:

Bought new: Two sets of sterling silver sleeper earrings for the little girls. Made in Australia, from a local jeweller. I was going to say that these should last the girls forever, but the reason I bought another pair for Rosy is that she lost one of her first pair. Sigh.

Eight zips from a local, independent fabric shop. Rosy went crazy one weekend and made eight pencil cases which we will use for birthday presents when the girls get invited to parties.

A hockey bag for Rosy from the shop at the hockey grounds. She had a gift voucher from last year's hockey awards night, so only a small outlay from me:)

We went to a local craft fair one weekend and bought a bunch of little gifts for children's birthday parties, and a birthday gift for my sister-in-law which was very nice of me, as I wanted to keep it..

Bought second-hand: I took the girls on an op-shopping expedition one weekend, and we all bought clothes, and The Girl bought a vintage floral scarf for a friend's birthday. I must do this more often. It is very cheap entertainment, and it stops the whinies from certain children who like to have new things every so often when the pocket money starts burning holes in the pockets..

When Mum and Dad were here we were visiting a sweet little country town with an old timey general store. At least that is what the signage proclaimed outside. Inside it turned out to be a cafe with a secondhand book exchange. Ambushed! Remarkably I managed to leave with only five books, so we will call that a win for me:)

A lovely, lovely 1950s Fowler ware electric jug:

Gifts From the Universe: A chair being given away on the side of the road, kindling from a roadside timber drop off zone. Lots of food from the gardens of slightly overwhelmed friends:)

My laptop from Jen and Chris arrived. I was so excited. I am now typing away on it every day and it has made me very happy indeed:) Thanks guys xx

Given Away: More of Posy's clothes - clearly she has way too many. Also, lots of lemons.

Comments: I seem to have lost that reflex action which sends me to department stores. I am so relieved. I mean I never liked shopping there anyway, so why I did it I don't know. Perceived convenience? Everybody else does it? It makes me very irritable to be shopping in big box stores. I think it is the cognitive dissonance. I KNOW they are colluding in wrecking the planet for their own gain. But $7 shoes, right?

Well, now I can still buy $7 shoes at the op-shop, without the irritability factor. Win, win. Of course, I would still rather not leave the house, so when the op-shops start delivering, well, that will make me very happy! Also, I am beginning to find more small, out of the way shops that provide great products and wonderful service for a fair price. And I can have nice quiet chats with the shop owners and the whole transaction is perfectly civilised. Why was I ever lured into Target? It is insane in there. I think this project is making me calmer and reducing my blood pressure. See, shopping less is good for your health:)

I say all this as someone who is planning to go to Myer on the weekend to buy winter boots for Rosy with the last of my Myer One Card points. Because she found some boots she LOVES at Myer. I am still not proof against teenage boot angst. Still, after that I won't have any more Myer card points, and there will be no option but to find alternative sources of excellent boots.. because this is my last trip to the department store..


Unknown said…
You are my hero, so brave, shining the way and leading us not into temptation....hang on, im getting a bit mixed up with The Lords Prayer there. I think you get the jist.
Jo said…
Lynda, I'm getting a Messiah complex! But you did see my department store confession at the end, didn't you?

Next challenge - underwear!
Unknown said…
Underwear!!! Oh my, i have holes in my undies i could put my hand through. Oh, wait, that's how the holes got there in the first place. You know when they get so old the fabric just gives way when you are pulling them up!. Hang on... my visuals. Do i have permission to go shopping for NEW undies? Long lasting Cottontails, i promise.
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,
Well done you. There is so much good stuff going for next to nothing second hand. Don't tell too many people as the prices may start going up and then we'll all be in trouble!
PS: We totally love the zucchini risotto. A very big thank you.
PPS: A mate of mine who is an outstanding cook taught me the secret of using cucumbers - which also grow in massive quantities along with the zucchinis. If you remove the seeds - and feed the seeds to the chickens or compost or whatever - then the flavour is much nicer and far less striking. I may grow to like cucumbers you know. If you are going to save the seeds you sort of have to leave them on the vines until the fruit is almost fermenting.
Annabel said…
Well done! What has happened to me is now I look at some tempting good thing and think it will likely be in an op shop in a year or less. Or in the case of a tv or something it will be on the side of the road in about the same time frame. Maybe I will just wait? And then I look at the price tag,,, and then I decide yes I will wait after gasping at the price.
Or I will decide I can make it myself. My daughter is due to have a baby in two weeks. We wnet baby wear shopping... size 000 baby knitted jumpers and cardis started at $70... and it all went down hill from there. So out came the knitting needles! xx
Annabel said…
Well done! What has happened to me is now I look at some tempting good thing and think it will likely be in an op shop in a year or less. Or in the case of a tv or something it will be on the side of the road in about the same time frame. Maybe I will just wait? And then I look at the price tag,,, and then I decide yes I will wait after gasping at the price.
Or I will decide I can make it myself. My daughter is due to have a baby in two weeks. We wnet baby wear shopping... size 000 baby knitted jumpers and cardis started at $70... and it all went down hill from there. So out came the knitting needles! xx
Anonymous said…
I love what you are doing! i love how you're grappling with teen girls and need and ethical shopping which minimises an impact on the environment.

Re underwear, I found an Australian manufacturer of socks who deliver. Humphreys. They show their factories on their website. Just don't wash their socks in hot water. I shrunk my cotton socks!

Your wonderful goal is much harder when you work full time, and long, tiring hours at that. True, that means less time for shopping all round. But my hours mean I can't visit op shops, or source alternative sources that are not online or make and repair things. One day!

So, can we expect an accounting of April tomorrow? There's a kind or suspense. Will Jo succeed? Will she slip up? How has she managed to meet her challenge?
Anonymous said…
I am with the rest of the girls here. You have become my eco heroine. I am so impressed with your honest endeavours that I am going to attempt to make some sock in order to prevent me from having to buy cheap crap socks that Stevie-boy wears out in a week. Seriously 7 pairs for $5 how is that even possible?! So I am slinking off with my tail between my legs and am going to fire up the spinning wheel that hasn't been touched since we bought it earlier in the year, am going to haul the garbage bags of alpaca fleece that the son-and-heir bought me to go with the spinning wheel endeavours to his lovely partner who just bought some carding equipment that makes everything easier (I am assured) and I am going to spin local alpaca fleece and make some socks that will give Shiploads a run for their money! I, like you, am SO tired of feeling trapped in a consumer money pit and the only real way to get out of that pit is to point blank refuse to take part. Thank you for being my eco heroine. I can learn from your exploits and adapt them to our own stoic attempts. "And this way shall they learn"...catch you tonight. Can't wait to learn how to make soap :)
Bek said…
Well done you, that is an impressive total for the month!
Jo said…
Ha ha, Lynda, next week, ethical undies!!

Chris, I am so glad you liked the risotto! One of my girls actually asked if we had any more zucchini so we could have the risotto again. I almost fell over! We all love cucumber here and eat it in sticks or salads everyday. I planted my first cucumber this year, way too late, in January, and it gave us two cucumbers before the first frost. Will have to try earlier next year..

Annabel, I cannot believe the price of those baby cardis. I would be knitting too. In fact, I did actually knit a cardigan and hat for each of my babies, and not much since. This winter is all about handcrafts for me. Looking forward to seeing photos of your first grandbaby. How exciting!!

Lucinda, I am researching ethical undies, and was looking at Humphreys! So glad to get a review. I hear you on not being able to spare the time to look for alternative sources for 'stuff'. I guess that is why big boxes thrive - it is all in one place. Having said that, although I work stress-free part time I certainly don't spend all my spare time shopping. I wouldn't get to an op-shop more than once a month, and that mostly on a Saturday morning with the girls, because it's mostly them who want stuff. Also, once I have found an alternative, it's easy just to pop in. The independent fabric shop in town for instance, just brilliant, and just as easy to get to as Spotlight. But the easiest thing of course, is not buying at all. So easy. But... undies. We will address all these issues soon..

Fran, no, YOU are an eco-warrior. Do you see me carding, spinning and knitting socks? Er, not today, anyway. I will totally watch and learn.. PS Hopefully tonight Katherine will be wearing the socks that her mum knitted for her. They are amazing, and I want her mum to teach me how to knit socks..

Thanks Bek, I think I am getting it!

Treaders said…
"I'm tired of being trapped in a consumer money pit" - well said (sorry I don't know your name). I felt like that, particularly when I was married. My ex was the spender. He used to spend ludicrous amounts so while we made good money together I was forever at the Credit Union taking out yet another loan. Since I have been divorced and have tackled one bill after another I have been stunned by how much I have managed to bring my monthly bills down WITHOUT MISSING OUT ON ANYTHING! It is truly amazing. For instance, when my last mobile phone died I ordered one over the internet and they used to deliver here in town. When they changed drop-off point to the pottery shop up the road, guess who went in and picked up the phone and spent over € 100 on beautiful flower pots. Madness. Now I go get virtually the same stuff from the local car boots. On Sunday I bought a lovely basket for €1. I explained to the lady I was only "renting" it because I'm sure it will find its way back in circulation at the next car boot.

But Jo you are really doing well. None of us are 100% successful in our aims but "only" being 80% successful is still that much more than many people attempt. And you are right, we are so very, very privileged compared to 90% of the world. I mean, I am sitting up here in bed in France writing to you out there in Australia. How privileged is that? Cheers. Anna
Jo said…
Anna, I love that you are writing to me from France:) But you are absolutely correct in noting what a privilege it is to be using so much resource for fun.

And yes, I am slowly getting to where I want to be, but if I had never made this commitment I would be much further away from my goal. It is extraordinary how very motivating it is to put a goal out here in public!

I am glad that you have got on top of your finances in your new life. It must have been very worrying to have money flying out of your household like that. I am a bit of a control freak and like to have every penny accounted for at all times - although having said that, I am very bad at the day-to-day details work of book keeping. Too easily distracted! Catch up day this weekend:)
Jo said…
Thanks Wendy:)
Aly said…
Hi darling Jo, your favourite sister-in-law here...please post the present you bought me from the local market that you loved and wanted for yourself), or are you really keeping it for yourself? If so, happy birthday to you from me xxx
Jo said…
Aly honey, my favourite sister-in-law, I am torn.. do I love you or your present more? So many moral questions.. also, I never post things, you know that.. so I won't make any promises, but I do have presents for you and Doug sitting here in my study looking like they might get popped into a post-pack any week now xx
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Well done for inspiring the quote over at the ADR. Very well done.



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