Operation Consumer Awareness Comes to an End

To be honest, I am disappointed by myself for not holding out on this project to the very end. Not only did I cave last week to buy things for my friends birthdays but I caved a few more times after that. My attitude became, “I already messed this up, what’s the point on following this through anymore?” I bought a few coffees and I had a mental break down last week from stress from school so I drove home to see my parents on a whim, and that cost money in gas. Despite my last week being terribly derailed, I learned a lot.

First of all I learned that I can go with out and that I am just fine. I don’t need to go out for supper with my friends all the time, I can just cook for them at my house and have a little dinner party! It is more intimate and we can be loud and laugh and sit as long as we want with out feeling awkward about leaving the restaurant.

I learned that I can cook!!! I am a horrible cook so this experience was scary for me. I planned out my meals at the beginning of the month and I was able to cook all sorts of things that I never would have tried. I made dishes that I like to get at restaurants and most of the time they were just as good! This is a skill I definitely needed to learn.

I learned how to make informed decisions. When I wanted to get a coffee at Tim Horton’s or go for appetizers with a friend I had to sit back and think, “do I really need this?” Most, if not all the time, the answer is  no.

I think I will be following this up with one week per month of no spending. Strictly because I think that it is important to say no. Our parents always said no when we were kids and now we have to say no to ourselves. Also, limiting my spending has made me stop to see if I really want something or if I just want it at that moment. By not impulse buying I have time to stop and think if that is something that I will use and then I can go back and buy it at another time.

I recommend trying this to everyone! It’s hard and it requires a lot of self reflection, which is a good thing. I think it makes you a stronger person to limit yourself. I encourage you to try something that puts you out of your comfort zone, you would be surprised how much you learn about yourself.

Day 25

Since I bought a new set of groceries on the 15th this project has been considerably easier. The great things that have come out of this is that I no longer need or even want my Tim Horton’s in the morning, and to my surprise, I am okay with that. I now know that if I wake up ten minutes earlier to pack some sort of lunch that I save a tonne of money. I have also learned that I have priorities. Two of my best friends had birthdays on the 22nd and 24th and I just could not miss those. So I bought my one friend a DVD and sent her some flowers and I went for supper with the other. It makes me sad that I cannot say I went all the way through this without consuming but I know that I would have more regrets if I didn’t do something for my friends. I hope you all understand! I have 6 days left and I am hoping that there are no more birthdays so I can finish off strong. PS: I am loving the number in the bank account, what a difference this has made!

I think that I am going to follow up this project with one week of not spending each month, because I realize how much that will actually save. I also think that it is important for me to start setting better limits. I’ll be posting one final reflection at the end of the month, thanks to everyone who supports me in this! CHEERS!

Half way there … Alomst!

I am almost half way through my consumer awareness project. Right before this project I set out my own limits and rules to what I was going to do. On February 29th I went through the food I had in my apartment and I planned out my meals for the month. Then, I went to the grocery store and bought all the milk, bread, fruits and vegetables I would need for the first two weeks of the month. I set aside $50 to replenish the fresh food on March 15th. I definitely did not realize how much food I eat in two weeks. I used to always buy my lunch and snacks at school so I was completely unaware of how much I would need. Turns out I underestimated by about 5 days on the amount of food I would eat. I have not been eating very well over the last five days, I’m basically down to Kraft dinner, oatmeal and rice cakes. I contemplated with many friends about the option to go and buy my food early. This was probably the smartest idea as I feel tired and hungry almost all the time, which is very distracting to my university life. I am a student in the area of science and my classes require a lot of brain power. I came to the conclusion that this project was not just about spending less money, this project was to make me aware of my own consuming and in turn to live with in my means. I started this project on the notion over half the world lives on less the two dollars a day, and they must live with in those means. Why can’t I live off of rice cakes and oatmeal for a few days? Well I have, and I will tell you, I’m hungry, but people are much more hungry then I am.  The season of the thirty hour famine has arrived and I feel as though I am participating in my own way. I will have students who will come to school hungry and their learning will be effected by this. This has been a great chance to step into their shoes. I have a analytical chemistry midterm today so I guess I will see how 4 days of not eating very well is going to affect my performance. My stomach is empty but I am filled with ideas and new perspectives, this is defiantly not one of the lessons that I planned on learning. All this being said, I am more then excited to go grocery shopping tomorrow! I will be much more conscious of getting the most out of my $50 so that this does not happen again. Thanks to everyone who has sent encouraging comments my way! You have encouraged me more then you know and I hope this project will encourage you to be more aware of how blessed we are. Thank you!

Day 7

I have completed one full week of being consumer-less! I have done some math and I realized that by this point last month I had spent about $150 on “stuff”; not rent, not cloths, not food, just stuff. I have spent $0 this month and I am not missing out on anything! I had an entertaining weekend and I do really have something to wear without having to buy a new outfit. I have learned that I can do things I never thought of without spending money. For example, I exchanged some tutoring for an amateur trim for my hair and I went to the basketball games at the University with my friend Ali. We get in free with our student cards and since it was the final four the place was packed with excited fans.

I swapped a night out and supper at restaurant for a great half time show!

I have kept myself busy with homework and making my own home made meals! That is another thing I have gained already from this experience, the desire to learn how to cook because if I can’t cook, I am not going to be eating. This experience has also made me aware of how much food I buy at school. Since I am a science student, I am at the school a lot and I guess I was just too lazy to pack a lunch. Now that I don’t buy food I realize how fast the food I bought for this month is diminishing. I guess more planning is in the future for me!

24 days to go!!

Day One

This is going to be harder then it looks.

First of all its my room mates birthday and she wanted me to go to the movies with her and her friends to celebrate… but I can`t. She completely understands but I feel terrible. Secondly, I just got a call from a new friend who has never called me before and she asked me to go dancing.. again I had to say no. My parents are coming here tonight and they wanted to take me out for supper, I suggested that we stay at my place and I will cook them supper.

This isn`t a challenge to stop spending my money. This is a challenge to reduce my consuming to as little as possible. This means that other people can`t buy me things just because I am doing this project… by drinking a coffee that someone has bought me I am still consuming. Instead, I made my own coffee at home because there is much less of a economic foot print in home-made food.

Speaking of coffee….

This is Kelsey eating her Tims while we study.  We were at the school early and when we are studying we always get a Tims so that`s all I could think about, but I need to think about the bigger picture!  Although she still gets her Tims she is making sure to keep me in line. Make sure to check out her blog too!

NoMoreRollUpTheRimToWin!

31 day challenge!

Over half the people in the world live on less then two dollars a day each.

I spend two dollars within the first two minutes of being at school… on coffee, nothing essential… coffee.

Starting March 1st I am going to do a zero unnecessary consumption challenge. I am allotting 20 dollars a week for fresh food and that is it. I won’t be buying any processed food because that adds tremendously to the consumer foot print.  I won’t be putting gas in my car, my cell phones data will be turned off and sadly, no more coffee.

Between clothes, going out for meals and everyday “essentials” I am spending too much. As I have looked at my credit card statement over the past few months, the depth of my consumerism is becoming more and more clear to me. I am blessed to be able to manage a successful ice cream shop, but just because I make good money does not mean I have to spend it like I do. I want to be more aware of the mindless purchases and the overkill of spending.

To be honest my variable spending will go from about $600/ month to $80/ month. That’s an %86 decrease. I will need as much encouragement as possible!

The reason why I am telling you this, I have to be accountable now! I will post about my struggles, temptations and thoughts as I enter into this journey.  If this challenges you… join me! We can do this together.

Cheers to home-made meals and quiet nights at home!