No-spend February

Given both the successes and failures of my January no-spend challenge, I’m going to do a similar challenge in February to try to step up my game a bit and hopefully meet with a bit more success.  This time, I’m adding in a few side challenges intended to support my primary goal.

As usual, I’ll still be paying rent, insurance, utilities, and all of the necessary things.  I’ve also decided to not put any limitations on health related spending, since it’s something that’s important.  If I need to see my chiropractor or restock the supplements that I take, that’s fine.

For transportation, I’ll be setting the same goal as in January.  I’ll be reducing my driving locally and limiting my out of town trips to two weekends. Since the weather’s been fairly nice, I’m setting a side goal of walking or biking to do all my errands – it’s good for my wallet and my health.

In terms of food, I’m taking on a goal similar to January’s, but giving myself a bit more leeway.  I’ll be setting my budget at $150 to make it a bit easier to focus on getting locally produced food.  My related goal is to go to the farmer’s market once per week to see what’s available before I go to the grocery store.  It’s a bit far, but if I can bike when it’s safe enough, so much the better.

Beyond that,the plan is to not buy anything.  To this end, I’m aiming for not going to any thrift stores or book stores.  Period.  At all.  For the entire month.  Just…no.  Of course, that didn’t work especially smashingly last month, so I’m setting four side goals that I’m hopeful will help.

First, I’m aiming to exercise at least three evenings per week.  I’ve been able to take advantage of some exercise classes for free at work, so if I can do yoga, strength, and bootcamp, that’s three evenings that there’s no chance that I’ll be hauling my sweaty post-workout self anywhere but home.

Second, I’m going to have a look through my closet, see what fits now that I’ve lost a bit of weight, and focus on building some additional work-appropriate outfits.  I often wind up at thrift stores because I’m trying to fill out my work wardrobe.  I don’t buy a lot of clothes, but when I’m there I’ll see other cool things and that’s when the trouble starts.

Third, I’m reestablishing a reading habit.  I love reading but have gotten away from it a bit in recent years.  My hope is that by getting back into moving, exciting, intriguing, and informative books I’ll be more motivated to come straight home (and maybe also realise that I shouldn’t buy any more books until I get through enjoying the many that have yet to be read).

Fourth, I’ll be decluttering.  I have more than enough stuff and realising how much I have is always eye-opening.  On top of that, the trouble of sorting it and getting it out of here usually drives me to not buy anything for awhile.  Although I expect I’ll be slow about this, getting some stuff out of here should help me to not spend for awhile.

So, that’s the plan.  I do feel bad about last month’s purchases, but I suppose I should just see this as baby steps and the building of better and better habits.  Here’s to another month of less spending and more saving!


Wayfinding chronicles

For weeks now I’ve been thinking about this space and what to call it. My general indecisiveness doesn’t lend itself to quick decisions about much of anything, let alone a blog title. Originally, I wanted to name this place after my much-hoped-for future land, but since I live in an apartment that seemed a bit disingenuous, something ending in homestead or farm seemed a bit disingenuous. Plus, I wasn’t relishing the thought of explaining, “no, um…I don’t actually have land yet” over and over again. Fortunately, a perusal of my bookshelf led me to the book The Wayfinders and suddenly I had a happy accident of a title.

The title is rather apt, as happy accidents often are. Wayfinding means a few different things for me right now. It means figuring out a new career, one that I’ve had for under six months and that I’m still adjusting to. It means learning about a new city and a new region and forging new social relationships thanks to the move that went along with the new career. It also means figuring out some personal things that need dealing with, most of which will probably be on the down-low for the foreseeable future.

More than that, though, wayfinding means reorienting myself after some pretty big life changes and figuring out how to best orient myself to my old values in my new life. My goal is to live a life in which I distance myself more and more from some of the more conventional ways of doing things. I have a long-standing interest in greater self-reliance and am looking to find ways to do more for myself. I’m looking to get myself out of the consumer society and to build a life where I can grow, make, mend, and generally do a lot more for myself. This place is a chronicle of these efforts.