Thursday, December 1, 2016

No-Shop November, in Review

No-Shop November went pretty dang well.  And fast--so fast!
Food was really no problem--we've got that down pat.  It is actually pretty neat to create deliciousness from the things already in the cupboard or fridge.  It encourages me to approach meals in a different light.  I tried several new recipes which I intend to share after perfecting them a bit.  We did end up using every single grain of sugar in the house.  Straight out of the gate Matt started a batch of wine which ate up most of what we had on hand.  We should have thought of that!  Still, there was just enough for dessert yesterday and today is December.  Good thing.  I need to bake sugar cookies for an end-of-semester party on Friday.  We shall buy sugar today.  (Also, some mod podge and some Christmas presents, too.)
There were only a handful of things we ran out of--sugar, cornstarch, Earth Balance.  We almost ran out of soap, but I made a batch that was cured and ready to use just in the nick of time.
This year we expanded the scope of our No-Shop experiment to include all spending.*  While not quite as smooth as the food portion this still went fine, though with improved planning I know we could do better.
In the end we made six purchases:
#1  A Shutterfly photo album of our Washington Megavacation.
(We remembered that we had a coupon for a free book which expired 12/1.  We had to pay for postage.)

#2  A flashing taillight for Matt's bicycle
(We bought a headlamp and taillight set up for Matt because, with time change, he is cycling a lot in the dark.  We used a gift card he got for his birthday for the bulk of it, but we did have to drop a bit of cash, too.  We saw no reason for him to be cycling around unsafe for a couple weeks though so we just went ahead and bought it.)

#3  Two short sections of plastic tubing for beer brewing
(Matt misplaced his tube and went to the store to replace it--the beer needed re-racked No-Shop November or not.  He actually bought the wrong gauge and so had to make a second trip for the correctly sized piece.)

#4  A bucket and nylon sack, also for brewing
(Matt started too many fermented beverages at once.  These were required for a certain stage of the rhubarb wine and all our vessels were already full!  Ooops.  Poor planning on our part.)

#5  A cup of tea, bowl of fruit, breakfast potatoes, and toast at a local restaurant
(I was invited to a birthday brunch with some girlfriends.  I didn't want to say no to the occasion just because of NSN...so I went.  I justified it to myself in that I'd intended to go out to a $10 concert the night before and had opted to skip it for a game night in with friends.  So, either way I was spending that $10.)

#6  I signed up for a fitness program.
(This whole gym thing will probably be a post unto itself, but for now I'll just say I found a trainer I like this fall and spent eight weeks working with her.  She has a six week follow-up program that started yesterday.  So, I had to pay for it yesterday.)
*For clarity and full disclosure I'd like to, again, list our designated exceptions to the No-Shop November experiment--concert tickets, beer while out and about, and gasoline.  
So, that is that.
And now we're taking the money we saved over the past month and dropping it as a lump payment on my student loan.  I think 2016 might be the last year I have one of those hanging over my head...  That would be cool.

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