Thursday, December 7, 2017

Next Year People: Reflections on No-Shop November 2017

A week in to December already!  Where does the time go?
A happy snowman with brocolini hair. 11/3
This was a weird year for our No Shop November.  Of course, that's how I've felt about much of this year, so I suppose that is in keeping.

The short assessment is:  We didn't buy any food and still ate really, really, really well.  But we totally bought some other stuff.
Johnny helping out with a knitting project. 11/4
Read on if you're interested in a more detailed meander through the month's spending.
Seasoned baked potato coins. 11/1
First off I should mention that I have evidently overcome my extreme resistance to spending money.  The first two weeks I was the one who repeatedly suggested things that involved spending money, at which point Matt would have to remind me that it was No Shop November.

That was highly irregular for me.  As child, playing Hide-and-Go-Seek, I would always develop the strongest urge to go to the bathroom as soon as I got into hiding.  It was like my bladder knew that I couldn't go, that I couldn't move or I'd give myself away.  So that was when the urge struck with a vengeance.  No Shop November felt like that.  I knew I wasn't going to spend money so my brain kept sabotaging me with urges to do so.  Only little things, of course, but still....little things add up.   That is at least partially the point of this endeavor.  So, yeah...that was weird and has never happened in past years.
Getting musical saw lessons from Jess. 11/11
Almost every time I just suggested spending money, but checked myself (or Matt did) before the transaction actually took place.  But, I totally bought a $.75 soda from the machine in the library on autopilot though, forgetting it was November 2nd.

Soda was a No-Shop oversight, actually.  I've gone back and forth in my relationship to soda for decades.  I am, in the end, a soda junkie--though I try to moderate my indulgence.  These days I am in a place where I usually buy one can a week from the machine in the library.  I don't keep it around the house because it is a temptation for me, but I don't beat myself up about this weekly treat anymore either.   Balance and moderation in all things, I figure.  I didn't think about this when planning for NSN though.  It never occurred to me to buy a few and dole them out over the month.  My mom is a kind, generous person though and fixed me up with soda for the remainder of the month.  I was telling her about this oversight at a sewing retreat the first weekend of November and so, as the retreat concluded, she sent me home with a partial box she'd purchased for the weekend.  I even still have one!  And it is December!  Having soda around wasn't necessary, of course, but it was sure nice.
Creamy coconut vegetable soup. 11/7
I spent $105 on said sewing weekend with my mom.   Sure, I could have sent my mom the money in October, like she asked, but oh, no....I am a procrastinator and didn't plan that far ahead.  Oops.
Sunbeam nappytime for Ginger. 11/13
We bought a bottle of champagne for a friend in exchange for a trio of free concert tickets.  This was a barter and concerts are already excepted so this one gets a pass.  We hardly even used the concert-and-drinks exemption this year--just twice.  We drove up to Bozeman for one if those concerts though so the gas exemption got used more than normal.  The universe balances out.
Hot Buttered Rum at the Filling Station in Bozeman. 11/11
Matt got some belated birthday money from both my mom and his mom which he promptly spent, justifying it as presents-not-being-shopping.  I'm not sure I agree with this logic, but he did make a pretty strong case so off to the store he went.  He bought some ingredients for a beer he wanted to brew and a couple cords for our Wii (which were missing when we were gifted the unit from a friend months ago...during a period when life was far too busy to play video games.)  I guess, we'll give this one a pass, too.
Better Burgers with sauted mushrooms and onions on a Dutch Crunch roll, Matt's newest favorite bread baking endeavor. 11/1
As the temperature dropped and the first snow started to fall we realized we still had two windows (three panes) which we'd never gotten around to replacing after they were broken by a storm last year.  We decided to just take care of it right then, while it was in our minds, since we're prone to putting off home improvement projects.  Obviously.  So $150 later our house is warmer and snugger.  We should have done it a long time ago.  Matt also went to replace the furnace filter only to discover we were out so he bought a three pack of filters for $10.
Making lefse for Thanksgiving with Matt's mom. 11/19
At the start of the month my brother-and-sister-in-law, Ryan and Bek, decided to start a tradition of bowling every Tuesday and invited us to join them.  The first week of November I agreed, again on autopilot, but since we'd forgotten that Bek owed us money for a tie-dye it all worked out and we went bowling without spending any money.  We subsequently went twice more during the month, spending $27 total.  I love spending time with Ryan and Bek and wasn't about to let NSN interfere with my family time.  Family is more important to me than my personal challenges.  I've realized that all the more this year.  I bowled the best game of my life (144) this month, too.  I even rolled a Turkey (on the day after Thanksgiving, no less).
The headless snowman.  11/13
After taking stock in the cupboards and pantry, Matt and I figure that with just a handful of exceptions (brown rice, lentils, mushrooms, carrots) we won't have to buy food again this month either.  That part was easy.  We've still got a couple cases of homebrew in the basement.  We're still munching on homegrown vegetables (onions, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, etc) and have a stockpile of flour, oil, honey, spices, and other such staples.
My Thanksgiving plate...the first go round anyways. 11/23
So, that's that.  A imperfect showing to my self-imposed shopping moratorium, but, perfection is a unreasonable goal in most things.  I'll take it.  There is always next year.  Matt and I are "next year" people.  Happy with the now, hopeful that the future will be even better.
Tart gooseberry pie. 11/23

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a success to me...and I didn't know y'all made lefse...I learned that in ND...such fun...we did it as a group at Church...and only at Christmas-time...but I still have my board and cover and griddle...and such fond memories...

    ~Have a lovely day!

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    1. In my childhood lefse was a Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter thing. In Matt's family it is just Thanksgiving and Christmas. Matt's mom--our master lefse instructor--is from North Dakota.

      It sure is fun--making it has become an important part of my holiday traditions! Oh, and they're so tasty! What do you like to put on yours?

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  2. I love that you are overcoming your extreme resistance to spending money and realizing things, like spending quality time with family. If that involves spending a few bucks, then oh well!! Or having the time to brew that batch of beer! That goes back to quality time with friends. Oh and the sewing retreat! Quality time! It's all about quality!! I know you've learned a lot this year about the importance of living life and enjoying it. Great work, Beth!! Can't wait to sew with you soon!

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    1. You are absolutely right. Your encouragement and support means the world to me, Jessica. I'm so glad we're friends.

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  3. Replies
    1. Building snowmen fills me with the delight of childhood all over again!

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!