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Looking Back on No Buy February

March 2nd, 2011

February is gone. I flipped my calendar to March yesterday morning and I was happy to see a photo of Siberian Squill looking back at me. By the end of the month they should be blooming in my garden. It’s time to think back on our No Buy February Challenge and take stock of how we did, and think about what we want to implement the rest of the year.

I did fairly well in the challenge. I bought box of grapefruit from a small organic farm in TX.  I had forgotten to buy them in January, and I knew if I didn’t buy them in February I wouldn’t get any grapefruit. Some organic mushrooms at the health food store and the farmer’s market also made it into my shopping bsket. Since they’re healthy and help boost your immune system, I didn’t forgo buying them in February. I didn’t want to end up sick just because I didn’t want to spend a few dollars on mushrooms. How could I resist these beautiful mushrooms anyways?

We worked on eating up food from the freezer, like the last of the chili I made a few months ago and the last of the turkey and dumplings from Thanksgiving. Potatoes were a staple this month as I still have pounds and pounds of them in the basement pantry and they’re starting to sprout.. Our favorite meal of the month was venison steak smothered in a mushroom wine sauce over rice (that’s where those mushrooms went). I made this several times as we have a ton of venison steaks since Mr Chiots was able to get three deer this year.  One area I really focused on this month was making simpler meals.  Since I only used items I had in my pantry, I made a lot of soups and stews full of a variety of vegetables.  This is definitely something I can try to focus more on throughout the year.

In the not buying food category I did pretty well. I did however end up buying a few things I didn’t need in other areas. I purchased a cookbook, mostly to get our total order up to get free shipping. I was going to buy the cookbook anyways, so it wasn’t an impulse purchase. I didn’t keep track penny for penny of things I didn’t purchase, but I’m guessing I saved around $100.

That amount will cover half a year of schooling for a child in Colombia. I’ll be donating the money to the Colombian Christian Mission scholarship program, which just happens to be what I do for my day job. The photo above is me at the school in Colombia talking to some of the students when I visited a few years ago (and yes I speak Spanish since I grew up in Colombia). Part of my day job is connecting students with sponsors and doing fundraising for the school.  I’ll be thinking a little more throughout the year on how I can save money each month by eating simpler meals.

How did No Buy February go for you? Will you be implementing any changes for the rest of the year?

And I just remembered I forgot to choose a winner for the Chiot’s Run Calendar contest. The winner is:

12 Comments to “Looking Back on No Buy February”
  1. […] – until NOW. Comment below and you’ll be entered to win a 2011 Chiot’s Run Calendar. Winner chosen: Nebraska Dave. One of the things I realized while looking through my calendars is that I LOVE living somewhere […]

    Reply to Friday Favorite: My Calendar + a Winner | Chiot’s Run's comment

  2. Kathi on March 2, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I learned alot about my spending habits during no buy Feb. I have reigned in my spontaneous buys. I always justified them by saying “books aren’t like buying clothes” and etc.I also realized I was wasting food that I had forgotten about in the refridgerator. I have been planning my meals around what is going to spoil soon and no more trips to the grocery store for one ingredient I “have to have” for a recipe. Thanks for all your inspiration!

    Reply to Kathi's comment

  3. Daedre Craig on March 2, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I wish I knew more about hunting. I’d love to hunt my own food. I’d especially love a good source of meat for jerky making!
    Daedre Craig´s last post ..Chicks at One Week Old

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  4. alecia on March 2, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Your day job sounds very rewarding- in my 4th year of teaching at a local elementary school- several Hispanic children entered my classroom- their parents spoke only Spanish and the children had to translate everything I said. In my 14 years of teaching those children were the most hard working, dedicated/determined and honest children I met.
    alecia´s last post ..Under the Mistletoe

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    • Susy on March 2, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      My job is rewarding, it’s nice doing something that makes a difference. All the kids write notes to their sponsors each year and I love reading through them, they’re so appreciative!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on March 2, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Susy, thank you so much for the calendar. I have just the spot for it right next to my computer on a book case.

    I mentioned earlier in the month that as the no spend month began the tray in the microwave quit turning, the clothes washer started leaking water, and the car was acting up. I did make it through the month by using the microwave and just turning the tray mannuelly every 30 seconds. The car is still stumbling along and it sounds like a race car at an idle. It was too cold to work on it in February anyway. The washer is still leaking but washes OK and the small amount of water that leaking goes right into the drain. I don’t have a freezer and with other family members that don’t care for Dad’s cooking the food bill was only reduced a little. Because of the rising price of gasoline the cost for transportation staid the same even though travel was kept to a minimum. Overall the financial saving was significant but now it becomes how much will March be to fix all the aging appliances and vehicles. Thank you for challanging us all to look seriously at our expenditures for the month of February.

    Have a great no spend day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  6. margaret on March 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I didn’t participate because I spend very little to begin with.But it wasn’t always this way. I guess I started to truly live frugally about 2 years ago with a no spend month, can’t remember which. Together with my husband I own/operate a diner so I very seldom buy food for home, there are always, always leftovers that we eat at home. I don’t buy many toiletries anymore as baking soda does the trick nor do I buy any cleaners at home, again baking soda and vinegar work well. I make many of my clothes and if I need something that I can’t make for myself I check the thrift store first and then move to a department store if I can’t find what I’m looking for. We spend too much of cable but I can’t get my husband to give it up…I can’t complain because he made many other changes towards frugality that I never thought he would. I love living this way and wouldn’t change it for the world.
    margaret´s last post ..seed starting

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  7. Jaye Whitney on March 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I too didn’t participate as I should have, BUT, it did make me (painfully) aware of things that I think of as “necessary”. I hope that this awareness carries over to this month, and all following months, as I think I needed the wake-up call.

    Thanks for bringing it to the forefront!

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  8. Susan on March 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I found that I did better when I didn’t read your blog! You kept promoting all those great things – like Meyer lemons, organic oranges and grapefruits, LOL. However, I have done very well and I like how it feels when I have that extra amount in my checking account. I have been working to pay off my debts and this is a great way to do it. Simplifying is so relaxing.

    Reply to Susan's comment

  9. Morgan G on March 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Very cool, Susy. The process and your donation – very cool.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

  10. Lisa on March 2, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I refrained from The Fresh Market, the liquor store, the French bakery and the local farmer’s market but I could have been far more frugal at the grocery store than I was. My “unnecessary” purchases included $12.24 on Paypal for six sweet sequined hearts off Etsy, My monthly $21.95 Audible membership that went unused. I will let the credit accrue fr another month. $75.65 at Chico’s for a lightweight, pale pink jacket to wear to a dinner party and $175 for a writing seminar tuition. I “spent” on my debt reduction. I put ALL my expendable income toward that and reduced my total debt by 25%. I’m gonna do it again this month, too.
    Lisa´s last post ..Give or take

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  11. KimH on March 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I wasnt around to hear about a No Buy February but funny enough I did put off buying my hearts desires all thru February.. Not sure why.. its not the norm.. LOL
    I also told my honey we were eating out of the freezers for the next month… they were/are stuffed to over-flowing.. Its time they got cleaned out.. and not by throwing stuff out either. ;)
    I guess I participated anyways We did ok! :D

    Reply to KimH's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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