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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:

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

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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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