Thursday, February 28, 2013

Done and Dusted!



Today marks the end of my two month No Shopping Challenge. We've been super busy lately with our wee one starting school, beginning a new job, and packing up the house for yet another move. The end of the challenge has kind of snuck up on me.

It's been a challenging, enlightening, empowering, and educational two months.  My desire to buy things for the sake of shopping has well and truly gone and for that I'm thankful. I now look around the shops with a different perspective, and I'm much much better at saying no to myself.

We've saved quite a bit of cash despite having some big bills come up and it being an expensive time of year. We've learned the lesson (finally!) that just because the money is there, it doesn't mean it's there to spend. I have loved having money left before pay day and a nice little bundle sitting in a savings account.

I still like online shopping. It's still a danger zone for me for sure. My way of keeping this under control is to write a detailed list of things that I think I need (winter clothes for example) and then I am only allowed to look for those specific things. I'm looking forward to a modest bit of shopping now that the challenge is over.

I did pretty well sticking to the rules but I  did say I would be honest with you so I'm admitting to buying pizza a couple of times when I was too tired to cook. We also bought some plastic crates for moving although they were kind of essential. That was it.. no clothes, books, coffees, shoes, meals out, or anything else. I'm happy with that.

Over the next year we're going to keep up most of the challenge, especially with grocery shopping and no spend weekends. I hope we can stick to it.

How did your challenge go?
What was the first thing you bought when it was over?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Crop & Swap

Today was our local Crop & Swap meet. I took along organic unsweetened yoghurt, eucalyptus laundry gel, four kombucha cultures, some cheesy bread rolls, and some chai tea mix and I came home with:


GF date cake
Savoury quinoa bites
Anzac biscuits
Rocky road
Sweet tomato and eggplant chutney
Blood plum jam
Apple sauce
Rose hip jelly
Nectarine chutney
Mint jelly
Pumpkin
Sorrel
Rosemary
Lemongrass
Tomatoes
Spinach
Eggplant
Bay leaves
Muesli
Coffee
Body scrub
Strawberry plant
Food grade bucket (for sauerkraut etc.)

.... and not a cent exchanged hands. Pretty good huh?

The Crop & Swap is the perfect way to shop if you're in the middle of a No Shopping Challenge like we are. I'm starting to think that bartering and swapping would be fantastic any time, not just in the middle of a frugal challenge. How great would it be if people could get rid of their excess produce and gain something back all without spending anything?

I'm off to enjoy an Anzac biscuit. Have a great Saturday!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to build a robot out of recycled materials

This morning we woke up to rain and mist and no real plans for the day. Since we're not spending any money at the moment due to our No Shopping Challenge we decided today was a perfect day to hang out at home and get creative.

Ben was given this great book by his Auntie for Christmas. It has cool ideas for making robots using odds and ends that you have lying around at home.


We didn't end up doing a project from the book but it did give us inspiration to do this:





We had an old laptop with a broken screen stored away in a cupboard and it was the perfect thing for Mr J and Benny to dismantle. Ben loved using the screw driver and taking the pieces out by himself. Pretty soon we had a big crate of wire, circuit boards, and pieces of metal.

Next came construction:



Then spray paint using some leftover car paint we had in the laundry.. and gluing the cool pieces from the lap top in place.





 This is a great up cycling/recycling project to do with your kids. Everything on "Otto Ankle" (that's what Ben named him!) was found around the house. If you'd like to make something like this yourself here are some ideas of what you may need:

  • Old electrical equipment such as a stereo or computer. Make sure the battery is removed if you're taking apart a laptop and be sure to supervise your kiddies just in case as there are some sharp metal bits inside.
  • Cut off cords from broken appliances
  • Tin cans
  • Plastic bottles and lids
  • Duct tape
  • Insulation tape
  • Super glue
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Sharpie pens
  • Spray paint or regular acrylic paint
  • Wire
  • Cardboard boxes in various sizes
We've started a collection of things of this nature for Ben to make stuff with, that way when we find something interesting it's easy to add it to the box. We're going to keep the box up high so he has to ask to use it (otherwise I foresee some 2am building sessions). Council clean up days are a great way to build up a stash of interesting building materials or ask around your friends to see if anyone has any electrical equipment they want to get rid of.

Happy building!

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