Sled Dog Skippy

Feb 06 2010

The Compact, Days 25-31

Filed under: The Compact

I stopped posting last week because I was dealing with a knee injury and was really depressed. Then my mom called and told me my grandma died. She was 95. It was difficult to be here, and not be able to go home. That was also depressing. Last week was not a good one.

Anyway, things are looking better. Here are the numbers:

Day 25
Nada

Day 26
Pet: $59.13 (dog food)
Gas (Skippy): $10.00

Day 27
nothing

Day 28
Misc: $23.58
This purchase was for some greeting cards & gifts. My best bud, MK, recently accepted a new job in NYC. I got her a happy congrats card and a little giftie. I also got a get well card for my mom, since she has been feeling ill for a while.

Grocery: $26.00

Day 29
Entertainment: $60
This was a big spend for us. We went to Marimba Madness with some new friends. Yes, we listened to Marimba music for several hours in a cool bar to help raise money for the Homer Council of the Arts. We ate deeeeelicous food (thank you Michael & Beth for buying our dinner!). And drank. And yes, we were merry. This was totally worth the splurge and was very fun.

Day 30
nothing

Day 31
nothing

So, month 1 down! I am continuing The Compact and am working on finding creative ways to get over my “shoppies.” I recently wanted to buy some clothes for my vacation. Instead of looking for deals or even thinking of investing in quality clothing, I just went to my closet, sorted and unpacked another box of summer clothes (a misnomer in Alaska) and played dress-up. I styled some outfits and had fun listening to trashy dance music. And the other good outcome is that I’m basically packed for my trip already! Um, yes, the trip is in March. I also sorted more clothes and had a nice pile to donate.

How are your compacting efforts going?

Jan 25 2010

Sunday (wait, Monday) short letters

Filed under: Short Letters

Dear Universe,

You are about to mix it for me again, I know this. You gave me some straight answers as soon as I started to even WONDER. I know you are listening and providing. Help a girl out again, please.

Dear Sled Dogs,

I wuv you. I miss you. I miss your craziness and kooky sounds. I don’t miss your poop. Maybe one day we’ll get back together. I’m just not ready for a relationship right now.

Dear Fred Meyers,

PWND! You thought you could just take me in and give me everything. Ha! You were wrong. So wrong. You aint got nothing I want.

Dear Right Knee,

Hang in there, friend. Stay strong. I need you really badly right now. Things are going really good and I finally have a handle on where I want to be physically. We’ve got some races to train for…don’t let me down now. We make a good team.

Dear Ashlee Dog,

You were an effing champ this week. I can’t believe how much you ran and how well you did. You are 7 years old and you are still kicking my ass. I don’t know what I would do without you. You are very funny when you bark at me when I am skiing.

Dear Macgee Dog,

Five miles of running and you aren’t even winded. While I want to hate you for that I can’t. It makes me love you even more for keeping me going. My god, do you ever have the most beautiful gait I have seen on a dog.

Dear People of Homer,

Please don’t litter. It’s a disgusting offense to everyone. It’s so sad to find a snickers wrapper along the ski trail that so many people work so hard (volunteers!) to maintain.

Dear Frye Boots,

You are one of the most beautiful material things I have ever owned. I know you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so let’s get to know one another. I know where you live.

Jan 24 2010

The Compact, Days 18-24: I avoided my (old) downfall

Filed under: The Compact

I’m in the home stretch of The 31 Day Compact. I have resolved to go longer. How much longer, I am unsure. I don’t want to pick and date then just go back to my consumer-y ways. I think that this project will prevent me from going on a buying spree the day after I stop officially challenging myself. Hopefully.

This was a pretty slow and boring week on the purchase side. Other than the fact that we bought tickets to freaking Puerto Rico! That was a major purchase and was a little scary. However, it felt very good to be in a completely different place financially than we were at this time last year. As Ryan pointed out, “Last year our splurge was a large pizza. This March our splurge is vacation. That’s pretty good.” Yeah, it is.

Here are the numbers for the week:

DAY 18
Postage: $4.75
I sent some jeans I won on Ebay to my friend, MK. YAY, used jeans at way less than retail price!

Pet: $8.99
Oh kitty litter, how I love and hate you. So dusty. So gross. So necessary.

Grocery: $54.00
This was a big weekly purchase. Lots of fruits, veggies & tofu for making food at home. And Two Sisters Bakery bread. Ryan has officially converted. YAY! No more boring grocery store bread in a plastic bag!

Entertainment: $4.25
This was another take-away coffee with a plastic lid. At Starbucks. Crap. That’s a lose-lose. Expensive and not delicious.

DAY 19
Grocery: $23.00

Entertainment: $10.00
I had lunch with my friend Sarah B. Nom nom nom noodles!

DAY 20
Grocery: $9.62
Ryan bought some lunch at the grocery store. They do have some pretty tasty General’s chicken at their deli bar.

Day 21
Grocery: $5.00

Gas (Ryan): $30.00

Eye exam and new glasses for Skippy: $302.00

This was a non-budgeted item. However, the appointment was made 2 months ago when I ran out of contacts, so I had been saving some money for this. This purchase was fully out of pocket and without insurance. Getting an eye exam and cool new glasses for that amount of money is nothing short of miraculous. I was fully prepared to just pay for the exam and then try to get both glasses and contacts online for much less. However, I somehow managed to pick out some of the cheapest frames. The eye doctor I visited has an “economy plan” that allows
non-insured clients to get a good deal on certain frames. I am typically the person who picks out glasses frames and of course, they are the MOST EXPENSIVE ones in the clinic (does that mean I have excellent taste?). Not this time. It was positively shocking. I will still be buying my contacts online, as they are much cheaper. I will wait until next month to do so, since I need to pay bills first.

DAY 22
Nothing

DAY 23
Entertainment: $30.00
This was for my, Ryan’s and part of Kelly’s lunch at the Tustumena Lodge near Kasilof. Ryan and I went north to watch the start of the Tustumena 200/100 sled dog race and see Jason, Kelly’s husband off as he competed in the 100 mile race. After he took off we joined Rich & Gillian and had some good french fries and beer next to the biggest fireplace in Alaska. Or at least it should be named as such. The owners were tossing entire trees into the flaming maw of the hearth.

Grocery: $19.20
We went to Freddy Meyer’s in Soldotna to have a “retail therapy” session. I have to admit, Freddy’s in my Achille’s heel. I ALWAYS buy stuff I don’t need there, pretty much because I get overwhelmed (it’s like a super Walmart). Since we only go there 1-2 times a year, it’s hard not to get overly excited at the sheer amount of stuff. But this time, I FELT NOTHING. I bought 3 of my favorite kind of apples and some decaff coffee beans and a box of um, personal items. That’s it. I looked at shoes, at clothes, at all the glossy fruits and veggies, and felt no pangs of “BUY BUY BUY!” It was remarkable. I passed sales sections like they were contaminated with the plague. I should say, instead of feeling nothing, it was more of an aversion to buying that I felt. It was also the least amount of time I had EVER spent in Freddy’s. Ryan and I are on record with our friend Tiffany for spending 5 HOURS in Freddy’s last fall. 5 EFFING HOURS. WHY?! I think we seriously walked down every. single. aisle. So sad. This was a record breaking 30 minutes. My, how things have changed.

DAY 24
nothing

We are now in the home stretch of completing the first month of The Compact. How is it going for you?

Jan 18 2010

Monday Compact Confessional & Days 12-17

Filed under: The Compact

Forgive me Compactors, for I have sinned. It has been, um, 28 years since my last confession. This being my first.

I bought something new. And expensive (for me, anyway). I bought some boots. Not needed winter boots, but badass, made in America by America’s oldest boot company boots. There is really no reason for this other than I have been absolutely OBSESSED with purchasing some.

I did try to buy them used on Ebay. Truly, seriously. I was INCHES away from having some and I lost the bidding war in the last 20 SECONDS because I was a chicken-shit and didn’t want to spend $5 more to win them. Damn. So, I used my precious Amazon gift card, found some excellent coupon codes and a deal with free shipping, and I got them for $150 LESS than retail. Which is very good, to save $150, in my opinion. These are the kind of boots I feel that real adults have (I say that like I am not an adult)–they will last a lifetime if properly cared for and maintained. They are truly worth the money.

HOWEVER, this purchase was the ANTITHESIS of The Compact. This was a pure impulse purchase, no matter how much money I saved, no matter how long I have thought about these boots (1 year. Seriously), no matter how long I tried to score the color I wanted and the size I needed on Ebay. While that doesn’t sound impulsive and/or irrational, I know that it truly is because: 1) I don’t NEED them; and 2) I bought them less than 5 minutes after I lost them on Ebay out of anger and frustration. Talk about retail therapy.

So, I couldn’t make it 31 days. That does NOT mean that I have quit The Compact. I am not going to beat myself up over this because I have made really good progress in the other areas of the challenge and because well, fall down and get back up. It’s okay to screw up.

Here are the numbers for the good parts….

Day 12
Household: $13.57
This was for some TP and paper towel. I’d love to break the paper towel habit, but I work with animals who barf, poop and pee at times. On the floor.

Grocery: $8.99

Misc.: $ 5.99
Ryan bought a Discover science magazine. He can geek out. We can budget for that.

Day 13
NOTHING

Day 14
Gas (Skippy): $20.00

Grocery: $13.66

Entertainment: $20.00
This was for dinner out at Chow’s, the local Asian-Hawaiian/noodle place. It is very cheap and VERY good. Twenty dollars for two people to be filled with quality food is very reasonable here in Homer. Many of restaurants are decent, but overpriced. Everything is expensive here.

Day 15
The Big Bad Boots that are not budgeted for: $130.00 (don’t shun me!)

Day 16
Grocery: $10.37
I think all we got for that much money was some bulk unbleached flour and some Torani pure cane sugar syrup. Ay yi yi

Day 17
Entertainment: $2.00
This was for a de-caff Americano at the local coffee shop. It was my reward for working out. A LOT. I forgot my coffee mug, so I had to take a paper cup with a plastic lid. Frowny face.

How is it going? We are almost done with Month 1 already! Are you planning on going beyond January with The Compact?

Anything you want to confess?

Jan 12 2010

The Compact, Days 8-11

Filed under: The Compact

The Compact is still going okay in the Baker-Ridge house. I think that it helps that we have: 1) a budget; 2) debt to pay off (goal); and 3) vacation goals. Knowing that every little bit we don’t spend on extra crap that will just take up space translates into more cash being applied to our debt payoff and being deposited into the vacation fund. As you can see from the previous posts, we’re not living in a cave only eating plain rice and not going anywhere. We are living and living well. I realize that for some people, us included last year, that The Compact is NOT voluntary. Maybe realizing that you HAVE a choice will help you choose to do this, even for just one day.

Day 8

Grocery: $1.19
Ryan, the big spender, purchased a crossaint for breakfast.

Day 9

No expenditures.

Day 10

Grocery: $26.29 (mostly fruits & veggies and some fizzy bubbly water and some cereal)

Postage: $16.00
This postage was applied to a package so that Ryan could send his video camera to be repaired. He then intends to sell it. He has been selling more things on Ebay, which makes his minimalist wife very very happy.

Entertainment: $6.50

This was for a super duper (caffeine-free!) root beer and a large popcorn at the movies. We went to see Wes Anderson’s version of Fantastic Mr. Fox. Indeed, it was quite fantastic. I love Wes Anderson’s films. I never pictured George Clooney as a fox, even though it should be quite obvious. Ahem.

Day 11

Pet supplies: $64.50
This was for a large bag of dog food. We do pay for the dog food that the client dogs eat at Tails by the Bay.

Grocery: $10.90

Entertainment (?): $2.50
This was kind of a superfluous purchase. I bought a de-caff Americano at the local coffee shop while I was in town. I’ve been off caffeine for about a week in order to help stop my migraines. I didn’t think I was missing coffee until I went to town and was kinda having a bad day. So I treated myself to a $2.50 very good caffeine-free cup of coffee. It did have a plastic lid. So I guess I lose either way. Crap.

Misc: $6.00
I bought a get-well card for my mom and some thank-you notes at the drug store. How do I weigh this? In the true spirit of The Compact, I probably should have made my own cards. Ryan takes very beautiful photographs and he recently bought a new printer for his business. So I could have created some neat cards at home, with what I had. I’m kind of torn on this purchase. It is for other people, and to show my care and concern and gratitude for others. Does this still count?

So, I’m about 1/3 through the 31 day challenge of The Compact. I think I want to go beyond January.

Jan 12 2010

The Compact, Days 5-7

Filed under: The Compact

Hold me back….I’ve got the “shoppies” BAD. This happens each time I try to set up a budget (check! using the Envelope System over here) and stick to it (doing okay on that part). I see this little wad of leftover money and I want to spend it.

I have not bought anything, even though there are some boots and jeans screaming “SKIPPPPPPEEEEEEH. WE ARE SUCH A GOOD DEALLLLLLL. BuuuuuuuuuY UUSSSSSSSSS. IT’s ALLLOOOOOOWED.” Do I NEED them? Nope. Do I WANT them? Oh yeah. Real bad.

Here are the numbers.

Day 5

Nada. Not one red cent left the bank.

Day 6
Payment on hospital bill: $50
Payment on medical clinic bill: $85 (this is part of The Voltron project and is DONE! First one finished!)

(I hate not having insurance. Really, really, really hate that.)

Day 7

Groceries: $27.99
We got 2 onions, some white mushrooms, a big box of organic salad greens, and bag of mozarella for that chunk of change.

Gas (Ryan): $37.00

Ryan has to drive a lot for his business; at least he has a pretty fuel-efficient car.

How are your Compacts coming along?

Jan 12 2010

The Plastic Project

Filed under: The Compact, The Plastic Project

The Plastic Project

Here, in all it’s horrible petroleum-based glory, is the plastic that was brought into this house in 30 days:

(95 items)

(95 items)

(28 items)

(28 items)

61 items

(61 items)

HOLY FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU$%. That’s a lot of plastic. 209 items, 25 of which were not shown because they were already pitched (yucky saran wrap, baggies, plastic ends to water filters, etc).

A couple of disclaimers:

1) I started collecting on December 8 and stopped on January 8. Yep, there is A LOT of packaging from the holiday gifts that were sent.

2) This also includes plastic packaging from the business items sent to Ryan, not just household or mail plastic.

3) This includes recyclable and non-recyclable plastics.

4) This really effing sucks.

This picture shows which items can ACTUALLY BE RECYCLED.

(15 items)

(15 items)

15 ITEMS. That’s it. Homer only recycles plastics numbered 1 & 2.

The plan:

1) Drastically reduce the amount of plastic packaging purchased. I really don’t think recycling cuts it–the process is complicated and somewhat toxic. Argue with me if you will, but PLASTIC IS FOREVER. It doesn’t degrade quickly, it just keeps going and going and going into more plastic. While plastic recycling is better than dumping it in the landfill, what if when an item is recycled, it turns into something that CAN’T be recycled–like turning a soda bottle into a lawnchair? Not so good. I know I am one person, but I am really tired of plastic and I want to stop bringing it into my home. I have resolved to make my own food products that ALWAYS come plastic packaged, buy a glass/cardboard packaged alternative, or just do without. I aint gonna die without organic sour cream.

2) Drastically reduce the amount of “invisible” plastic purchased. There are all kinds of plastics we use everyday and they aren’t very obvious. Hair conditioners, clothing with elastics, fleece clothing, polyester, nylon, synthetic material on shoes, kitchen utensils, toothbrushes, cell phones, computers, cars…..the list goes on. I would much prefer wearing natural fibers and not coating my hair with plastic. I know there are natural bristle toothbrushes out there, and even wooden toothbrushes. Part of The Compact is to avoid superflous purchases. So apart from my “needs” of groceries, pet food, etc., I now resolve to pause even more before purchasing. Really ask–is this plastic or partly plastic? Is there an alternative that creates less of an impact? Do I even need this?

3) Creatively re-use plastic that does come into my home. I know there is no way to avoid it completely. I am not dillusional. Our culture is saturated in polymers and we need a massive wake-up call to stop using them for everything. Once I have drastically reduced the amount of plastic I bring into my home, I would like to then re-use the plastic that is there for storage of non-food items. I guess I can use the pull-tabs on the milk cartons for cat toys. At least the kittehs don’t eat plastic.

4) Any other ideas?

This has been a really interesting experiment. It was pretty hard for me to bag up the
non-recyclables that I couldn’t re-use and get them ready for the trash. 3 medium garbage bags worth. It wasn’t just a piece here, a piece there, in the week’s trash. All bagged together like that really gave me a picture of my impact. I think if we all had to just keep our trash and packaging near us, so that it wasn’t “out of sight, out of mind,” we’d probably strive to find alternatives to plastic.

Jan 06 2010

The Voltron Project

Filed under: Voltron


Ryan came up with the name for this one!

This is all about paying off debt, people. Whoooooo boy. This is actually a combined strategy from my Dad, who is not a financial adviser, but is a really smart guy, and Suze Orman, who is a financial guru. Here’s what ya do:

1) Make a list of your debts, from lowest amount to highest
2) Make a list of your payments to each debt
3) PAY OFF THE LOWEST FIRST. Get ‘er done. We were the classic types who thought, well, we’ll pay like $10-$50 over the minimum payment on these other high-interest debts to get them payed off more quickly. That’s true, it works, but we are given a greater incentive to just knock one out of the park all together. You can scale back on your other debts and just pay the minimum payment while you are pushing all of your money towards the target debt.
4) Apply the monthly payment you WERE paying to that lowest debt to the next one on the list, in ADDITION to the minimum monthly payment you are making. Pay it off. Then apply the combined amounts to the NEXT debt on the list, and so on. By the time you get to that last, big debt, you will be pushing A LOT of money (The Voltron) at it and it will get payed off quickly.
5) When all of your debts are payed off, put the TOTAL amount you had budgeted towards your debts each month in SAVINGS.
6) LOOK AT ALL THAT FRICKIN’ MONEY IN SAVINGS YOU HAVE!

So for example: My first debt is a doctor bill for $85 and my next debt is a credit card with a balance of $XXXX and I make a monthly payment of $50 to the credit card. My first task to is pay that doctor bill off in one swoop-and financially I’m at a place I can do that. I make my minimum payment to the credit card, on time. That’s what I do this month. Next month, I take that $85 that I had budgeted and add it to the $50 minimum payment for a total of $135 to that credit card. And I keep paying that much until it’s paid off. Then because this is dream land and those are all the debts I have (ha!) I now put that $135 in savings each month until I can go on a fantastic vacation!

The great thing about this system is that you aren’t paying MORE than you already do now; you are just applying the combination of minimum payments. My advice though, is, on that first debt, if you have some wiggle room, pay OVER the minimum payment just to get that one over with–it will be that much more money you can apply to the next debt. It may seem scary at first to just pay the minimum payment while you are targeting another debt, but once that debt is on the hit list–it will get payed off FAST.

Suze Orman talked about how this lowest-highest system gives us incentive to keep going. We will see pretty immediate results and it feels good. For example, my student loan is the highest debt we have. It’s a lot. I’m not going to tell you how much because I was raised to not talk about salary or debt. I’m weird like that. Anyway, instead of paying it off in 30 years, and paying almost 4 TIMES more than the original capital loan, I will have this loan paid off 4 YEARS from now. By 2014, we will be totally debt free. Without any cuts to our lifestyle and while putting money in savings at the same time. BOOYAH!

Again, like The Compact, I’m not advocating a life of forced deprivation. I’m advocating that we all stop, think, and assess where the hell we are, how did we get here, and how to make it better.

And of course, there are some big factors here:
1) This will work if you keep your job and your budget
2) This will work if an emergency doesn’t happen and you wipe out your savings
3) This will work if you don’t continue to amass more debt

I do think that if something happened and you were financially screwed, that you could just float and pay those minimum payments and use your cash for living. Not the best strategy, but at that point, you are talking about survival and not going bankrupt.

If something positive and awesome happens and you get a new job or a raise, seriously consider applying MORE money to the list, to whichever target debt you are working on. Again, you will achieve debt freedom faster.

P.S. Okay, so I just learned that this strategy is also called “snowballing.” The Voltron sounds WAY awesomer, I know. Here is a cool calculator you can use to help (and you can choose the method we did, by lowest-highest balance, or by APR). And again, for some people, it may be better to pay those high APR debts first (less money in the long run). For us, we have a weird combination that would make either method the same amount of time and money paid. Thanks to Amanda C. for finding the calculator!

Jan 04 2010

The Compact Day 4

Filed under: The Compact

I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on The Compact! For all of you joining, good luck! It does sound a little easy at first and then whamo! You’re putting stuff back on the shelf and not trying to cry. It’s hard to break habits.

I am going to be really honest here… I think that why I haven’t done this over the past 4 years, even though I have wanted to, is for two weird psychological/cultural reasons: 1) If I had a lot of money (a lot being relative, of course) I felt that I “deserved” to buy things. It was my “reward” for working hard (usually at a job I hated); and 2) when I was totally broke and The Compact was NOT voluntary, when I finally had a few bucks, I spent it because again, it was my “reward” for dealing with financial crisis and a job that I probably hated. What’s with this entitlement stuff, huh? Icky.

Looking back, it makes me feel a little sad about my sense of purpose and perspective. I’m certainly not advocating that we all live a life of forced deprivation. I think that is the reason that many people don’t want to get on board with The Compact or reduction of consumption in general–we are a culture that is so used to reward, so used to hearing that if we work hard, we get what we want (or have the money to get it). What if we did better, more useful and wonderful things with that money? Like paying off debt or traveling or buying higher quality food or donating it to organizations with which we have an interest? You, know, like um, helping people, animals, and the planet? That sounds pretty good.

Anyway, my armchair psychology aside, here are the numbers for today.

Day 4
Groceries $11.47

2 pounds of butter
1 small plastic (AHHHHHHHH! #$&^&&!!@) container of Greek yogurt to use as a starter for my yogurt
1 plastic (mother *$(#)#)^ you can see where this plastic project is going….) clamshell of organic salad greens

Pet item $2.89

I had to buy Krazy Glue for the Kitteh’s soft paw nail caps. We use Soft Paws because our cats are not de-clawed at we don’t want them to ruin our boss/landlord’s furniture. We ran out of glue and the vet said that Krazy Glue is the same stuff they package with the nail caps and is safe. I feel that this was a necessity to prevent damage to my boss’s home and to prevent me from killing my cats when they shred my thighs as they try to haul their fat asses on to my lap.

Gas: $32.00

Ah, Aretha the truck is quite the guzzler. At least with the doggie job I only go into town a couple of times a week and hammer out all the errands at once. I am Super Efficient Skippy.

Postage: $4.80

Do ya’ll know about the Postal Service’s “Click N Ship”? This system is the bomb. You can create labels for your packages online. It’s especially handy if you are sending a flat rate priority item anyway. Then you pay online, print the label, affix (I love that word) it and just drop it off–without waiting in line. OR, your mail person can actually pick it up. That would never happen here. And, I effing HATE standing in our post office line. Miniumum wait, on any given day = 20 minutes. Insanity. I call the it the Waiting Room to Hell. It’s so awful. Aaaaaand, Click N Ship is cheaper, too! Seriously, I am not looking back. This segment is not endorsed by the US Postal Service, I swear. Anyway, the postage was a flat rate mailer of my boss’s PO Box contents. She pays me back.

So, keep on keepin’ on. Tell me about the hardest parts and what you learn as you do this!

Jan 04 2010

The Compact: Days 1-3

Filed under: The Compact

So, if you haven’t heard of The Compact, head over here and here for some primers. If you are lazy or hate to follow links, basic premise: People not buying new stuff. There are some exceptions of course (groceries, medications/medical things, toilet paper, underpants, essential & recreational services). You get the idea. One can thrift, borrow, barter. The Compact was started by some like-minded individuals in San Francisco and their basic manifesto is:

“1) TO GO BEYOND RECYCLING IN TRYING TO COUNTERACT THE NEGATIVE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC IMPACTS OF U.S. CONSUMER CULTURE, TO RESIST GLOBAL CORPORATISM, AND TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES, FARMS, ETC;

2) TO REDUCE CLUTTER AND WASTE IN OUR HOMES (AS IN TRASH
COMPACT-ER);

3) TO SIMPLIFY OUR LIVES (AS IN CALM-PACT).”

I’ve wanted to do this for 4 years. I have no idea why it’s taken me this long, but now is the time. HOWEVER….I will be doing this for one month, as a trial. My hope is to document, assess, and continue implementing The Compact in my life beyond this first month. We shall see. I’d rather achieve a month of drastic consumer reduction than set myself up for 365 days of failure where I feel like a total ass if I can’t make it. So there. Baby steps.

Ryan has agreed to do this as well, with a major caveat being: The Compact does not apply to his business, Bigwoofs Technology. He often has to buy new equipment and parts for his clients since the parts in their computers have failed. He does choose the least amount of packaging and does try to get things locally, but that pretty much doesn’t happen 99% of the time (the getting parts locally aspect).

So, bear with me for the next 31 days (and hopefully more) as I document ALL purchases, thrifts, borrowings, barterings, and trades.

DAY 1 (Jan 1, 2010)

Groceries: $134

Yup, this is the tiny amount of groceries we can get for that much muneh in Homer, Alaska. Le sigh. I know it could be much, much, much worse. I am grateful that I can find what I like and need and that I even have money to buy groceries. Please note, most of this is bulk, so lots of those jars have been refilled.

DAY 2 (1-2-10)

Entertainment with new friends: $18

2 games of bowling and 2 pints of local beer afterwards. My arm hurts but it was worth it.

DAY 3 (1-3-10)

Underpants for moi: $69
(nope, I’m not gonna show you a pair of underpants)

Yeah, I freaking spent $69 on underwear. My triumph was that I got FREE shipping from Macy’s because I scoured the interwebz for a free shipping promo code and I found one. Macy’s =0, Skippy = win. This was for 7 pairs. Not bad for fancy pants. And don’t judge; I haven’t bought new undies in a really long time. I don’t want to share how long. Also, I didn’t just buy underpants because I’m “allowed” to under The Compact. I was planning on buying them anyway and was just crossing my fingers that I would receive some holiday $$$ to buy said underpants. Next time I will spend my hard-earned money on Pact underoos, those super-duper conscious awesome underpants (they are so cool that you pick a design based on what charity/organization to which you want to donate). I can’t believe I’ve said this much about underpants.

Entertainment: $9.50

Ryan (and I) get to see movies for free at the Homer Theater–the theater allows Homer Tribune employees (and family) free movies in exchange for advertising. Yay! So the $9.50 was for a mega popcorn, a root beer, and some organic vegan gummi bears (Homer is so progressive for a small town). And yes, The Blind Side was really good. Leigh Anne Tuohy is one of my new heroes.

Many of you (okay, the like, 2 people who read this blog) may be thinking…”well, what about Ebay? Can’t you just buy to your little heart’s content? It’s used stuff, right?” Okay, well, yeah, I could do that. The point of The Compact is to reduce consumption OVERALL. That’s what I want to do. So that’s what I’m trying to do for 31 days. Or more. Over the past year, Ryan and I have definitely experienced what we call “Buy Nothing Weeks” where it was out of financial necessity to only buy grocery and pet food and gas. This isn’t a new concept, just a little more voluntary. Think about it. Maybe you can try it for a day or week or more!