Heading for a No-Buy Month in March

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Over in the Saturday Savers Club, we're getting ready for our first No-Buy Month of the year. It will run from 1-31 March, and is a great way to check how you are spending money, and to see whether you can boost your savings by being extra focused for a month. You can read more about it in this post.

I set out my spending rules for this time round a week or two ago. They look like this:

Allowable Expenses

  • housing costs (mortgage or rent, utilities, telecoms, local taxes, insurance).
  • fresh food, toiletries, and cleaning materials - aiming to use up pantry and freezer foods.
  • eating out or take out - four times during the month (includes coffee shops and pubs).
  • leisure - audiobook subscription, healthy living club (raffle), postage, transport.
  • essential repairs and replacements plus two new items of clothing.

I'm going to be away for a couple of days during the no-buy month but they will be covered by my holiday savings. I'll probably have a look at the shops while I'm away and have more time, so I've included a clothing allowance, and there's postage and transport to cover birthdays and outings to friends.

NO-BUY Items

  • No shop bought, non-essential treats
  • No yarn, fabric, books, patterns, notions, stationery or cosmetics.
  • No new items of furniture, housewares or technology.
  • No seeds, plants or gardening items.

I've just discovered xigxag audiobooks, which looks amazing and is an independent UK company. It doesn't have a monthly subscription: instead, you buy when you want and you are rewarded with increasingly lower-priced books the more books you buy, plus they always have some books available at the lowest price (£3.99). That works well for accommodating a no-buy month and goodbye Amazon!

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I got pretty good at stream-lining my expenses last year (the first year of the Saturday Savers Club). My utilities are about as low as they can be, given the huge increase in energy prices here, and most of my food is delivered, avoiding costly trips to my local shop for "a loaf of bread" which always ended up costing £20 (my particular weakness which, I discovered yesterday, is also shared with my neighbour).

This time round I want to concentrate on using up older stock from my pantry and I spent this morning going through the cupboards and getting organised.

Dry Goods

This was both much better than I expected and left me wondering how I was going to use up everything in one month! I've pulled the older stock to the front:

  • pot barley
  • yellow split peas (for pease pudding)
  • brown and green lentils - the wide, shallow ones, delicious in a braise.
  • quinoa - I looked up how to cook this again. I like it, but kept passing over it.
  • brown basmati rice - a good sized pack. It gets left because it takes so long to cook.
  • mung beans - I forgot why I bought these, but I'm going to sprout them.

Tins and Jars

Just seven tins of various fruit and vegetables, now sitting in splendour on their own shelf at eye level. I also discarded some old packets of sauce mix and desserts from when the young people were here (three years ago now).

Baking and Dessert Ingredients

Bits and pieces of jars and packets that need using up:

  • desiccated coconut - never opened!
  • ground and flaked almonds.
  • end of a jar of honey, also peanut butter and cocoa powder.
  • bottom of a bottle of maple syrup.
  • and in the fridge and freezer, some almond milk and frozen banana pieces.
  • stale bread from the loaf I dropped when I was putting it in the oven. Edible, but hard work.

These have (mostly) been used up and transformed into:

  • vegan chocolate pudding - to use up the almond milk, maple syrup and some of the cocoa.
  • chocolate gelato - frozen bananas, peanut butter and the rest of the cocoa.
  • bread pudding - anything that's left, including half the packet of coconut.

The gelato and bread pudding can be frozen and eaten later in the month. I also made some granola to use up some jumbo oats that had been hanging around a long-time, together with some bits and pieces of nuts and seeds and dried fruit.

I have meat and fish in the freezer that I'll be using up and I get fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and eggs delivered, so I'm pretty much set for the month. Toiletries and cleaning materials are also in good stock, so apart from one or two items (salt, yoghurt and bread flour) and a few bits and pieces (fresh ginger and herbs), I shouldn't have to buy very much. I wonder if I could set a budget of £10 a week for any extras?

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The No-Buy Month has an extra purpose for me which is gradually divesting myself of things I don't need any more. I have dry goods, garden supplies and cleaning materials from heaven knows when which all need using up. I also seem to have a surplus of electrical items - extension leads, lamp holders, adaptors and bulbs. A lot of them are destined for the re-cycling centre. I've already sent bags of old chargers and cables, DVDs, video and audiotapes and CDs.

I love it as the space opens up in the garage and around the house.

There's no special reason for the name Silver Moon, no back story or romance. I just like it.

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Three things newbies should do in their first week and, for most things, forever afterwards!

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45 comments
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This is so cool. I'd be up for this type of challenge at some point but OMG I've got soooo many "essentials" to buy next month, I'll probably be doing the direct opposite of this 😅

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Hahaha - some months are like that! We'll be doing another one later in the year, probably September, help people get in gear for the holiday spending.

Now I think I think of it, I got those mung beans at the beginning of the pandemic following a post you did about getting fresh vegetables! You might also be responsible for me thinking I would get some chia seeds, even though I had no idea how to use them! My goodness, I'm a marketing executive's dream, I'm so easily influenced 😂.

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We are not that mindful of our expenses and we are expecting some of the online deliveries either today or tomorrow. Need to talk with wife about this challenge and see if we can try to join.

Thanks for sharing !PIZZA

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(Edited)

You would be very welcome to join us 😍.
Thank you for the pizza!

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(Edited)

PIZZA! PIZZA!

PIZZA Holders sent $PIZZA tips in this post's comments:
tpkidkai tipped shanibeer (x1)
@rarej(1/5) tipped @shanibeer (x1)

Join us in Discord!

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I hope coffee doesn't get kicked out the door for the month of March. This is an interesting challenge and I will be looking out for how you guys are doing. I will join the challenge in my own way, to start, no more convenient store snacks. They are quite tempting especially on the long daily journey.

Ps: I like that your buys and don't buys are reasonable and realistic. Many would try not to buy anything at all and end up buying it all. 😄
Gambatte ( good luck)

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Coffee is in there - I buy from @c0ff33a through @whiterosecoffee (White Rose Coffee Roasters). I just bought some in February, a really delicious Black Rose dark roast blend created for Black Friday last year and the Shibden Blend, possibly my favourite go-to coffee. Before that I was drinking Jamaican Blue Mountain 😍. There's also a Hive Blend - Brazil Nuts. Coffee is lumped in with the fresh food 😁. I believe you can buy with crypto, too.

Yes, I guess it's more a planned buy month, than a no-buy 😂. Starting in a small way is a really good idea - just one thing to focus on. We did really well last year, some massive savings for some people, but everyone gained a little and had a little extra to play with whatever they wanted to do with it. You're welcome to join us any weekend, we love friends dropping in 😍.

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I used to be one of those people with an overstuffed pantry, but once I used things up and got it streamlined, it is SO much easier to keep track of what I have and need and I very rarely waste food!
That audiobook seller sounds really cool! I used to do Audible and I would start/stop it a lot because it was just too frequent for my budget. Eventually I gave it up and would just borrow CD audiobooks from the library.

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I love an orderly pantry! I love orderly anything 😁. I like all the white space in the cupboard and not having to root through everything to see what you've got. I knew there was some stuff that needed sorting, and it's great to have the opportunity. I like the no-buy months - they're a sort of reset time.
Yes, I was so pleased about xigxag, they have lots of community stuff planned, too. Audible is okay sometimes, but I don't always want a book each month and it's Amazon! Amazon has its place - great if I want to get stuff to people in North America, but not the vast influence it has.

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I went to check the audiobooks in the library and discovered there was £1.80 borrowing charge. Okay, I guess, especially as I found several where one of the discs was missing, which I imagine happens a lot. They also have online books but as yet, I haven't got my head around that. Perhaps to investigate again 😍.

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When I was regularly borrowing audiobooks and DVDs from the library, I often found ones that were terribly scratched up and would bring them back telling the librarians which ones didn't work so they could be cleaned. When I borrowed the DVD to watch Infinity War, it would somehow only play if at the beginning when it prompted you for a language selection I chose French (this only effected the menus). I told that to the librarian and she said, "Well it's a good thing you speak French!" and I was like, well, I didn't know menu vocabulary before but I could figure it out. 😂

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@shanibeer and @faeriestories sorry for chiming in, but as I also pondered the audiobook topic a bit (I wanted to try less podcast more audiobooks) I perhaps have a tip... but only perhaps as I cannot try it myself.
So, I hope I do not write something you both already knew 😱
In Germany you can be member of a communal library and borrow books and audiobooks for free, but only in German. And as I wanted to improve my listening comprehension I would love English audiobooks. So, I stumbled about overdrive (and the app Libby) where you can get books from all over the world...if your library has a overdrive licence... WHICH MINE DOES NOT GRRRRRR (sorry, I yelled at the library :-DDD) If I understood right most US Librarys automatically are included into the overdrive network, not sure how its in England but I bet Londons Libraries are partner in overdrive.
https://www.overdrive.com/
Could this be a solution for free audiobooks for you both?

And the other app I use is spotify. Only problem without a payed account (like me) you can only hear audiobooks with ads and on a tablet. If you hear them on a phone they are in shuffle mode and you cannot change it (or at least I did not found a solution).

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You just prompted me to look again, because my library used to NOT have that available, but I double checked and now they do! I didn't even know they had switched because I looked years ago and was like "oh, we don't, damn" and never looked again. Yay!
@neumannsalva, you may also check YouTube; obviously they are not going to have recent books on there but I have found some public domain books in English read on YouTube and listened to them there.

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I like the concept of allowable expenses and no-buy items for a month. Gives you complete control over what you have left over at the end of the month.

I used to monitor my monthly expenses in an excel sheet, before I moved out of my parent's house, just to see where most of my money was going each month. This helped me determine if I could survive comfortably on my own.

!LUV !PIZZA

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@rarej(1/3) gave you LUV. H-E tools | connect | <><

Given the current emission rate of LUV pushing 500/day, increases to required LUV levels will likely be forthcoming.

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Keeping track of your expenses is a great way to see where your money is going and whether you can afford a lifestyle change. As you say, gives you control 😍. Be delighted to see you as part of the challenge or any time you want to drop in to Saturday Savers Club.

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Keeping track of your expenses is a great way to see where your money is going and whether you can afford a lifestyle change. As you say, gives you control

That's true. But then again if you have to calculate if you can afford a lifestyle change, then there are probably other things with higher priority compared to that change.

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I'm talking about you moving out of your parents home 🙂

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Ah, I see. Well, technically I'd be saving more while living with my parents. 🤣

But the feeling of staying out as long as I want was definitely worth it.

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I always believe in living within my means. I think that society as a whole consumes too much and we need to cut back on our consumption.

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There are a lot of pressures to keep buying, it's been normalised, it suits the 1% 😍. I've got more and more interested in minimalism - as a side benefit of being more purposeful about spending. It's interesting the peace of mind that comes with not having so many things.

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A lot of people buy things because they like to compare themselves with others. They like to keep up with the Jones

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It's great when we can break free of that and be ourselves.

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Oh my word Silver Moon (does have a nice ring to it!), that's a difficult challenge! But, would be a good exercise for us Silver Bloggers as well as we really need to watch our budget!

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Hello there @hive-106316 (that's a lot of numbers) 😍.
It's a challenge to work up to, I think. Maybe a starting place would be choosing one area to start - last year, different people focused on different things, maybe limiting takeouts (not eradicating, entirely, that would be no fun 😂), or taking time out of buying commemorative items or, in my case, stop buying yarn and books!

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I always like buying discount things. Particularly like the ones where you pay 50% more and get the second item. It really means that you get it at 75% each. If can afford buy the packs of 12, depend on the dates it needs to be consumed, usually can save up to 30%. It's only fruit, veg and some fresh meat that you need to buy every few days. Other house hold stuff can buy in stock for up to a month at a time. It's great knowing other bloggers have the same idea, concept and mindset. I may try out audiobooks !

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Getting things that you would normally buy on discount or with a coupon is a great idea - I usually do my yarn shopping when there is a sale and rarely buy full-price yarn. I was going to discard some coupons as the threshold was twice the amount I would normally spend on a shop, but then I remembered about some higher value items I was interested in purchasing. The coupons last until April, so I have plenty of time to do my research and keep to my no-buy month 😁.

Hope you enjoy the audiobooks, let me know how you get on 😍

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excellent idea, good luck. less is more, that's my way of living for almost ten years now...

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Thank you 😍.
I agree - I'm not sure what happened in those middle-aged years, but I'm better now 😁.

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(Edited)

Hello Shani

Silverfish here, i'm part of the Silver Bloggers’ Community Team.

Thank you for sharing your well thought-out post in the Silver Bloggers community! As a special "token" of appreciation for your contribution to our community, it has been curated, upvoted and reblogged from us.

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Hello Silverfish that is so lovely, thank you very much 😍.
So pleased you enjoyed it ❤️

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It's the joy to see that there are humans like you who start to really make a difference... i love that!

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