Well, we survived the first month of our “Buy (Almost) Nothing Year,” and it wasn’t as difficult as I’d anticipated! All of the decluttering and simplifying we did over the Christmas holiday really paved the way for initial success with our audacious goal. In the past, I would get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in our kitchen, both random utensils and a decent amount of non-perishable food, so much so that I was discouraged from cooking. However, by ridding ourselves of the excess, cooking is a much more pleasant endeavor … and it doesn’t hurt that David doesn’t mind doing the dishes. 🙂
As I mentioned before, my biggest apprehension going into this year was our no eating out rule (excepting book dates and travel). That first Friday night at home it was a little sad not to head out together for our weekly Amigos date, but it’s since become the new normal. We’ve decided to make Fridays “Italian Night” complete with either homemade pizza or a pasta creation. It’s also been great having leftovers to carry us through the weekend.
Since we’re a bit behind in our reading, going into the month it looked as though we might not eat out at all the entire month of January. However, the school needed to send us to Singapore for a visa run, which meant we had no choice but to eat away from home. 🙂 We thoroughly enjoyed our rogan josh and chicken tikka masala in Little India. And Clementine is a huge fan of the mango lassi! We were thankful for the little “splurge” and I am newly motivated to try out some Indian recipes in the not so distant future.
We did do a little Orchard Road shopping for Clementine while in Singapore, although all under our “approved” guidelines. Her grandparents gave her some money for Christmas we had yet to spend, so we got her a Grimm rainbow, which she’s loved. Since potty training is in our imminent future, we also got her a potty seat … (pray for us now).
One thing I did notice on our trip was the lure of Starbucks. At the airport I mentioned to David how on any other trip we’d be grabbing our triple caramel macchiatos (easy on the syrup) before boarding the plane. I was proud of us for drinking homemade coffee in the car on the way there. I hadn’t missed it much, but walking around Singapore where there was a Starbucks every few meters it seemed, I was suddenly very aware that I hadn’t had a takeout coffee in awhile and how nice it would be to get one. It’s crazy how much our surroundings influence us! I am so thankful that I don’t see a Starbucks on a daily basis or really any other “tempting” shops. (See photo above for the “We Miss You!” email I received from them the other day …)
While we didn’t finish Anna Karenina (our December book) this month, we went ahead and read January’s The Underground Railroad since a digital copy recently became available from the library (and was going away at the end of the month). Even though we live overseas, we still have access to three Dallas area libraries, and more often than not we are able to find the books we’re wanting to read. There’s even an option to “recommend” the library purchase certain digital titles, and a few times they’ve actually stocked David’s requests. All that to say, if you haven’t looked into your local library’s digital titles, you are potentially missing out on a goldmine of convenient and free reading.
In addition to our unforeseen Singapore trip, we actually got a book date in this month as well. Because eating out has become a treat and not the norm, we have appreciated it so much more.** We really savored each meal, taking no bite for granted. However, now that eating at home is the norm, we appreciate those meals more as well. We’re eating more healthily both in content and quantity, and we’re spending less money. It’s still very early in our year long experiment, but we are happy to see some rhythms emerge and notice positive change.
So that’s the update at one month in. I realized after the last post that I hadn’t gotten much into the “why” of our decision and had planned to use this month to cover that more fully. However, I’m going to leave that one to David. This year is the culmination of ideas and promptings spread over the course of several years, so much so that “the why” deserves its own post. Plus, David spoke in chapel this month over the spiritual discipline of simplicity, and I know he’ll express our heart much better than I could. So … stay tuned. 🙂
** I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a fantastic resource we stumbled upon this month that has further shaped our thinking about consumerism and its pitfalls. The whole blog is worth checking out, but this post in particular really helped put our eating out habits into perspective.