Tuesday 13 December 2016

2017: The Biggest Challenge Yet

If you've been a long time reader of this blog you've been with me through my boycott of Amazon (still ongoing), my 9 month long book buying ban, my decision to read more nonfiction and more diverse authors, my recent decision to participate in Louise's Read the World Project (a review of my Malaysia pick is coming soon), as well as being aware of Ninja Book Swap and Ninja Book Box from the beginning and dealing with all my rambling about both London and Bath bookshop crawls plus dealing with my massive love for Laura, Katie, Hanna, Ellie, Charlotte and Nahree among many other blogging friends. Which is to say you've put up with a lot from me, but 2017 is going to be, as the post title says, the biggest challenge yet.

Rhys and I have decided that in 2017 we are going to spend no unnecessary money. Yes, you read that right, and yes I am immediately going to state that this is with the exception of the two bookshop crawls (London is on February 18th, everyone's welcome so tweet me if you want info!) but I will be holding myself to a very strict one book per shop rule!

This year we've got rid of loads of stuff we didn't really use and cleared our house out a lot and we're both feeling so much better about everything. It's also changed the way we shop - before this year we were thrifty shoppers - car boot sales and charity shops are big favourites of both of ours - but we bought a lot of stuff we didn't need. This year we still do that but we're more likely to think about purchases more. We want to take it one step further next year and try not to really shop at all.

Spending Freeze

Here's what we're planning to do:

  • Get rid of our car. This is more of a stress thing than anything as Rhys does all the driving (because I'm a wuss) and although he loves driving he finds he's always really stressed and tired by it, plus the car is expensive so we're going to see if we can do without and use public transport and our legs instead!
  • Get rid of the TV licence (again). We only got it back just under a year ago but we barely watch TV and it seems like even if we were to buy box sets of the four or so series a year that we actually watch plus occasional CBeebies DVDs for the boys it wouldn't add up to £150 a year. Also means we'll spend less time watching mindless rubbish and actually do more productive stuff instead hopefully. 
  • Not buy books. With the exception of bookshop crawls as mentioned above and if we have book tokens. I have one more month of OTSP Secret Sister to go so I'll spend some for that but I'm not signing up for the next round, and though I'll be running at least two Ninja Swaps this year I'm undecided whether I'll participate or not. If I do it'll be only one parcel per swap and I'll do my best to gift homemade and preloved stuff. It also means I'll only be doing giveaways on the Ninja Book Box website and twitter on occasion and here not at all (because postage costs), but I will be doing lots of books for postage giveaways so watch out for those. 
  • Bring tea from home in a thermos. I have a terrible weakness for coffee shops because I get into work way too early for my shift (because buses) so I tend to go to a coffee shop at least twice a week. This will stop and I know I'll save more than I think from it. 
  • Bring lunch from home. We're generally pretty good at doing this when we're at work except when we're not and we're terrible at it when we go out for the day all together. I think this is because we get caught up in the mad rush of getting out the door and forget about food, thinking we'll just grab something while we're out. Hopefully public transport will help with this, as our days out will have to be generally more planned and that'll prompt us to remember a picnic! No restaurants unless we have a gift card! (So anyone who wants gift ideas for me for this year, I love Pizza Express...)
  • We can buy shoes & clothes only if they're absolutely necessary, so shoes for the boys are fine, shoes for us aren't unless we've actually worn them out. Also where possible we'll try to go to charity shops for clothes (we mostly do this anyway since you often get way better quality clothes for Primark prices!). 
  • We can buy only what's on the weekly grocery list. If we want treats that week we have to factor them in to the weekly shop, and we're going to try to make that stuff as much as we can. Ditto for beauty and cleaning products. Homemade stuff is way better for you anyway!
  • Buy bus passes and use them to get as many places as we can! If we can get a bus using our already paid for monthly bus passes rather than a train then we will. If we can get a bus part way and save some money, we will. If we can get a bus and hike across a field, we will. You get the picture. 
The reason this list is weirdly worded is that I didn't want to write a bit list of stuff starting 'no' or 'not', so I've rephrased things to make it feel more positive! I've started a Pinterest board full of Spending Freeze ideas. Let me know what you think of our crazy plan - I'll be keeping you all updated whether you like it or not (though seriously, if you don't want updates unsubscribe now, you've been warned!). 


  1. Good for you! Even if you are not "perfect" - and what human is? - I think you will save a great deal - not just of money, but of time, stress, and space, too. I'm very interested in hearing updates.

    Relatedly, how is the library situation in your area?

  2. I'm with you. Restraint is SOOO healthy. I can't give up my vehicle b/c I do not live in a big city, but I like the idea of being frugal and reasonable and wise with spending money. Good for you!

  3. I always think spending cuts are like an adventure :) Being frugal can be fun if you do it right - although small indulgences are needed every now and then :)

  4. Wow, that's a big commitment! But think of all the money you'll save. I might steal some of these ideas as I'll need to be more frugal next year too. I'm planning a book-buying ban, although I'm sure I'll get some things on the bookshop crawl in Feb, it's mostly about the day out and the people this time. I've got so many books and right now I'm in a reading slump so they're just sitting there staring at me.

    In the summer, you me and Laura ought to go for a picnic somewhere, I'm thinking.

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  6. That's quite the challenge, but one I'm sure you'll both be great at.

    We don't have a car (neither my partner nor I have any interest in learning to drive), and we also don't have a TV license (we watch DVD's / Netflix) and not having either of those things saves us so much money compared to other people of similar income and outgoings.

    We're also working on being a little more frugal in the new year - groceries, clothes, etc - like you. It's so easy to pick up little things here and there whilst out and about, but they really do add up.

    No books would be a tough one for me, something that would work well as a transition, but rereading is always and option and of course the making use of the local library.

    I'm really looking forward to updates! Good luck!

  7. This is very brave of you! I hope it works out fantastically and that you find you need way less than you thought you did!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  8. Good luck with this! I know I spend money unnecessarily and Josh is much better at me with being frugal. I'd quite like a new kitchen so maybe I should ask myself if I'd rather put the money towards the kitchen than whatever it is I'm thinking of buying. Though I find it tough because Josh is self-employed and I have a secure job, so I'm all, we'll just get a kitchen and he's, no we need to save money for emergencies.

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