a resolution with a laundry list of caveats

Happy New Year's 2014! Around our house we are all super excited for Otto's New Year's Baby birthday and have kind of let the whole actually-a-new-year thing play second fiddle to household birthday excitement. I mean look at this kiddo, all jazzed up on New Year's Eve for his birthday dinner. Nobody in this picture is thinking about anything but being FIVE (5!) the next day, udon noodles, and mochi ice cream. Well, someone in this picture *might* be thinking, "get a grip, foo, you're ruining my rep."

I have a whole backlog of posts I intend to write in the coming weeks, about Otto turning five, about our project-per-month PROJECT for December, ok maybe I have two in the backlog but that feels overwhelming, anyways, this is the other one. I'm bringing back Nothing New, a resolution I've done in the past that always inevitably fizzles out, but while I'm doing it forces me to be more thoughtful of how I'm spending our money and the garbage things I'm bringing into our home.

Here's the Resolution in All Its Glory, May I Hang in There The Whole Year Through

It's not simple at all, really. The idea is to spend no cash money on anything that's new. Except groceries and toiletries and health and beauty stuff of course. If I want a new tshirt or a new cookie sheet, I have to either find a used one or spend non-money on it (like a gift card or a trade). This goes for items for my family too, like the kids' clothes and toys, but not underwear, there is an underwear exception to this rule. I've also made a Kate Quinn monthly grab bag for Etta exception to this rule because those clothes are cheaper in the grab bag than they'd be used at a consignment shop AND, if I'm being honest, because this is my resolution and these are my exceptions, and I stinking love that grab bag. I've also made an exception for home-schooling supplies for the kiddos; we don't full-time home school but we do work on reading, math, art, and comprehension projects in a casual way and I don't want this resolution to get in the way, although I guess if we're in the market for supplies we can always try the thrift store first... anyways, this is a minor exception since for the most part this is the occasional box of markers or glue stick. Another exception for gifts for friends and family, because as much as I wish I was a gifted crafter, or that our friends and family were bohemians, no one we know would want to deal with gifts of anything I made or found. Perhaps I will realize my dream of becoming an expert canner in 2014 and then pickles for Christmas! Or perhaps not... For those items where I just cannot or do not want to purchase the item used, I'm going to force myself to use gift cards. If none of the above is an option, too bad so sad I'll have to do without. I'm going to try buying a lot of stuff with our Discover card this year, pay it off immediately, and use the cash back bonus to hoard gift cards just for this purpose.

See, not simple at all, but even with all of these exceptions and rules (pssst. I LOVE living life by self-imposed rules, it could possibly be one of my favorite favorite things) I think this weird little resolution is going to benefit our home in some real ways.

I'm going to have to become more thoughtful of my purchases.

Instead of just running to Target for every little thing I think I need or want, I'll have to hunt these things down. It'll force me to think about every purchase and decide if the item is valuable enough to spend TIME (this is what we're even more scarce of than money in my house although neither is growing on trees around here) finding it. And then when I do find the things, they'll cost less money which is a bonus. We'll end up introducing less clutter and junk into our home. We'll save money, go on thrifting adventures, and be forced to make do with what we've got sometimes.

I've done this resolution a couple of times before and each lasted for months. The 2011 Easter basket I made Otto that arose out of this challenge goes down in history! I'd love if I could go a whole year this time. That's the goal. It feels do-able. And I wish you loads of success in your resolutions, guiding words for the year, and general to-do lists. Happy New Year!

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