About Us

We don't actually advocate going without socks! We are two sisters with a common goal: 2011 is our year to step away from cultural messages that try to force us to define ourselves as consumers. To that end, we are committed to spend this year buying only what we need, and to buying used items whenever possible.

We decided to use this forum to document our experiences, share successes and challenges, and support each other in our efforts.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One step forward . . .

Dear Amy,

I'm not going to call it a step back. I'm not even going to call it a step sideways. Maybe it's not even a step. But in any case, the step forward was good.

Monday night we went to the BYU Museum of Art to see their Carl Bloch exhibit. Everyone needs to go to that, if at all possible. It's free, and it's awesome. Sorry to taunt you. I know you can't go. But it's really, really good. Anyway, Taylor raced through while Bret and I used the guided iPad tour and took our time. This gave her several hours to spend in the gift shop, trying to figure out how to burn the January allowance she'd received two days earlier.

By the time we staggered in to the gift shop, she had made her final decision. A coloring book. I looked at it, and it was cute. I came close to letting her get it. But first I said, "Do you really need it?"

T: Moooooomm! It's my money. I can do what I want with it.

L: That's true. I'm just asking you to consider before you buy. This is what I'm trying to do every time I spend money. Do you really need it?

T: Of course I don't need it. I just want it. And I'm buying it with my money.

L: Okay. If that's how you feel, you can get it.

Then I wandered around the shop for a minute, and looked at stuff I don't need. As we were getting ready to buy the book and leave, Taylor put it back on the shelf and said, "You're right. I don't need it." And that was that. She wasn't playing the martyr or anything. She was able to walk out and not look back. I felt it was a small victory.

And now about my step back, or whatever it was. Today is my day for shopping and running errands. I've been feeling smug, because I haven't bought anything this week. I forgot that Thursday would be the real test. I ran some errands, and then decided to just pop in to Savers and see . . . if they had anything I needed. They did. Running pants that I've been needing for a while now, because all of my running gear is made for seasons other than winter. Brand new pants are uber expensive, and I've been waiting for these used ones to show up since long before the temperature dropped below 20 degrees. That was great. I found some shoes, barely worn, in a color I don't have, and of the brand I always wear because of my foot condition. Great. I hesitated, because I don't seriously need them right now. But here's the thing: when you need something, you can't run into a thrift store and find it in stock. You have to anticipate what you will need, and buy it when it shows up. This opens the door for a huge justification exercise. I think I was moderate.

It will get really boring really fast if I catalog every single expenditure and try to justify it here, but this is all new, so I'm going to give some extra details while I figure things out. I got the shoes. I'll need them sometime soon. I got two sweaters, because my brown sweater is too big for me, and this one looks much nicer. I don't really have light cardigan-type sweaters at all, so I got the other one, partly because it was half off. I'd forgotten my coupon, so I felt a little guilty about that, but I'll go back and use it later this month for Taylor or Bret.

I felt good about it overall, because I resisted the temptation to shop through all the clothes. I skimmed through and told myself I was going to be temperate, and the sweaters were what I needed most. But I can see that it will be difficult not to look into the future and predict a "need" whenever something good shows up.

In the meantime, errand day is over and I'm safe until next Thursday!



  1. Dear Leslie and Amy,
    I chose the word BRAVE for my 2011 word, but I’d happily share it with you both, for I fear you will need it! What a BRAVE undertaking. I applaud you! I’m trying to think if I could do it—NO WAY! Actually, the idea is very appealing to me, and I’m glad you decided to blog about it. I don’t know that I could take the plunge, but I could be like Taylor and be one of your small victories.

  2. I feel like I am ultra-frugal but there are times when I buy at a thrift shop or on sale because I know I can't get at that price later. I have decided that if I don't use it, I am going to use it to "pay-it-forward" to others who might benefit from this stuff. I love reading about the things you do. You always have GREAT ideas.