Friday, February 5, 2010

Frugal February

I really should have made this post on February 1 but what's new about me running behind on every single thing in my life? February has always been a funny month for me, and for central Texas also. It's really the end of our short winter and I think it catches a lot of folks by surprise. We're worn out from Christmas, January just flew by. It's cold and gray; it's wet; it's icy; from time to time it's cold, wet, grey, and icy all at the same time. Just the perfect time to let myself slip into a funk of guilt and self-recrimination. Why did I spend so much at Christmas? How could I have eaten all that? Why is the house so cluttered? More generally it's also a time when central Texans actually start complaining about things like rain and cool weather. I mean, really, these are things we cry and gasp for in the dog days of summer and now we complain about them. Such ungrateful behavior and yet another reason to slip into a pattern of guilt and self-recrimination.

Last February I managed these gray days by declaring Frugal February and I'm doing it again this year. It seems like a good month to use up the stores I have on hand, to boycott shopping, to reset my spending patterns -- kind of like the way Ayurveda has you go on a fast to reset your taste buds to purer foods and rest the digestive system. Only I can promise, I shall not be going on a fast. Here are the contours of Frugal February: no shopping at all for the entire month. That's it.

OK, that's not quite it. An exception has been made, and I won't say who in my household has made this exception, except to say it wasn't me. Bananas will continue to be purchased during Frugal February.

But other than that exception, no shopping. Believe me, this will not be onerous. I keep such a huge store of emergency foods here that I suspect we could go six months without buying groceries. And as for non-food shopping like clothes, we could go far longer yet. What I hope to accomplish is to just rest my system, enjoy the freedom of bowing out of the spend/consume cycles for a while, and take stock of what we have. I hope to discover how well we're planned out little home oeconomia here. We'll see how well the winter greens and herbs from the garden hold out, and use up the last of my canned, frozen, and dehydrated garden foods from last summer. We'll see if monotony sets in. As I recall from last year, I came away feeling very refreshed and ready for the fine, fine spring ahead.


  1. great idea and a good way to gear up for spring empty a clean refreshed start, it is kind of what happens here during Feb - April as we eat our summer surplus stores and winter garden before the spring crops get going.

  2. this is a wonderful idea--and really at a time of that I truly don't want to be out and shopping anyhow! I may give this a try as well.

  3. Exactly, Laura! Fresh for spring.

    Jenny, I think have the benefit is avoiding shopping. :)