Buy nothing new challenge – days three and four

I bought tea bags, only 89p though :)My first shopping trip was on day three of the monthly buy nothing new challenge. I learnt that essentials and necessities can easily blur into one another, so it takes a lot of self discipline.

What we needed were tea bags, milk and butter.
I have to admit, I resented buying the milk and tea bags because we don’t use them. I needed them because someone was coming over. I toyed with the idea of ‘we only have coffee and soya milk or herbal teas’, but my social etiquette demon kicked in and told me I should provide ‘normal’ things. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Do you keep things in the house solely for guests or are you more of a ‘take us as you find us’ person?

In the shop there were a couple of things I wanted. Kitchen towel was one of them, but I thought it would be an interesting challenge to see if I can get through a month without it. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, but always procrastinated about.

Little Miss Green picked up a tin of her favourite soup, but I have all the ingredients at home (it was lentil and carrot) to make some. No doubt it will be more wholesome and half the price of shop bought. This does require ‘effort’ however, and I like to have a few ‘convenience’ items in the house for those moments of time constraints, lack of organisation or sheer Can’t Be Arsed days.

Batch cooking will be order of the day then, with some standbys in the freezer for such times.

I was thinking of the lovely Melissa bartering her eggs for dairy produce and realised that we wouldn’t be able to do anything like that around here. I would be thought of as weird (well, weirder than already thought of) or totally off on one. Also, I’m not sure I have anything I could barter – cakes, biscuits, bread and chutney perhaps; but do ‘normal’ people really value those things when they can buy a loaf of white pap for 50p in the supermarket or a packet of digestives for less than a lb of carrots?

I love the idea of bartering but I think you need to live in the ‘right place’ for such things. What is the area like that you live in; do you barter items or services?

I needed to post something too, but I put that down as ok – I can’t not post things for a month. This was a book I had sold through Amazon, so for my 98p postage (free packing; I keep everything that comes into our home for reuse) I made a profit of about four pounds.

All in all I’m pleased with the first few days. I have spent 89p on teabags (I bought reduced Fair Trade ones from the Co-Op), Mr Green bought the other two items as he will use them most and the postage was 98p which is not much at all.

If I had bought one or two books on Amazon when Mr Green bought his GPS, and added a couple of things to the shopping basket today I would have spent about 15 pounds by now, so I’m very pleased 🙂


  1. Hugh on November 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm


    Just found your blog & like the buy nothing challenge – should be great inspiration for people feeling hard up at the moment.

    Who are “normal” people and what is the correct etiquette for them? Are they the ones who sit in their cars in traffic jams every day, spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need to make sure they fit in. I’m sure thats why we have such financial difficulties at the moment…

    I have a few jars of apple chutney to barter, but I don’t know anyone in the middle of Nottinghamshire who has anything to barter, so I keep a few spare jars as “thank you’s” for friends instead. They will last a while and didn’t cost much to make but are they always gratefully received…is this barter?!!!

    Thanks for the blog, and particularly keep up with the “buy nothing” thread. I suddenly feel like being green is a little more “normal”.



  2. Mrs Green on November 22, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Hello Hugh,
    Thanks for your lovely comment. I’d given up posting about it because I didn’t feel I was doing very well! But when I look at our culture I realise I’ve made some good changes – simply being conscious of our spending habits is a step in the right direction.
    Well apple chutney it is for me this week as well. Like you, I’ll keep them for friends but it’s a lovely to go through the process of making something with free food from the garden – that act in itself is so rewarding and is one that money can’t buy 😉