New Year, New Resolution…???????? — Buy Nothing New for a Year!

2014…the future is once again upon us! While 2013 saw us take on (and tackle) a pretty big resolution, as well as a major expansion at the shop and several big home projects, it’s already time to put those accomplishments in the books and plan ahead for the year to come. Last year was big, but this year we are determined to really make some headway. As Daniel Burnham would say, “Make no little plans!”

For those of you not keeping up with all the media buzz, we were featured in DNA Info, on 89 WLS AM radio safe_imageon the Roe and Roeper show, and FOX 32 9pm news on a piece by Craig Wall…and that was just January 1st, 2014! These folks were all interested in a final update on our resolution to buy nothing new for a year. Suffice to say, it was an incredible experience for our family, and besides just re-energizing our focus and drive for the business, it really had a profound impact on who we are as individuals, and what our contributions are to the overall global economy. When you are forced to look beyond the next big box store, you are able to see how your purchases, no matter how small, really become personal transactions. Furthermore, and most importantly, you are able to test your self-restraint with things that you may not need, and therefore don’t need to purchase at all.

Many folks are interested in “how much we saved” by doing this experiment, and the answer is two-fold. Personally, being boot-strapped entrepreneurs (and small brick-and-mortar business owners, at that!) the experiment was just as much necessity as it was fun and challenging. I was quoted on FOX 32 News as saying 1240545_10152552807423797_514270758_awe saved around $10,000…a number which has a lot of people gasping (and wondering when I’m going to take them out for drinks!) Where did we come up with that number? Well, I wish I could say we nickeled and dimed every bit of it into a secret bank account for a family vacation or a college fund or whatever, but unfortunately, that was not the case. We tracked our purchases in 2013 over a 2012 average from our checkbook, which created the first difference, somewhere around $4800. That entire $4800 was money saved purely by NOT walking into a big box store for a year. True story! Those incremental, non-essential purchases are absolutely killing your bank account. The remainder of savings came from tallying up expenses of fixing vs. buying new, used cost vs. new cost on other purchases, and then things that we just did without. The number sounds large, but I guarantee, when you grab a calculator and start tracking your own expenses, you will see how quickly it adds up. Don’t believe me? TRY IT FOR A MONTH!

What do we have in mind for a resolution in 2014, you might wonder? Well, for starters, a bit more time for keeping up with this blog would be nice. But in all seriousness, while we don’t have any concrete “resolutions,” per se, we are largely going to continue to live by the lessons garnered last year. To up the ante, we are going to make a commitment to shop only local for the majority, if not all, of our goods purchased, both new and used. However, as amazing of an experience as last year’s resolution was for us, we need to break for at least a year before committing to anything large scale again. We don’t need to be known as “that family with the resolutions…”

What does this mean for the Thrift & Thrive blog? Well, we definitely plan to keep it going with an assortment of themes. While “Buying Nothing New” will always be a theme (we ARE a thrift store!) we also plan on showcasing some of our readers talents (great DIY pieces out there that need to be shared) and also some of our own cool finds. We’ve got albums of photos that showcase a Chicago most of us never lived to see, as well as stacks of original recipes that we could put volumes of cookbooks together with! Like I said before, we’ve got some big plans for the New Year, and we will continue to invite you along for the journey every time you have a moment to click on our page.

From our family to yours, all the best wishes for a nifty thrifty New Year!

What do you think?