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August 14, 2013

The Challenge

Are you familiar with The Challenge that's been floating around the internet?

"What's The Challenge?" you ask.

It's simple - go an entire year without buying anything new except groceries,
medications, fuel, transportation and personal hygiene items.  Yikes.

Before delving into The Challenge let's take a moment to
acquaint ourselves with a few surprising (alarming?) statistics:

Americans spend $100 BILLION a year on shoes,
jewelry and watches.

On average we only wear 20% of the clothes we own.

More than 25% of adults purchase fast food every day;
Americans spend $134 Billion on fast food annually.

According to the Food Network, 40% of food that is purchased is thrown
in the garbage.  In fact, consumers in North America and Europe waste
209 to 253 pounds of food per person every year.  

A two-ounce 5 Hour Energy drink costs $2.99; it takes just one 12-ounce cup of coffee to equal the caffeine in one energy drink; the energy drink business is a $700 million dollar a year industry.
Statistic Brain

Home Design Collections
According to the National Retail Federation Americans
spent over $8 Billion on Halloween last year.

In 2012, employees only saved $38 out of every $1,000 they brought home.
Money Morning

And one of the saddest statistics of all - less than 37% of Americans actually
like to spend money.  In fact, fewer people enjoy buying stuff today than they
did 10 years ago.  Gallup
Although we're all aware that we're a consumer-driven economy, today's statistics are quite sobering.  I've always been price conscious and frugal (when it didn't hurt too much) but there's definitely room for improvement in my spending habits.

Back to The Challenge.  If you read the opening of this post closely you noted that The Challenge centers on not purchasing new consumables.  Oh, okay.  So shopping for used items at flea markets, thrift shops and yard sales is still acceptable.

A year seems like a very long time to make a spending commitment but I'm willing to sign on for a month at a time.  What about you?  Are you up for The Challenge?


  1. Yes, a year does seem like a long time, but a month at a time sounds doable. There are things that you know will come up, such as weddings and such. Wonder how those taking the challenge are dealing with those issues. Interesting challenge, I am up for it though!

  2. An interesting challenge, but I doubt I could last a year. Perhaps I should take it a month at a time and see how far I get.

  3. Nope... couldn't do it. I feel we are frugal enough at the moment. I buy generic, thrift and clearance... we rarely eat out. A year is a long time! This is interesting though!

  4. I did that a few years ago out of necessity because of a huge cut back in my salary , I lived through it and now shopping very frugal and clothes only on sale . I went from $65,000 to $9000 a year ( lay off and death of my husband)

  5. I'm doing something similar, only it's not The Challenge it's called House Poor. But I am making an earnest effort not to buy new. Lots of yard sales, thrift shops, estate sales.

  6. Hi Jan! Are you going to do this? Wow, that would be a journey. I just don't think I could do that. Maybe that makes me a sad Sack, but, I would cheat like crazy!

    Wonderful concept though!

  7. An admirable challenge! We very rarely have fast food, so we're in the clear there. Also, we rarely throw any food away, so that's not a problem. Leftovers are always edible. I do need to watch my heading out to sales, though. I'm going to have to give this some serious thought.

  8. I just went through years doing that- and now my wardrobe shows it. I am going to have to get new things whether I like it or not. I do like the idea of the challenge. I am all for buying used and saving money. We also need to keep things out of the landfills, so I love the challenge of making something old and worn into something new and useful. Even if its just pretty to look at.
    Good luck on doing the challenge for a month! More people need to do this!