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Fiscal Fasting: The “No New Clothes” Clause

7 Oct

To catch you up:

I just moved to NYC and I’m paying with for my MA (and my rent) with loans.

As a result, I really make an effort to spend money only on the things that really matter (like rabbit food, books for additional research, and wine).

Here are a few rules I’ve established in order to help cut unnecessary costs:

  1. drink wine only when I’m in; and only beer when I’m out.
  2. no new clothes, shoes, or accessories. only undies (cause a girl deserves to be so fresh and so clean, clean).
  3. never buy more than 3 thrift items at a time. unless you’re at a stoop sale. and in that case, rob those bastards blind.
  4. one splurge item per grocery trip. (also known as the “pick cheese OR cookies” rule)
  5. never, ever waste food.
  6. buy organic only for the most important fruits and veggies (and all animal products)
  7. only eat out on very special occasions… or pizza. if everyone is meeting up for dinner and drinks, join them for the drinks; and drink only beer (see rule 1).

A lot of my food rules are so that I can maintain my ethical standards of consuming. It’s a double sided coin: being aware and conscious of what I spend my money on and, also, what I put in my body. So, as you can see, this is incredibly important to me to maintain. That means I have to cut corners elsewhere. It means I drink cheap beer (but still not PBR… for ethical reasons), but I get to continue to boycott Kraft and other shit-tastic companies.

The rule I’m really excited about is number 2: no new clothes. The gist is: for one whole year, no buying new clothes. It’s simple right? Mostly… so far. Inspired by the Great American Apparel Diet, I started on September 1 (the day that the GAAD’s marathon ended) and, so far, no temptations.

There are a few “guidelines” in regard to the diet that I’m working out still. Can I buy used clothes (I vote yes)? What about gifts (think about Christmas here people)? What about gifts for OTHER people? What about socks and underwear and things you just can’t buy used (only in emergencies!)?

My boyfriend has already threatened to send me new dress socks… heh heh.

Of course, if I fall off the wagon and splurge on something adorable the point is to bring it to the forefront of the conversation, reflect, and then continue not buying things. It’s not a “see how long you can last” thing, but a “try really, really, really hard to not indulge for a year” thing.

I’m hoping I can keep it going for much longer than a year. Given that I’ll be here for two, I think that’s a great goal. Luckily, my wonderful mother gets my great, classic, professional pieces at Christmas, so that certainly eases the pain.

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Any other general rules for saving money? Or input on the rules for the diet? I could use support/tips/partners and I’d be happy to open up the blog to those that want to participate and blog about their experiences with it.

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Cravings: Giving In and Getting Sick

9 Jul

Cravings: Giving In and Getting Sick

For years now, eating Kraft mac’n’cheese has made me just absolutely sick to the stomach. I remember when it first happened I think I hoped I was actually coming down with the flew and that it wasn’t the mac’n’cheese that made me sick (please, god! please! not the mac’n’cheese!). Alas, it was in fact the glory that is mac’n’cheese that was making me sick.

“Good” news was a short time after I stopped buying Kraft products all together. (If you dig theories like “voting with your fork” you’ll really dig The Better World Shopper. RUN and get it; don’t walk.)

Recently, I’ve been having the weirdest cravings.

Wild raspberries and walnuts

French fries and Bailey’s (seriously, my fave)

Ham and green olive pizza (says the vegetarian)

Luckily, they’ve all ended up spawning wonderful adventures.

I really tried to ignore the one about Kraft, but alas! after two weeks, which is generally my “is this a real craving or fleeting desire” period of thought (see Food: Guilt, Indulgence, and Maintaining the Balance), today I decided to indulge…

And what do you know! It made me sick again.

I knew it would. Even if it wasn’t for the same reasons as before, I try my hardest not to eat overly processed foods, like, you know, not powdered “cheese.” I avoid things high in sugar (except for alcohol… see my upcoming blog on exceptions… or just have a beer and you’ll know why).

So why’d I do it?

I knew that it meant giving money to one of the douchiest, unethical, domineering companies there is. I knew it meant I was going to end up with a terrible stomachache and nausea. I knew that the craving, too, would pass eventually.

Not only did I give in, but I went out of my way to do so. I went down to the grocery store myself and when I didn’t see the mac’n’cheese on my first trip down all the aisles, I looked again, and again. I even almost spilled all the noodles on the floor and, had I done so… I probably would have gone and gotten another box.

I wonder what it says about my self-control…

What do you think about cravings? Do you give in? If you do, do you feel guilty? Weirdest cravings you’ve ever had?

Food: Guilt, Indulgence, and Maintaining the Balance

9 Jul

For her summer school class project, my friend started up a blog with the intention of discussing the complicated relationship women have with food. (For more of an introduction to the blog go here, or visit Gud Fudz yourself!)  Promising to help and loving the idea of guest blogging, my attention lately has been on precisely this. Consequently, many of the blogs that appear here are cross-posted.  Even though Blas(fem)y has no intention of focusing on food in this way, it does focus on me… and my focus right now is food. This means, for you, that many of the blogs will be of this theme, including my latest adventures into Breaking Veg, The State of Exception (both upcoming), and (posted directly following this one) Cravings: Giving in and Getting Sick. Aside from food, they also have the common theme of “breaking” a “rule” set for yourself. Should I feel guilty for wanting to have a salmon fillet? Should I indulge this? When does it become a legitimate craving?

A few things should be noted on my own standpoint of my vegetarianism and of dieting (not in the lose weight sense, in the lifestyle sense).

Firstly, I am a vegetarian for many reasons: ethical, environmental, health, ease (yea, I do think it’s easier being a vegetarian when you’re cooking for yourself), cost (again, when cooking for oneself especially)… oh and because I lost a bet so I had to be a vegetarian for a month.  I had wanted to do so for awhile, but knew myself well enough to know that I needed a little motivation. So the month “punishment” was perfect. I never looked back. I learned how to cook (like actually cook, not like heat things up cook).  Once the month was up, I would occasionally eat fish and when I was going on a month long trip to Istanbul, I worked some meat back into my diet, unsure if I could (and wanted to) be a veg there. (On a side note, you can be a veg there, especially if you have a little guidance or familiarity with the language. I went back to veg (mostly) for the last two weeks there, but I’m very glad I ate meat. I was afraid that I would miss out on an experience or that if I did eat meat before “preparing” I would get sick.) Once I got back from Istanbul I stopped eating meat again and this time meat as well. I’ve “cheated” twice, though I really hate that terminology…. which is the main point of this blog, the negativity surrounding “cheating” on your diet and the consequences of this negativity.

One of my critiques of any dieter is that it seems they so easily fall off the bandwagon. And not that it isn’t hard! Or that people don’t fuck up! Intentionally or unintentionally (I just found out the other day caesar dressing has anchovies, wtf)! Just that it’s actually seen as falling off the bandwagon. Or, rather, that people don’t seem to get back on to the bandwagon. They see it as a “well I fucked up; I’ll start again on Monday.” What happened to the saying, “if you fall off a horse, get right back on?”

Additionally, and here is my biggest worry, the guilt that comes with messing up a little bit.

Because of this, I think it’s important to indulge your cravings. For me this means, get a craving and don’t indulge just yet. Give it a week, or two, or whatever… and if I still have it, indulge! I think that, in this way, you’re able to maintain a healthier balance between abstaining (which can be unhealthy) and over-indulgence (which can be just as unhealthy as abstaining).

Then, after I indulge, I get right back on the horse.

Note: These issues will be further explored in the upcoming blogs mentioned above.