The Challenge

For one year, we will buy nothing.

Except for groceries … and a few other things.


From January 1st, 2014 to December 31st, 2014 we will adhere to the following purchasing rules:

RULE #1: We are permitted to buy:

  • groceries (including pet food)
  • toilet paper
  • toothpaste, floss, and toothbrushes
  • ingredients for making soap (Santa gave me lye in my stocking!) and other hygiene/cleaning products

RULE #2: We are NOT permitted to buy:

  • soaps, detergents, deodorants, hair products, cleaning products, etc.
  • other personal hygiene “necessities” (razors, razor blades, creams, scrubs, make-up, etc.)
  • elastics, tape, string, paper, tin foil, ziplocks, pencils, craft supplies, etc.
  • clothing attire, shoes
  • household items/products, decorations, furniture
  • appliances
  • toys/electronics
  • sporting goods
  • books (but borrowing from the library is great!)
  • tools
  • hair cuts/personal care
  • activities and programs (with the exception of Aurora’s cello lessons)
  • presents (but we can make them!)

RULE #3: Rule #2 may be broken if:

  • A family member’s physical well-being is threatened


  • The item is purchased used if possible


  • The purchased item is disclosed in this blog along with the reasons for buying it, the monetary cost of the item (to us), the social and environmental cost of producing the item, the estimated lifespan of the item, and the item’s most likely ultimate destiny (i.e. the dump, recycled into a new product, etc.)

RULE #4: The following other expenses are permissible:

  • essential medical, dental, and veterinary expenses
  • utility bills and housing
  • the occasional dining-out treat (disclosed in this blog)
  • public transportation (for work)
  • the occasional rental/borrowed car (and gas) for short vacations
  • items needed to repair something we already own to its original condition (as of January 1st, 2014) – NO upgrades! So, if our bicycle has a flat tire, we can purchase patches, or, if all else fails, a new inner tube, but no new (and lighter) handlebars, more aerodynamic helmets, etc.

RULE #5: If these rules get edited in any way throughout the year, we must account and explain (in the blog).

Why the heck are we doing this?! Good question. I attempt to answer that here.


26 thoughts on “The Challenge

  1. Pingback: And so, we begin! | The Fasting Consumer

    • Lightbulbs. Hmm. That’s a funny thing. They’ve come up in conversation before and I honestly haven’t made up my mind. So, they haven’t appeared on either list yet. 😉 I definitely don’t want to rush out and buy a replacement the moment one is out. I’m sure we have a bunch kicking around the house that are either misplaced or “not quite the right colour.” I want to force myself to use those up first, and also to see how few working lightbulbs is truly “enough” before caving. Don’t know how dark I will go, but I’ll keep you informed!

  2. I am excited for you and your journey this year… thinking you will feel blessed with seeing the more simple pleasures of life! If I could get my family on board I’d be doing a challenge like this too! Will be eager to follow your journey!

    • That’s super encouraging. Thank you! I didn’t think my family would be on board at first either, but they really surprised me! Though I’m the one passionate about the blog, my dear husband is super excited about “not consuming.”

      He’s afraid of his 2.5-year-old smartphone kicking the bucket, but I promised him my 3-year-old smartphone if that happens. 😉

    • Bronwyn, this is intriguing and I’m curious if the the Julie who wrote is my twin sister. It sounds like her. By the way I am your Pastor’s daughter Sonja. I’d like to keep hearing how things are going. Very interesting.

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