In its simplest form, here is our 2014 challenge:
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
For one year, we will endeavor to go without purchasing anything but essential items for our family of eight.
Essentials are food, toiletries, and emergency repairs for our home, major appliances, and vehicles. Also included are internet access since I rely on the internet for my job as an educational writer, and required books and supplies for our children's schooling. Clothing (except for the obvious socks and undergarments), haircuts and minor appliances are not included.
We are not buying physical gifts for our children, although we will purchase experiences we can enjoy together as a family. Family and friends can buy them gifts and they can purchase things using their own money. The reason for this is that our 6 children at home are ages 11-19. We believe we can alter our own behavior, but we can't force this on them. Our hope is that they will jump on the bandwagon and see the value in what we are doing -- after they get over shaking their heads in disbelief at another one of their mother's hare-brained ideas. We believe they will become much more intentional with their spending and probably more intentional in looking for productive ways to spend their time, i.e. earn money.