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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Year in review

First of all, YEEEEEEEE HAWWWWWWWWWW!  I made it!  I can finally go shopping again!  Nah, I am totally kidding, of course I am not going shopping.  If you have been following along even a little bit, you will know that this year has been fundamentally changing for me and I probably will never be much of a 'shopper' ever again.

I have spent the past week or so reading all of the blog entries from the past year, all 90 of them (that's a nice round number isn't it?).  If for no other reason, I am glad that I started this blog just so that I can remember what the heck I did for the past 12 months (!)  Here are some chosen highlights from the year:

Some of my favorite quotes:
  1. I find myself intoxicated by the colorful displays and the 'on sale' signs. So much so that I lose all sense of what brought me into the store in the first place, and I regress into a senseless buying frenzy. From Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
  2. It is now day two, and I am starting to achieve panic status. I really haven't thoroughly thought this through (I am truly impulsive - remember?), and I am starting to wonder what exactly I might have gotten myself into. From My three-fold plan.
  3. husband is a Kijiji expert. He spends pretty much every spare minute of his life on there. He would rather 'Kijiji' for ANYTHING, than do most other things.... and no, I am not going to give you an example, because it would hurt my ego! From Kijiji tips and tricks
  4. Trent is actually in absolute awe that I was able to complete this project at all - considering that I completed half of the project WHILE SEWING WITH THE FOOT OF THE MACHINE UP!!! (How was I supposed to know that you were supposed to put it down?) From One project done...
  5. I accidentally almost mowed down a squirrel on the road by my house. Believe it or not (I can't believe that I am about to admit this to the world), in that instant, I actually found myself wondering if you can eat squirrel!? From Little Suzy Homemaker...
  6. I know, I know, the term 'grow-op' has other connotations, but I like that term. It makes me feel like a 'rebel'. I especially liked discussing my 'grow-op' with my mom at the top of my voice in the grocery store as I shopped for seeds. From The Grow-Op Begins
  7. Upon entering the store however, my drunk monkey brain immediately took over and I went into MEC 'auto-pilot'... I am really alarmed at how quickly I fell back into my 'old ways'. Not cool. From Dancing with the Devil
  8. Who knew that the Brits use the much-cooler-sounding word 'courgette' rather than zucchini? Personally, I love it, and the only thing that would make it even better for me would be to hear it pronounced in a British accent! On the other hand, I am pretty sure that I can't pull it off, so I will continue to call them zucchini... From Zucchini Update
  9. You see, prior to today, and said Norwex intervention, my laundry machine was a fetid, useless, pile of scrap metal that was about to get ANNIHILATED WITH A SLEDGE HAMMER!!!!! I have mentioned this washing machine before, by the way, in my 'diaper tale of woe'... needless to say, my washer hasn't made it up to me yet.... From Washing Machine RAGE
  10. T: "Why do you unplug the coffee maker every day?"
    M: "Oh, to help cut down on power usage."
    T: (after near-fainting, pulling his hands through his hair - classic stressed-out Trent manoever by the way, and gesturing towards the sky at his higher-power, who, I am sure would be on my side about this issue, but anyways...) "You're kidding right?"
    M: "Nope."
    T: (more incredulous gesturing, and then, composing himself) "Well, I would appreciate it if you would stop it okay?" From Pick Yer Battles
Some 'revelations' that I experienced along the way:
  • This brings me to another thought that has crept into my consciousness every so often - are we really living in an appropriate climate to want to live the kind of lifestyle that I truly believe in? From Local coffee shop recon mission
  • Since I have undertaken this challenge (and remember it has been less than one week), I have felt like a more 'authentic' version of myself than I have in ages. It is like the 'travelling Maren' version of myself all over again. Even my husband has noticed. It is the best thing that I could have done for myself, for our marriage, for our family. I know that this sounds like a huge exaggeration, but I assure you, it is not. From Back to basics
  • When I really think about it, I think that most of the money that I have spent (ie. wasted) in the past has been largely due to convenience, and of course, my impulsivity. A huge benefit of this project for me then, is that I am being forced to evaluate which things are worth putting the time in to find used, and which things are simply easier to buy new. From Addicted to convenience
  • It is not realistic to expect yourself (or anyone else around you for that matter) to be perfect. Alternatively, I would suggest that you could aspire to be a slightly better version of yourself. In other words, small changes can have a great impact in the long run. From A really neat quiz
  • My greatest hope would be that Trent and I could 'retire' at an early age and live on a very modest income. I have seen (and continue to see) so many people working until they are too old to enjoy their retirement. From A 'nudge' back in the right direction
  • ...this little challenge has improved both my own personal wellness as well as that of my family's almost 10-fold. What do I mean by this? Well, I walk around with a greater sense of who I am and how I am connected with the world around me. I feel more in tune with nature, my body, my friends and my family. I know, it sounds crazy right? The truth is, when you stop worrying about what you don't have, you realize what you do have... and I have many things in my life that are pretty darn fantastic. From Wellness counter
Reminiscing about the unexpected:
  • Getting a 'slap on the wrist' from the City of Edmonton for publishing mis-information about their recycling/composting program on my blog (whoops!)
  • Giving up shampoo/conditioner/deodorant pretty much entirely...for about 5 months.  I have since gone back to an all-natural shampoo/conditioner line b/c after a summer of living 'off the grid' my hair had begun to turn into dreadlocks... a no-no for the times that I need to appear presentatable for my job... It took Trent 2 hours to comb them out and I am STILL trying to grow in the 'wispies'

  • Almost eating a death plant while 'foraging' on the lot in Nordegg this summer.  What?  It looked like an onion!
  • Trading in my Christmas Tree for a houseplant
  • Painting the basement playroom with no less than 5 different paint colours
And now, without further adieu, the moment that you have all been waiting for... the financial numbers:

(drumroll please...)

This year we spent:
  • 24% LESS on groceries
  • 5% LESS on beer/wine
  • 172% LESS on travel
  • 205% LESS on eating out
  • 205% LESS on retail purchases
To give you a rough idea?  We saved about an extra $40,000 this year (!)

I would say Mission Accomplished!

Thank you for your support, your comments and heck, just for stopping in every once in a while.  Stay tuned for what's next here at Marebare Necessities...

Marebare :)


  1. Woo Hoo! Congratulations girl!


  2. Wow! Definitely something to be proud of, Maren! Congratulations! Very inspiring to others... hmm... that's a LOT of savings in one year!!

    I really enjoy reading your blog... you're a great writer! Can't wait to see what's next!


  3. Wow you made it!! It must feel great, and you sound totally refreshed. I would definitely go out and buy yourself something nice for all this hard work, perhaps an accomplishment present that you can remember it by. What's next to come??? :)

  4. Hi Maren, I hope you don't mind my using your blog to test this out. I finally decided I couldn't stand not having a blog anymore, so I set one up and hopefully my family won't find it this time! So I'm just posting a comment to see if this all works. Hope you are well!