A Year of Fun Without Spending | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

A Year of Fun Without Spending

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Angela Barton, a writer and editor in Los Angeles, committed to not buying anything for an entire year.

On Jan. 1, 2009, Angela Barton, a writer and editor in Los Angeles, joined a movement called The Compact, named after the 1620 Mayflower Compact, to attempt a hefty challenge: not buying anything for a year. The Compact started in 2006 when a group of friends in San Francisco challenged themselves not to buy any non-essential items for an entire year in an effort to reduce clutter and waste, simplify their lives and "go beyond recycling" to lessen the negative environmental impact of consumer culture. Since its inception, the movement has spawned international participation.

The Compact's two principles are that you cannot buy anything new (with a few exceptions), and that you have to borrow, barter or buy used items. In addition to joining The Compact, Barton blogged about her experience, which you can read at http://myyearwithoutspending.blogspot.com.

Barton shared a few tips with the Jackson Free Press for having fun without paying a dime for it.

Change Your Focus: Barton says that she and her husband really enjoy spending time with friends. Instead of going out, they invited friends over to dinner at their house. That way, they could still enjoy their friends, but by changing the focus, spend less than a night on the town. She said ping-pong parties, movie nights, barbecues and board-game nights are all great alternatives.

Do It Yourself: "When you start teaching each others how to cook, how to garden, how to make things—you know, jewelry, sewing, that kind of stuff—that can be fun," Barton explains. She adds that these are activities that can be fun alone or with a friend, particularly if you want to teach one another how to do one of these skills. "For myself personally, I had fun making gifts like cards from old photographs and beaded bracelets."

Get Involved: Barton says that she got more involved in her community. Whether joining a group or going to a regular meeting with your local representative, you can do plenty to help your community, keep active and not pay a thing.

Share your ideas for frugal living with other readers at http://www.jackpedia.com.

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