Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Compact

Mama and I have been wanting to do this for quite a while, but decided to wait until we got back from vacation. New school year and all, it seemed like a good time to start.

I first read about The Compact on Walk Slowly Live Wildly. At the time, I thought it was cool and all, but not for me. At least, not at that time in my life. But since then, I have greatly simplified our eating by cutting out {almost} all gluten and processed sugars (and as a result have lost over 25lbs), de-cluttered my entire house (some rooms more than once, and still have a way to go), and Mama and I have been reading some pretty inspiring books and blogs and have really started craving an even more simple, less cluttered life... A vague memory of The Compact started coming back to me. So I decided to look into it again.

The Compact is a social and environmental movement whose members promise not to buy anything new for a year. It was started in San Francisco.[1] The movement began as a challenge among 10 friends in 2006

While I am not really planning to Compact for a whole year, I am committing to doing it for the rest of this year (yikes!). That's right family members and close friends, expect homemade and upcycled Christmas gifts from the White family this year! Mama is Compacting for one month at a time. We are both very excited to see how it all turns out. Hopefully we will simplify our lives, and also save a good bit of money from not buying so much.

The best thing about doing this challenge is that we get to make it our own rules. As long as we are following the basic rules, we can add things that fit our way of life... Or more like add things that challenge our way of life.

My rules:
  • Buy nothing new other than food, and health and safety items.
  • All other purchases must be second hand or bartered for. Handmade items can also be bought, but only with money I make by selling items I made myself.
  • For every item brought into my home, another (hopefully a similar item) must be taken out.
My goals:
  • To think and think hard before I buy. Can I make so or do without it? If I get it, what am I willing to give up at home for it?
  • To embrace a cash budget. I have been so spoiled by internet shopping. That instant fake fulfillment of getting whatever I think I need. I am a homebody, so I can bet you that that will be the place I see the biggest challenge and the biggest change. I once read something like, "If Jesus read your credit card statement, what would He think?" Well, we don't have a credit card. The money we use, we actually have in our bank account. But that doesn't make it ours. And I am pretty sure Jesus would wonder why we aren't glorifying Him more (more than just tithing)with the blessings He has given us. It is so easy to swipe that bank card. I plan to pay with cash as much as possible. Hopefully small bills, so I physically have to count it out and hand it over (which will hopefully help with the first goal).
  • To find ways to make do or do without. Get creative, and make it an adventure!
Mama's rules:
  • Absolutely no new personal spending for the month of September, other than groceries (I am fairly certain Amazon will go bankrupt)
  • Severely limit "used" purchases to not exceed any paypal balance I might have from selling items  (used Montessori and Waldorf sales are my weakness)
  • Do not exceed a $200 monthly budget for purchases related to my "just starting up" Montessori preschool (if it weren't for just getting my preschool started this fall, I would eliminate this budget)
  • This does not affect weekly date night with my husband, so a movie and dinner is an allowable expense, but no shopping for datenight ... which will thrill him greatly. for real!
Mama's goals:
  • To break free of my comsumerism mentality (see it, want it, buy it)
  • To become more aware of the vast difference between my life and my brothers and sisters in Christ's lives in poverty stricken areas, and to free up more money to do more about that
  • To be challenged, set free, and have fun with this adventure
  • To see the benefits and continue to compact in the following months

I plan to post updates as we go. I will share the challenges as well as (hopefully) the solutions we find. In the mean time, I would love to hear from any of you that have done The Compact (or something similar) and your experience with it.





  1. What a great compact! Supporting you on your journey, and looking forward to seeing what you learn along the way :)

  2. An inspiring read:) Thank you. I immediately felt inspired to have a go, but then realised my challenge would be re the children and taking them out at weekends - too used to a cup of tea out with a slice of cake! Looking forward to reading about your month:) Vicky

  3. Oh, wow! That's awesome Hannah. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey!

  4. Oh, wow, that is amazing. I am going to think about how we can do that, might try it for a month first and see how it is.

    Vicky - I take a flask and homemade snacks when we go our. Much cheaper, we get what we fancy and we picnic all year round in God's beautiful world. I make better hot chocolate than any of the Cafes and in January in the woods in the UK that helps! Also when we get together with other homeschoolers we share our treats. Hope this helps.

  5. Our family have signed up for a month between ourselves. Our only proviso is if we need something for the kids home-school that we can't get used or something similar used then we will buy new. Great idea.

    1. yay! Be sure to let us know how it goes. We plan to post weekly updates on our facebook page.. and then post here monthly!

  6. Impressive goals!! Not only will it benefit your family but the environment too.

    Oh yeah, like you, it's impossible not to buy anything for my kids' education especially since I am homeschooling, but I probably should be more wise with those purchases. I have things I have bought and haven't even taken out of the box. :/

    Thanks for linking up to the SPP! So glad to see you there!

  7. I'd love for you to link up this or any other creative simplicity posts at The Creative Home and Garden Hop. http://mumtopia.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-creative-home-and-garden-hop-10.html You've really inspired me and reminded me this is an approach to life that we all can do, in whatever way that's possible for our family.