A few months ago, I read an article about a woman who bought nothing new for an entire year. At first, read it and thought, “How does one not buy anything for an entire year?” After re-reading the article, I realized I had missed an essential component: She didn’t buy anything ‘new’ for an entire year. She shopped for the items she needed on e-bay, thrift stores, flea markets, and various online marketplaces. Additionally, she borrowed items from friends if it wasn’t something she needed more than occasionally.
I began thinking about my personal commitments: Reducing my carbon footprint, keeping my credit score above 700, and my overall disdain for dusting. I wondered how I would do on this type of journey., although I have some doubts. Anyway, I decided to try it. I got to work developing some rules on what I could buy if needed that was new. I decided I would exclude some items from the nothing new purchase challenge:
- Food and personal hygiene items. Used? Gross. No thank you.
- Gifts for others. I’m not awful.
- Handmade items from local artists and crafters. Especially now because times are tough for them, however, I did make it a priority to purchase ‘services’ and not ‘stuff’ (i.e. Massage therapy versus massage lotions).
Since most of my holiday shopping is already completed, I decided to start this December 1st. I admit that buying a ‘new to me’ car within the first three days of December was a massive motivation for putting a moratorium on excessive spending. Still, even the car wasn’t ‘new’, so that’s a bonus.
What am I learning, thus far, during this self-imposed challenge? Well, grab a drink and settle in. I’m going to tell you what the first five days in December have already taught me.
First, more mindfulness for sure. When my internal selfish child screams “But I need it!” the adult in me asks if I could get “it” used or if I really needed it all. If I did need it, and it had to be new, I asked myself if there was a locally-owned store I could get it before hitting the big-box chain.
When searching for a new book I discovered Thrift Books. I realized – if I’m honest – I typically don’t hang on to books after I’ve read them, and they end up in the Little Free Library my son and I put in our front yard last year. Therefore, Thrift Books is a better choice for me. Plus, my Little Free Library also gets in a lot of donations, so I have several in my TBR pile already.
I’ve also learned about my community. So many cute local businesses help support local artists like The Local Bevy owned by my friend Andrea. I also love the Footbridge Trading Company. There’s also a ton of free events. I joined Meet Up (this is NOT a dating site) and took a look at what the library has to offer. Since I haven’t been shopping much, and the weather has been amazing, I found a great place to walk, a quiet, out-of-the-way coffee shop, and a way to get out to Ozark, MO (not of the Netflix “Ozark” fame, btw) that avoids the highway altogether.
But most serious of all the lessons learned: I realize I still struggle with turning to retail therapy as a temporary fix to self-doubt and overall boredom so temporarily, I’ve deleted the Pinterest and Amazon shopping apps from my phone. This, most likely, is a carryover from my “more money than brains” period of my life sprinkled with a bit of parental influence. Issues that certainly make therapists foam at the mouth when they see me coming, I’m sure.
So what new things have I purchased thus far? Nothing. I haven’t purchased anything for five days other than food and personal services (I got my hair and nails did). I’m crossing my fingers to make it through the entire month without buying one new item. I’ll count on you to keep me honest.
I’ve realized that in the past, my actual failure was the inability to delay the desire for the item. I’d say this might have even played into purchasing the newer car over the weekend BUT (Whoop…here comes the justification…) the vehicle itself is a better choice for what I’m planning to do in the near future.
The last time I did a ‘nothing new’ month was back in 2015; I had so many eye-opening Ah-Ha moments. So far I feel like I’m not really missing out on anything and I plan to continue through January, too.
What about you? Do you struggle with delaying gratification? Do you shop to fight boredom or sadness? Do you buy what you don’t really need just because you can? Weigh in here and share your favorite easily made meals. That’s my next endeavor: More at-home meals. Until then, I’m going to leave you with a song because who hasn’t always wanted a tree fort in the yard or a monkey?
PS…I’m hearing from several folks that you’re liking the blog. This makes my heart incredibly happy. So, shamelessly, I’m asking you to share it on social media if you would, please. The more the merrier. Thank you!