Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Could you do it?

Could you go a whole month without buying anything new?

I've decided to attempt it for the month of May!

Consumerism is becoming the plague of the twenty first century, a big ugly giant rearing it's head and causing all sorts of problems as the generations of "I want therefor I must have it yesterday" coming into their majority.

As the national personal credit total blows out further and further the CEO's of our financial institutions are grinning all the way to their yachts in the Hamptons.

We purchase more and more "must have" items which end up littering up our homes, our minds and our lives.

In our backwards state our wants are defined as needs, and our true needs go unfulfilled.

We need to embrace a little bit more simplicity.

Letting our light shine instead of being defined by what we "own" ( or the bank owns in the most part).

Don't get me wrong, there are things I want, very badly (anyone like to send me an iPad?, I'll bake you cookies and love you for life, promise).

But there are many many things I think about buying every day that when I pause, I realise we don't need at all.

Do I need to own every Top Gear episode DVD? Not right now,  I don't get time to watch TV much anyway.

Gee that's a nice scarf. Yeah but you have ten already, and they can all keep your neck warm just fine.

SHOES! SHOOOOOOOOES! Pretty shoes! We all have our weaknesses... Maybe I can visit them in the shop occasionally, like a mistress, nice on occasion but you wouldn't want to see her every day.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

The abundance of choice everywhere has seen me come home from the grocery shopping $100 over budget and unable to show anything for it, on more than one occasion in the past.

I have been guilty of buying on autopilot. Not engaging my brain and deciding whether we really need what I have in my hands.

We have learned the value of our money over the last few years, and I  in particular have become a stickler for checking that we are getting something out of everything we spend.

At the same time I am on a continuous cycle of removing that which we do not need, that lies unused and abandoned for the next thing.

So it's time to up the ante, and challenge myself to Buy Nothing New In May!

Obviously this has it's places where you can stretch the limits a little. 

It's Frog's birthday this month and at three she is probably not going to understand "Mummy thinks consumerism is the devil so here's a hug which is much more meaningful than a commercially produced toy". There would be some serious backlash there, and a prime example she can give to her "blame the parents" therapist in years to come.

But we have already budgeted for her small party and gift. Gift singular. Why does she need more than one? And besides, if she gets one present from each of our generous and extended family she will still have more things than I have places to put them.

The rule doesn't apply to necessities. I'm hardly likely to dish up second hand food to my family at dinner time.

You can purchase second hand, upcycled, or do a swap. 

Just don't buy new stuff.

Stuff you want simply because it's staring you in the face.

I'm cutting out stuff for the sake of having stuff. 

Learning to treasure the good stuff - the made up songs Frog sings any where and everywhere with no warning, the games we all play together on a cold rainy Sunday afternoon, the laughter when we spend time with each other. 

You are most welcome to join me, I'll be updating you on my progress throughout the month.

And if someone is really clever they could teach me how to create a linky button and we could get all professional and clever about this too...


  1. A couple of Christmases ago I told everyone that they weren't allowed to buy new presents. It had to be either regifted, op shopped or hand made. It was great and everyone enjoyed it far more then the conventional Christmas gifts. It caused us to think outside the square.

    Good luck. I know you can do it. I do it all the time. Simply because I have to. ;)

    1. I LOVE the no new things Christmas!

      I do this a lot of the time too, but any extra funds are always frittered away so I'm going to have to crack down on the "I want" "I need" in the house.

  2. What a fantastic idea! When we arrived in Finland two years ago, we lived in our new apartment for a few weeks before our furniture and other belongings arrived from Tokyo. Apart from the clothes and toys we'd brought on the plane, we had some cushions and mattresses and linen borrowed from friends, and a few basic kitchen things from Ikea. We managed just fine, and in fact when our belongings arrived I was pretty horrified to realise how much unnecessary stuff we owned (e.g. FIVE tea sets, four of which were never used...) It really made me think.

    I also love Vicky's idea of having a "no-new-things" Christmas. Last Christmas we gave our younger daughter a second-hand wooden Brio train set that a friend had very kindly given to us for nothing. My daughter neither knew nor cared that it wasn't new, and she and her big sister love it and play with it constantly.

    1. We sold most of our furniture when we moved, and gave away or garaged saled so much junk! We are quite comfortable and I have tried to limit the new stuff coming into the house. This will be a great reminder that apart from the basics we don't need a lot to be happy and confortable :)

  3. I've been trying to be better at this sort of thing too. Asking myself "Do I really need something or do I just want it?" helps most of the time.
    Right now with baby stuff, I've been buying what I can (not much yet) used.

    Good luck with this endeavor, I know it can be accomplished!

    1. #1 - Congratulations! I may have said so on your blog, I can't remember. I am so pleased things are going well :D

      Baby stuff is a hard one, so much can be sourced from others but at the same time you want something special and new just for bubs :) I insisted on a new pram for baby 2, because with my first I had 2nd hand everything. I was happy with everything else borrowed or given, but I saved up for the pram I wanted!

      Thank you for your encouragement :) I will let you know how I'm doing :)


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