Monday, April 7, 2008

Buy Nothing April- Week One

Well, T thinks it's completely silly and misses no opportunity to declare in his silly voice "But it's buy nothing April." He doesn't get it mostly, or at all. He finds it especially amusing the way people have been posting asking for clarification from Crunchy as to what is and is not OK to buy. I suppose I could try a little harder to explain to him that it's not just about not buying stuff (which he is already very good about not doing) but it's about reducing consumption...and secondarily about saving money.

I could explain to him all the reasons this is important... but I suspect he both doesn't care, and doesn't need it. He knows, and he's already good about it. That's why he thinks it silly, amongst other reasons. I'm sure. He's not actually dogging it though, so I suspect he secretly supports me.

But, his response wasn't my point. My progress was. It's been a successful first week. Including a trip to rei with $150 worth of gift cards burning a hole in my pocket, I've purchased just about nothing this week. The exceptions? All food: OJ, three avocados, two apples, cilantro, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower. So, all well within the acceptable arena of necessities.

I am feeling the burning hole from those rei gift cards, and my need for a new sleeping bag since my old one crapped out last year. But, gift cards are in the acceptable arena if I finally cave. And with summer fast approaching and my old sleeping bag worthless, I am going to need a new one sooner or later. I might as well get one for virtually free (to me) with those gift cards. We'll see, maybe I'll hold out until May to buy it anyway just so I don't feel as though I'm justifying a purchase.

I'm also feeling the draw of that yogurt maker I've been coveting. I will get that eventually, because I do feel that it a positive investment, rather than just consumption for the sake of consumption...if nothing else, it will be a money saver in the long a trash saver.

There are a few other things I want, a couple of shirts I saw in the rei catalog and the new Keen bike sandals...but I don't really need any of those things...I just want them because I saw the pictures in the catalog. And while catalogs don't normally exercise too much influence over me...there is something about rei (and Title Nine, Athleta and Sahalie) that I find disgusting irresistible, considering how infrequently I actually NEED new clothes.

Even still, those also happen to be just the sort of thing I'm normally really good about not buying anyway. Maybe once a year I might splurge on a clothing purchase from one of those places. Well, maybe not the Keens. I do have a Keen impulse, and do buy those far more frequently than I should, but I digress...I haven't yet really been feeling the need to fight with myself about those sandals anyway. I suspect I'll want them at some point, but it hasn't really occurred to me to seek them out, and it's been a few weeks since I saw them in the catalog.

Lastly, my seedlings (mostly the radishes) are starting to sprout like mad and I'm going to have to do some transplanting soon. That means I need more potting soil. I guess I'll just have to steal it from my mom instead of heading to Fred Meyer and buying a new bag...

So one week in, and I'm doing fine. I suspected I would, since I'm not really much of a shopper to begin with. But I do feel that my money has to be going to things other than food and bills sometimes, that I'm not keeping track of.... I do have the occasional bad impulse buy (books, silly food items and [my semi-secret guilty pleasure] periodicals.)

Oh! As an addition to the Buy Nothing Challenge, and in an effort to start living more simply, because I too frequently feel over burdened by all of the crap in my life, and because all of the crap in my life is a symbol of the overconsumption with which we are surrounded; I've also decided to get rid of one item a day for the entire month. I have too much stuff, and I don't need most of it. Plus, I'm going to be moving some great distance for grad school in just over a year, I'd like to have my life paired down to the necessities and things that really bring me joy, before that point. That way, it won't be so hard to figure out what to take and what to leave...

T also thinks this is silly, in fact, he might think this is downright dumb...oh well. He can just deal. I don't think he'll actually complain if suddenly we have more room from lack of shit. And it's not like I'm going to be getting rid of stuff of his.

Buy Nothing Challenge - April 2008


Trav said...

One of the problems I have with "Buy Nothing" April is that it effectually makes it "Buy Everything For Being Good In April" May.

This is no different from those who participate in lent. It's lack of consumption is just focused and prescribed.

Kim said...

That's the thing though. This challenge, unlike Lent, isn't about just buying nothing for the month. It's about putting yourself into a mindset where you are thinking about the things you purchase and why you purchase them. It's about training yourself to think about what you're buying and training yourself out of superfluous over consumption.

The challenge is really the beginning, ideally at least. It's like the difference between joining weight watchers or going on a crash diet when you want to lose weight. One teaches you habits (and trains you into a mindset) that last for life. The other you abandon as soon as you've reached your goal.

The idea behind the Buy Nothing Challenge is the former, not the latter.