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View Full Version : Finished Year of No New Buying



sumarie
5-6-11, 11:24am
Am feeling proud of myself for this accomplishment, and thought I'd report some discoveries:

-- it was way easier than I imagined it might be (despite the fact that I never thought of myself as much of a "shopper")

-- initially I needed to remind myself that I was doing this, then it became totally automatic

-- gathering together all containers of soap, shampoo, hand lotion, etc. into one place allowed me to use up stuff -- and I'm still using up things without buying (& will continue to do so until I'm completely OUT of something)

-- initially I allowed myself to buy used, but even this amounted to only 3 pairs of pants & because I'm simultaneously trying to downsize I quit going into shops/stores at all & was happier (& more financially solvent) because of it

-- there is something expansive about just Stopping, and assessing what I have, revelling in both the richness of whatever possessions I have & also recognizing their fleeting pleasure/usefulness -- and it engenders a sort of detachment as well as pleasure.

--I ended up mending some things & felt a "stewardship" in these actions

--last August I began a list of "incoming" and "outgoing" objects & have gotten rid of so many things in addition to bringing in very few. This has kept me moving in the direction I want to go

--I feel liberated!

Kat
5-6-11, 12:20pm
Awesome! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I almost did a no buy year this year, but then found out that I was pregnant and thought it wouldn't be too practical. ;-) It is definitely something I want to do in the future, though.

What did you do for gifts? That is the one area that I think would really trip me up. We have a huge family, and gifts, while not all that important to me, are very important to them.

Float On
5-6-11, 12:36pm
:cool: Inspiring!

danna
5-6-11, 8:38pm
Very impressed!!!

kally
5-6-11, 8:41pm
this sounds just wonderful. Well done.

fidgiegirl
5-6-11, 9:24pm
:+1:

pony mom
5-6-11, 10:52pm
Woohooo! Good for you!

Bugeah
5-6-11, 11:58pm
Wow! That is so awesome! Thanks for writing your notes. Maybe some of us will be inspired to try this too.

Madsen
5-7-11, 2:22am
Wow a whole year?! Congrats, that's quite an accomplishment!

sumarie
5-7-11, 7:46am
Thanks, everybody, for your "attagirls"! It is really helpful to have this network of supporters & encouragers. Otherwise I'm slogging along on my own (weird, to some, I'm sure) way & can get discouraged seeing how there is still a distance to go & forgetting how good habits have been put in place & improvements made.

Kat, the gift thing was a concern of mine, too. For me it wasn't so difficult because the simultaneous No Buy and Getting Rid of Stuff worked together in a nice hand-and-glove way. As I downsized, I kept in mind people who might like certain things of mine & stowed them away for gift giving occasions. Most folks I give gifts to already know I'm a recycler & in my regifting, or giving something of my own, this sometimes opens up new possibilities for others in THEIR gift giving. It's like somebody needs to think it's ok to do this & appreciate the creativity & the gentleness on the environment in making use of what is already present. I know in the liberation I've been feeling with less stuff, I've been hesitant to burden others with more tchotchkes too. So in addition to giving things I already have/had, I also like making things. This includes stuff from the kitchen (cookies, liqueurs, granola), and also craft items (sewn, knitted, and particularly cards -- I've given many card sets as gifts). It sounds like you're surrounded by gift-giving family, so don't know if this is helpful at all, or practical or realistic. For me, I like to give gifts that are consumable so other people don't need to be burdened by my particular taste in something, I don't like adding to anyone's mass of Stuff, and I don't like the idea that I am expected to BUY something for every gift-giving occasion. I suppose if I had no time & MUST come up with a gift I would perhaps opt for gift certificates -- especially to restaurants/cafes, etc.

iris lily
5-7-11, 8:18am
I especially love your assessments about "reveling in the things that you have" and how this engenders a sense of stewardship of your stuff.

What a great post and accomplishment. I am always attracted to projects like this.

ApatheticNoMore
5-8-11, 1:54am
I like this project, almost want to try it. I especially like the mending things. Definitely think I'd buy less if I took this challenge (not that I have a problem with "shopping" either)

Of course I wouldn't include consumables like shampoo or so on (I don't have anywhere near a years supply of these things). And at this point in my life I might buy new interview clothes and the like :|(. But mostly.

I'd probably slightly abuse the used privilege and still buy a few used books, maybe a used kitchen supply occasionally. Hey I have my weaknesses.

sumarie
5-8-11, 12:23pm
HI ApatheticNoMore,

Yes! Try it! We can all set our own parameters for such a thing. The interesting thing for me was simply "keeping track". Keeping track of things incoming or outgoing (alot of "incoming" was gifts from others) was totally helpful to me. And of course there are-- and need to be-- exceptions, I think. I bought a new pair of needed glasses & sunglasses, as well as a pair of walking shoes new. I bought some used clothes. I would have bought a used book or two, except that at this point I'm so determined to whittle away at the books I already have. But if I wanted a used anything, I would have bought it. And consumables were not on my list. If I didn't already have (apparently too many) some of those little hotel samples, & toothpaste from the dentist office, etc., I would certainly buy those things. But, on more of a "need now" basis. Not 11 odd bottles of this & that taking up space. And hand lotion! Yikes! It has taken a surprisingly long time to use up some of this stuff, so I now have a more realistic idea of True Need. Anyway, I'm encouraging you & anybody else to set a challenge like this (or something personalized) because it can be a teacher. Plus, I want company!

Kat
5-8-11, 5:38pm
Thanks, sumarie for sharing how you dealt with the gift issue. I think I feel much the same way as you do--but I am definitely the odd ball in my family. You have given me a lot to think about. There has to be a way for me to strike a better balance. :-)

Gardenarian
5-9-11, 5:54pm
Congratulations! I really admire you for being able to do this. I think I will try it for a month, and see how it goes from there. Thanks for the inspiration!

Zoebird
5-10-11, 2:30am
This is so awesome and wonderful.

I've been contemplating doing something similar. Because we have so little (dispossessed everything pretty much before moving to NZ), we do actually need some things now-and-again (for home or our offices -- we also run our own business), and so I buy. But I always feel so crazy. I feel like i'm at a cognitive dissonance or something. :D

I think that, once we have the basics for our household and such set up, we'll probably give it a shot -- see where we are with what we need. I strive to buy nearly everything used when I do buy, and I love the idea of home-made gifts and used/repurposed gifts. Of course, not owning much, it's hard to give a gift that isn't purchased. :) Still, I love home-made and do quite well with those (i tend to give "recipe" gifts -- all of the consumable ingredients). And one of my favorite gifts to give -- oddly enough -- is toilet paper. Seriously, everyone uses it. BUt, everyone thinks it's a crazy gift. They are probably right. :D

ctg492
6-24-11, 6:30pm
WOW, I have heard of doing this and you were successful! I try but am only good for a few months, then something comes up...then a few more things :( But over all though I could not do what you did, I have a happy medium.
WHAT was will be the first thing you buy new, do you think?

sumarie
6-24-11, 9:41pm
Hi ctg492! I think I became inspired by folks on these forums to try this. My year ended early last month & I still haven't bought anything new (except a lipstick). I'm thinking of buying a travel bag like Miss Minimalist uses (she bought hers from a craftsperson on Etsy). But I haven't gotten around to it so far.

I think it is all a process. At another point in my life I wouldn't have been able or even wanted to do such a thing. And as I mentioned before, the Year of No Buy went along with a serious commitment to downsizing. I'm still downsizing -- having counted my personal possessions I'm very slowly continuing to whittle away at what I no longer really need. There's something luxurious about taking my time with this -- reading books and some magazines & then giving them away, paying special attention to "storage" (if it is stored, I'm obviously not using it now. Will I later? When? Is this really adding value to my life?).

I'm trying to simplify my life, and having unneeded possessions doesn't help (whether I'm bringing them into my life, or they're already here & need to be reconsidered as to the value they add).

ctg492
6-25-11, 2:23pm
(if it is stored, I'm obviously not using it now. Will I later? When? Is this really adding value to my life?).
I like that line.
Mine is before I buy something : Will it make me happier? Will it make my life better and improve the quality of my life? Is it a good value?
Oh how I wish I would have asked my self those questions years ago.

Selah
7-1-11, 10:00am
Well done and great job! Thanks for sharing what you did and what you learned from doing it. I SO wish I had known, years ago, what I have learned on these boards...I think I would have spent a couple of years learning to save money and live simply. Instead, I shopped mindlessly, got into debt, and then ultimately sold all my crap at a garage sale (or gave away/donated it), just so I could downsize for a move across the country. I know YMOYL says "no shame, no blame," but I still struggle with feeling like I was such an addicted idiot for so long.

Thanks to all of you, I also am now MUCH more conscious and deliberate about what objects I bring into my life and what purchases I make. It really is liberating to make do with less--I have much more peace of mind and am less stressed overall. I now get the same pleasure from de-cluttering that I used to get from making mindless purchases!

Fawn
1-6-12, 8:10am
Congratulations sumarie!

Would you be willing to post your tracking of the inventory?

It is the details of these things that fascinate me. I can better imagine the bumps and joys to it.

sumarie
1-8-12, 4:54pm
Fawn, is it my actual inventory of what I have now that you're interested in? (although I've decluttered alot of things
and am still at it, although more slowly now, what I personally own is static for the moment)

Although my Year of No New Buying ended last May, I've still bought very few new things: finally did purchase the
purse I was interested in. Also, a new gadget for a hobby I have. Not many clothes, though. My year's entire
clothing purchase (Jan to Dec 2011) amounted to $18. (I'm hoping this is not completely obvious to all who know me! Yikes!)

Jemima
1-8-12, 5:50pm
I'm awestruck. I did a no-buy week a few months ago and it was hard. Right now I'm decluttering and reorganiizing my house, and it seems like more stuff is coming in than going out. Boxes everywhere! The three little words I long to hear are "Requires no assembly".

I really enjoyed reading your post and got a sense of the peace that can be found in becoming a non-shopper. May I get there in the near future.

Fawn
1-8-12, 7:01pm
Well, the current inventory would be very interesting to me, but also, what you let go, what you brought in. Did you send anything out that you replaced? (I did that with a corkscrew and purse---tried to live without one, but found it too difficult for the time being.)

What was the $18 worth of clothing? Stockings? Underwear? A really good deal on leather boots?

What is the gadget? What is the hobby? It is these details that I find interesting.

When I study history, I don't really care about the dates that so and so invaded so and so. But the food that was cooked on the battlefield and in the homes of the peasants and the wealthy. What was worn from the weapons and coats to the undergarments......how did folks communicate with loved ones and enemies....when someone died, what was the protocol....these things are fascinating to me.

So dish....what is your current inventory? What have you given away? What is in the undecided pile?

sumarie
1-8-12, 11:48pm
Wow, Fawn, I am challenged! Now that you've resurrected this, I'm going to have to pay more attention to things!
My current inventory has 477 things on it, so don't think I'll post all of that here. Of things I've let go, I would say many
were duplicates, known things I really didn't need or love, some things I was challenged to let go of just in reading other peoples'
decisions. I've been very cautious, really, and in no particular hurry, as I haven't wanted to invoke a feeling of deprivation.
It seems to evolve naturally because it is so FREEING to have less stuff.

Can't tell you exactly what the $18 clothing was because I didn't write down WHAT I got, just that I spent $13 in Aug & $5 in June on
clothing. I think it was a couple tops, two camis, and a sweater?

The gadget was a Japanese punch drill handle (& 5 drills). I make cards & have been lusting after this for awhile.

I don't think I've gotten rid of anything I've had to or wanted to re-acquire (so far, anyway). I'll keep you posted if I do. The things I have alot of
now are books (83 current count, down from 200 or so most recently -- tons more before that), journals (53 current count -- I have plans to read & cannibalize/pitch), papers & other craft materials, yarns & fabric. I still have many "objects" that I could happily live without and am still finding
homes for them.

cjones
6-3-12, 9:11pm
Coming way late to this thread, but I have to congratulate you, sumarie. Awesome achievement! I think I'm pretty much doing the same thing, with my "Can I save X dollars a month?" challenge on the Frugality forum. "X" is close to 25% of my net income, and "No shopping" is exactly what I am doing to make it happen. It's really great to see other people have done this successfully. It sounds like your year of no shopping resulted in a permanent lifestyle improvement. I'm glad I read this and again, congratulations.

sumarie
6-10-12, 5:37pm
cjones, it's great that you're discovering that by not shopping, it helps you to meet your challenge.

I've found that not buying continues to be freeing, continues to help me value & use what I already have, and
helps to keep my creativity engaged in solving problems that could easily be a "just buy this gadget"
for a quick solution -- all without feeling deprived of anything because I haven't let go of anything until it
"was time" (i.e., having it weighed more heavily than not having it). This continues to be a slow process,
which is fine by me, as it keeps me from acting hastily (and having regrets), lets me use things up, lets
me discover that I really probably won't get around to doing projects whose components have been sitting
around for years, etc.

My "personal possessions" count is now at 415.

Fawn
7-9-12, 7:40pm
Wow, sumaire! Excellent.

I love how the creativity muscle gets exercised more when we decide to spend less money.

Tussiemussies
7-9-12, 7:51pm
What a great accomplishment!

Square Peg
7-9-12, 7:52pm
We are doing this now! We are on week 5 of a 1 year challenge. So far we haven't yet had a week where we have spent $0 though. Baby steps/