I’ve decided to make 2019 a year of buying nothing. “What!?” You say? “How will you live?”
OK, I’ll explain. If you search for “Year of Buying Nothing” online, you’ll see that I’m not the first person to do this. Many have done this – and succeeded, before me. Everyone has their own parameters of what is excluded. Food, medicine, and shelter are the usual items. Deciding further than that depends on your situation. Your mileage may vary. But the idea is to get off the consumer treadmill and evaluate when your purchases truly add value to your life, or whether they’re a distraction to mask some deeper desire that things will never fulfill (Hint: it’s often the latter).
Spend a few minutes in any thrift store and you will see thousands of items that once were brand new. They were sitting on a shelf, and someone walked by and saw them, exclaiming to some degree, “This X is perfect! How did I ever live without this?”. Then that person spent their money, took the item home, and was quite happy with it. For a while. And with time, the item lost its appeal, and gathered dust. Until one day, the person saw it and said (more or less) “Why did I ever buy this? I don’t need it, and I don’t want it.” And then it ends up in the thrift store with all the other items.
I’m not advocating having an empty home, and there are those whose income is limited to the point that this will be a given. But for those of us who have the inclination and ability to do this, I think it’s worthwhile.
So here are the exclusions I’ve set for myself:
- Food, medicines, and consumables one would get at the grocery store, such as shampoo, etc..
- Non-physical Experiences – I don’t eat at restaurants very often, but will continue buying meals (and coffee) out on occasion. Same with travel expenses or park fees. Anything that doesn’t take up space in one’s home.
- Electronic media – I may revisit this if I see that I’m spending too much here, but again, doesn’t take up space (other than computer memory).
- Gifts – My goal is not to inflict my simplicity path on anyone else, and I’ve already done a lot of downsizing in this category. I may investigate giving experiences as gifts at some point.
- Replacements: If something I own currently becomes beyond repair, I will allow myself to replace it, but only if it’s essential.
These are the allowances I’m giving myself. My goal is to limit how much I spend on things, and to look at why I bring them into my life.
I’ve always had a minimalist nature, and since I stopped working, my income has been limited. Not unbearably so, but enough to suggest that I could benefit from putting the brakes on extra spending. I’m also looking forward to watching the mind when it can’t get what it wants, and discovering why it wants what it does (if there’s any rhyme or reason to it).
I am sending out an invitation: If you’re up for joining me in this process, please add your comments at the bottom. Decide your own parameters, and see how they work for you. Don’t think you can do it for a year? Try a month for starters and see how it goes. I’m looking forward to sharing the journey…