Wednesday, March 28, 2012

FIVE WAYS TO CONSUME LESS.


Buying Nothing New (BNN) was something I thought about for the good part of a year before plunging in. I'd read about it on other blogs like here, here, here and here. I studied the guidelines and gave it a good, long, hard look.

When I decided I was going to do this, I almost wussed out. I wondered if I could really, truly do it. But being a girl who loves a challenge, I gulped and said I would.

Out. Loud.

I told my husband. I shared the news with friends. I shocked my family. I wrote about it on my blog. (The last point sort of cements it for me. Nothing like writing something down, huh?)

And here we are, three months down the track. Still doing this. And we're okay. We're not suffering or miserable. We're definitely not missing out.

In fact, not only are we happy, I'm so glad I did this.

It's been a reality check about what we really need in our lives. It's been a pleasure to learn that we're already not massive consumers. We already recycle, compost, have an organic vegetable garden and preserve. I bake treats from scratch, and don't think we're excessive in the Want Department.
But I'm learning along the way. This journey is continuous and it takes some adjusting. I'm tweaking here and there, and testing the boundaries. In fact, each time a new scenario arrives, I do a double-take. Here's a little about what I've learnt so far...

NO-BRAINERS 
  • Make up. Purchasing just one bottle of the stuff in December would have really helped. It's going to be a looooong make-up free year. I'm already using lipstick as blush (as I ran out) and using lip liners that I've not used since 1998 (because, guess what? I'm running out of them too). And mixing powder with moisturiser. It's amazing how you can improvise when pushed.
  • School uniforms. Second-hand uniforms were passed onto my son from a neighbour-friend in January. It really helped us out, and apart from the odd item, we've done extremely well in this regard. Mind you, we're coming up to winter uniforms and the second-hand uniforms in the uniform shop are all out...
  • Clothes for me. I've been strong and just don't enter shops that sells new clothes. I've been tempted, but know I will loose all resolve if it's pay day and Witchery is close by.
  • Toys. The toys in our house have been purchased by Other People. Gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and spoilings from those jolly grandparents. We just don't buy our kids toys. And they still seem to have plenty.
NO COMPROMISE
  • Kids' shoes. My lads both see a podiatrist. Frequently. They have orthodics for their flat feet and knocked knees. I won't put pre-worn, non-supportive, second-hand shoes on their feet. For all the consuming in China.
  • Haircuts. Because I'm not going to attempt to cut hair. I've lived through my mother's haircuts. (Sorry, Mum!)
  • Gifts. I can't sew and I'm not sure how much a six year old would dig receiving edibles for their birthday. I'm still working on this one, but haven't found the perfect gift idea that requires no BNN. I've seen what second-hand stores have by way of toys, and I'm not keen to pass them off as a cool new kids' gifts.
STRUGGLING WITH...
  • Books. We're a big book reading house. Steve found an awesome second-hand store and purchase 7 books for the price of one new one. He's still buzzing about that, and it will hopefully will keep him in books for the next... er, month. Seriously.
  • Dining out. Although we hardly ever do it, I don't want to rule it out. There are times when it's just me and the little lads, and I want to treat them to a babycinno every now and then, noodles or some hot chips. A rare treat is okay, isn't it?
  • iTunes. Downloading songs, shows and apps. Oh how I'm really missing just downloading a song I've fallen in love with.
  • Shampoo & conditioner. I want to do the bi-carb soda and lemon water thing, but have you seen the lads I live with? Long. Curly. Ringlets. I don't think it's going to happen.
  • Dishwasher tablets. What to do? A dishwasher is still such a treat in this house after handwashing for more than 10 years. I want to consume less, but how do you do anything less than the best. So Finish it is. Plus my dishwasher is a Miele, and I want to look after it since it looks after me, you know?
That's about what I've learnt so far. But as I said, it's a learning curve that I'm on. I tell you!

How about you? Have you taken on the BNN challenge? If you have, do you have any suggestions?