On 1 January 2012, I stopped buying new stuff (Buy Nothing New - BNN). I didn't think I was a big consumer anyway, but just wanted to think more carefully about what I did purchase.
Looking back on the year, there were days when I was sick to death of it. Usually they co-incided with the day I had 'nothing to wear'. Some days I was on fire. The other days, I relished in this whole BNN thing.
It was a slow change. Why, it took the good part of a year to get use to it. Then I went a step further when I decided I need to purchase smarter. That's when I started making dish-washing liquid, washing detergent, and looked at what I was purchasing which was disposable, like gym memberships, and even tampons.
Now it's over, what do I think?
Well... we still buy second-hand clothes (shoes excepted). I've only purchased a few necessary things - like undies (I really needed those!), and some hair product (what decadence)! I found a new running top I wanted that was $5, and I saw a new tshirt I just had to buy for $20. But you know what? I couldn't help but think about my last op-shop purchase of two pairs of jeans, and a skirt for just $12. It made me think my $20 tshirt could have been put to better use. Now, that is the change I'm talking about! My head certainly is in a different place.
So much of what I thought was necessary a year ago, just doesn't seem so important. Like make up. I used to go through a bottle of foundation every 6 months. My last bottle ran out over a year ago, and it was on my list to purchase come 1 January 2013. Two month later, I still haven't bought any. It just doesn't seem necessary anymore.
And music? I stopped downloading music over a year ago, and haven't missed buying the latest hit. Magazine subscriptions? All cancelled, and I don't even miss them. They're like newspapers, hanging around begging to be read when there simply isn't time. It becomes part of the 'to do' list and actually stops being enjoyable when it's just something else that has to be done. Now, I buy the most decadent magazine when I'm about to go on a road trip, or a holiday. And that my friends has been a total of two magazines since Christmas. On the rare occasion that I did have time to read something last year, I pulled out a magazine from my pile of read ones. Turns out, I'd forgotten all the articles anyway, and was re-inspired by them.
The things I do value? Friends and family. And those who did buy me gifts last year. Practical gifts needed like undies (yes Lindy, I really should have stocked up on them beforehand, right?), and natural cleansers and moisturisers (here's looking at you Michelle and Leeann). Those gifts are still treasured because they were things that I were really running out of, and actually needed.
The benefits of BNN were plenty. We didn't need to completely cull our house monthly like I usually did. The house was less cluttered of things we didn't need, and I wasn't forever trying to keep it to a minimum. Of course, the house was still checked over, but the amount of stuff leaving our house was minimal. Our kids learned that buying is not always necessary. When my son asked me to fix the hole in his socks instead of buying him a new pair, I knew that BNN was making an impact on my little family. The biggest win for us last year? Our property purchase. Of course, we can't credit completely not buying anything new, but the timing was right, and not purchasing on things we didn't need certainly meant we could purchase something more significant.
Have you tried Buying Nothing New? If you have, has it changed the way you think about spending? If you haven't, why don't you consider doing it for just a month?