Finance, Minimalism

Buy Nothing Challenge

Buying nothing is kind of forced upon you when you’re a student. Having left my steady paycheck 5 months ago and rejoined the bank-draining world of student life, I’ve begun to revisit old money-saving techniques that I conveniently avoided when I was working full-time. All of a sudden, a new $80 sweater seemed absolutely ludicrous! I have about 6 great sweaters already, did I really use to just buy stuff like this on a whim?

Combining this student mentality of thriftiness and smart spending with a school program that’s teaching me the woes of consumerism and its effect on our planet earth, I’ve decided to hop off the consumer treadmill for the time being.

Without getting into the details of the many problems with our materialistic world, all I want to say is that it’s not a sustainable practice by any means: the average Canadian holds $1.37 of debt for every $1 he/she makes. Our houses are filled with stuff we don’t need, and tons of precious resources are extracted and subsequently trashed as a result.

So Andrea and I are trying a No Buy Challenge. We have everything we need to live and do all the things we like to do, so why would we buy anything anyways? The goal is to not buy any material item for 8 months. The rules are:

  1. Obviously food is allowed
  2. We can buy something if a current item wears out. For example, our shoes fall apart (but we must try to repair them first!!) we could replace them, but ideally with used or consignment.

It’s been 1 month since starting, and I can’t believe my Visa bill… it’s the lowest I’ve ever had! Also, it’s been interesting going in stores and finding things I really liked and seeing that if I wasn’t doing this challenge I would’ve bought it.

Plus I’ve noticed my appreciation for my current clothes and items has grown, and I’ve enjoyed having just my favorite clothes that I wear often; I barely have to think about what to put on in the morning.

It’s been great so far, and I bet if I keep at it for 8 months I’ll notice a huge amount of savings. But I can see how years of advertising has made me really want to buy certain things, and I even try to justify why I need them! YIKES. It’s frightening seeing how much I’ve been programmed to buy stuff. I’ll write again after a few more months to see if I’ve cracked 🙂

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