Another successful 'buy nothing month'
Are you ready for “buy nothing month” ?
Our household is preparing for buy nothing month. Every January we vow to not purchase anything new for our home or ourselves for thirty-one days. Except groceries. It’s like material fasting.
Why, you ask?
1. It makes us aware of what we already have. We try to use (up) what we have on hand (in the pantry, in the closet, in the dresser). We look for what is already around us and see if it is sufficient before reaching for something new. We quickly become aware of how much we have that is near and useful.
2. We stare temptation in our own faces and recognize how quick and easy it is to satisfy our constant buying impulses (just a click away). We become acutely aware of how many ads we are exposed to and how entrained we are to respond by wanting MORE. January is particularly perplexing with SALES—stores, billboards, internet, magazines, newspapers, radios, televisions— screaming for attention and dollars. I try to make each of these impulses become a little bell to wake me up to wanting what I have.
3. BNM triggers acts of divestiture and sharing, too. Once we settle into the idea that we are not going to buy anything new for an entire month, we think about what we can give away to lighten our load. Those extra clothes, unread books, old magazines, obsolete phones; its time to give them a new home.
The shadow side of buy nothing month is gaming the game—satisfying urges in late December or pushing purchases off until February. That’s why it’s useful to use the last week of December for preparation. (So no new books, seeds, tunes or socks, ya hear?)
Our buy nothing month practice was inspired by BUY NOTHING DAY, an international day of protest against consumerism observed the day after Thanksgiving. There’s a really interesting magazine, published in Canada, called adbusters, which brought this event to prominence.
But isn’t our buy nothing month bad for the economy in a time of recession? Maybe. But we can blunt the impact by making sure any of our grocery purchases go toward locally grown and produced foods. (Watch out for those fruits and veggies flown in from Chile this time of year!)