Thursday, February 2, 2012

is there any room on the bandwagon?

It seems there has been talk around the blogosphere (is that an okay word to use unironically?) about No Buy February. I'm not sure how much of a thing it is, but what I buy and how I spend my money has been on my mind lately.

And by 'lately' I mean my whole life, but things have been different recently. It seems I've been using buying stuff as a coping mechanism for stress as of late, which is quite out of character. Growing up in a relatively frugal family, when I was a kid if I bought a bag of chips at the corner store I would be plagued with guilt. So rather than adopting a moderate approach with how I spend my money, to deal with the guilt I have just gone to the complete other end of the spectrum. Kind of. I buy things I don't need more often than I would like - but I am not sure how to reintroduce my conscience into my spending without letting it take over and weigh me down.

The main thing that worries me about my thinking is that I keep thinking in terms of needing something - and it's always something I really don't need. I might buy something because I have been stressed, mad, sad, whatever, and then using it will help me get through the day, whether it is a book of poetry or nail polish. At least that's what goes through my head. I have typically prided myself on being something of a minimalist, so this is hard for me to admit.

I'm going to try and not buy anything I don't need (really need) this month. I want to divorce my sense of well-being from what I can buy. My material needs are met on a daily basis - I don't want that excess to get in the way of getting to know God better, or living as He'd want.

In this same vein of consuming responsibly I'm going to be reading this book this month, given to me from a dear friend:

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture.
(if you don't want to buy it, there is a pdf available here!)


  1. Hey, saw your blog on Reddit. Sounds like you've got a pretty ambitious plan! I always tell myself I should buy less, but after years of not quite having enough to make ends meet, I probably use the excuse of "I deserve it" a bit too much now. My biggest problem areas are eating out with my husband and buying clothes. It's weird though, because I only ever spend lots of small amounts of money, rarely one big purchase. Perhaps I justify it better to myself that way... So, while I can't commit to a no-buy month, perhaps I could aim for a more-aware month. Certainly couldn't hurt!

    1. Yeah, it is definitely a challenge - and it's only the 5th! It's been interesting being forced to evaluate what I consider to be a "need" (does dinner with friends count?) and I did not realize how much time I spent thinking of what I could buy until I'm forced to deny all those impulses. Also I think it will help me value what I already have. We'll see how the rest of the month goes!