As a disciple of all things FI (except for, umm, the actual application of the principles), I’ve been exposed to many schools of thought as to how to approach one’s ulitmate goal. I’ve tried shopping bans several times over the years and failed miserably – I’m not using the word “addiction” lightly when I claim I’m a (self-professed) shopping addict; I turn to shopping to feel good, when something feels off or empty in my life I turn to purchasing new items, when I want to buys omething the thoughts are all-consuming … name me the symptoms, I have them. The furthest I’ve ever gotten was 5 days without shopping (pitiful, I know). To get something you’ve never gotten, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done…. cue in 160 Days of Nothing New.
Although I love all the different vehicles I’ve read about to taming the urge for consumerism – minimalism, shopping bans, extreme frugality, saving a certain % of your salary off the top – the Buy Nothing New folks have resonated with me the most. Perhaps it’s just the semantics of “Buy Nothing New” that appeals to me more than “Shopping Ban” – I don’t know, but it certainly feels good, and it’s feels like a fun challenge instead of a limitation. Whenever I’d scrawl “buy nothing month” or “no spend week” in my planner, I felt like there was a sense of deprivation and lack, where as “nothing new” feels like there’s still so much there for me – I have everything in the world still available to me, except for this one little category. The best part is that “Nothing New” makes it feel like a little category, when all this time it’s been my massive, untameable monster. So why the 160, you may be thinking? I was going to go to June 1st, 2016 – I’d ideally like 6 months, but in July I’ll be visiting my family in Europe and they’re in a country that’s undergone financial devastation and I know I’ll be bringing gifts for my younger cousins that will help them in their upcoming school year. That brought me to 155 days, whereas 160 days will be bring me to 06/06/2016. Rounded numbers are also just semantics, but let me live.
So what does “Nothing New” mean? I know for many this means buying used is a green light but I’m cutting it out as well. This is a list of my allowables:
- Groceries (obvi!)
- Toiletries once they run out (no hoarding on sales)
- Small kitchen items that wear out (sponges, dishtowels, etc)
- Vitamins and Supplements
- Gym membership (besides for good health, I go on my lunch breaks which helps ease the fact I’m the only one of my coworkers that packs a lunch and doesn’t go out to eat with the others)
- Yoga membership (I’ve tried to live without it and my headspace is simply not as at ease)
- Dinner out twice a month at most for social events and occassions only
- Hair services (I do not have hair, I have a mane. I’ve tired DIY with horrific results)
To put it out there, I’m scared to do this. I’ve tried this many times before and have failed. Also, the need for new has been a powerful part of my psyche and identity for about 15 years now. It’s part of who I am and how I operate and it’s power is all-consuming. I’m embarking on a challemge that will change me as a person and how I identify and relate to myself and the world around me. But it has to be done. I want it to be done. I want to make those changes. I want a new relationship with the world around me and with how I approach and soothe and stimulate my inner self and how I spend my time, and I don’t want to do it as a consumer anymore.
Wish me luck.