In June I found nothing! I wasn’t even looking online or in shops! Because I was doing a buy nothing stint, as outlined in both my ‘making the most of autumn‘ list and my 101 in 1001 list. So I guess I have no finds this month, and this post is both way too short and about to end…
…except, of course, that none of that is true. I mean, not all of it; I did say I’d be doing a three month buy nothing stint over late autumn/early winter. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been browsing online but it does mean that I feel kind of uncomfortable detailing the weird internet shopping rabbit holes I’ve been getting into over the last month, because that was kind of the point of the buy nothing stint – to just completely remove myself from the rabbit holes for a while and get over my bizarre perfectionist obsessive tendencies that lead me to completely overthink simple purchases and mean that I can’t even decide to buy, say, a salad spinner without totally going over the top (I still don’t have a salad spinner, btw, and we eat salad leaves constantly in this house).
So instead, and as promised, here’s some info on how I do a buy nothing stint and some tips if you want to do your own at any stage! Numerated of course, because that’s how I roll.
Let’s start with a little reminder of why I do this. I kind of covered this already, and the full picture is here, but in short, I sometimes overthink simple purchases to the point of stress. I use buy nothing stints to reset myself and make myself realise that it’s just stuff. You need it, or you don’t, and sometimes you just want it (or you don’t), but if you’re not putting yourself in financial straits with your purchases, and you’re using what you buy, and you’re doing the best you can in terms of thinking about the environment and slave labour and ethical purchasing as you do so (given you’re one person in a system that wants you to fail and doesn’t make the most egregious people and companies take responsibility for such things) then you’re probably fine. You might find you’re the same way inclined, or maybe your concerns are around finances, or ethics, or not being able to differentiate between a want and a need. If you want to do this and you have a reason to do so, this may help. I hope it does! So here goes…
1. You’re not going to buy nothing
Ouch, it’s an immediate misnomer. Look, I’m sure there are people out there who literally buy nothing, and trade and barter and are incredibly self-sufficient etc. etc., but you’re not going to become that way in a couple of months (unless you do, in which case, good for you!) I’m certainly not, anyway. You’re allowed to eat, and use proper toilet paper, and even replace things that run out and that you need. There’s no rule about what that might be. I replace moisturiser, for example (super dry skin) and dry shampoo (naturally fine, sad, limp hair) and even stuff like sports socks – if my socks get holes in them, I’m not going to potentially hamper my fitness by not just replacing them. But I wouldn’t replace a jumper, or perfume, for example. That might feel like too much to you, or possibly not enough, and that’s fine. The first rule is that there are no rules, and only you can decide how far you want to go. Nobody’s watching but yourself. You’ll know if it feels right.
2. You should keep a list
I have a Trello board, because again, that’s how I roll. Every time I think I want something it goes on the list, under the appropriate season or activity (I have separate columns for fitness and specific holidays, e.g. skiing). When it’s time to shop for that season, I decide what to buy based on the list. This is probably completely too much for most people, but the point is that when you choose not to buy something right then, you’re not saying never. If you still love it when it’s the right season or time, you can buy it then. This can be scary and sure, sometimes something I loved is gone by the time I’m ready, but then you can just work out what you loved about it and look for those attributes in another item of clothing. Or, if it’s from the States, have a look at the RealReal or ThredUp to see if you can get it there – if it’s from NZ, take a look at TradeMe or Designer Wardrobe.
3. It’s just about you
Your family doesn’t have to join in! Unless that feels like the best decision for you. In my case, Amelie seems to grow another five centimetres every couple of weeks, so I’m not going to deprive her of clothes that fit. I am careful that I don’t just pay way too much attention to her clothes as a substitute for my own, though (which is easy, because her clothes are destroyed so quickly I can’t enjoy them too much – ah, the signs of a preschool life being well lived).
4. It might be about your house though. Or your books
Choose your weakness! I try not to buy anything that’s not strictly necessary or a replacement for something that’s run out. Otherwise I’d just head straight down the salad spinner hole again and I’d learn nothing.
5. Make sure you still spend money on things that make you happy
If that’s the responsible financial choice of course…only you know what’s right for your situation, but this isn’t about deprivation. In fact, given that spending on experiences is proven to make us happier than simply spending on stuff, I’d suggest maybe even increasing your spending on experiences and activities to see what effect it has on you. But definitely don’t decrease it to try to fulfil a buy nothing stint, if you can and that makes sense for you
6. If you fail, it’s not the end of the world
Like me, for example. I did well for about a month and a half. Then I bought a couple of necessities that I knew, in my head, were not really necessities. Nothing too exciting…just some workout gear and a hat for skiing. Point is, I didn’t need it but I tried to convince myself it was still within the rules, even though I knew it wasn’t.
(And then I saw an amazing dress on Caro with Love’s Instagram and the next day I was in there buying that dress like I’d never even heard the words ‘buy nothing stint’.)
The dress is where I admitted I had failed, but the ski stuff is where I actually failed. The longest I’ve ever done a buy nothing stint before is six weeks, and I thought three months would be about as hard but I was wrong!
I’ll try again, when I need to. Right now, I feel like the reset I needed has happened. So that’s good enough for me!