Buy Nothing Update: Living Life

As I continue with the Buy Nothing Challenge, I’m enjoying the challenge to my mindset.

On the one hand, I’ve several times this week had the urge to go out for coffee. I’ve instead made coffee and chai at home. I am looking at my desire to go buy stuff for entertainment – as a break from my sometimes tedious life of taking my child to school and returning home, alone, to work.

I’ve avoided buying new clothes and buying gratuitous treats at Costco yesterday while waiting for our eye doctor appointment. I didn’t buy a new case of diet soda at Costco (an occasional treat at home … last one purchased in September), but I do like a treat once in a while, so I bought a case of sparkling water (all recyclable at least!) to mix with juice or drink plain.

It’s difficult to balance buying with the desire for diversion, the need to be healthier, the desire to look somewhat up to date with clothes, the desire to improve my house, either aesthetically or organizationally.

If you click on the link above and read the comments at Crunchy Chicken’s site, some of the comments alarm me.

I will pre-confess that I promised two of my girls that they could get new bedsheets for their birthdays this month. The sheets that they have are about 8 years old and pretty threadbare and we have no spare sheets in case of nighttime accidents.

Am I a spendthrift to think that replacing threadbare sheets as a birthday gift is just about a “need”? Or this:

I’m in except my poor 11-year old son has outgrown his shoes and is only wearing snowboots everywhere (still appropriate here in snowing-today Minnesota but I’m sick of hearing him clod around in them) so we may be buying one pair of shoes for him in the next day or two.

Don’t kids need shoes?

She also has outlawed “salon services,” and I beg an exception. I get a $30 haircut every couple of months. I’m supporting my hairstylist’s work (and her progress through college) – I don’t see how that’s bad. I’m going to assume she means those who are hooked on highlights, coloring, eyebrow or nether-region waxing, manicures, pedicures, etc.

This kind of thing is interesting. The gist of it is to help us examine how we live and see if/how we can be satisfied with a less consuming lifestyle. It’s all well and good … and then again, it’s an opportunity to compete for who can live most austerely, who can be most virtuous … and on the other hand, who can feel the guiltiest about their dreadful slips, confessed on the site, like buying a bed for the guest room, patio furniture, tools, a TV to replace the one whose sound has vanished.

What do you think about buying nothing?


7 thoughts on “Buy Nothing Update: Living Life

  1. Laura says:

    I kind of agree with you. After all, we don’t know what that mother’s definition of ‘threadbare’ means, or how long ago the other mother’s child grew out of his last pair of shoes. (I don’t have kids but I can imagine how quickly that happens.) I also think that on things like services, that really needs to be up to the individual. As for it becoming a competition, I think we all need to be careful about judging, wheter it be ‘I can’t believe they bought that!’ or ‘I can’t believe they’re skimping on that!’

  2. cheaplikeme says:

    Great points.

    I don’t think I’m judging in the sense of “I can’t believe they’re skimping…” — but I feel like, “Am I wallowing in consumption if I think someone shouldn’t feel guilty about buying shoes for a kid with no shoes?”

    Of course, my child has a grandma who definitely keeps her in shoes … no worries there except how to get rid of some. And within the terms of the challenge, buying used, needed shoes is perfectly kosher.

  3. Laura says:

    I didn’t mean to imply you were judging anyone, I just think we all need to be careful when it comes to challenges like this – keeping the focus on what I can do, and not the kind of thinking of who’s doing better or worse. Which also should mean you shouldn’t feel like you’re ‘wallowing in consumption’ just because someone else is cutting back on their kids shoes. You do what you can, and I think you’re doing a good job. 🙂

  4. Green Bean says:

    I actually had the same reaction with the salon services. I guess it is more applicable to manicures, pedicures, waxing and such. I may end up getting my hair cut this month. I do it about 4 times a year and wait as long as I can during cuts (because I hate that sucking up my free time). I don’t think haircuts are bad. There is little environmental impact – just really the lights and air conditioning or heat at the salon and the shampoo and conditioner for one wash.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Ok I agree, especially about the haircut. Often we forget how many locals depend on us…such as the hair stylist.

    Now to thread bare sheets…sounds like someone is somewhat trying to think up a story for a need(hope I am not judging) And shoes…I have 4 kids…believe me this is a regular purchase…

    I have not joined this challenge because since January 1 2005 I have been living this challenge(for the most part) as my husband Bill had a car accident and our lives changed forever.

    Well keep up being thrifty and staying true to the challenge.
    Jennifer(Ma Kettle)

  6. sam says:

    Hey Cheap!

    I agree with you! Sheets and shoes are needs & in the case of the two posters you quoted, I would say those qualify as needs. If they had just wanted to update their bedding, b/c they didn’t like all of the themed sheets they had then I would qualify that as a want. The same for the shoes, if the child in question had multiple pairs that fit, but just “needed” to add another to their collection then it would be a want.
    In a way I feel like I follow this challange as part of who I am / who I want to be. I am using this as a tool to keep me honest and not sway into the stores or sections of stores that I am manipulated into buying b/c of their marketing tricks 😉 Seriously though… it is good to ask yourself once and a while do I really need to buy “that”????

    Keep rockin’ on with your blog! ( I know I don’t post much, but I love following you!)
    Sam @ Loving Green

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