Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!! Seriously, where did 2016 go?! A new year brings new goals and we wanted to take today to update you on how our 2016 Buy Nothing New challenge went. This challenge was such a fun experiment, not only did it save us a ton of money but it allowed us to gain a great deal of perspective regarding our spending habits, what we value as important to us to spend money on, and drove a lot of sustainability issues home.
For the majority of the year I honestly didn't find it too challenging. I've never been much of a shopper, and my extreme frugal ways usually had me checking out thrift shops regularly to begin with. Maybe a true "challenge" would be a year without coffee...I could NEVER do that hahaha! As I reflect on the year, I realize that our little family will most likely continue on in 2017 with many of our "buy nothing new" habits. These habits are very easy to establish if you simply follow this pyramid:
When we started this challenge I realized the majority of the time we have the whole pyramid flipped upside down. We buy new first or if we are adventurous we look to a gently used item that fits our budget, to ultimately allow us to buy new more often. Here are the three things I learned from following this pyramid:
1. We need to start thrifting for sustainability, not budget. Our world can only hold so many "things" and many of these things are already made that have been tossed aside.
2. Lean on your village! The borrow layer of this pyramid is so rarely used. We live in very isolated family units where everyone has 1 of the same everything. Baby items, tools, certain clothing items can all be borrowed! Look to your friends and family to borrow these 1 time use items, community sharing programs or start your own sharing program!
3. The main lesson learned is "use what you have". It's pretty rare these days that we don't have what we need. When you look around, advertising is just telling us we need something better - a newer car, a faster computer, a bigger tv...the list really goes on. During this year of buying nothing new, I realized I have a great purse, a perfectly sized TV, a car that gets me from point A to B, etc. Everything I "need" I already have.
Alright, on to our challenge results. If you refer to our initial post on the challenge you will see we had a few items we were allowing to buy new: food, toiletries, undergarments, experiences and shoes. After 365 days we only purchased a few items out of our initial list of allowed new items:
1. A vent grate for our cold air intake to ensure our home didn't get any mice.
2. A waterproof cast cover when our daughter broke her arm the day before our family and friends weekend at the beach.
3. New glasses/sunglasses for Mama Sasquatch - New Prescription
4. 2 Samaritan Purse Christmas Shoe Boxes for girls ages 2-4 years old.
We felt that these items, especially the first, were important to buy when we couldn't find it used. I did find a used cast cover and I was so pumped but it was the wrong size. It felt great to be in the habit of trying to source it out used first. We love you Kijiji and all the random things you have for sale! The glasses and the samaritans purse could have passed but I felt safety first for my eyes, and a holiday tradition for our family to help others wasn't so bad since the majority of the boxes were filled with toiletries.
I think overall, we were extremely successful in our challenge, not perfect, but we learned a ton. Most people were curious as to what we were finding used, unfortunately I found some people were quite Debbie Downers trying to see if we were constantly failing or "catching us" buying new. Ah ... and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off. Shake it off. If you refer to Papa Sas' Economics of Nothing New posts you will see just how many items we purchased used and all the money we saved doing so. I would challenge you to try something similar this year, maybe a year, a month or even a week. Choose a time and perimeters that fit your family and reflect on the varying ways of what buying nothing new changes in regards to savings, sustainability and values.
Well, here we are 2017... a new year to grow and learn new things, a new year to strive to be the best we can possibly be. May your 2017 be full of intentions that suit your life and stretch you ways to change for the best. Below I leave you with a few inspirational quotes!
Much love & Happy New Year!