Lately, I’ve been fielding questions about my year of buying nothing new. I haven’t been banging on about it mostly because it felt like a personal mission rather than an opportunity to air my laundry. Still, folk are keen to know whether I’m lasting the distance.
Two and half years in, I’m proud to report that I’m still on the “buy nothing new” wagon. I’m not saying I haven’t slid over the rails now and again as we traversed a bump in the road but, for the most part, I’ve been pure.
My big “bumps in the road” are invariably around buying gifts for little ones. I find it hard to beat that feeling that I’m depriving them of something. Of course, what I really need to do is get organised and plan ahead so I can make something that passes the “cool” test or identify a suitable experience to gift instead of a “thing”. Room for improvement there.
Ahead, is a giant bump in the road … our new house, to be built in the next year or so. I know: that’s an entire new thing that’s coming into my life by choice. Do I need it? Probably not. Do I love it? Yes, on paper, I do. It’s one element of the big picture plan. And in part, it’s made possible by the ethos behind “buying nothing new”: reserving resources for what’s important to you. Saving on the one hand so you can spend on the other.
The process of buying nothing new has made me
obsessively very aware of how I spend. Or don’t spend. I’m turning non-consuming into a mindset.
Now I look at every bill, every item in my shopping basket and every swipe of my credit card as an opportunity to NOT consume. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not averse to spending money on a great night out, a good bottle of wine (or whisky) or an experience I’ll enjoy. But I’ve broken the habit of wanting to own “things” or pay for anything that doesn’t return me enjoyment or value in some way. I don’t feel I have to have it all, see it all or do it all.
Being frugal has morphed into a way of life that I enjoy. It’s become a game of sorts, where I challenge myself to spend less, consume less, waste less and focus on wearing things out, making do, reusing, fixing and doing without.
Here’s some snippets of how I’ve played the game in the last week. Let’s call it my Frugal Friday report.
- Cancelled the auto-renewal on four domain name registrations. I parked these domains almost a decade ago, thinking I’d get around to implementing the big ideas (those ideas I had when I was forty-something). You and I both know it’s never gonna happen.
- Researched whitegoods on graysonline.com. Our oven is on its way out. The call-out fee for repair is steep. We’re looking at picking up a cheap demo or shop stock model on this site. Still doing our due diligence, but it looks the goods (excuse the pun).
- Picked up some new jeans, a top and a book at the op shop for a few dollars. Listed the book on Ebay and expect it to sell for more than I spent on the day. Cost-neutral has a pleasing ring to it.
- Chose to make this Rosemary White Bean Soup (it’s incredibly economical) knowing I could snip (with permission) some rosemary from my neighbour’s garden, rather than pay for a bunch at the supermarket.
- Thrifted six limes for 50c (total!) at the op shop (on a different day to number 1).
- Read The Girl on the Train — a copy borrowed from a friend. it will be returned to be loaned on to another reader.
Gifted some soup and half the limes to My Girl and she felt it worthy of Instagram. Priceless.
Over to you. Do have any Frugal Friday thoughts, reports or snippets?