“Buy Nothing Christmas.” Back around 2007 I heard this for the first time. I thought, “really? You just choose not to buy anything for Christmas? What a concept!” – thus began my intrigue! Fast forward a few years and I watched this incredibly informative video on stuff:
Yup, it talks about the process of beginning to end of our entire system of stuff. And wow, we have a serious consumption problem, one that is harming our planet rather than helping it. If you have the time, please watch the video to learn more.
Lately I’ve been noticing an influx of “eco-friendly” products in the advertisements I see online. With an increased awareness and lifestyle changes being made by the general public away from plastic and other one-time use items, businesses and industry are catching on and having you believe that in order to achieve this new lifestyle you need all the products to go with it: bamboo kitchen utensils, metal containers, and other stuff. Trust me, I feel very compelled to make my cupboards and bathroom look like a super chic zero waste goddess lives there, and to buy plastic-free items, but do I need it? What are the essentials in our home, and are we focusing our time, money, and ethics on those things?
After many conversations with my husband, we’ve decided that our family’s next step on our waste less journey is to buy nothing for the entire 2020 calendar year. We are certainly not over spenders, but we felt compelled that now was a good time to challenge ourselves further in the area of consumption and the environment.
My husband grew up on the farm we now live on, and he is the most frugal person I know. He is always looking to recycle/reuse/use what we already have in order to tackle projects inside the house or outside on the farm. He is the gardener in the family, and is very passionate about it. Rarely frivolous with his spending, and always wanting to save money. But there are certain new items that he does enjoy buying (any board game lovers out there?!), and is excited to approach this challenge from an environmental perspective rather than simple frugality.
I, on the other hand, grew up in the burbs, had never gardened in my life or even cut the small square of yard we had, and although I wouldn’t consider myself a big spender, if we “need” something, I buy it. For example, I wanted to make mini-muffins, so I bought a mini-muffin tray. I did not stop and consider the option of just making smaller muffins in the regular sized tray, or borrowing from my neighbour/in-laws, since they already own one.
- My family during the 2020 calendar year will not buy any “stuff.” We define it as permanent goods that are not necessary to life.
- We will only buy “essentials,” i.e. hygiene products & consumables such as: soap, shampoo, food, gas, toothpaste/brush, medication, razors, toilet paper.
- We will borrow, make, swap, go without prior to the purchase of any good.
- Experiences: these are not included. My husband and I go out to dinner once per month, and this will continue. Event or activities (going to a movie or indoor playground) with a cost are not included, although we want to keep this to a minimum.
- Bills are not included: we will continue to pay for our phone and internet.
- Gifts: we are still buying gifts for our friends & family, although we are giving cash/gift cards and not physical goods. We are encouraging our family to not buy us gifts this year, although we accept that we cannot control this.
- We live on a 50-acre farm, and there seem to be a lot of necessary upkeep inside and outside the house, which may require buying materials. My husband will try to fix and mend by repurposing/reusing supplies we already have, but he may need to buy nails/screws, tools, etc. in order to accomplish this.
- Camping. This summer we are renting a pop-up trailer and renting a campsite, so these fees are not included.
I will be writing a blog post monthly to keep you all updated!
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