Enough is Enough - 22 days in...
So 22 days without buying anything for me (and my family actually) has been very interesting and made me realise the following:
1. I don't need anything
This is actually kind of a weird realisation... It's true, I actually need NOTHING new. I have clothes, unread books, and a house full of stuff. Nothing is missing and even when for a moment I think it is (I need a big bowl for salads), I can actually solve this need with what I have (two smaller bowls). Every time a 'buying need thought' comes to my mind I assess the real need and every time I find it actually very easy to find a substitute with something I already own.
I've found myself wanting to buy something out of laziness (forgetting my shopping bags, not wanting to fix something). It clearly requires a bit of a change in attitude here!
2. I buy things to make me feel better
I have found myself multiple times thinking how sad it is that I can not buy anything new. Honestly!!! (and yes it makes me laugh to admit to this :-) ). I clearly treat myself with 'presents' to lift my mood. I love beautiful things and the idea of not buying anything for a year is sometimes overwhelming, it's such a long time....
The upside is that I can't wait for my birthday (July... I know, it's still a long wait) and I'm already excited to work on a list with things I'd like to get (while normally I have no clue what I want...). Also I'm trying to 'trick' myself by putting some things (like half my yoga clothes) away in order to swap them later on in the year when I feel a need for something 'new'.
I do think that the idea of making me feel happier when I can buy things is totally what I'm being abused by in marketing campaigns, they like to tap into that feeling constantly (see next point).
3. We get constantly exposed to the marketing push to buy stuff
My inbox overflows with marketing emails to tell me there's 30% off yoga pants (how do they know?? ;-) ), when I buy petrol I get a discount when I buy something in the shop, when I watch a movie I get interrupted by 'happy' families who just bought something new, when I walk in the street I have shop fronts and billboards telling me that there's a sale on, that if I buy 2 the 3rd one is free, when I drive my car the bus in front of me shows people surrounded by friends because they bought a new dress....
Initially I found this all pretty unfair (poor me for not being able to be happy and buy something new) and then it started to irritate me. Why do I have to get exposed constantly to these messages. I'm good enough, beautiful enough, happy enough, and I have enough! Why can companies just leave it up to ME to decide if I need to buy something! It made me realise that companies are actually trying to make me feel bad in order to need them... Well sorry guys, bad news for you, because I don't. And instead of making me feel bad for not needing you, I actually feel pretty good that I can resist your manipulative messages with a smile in my heart.
4. It's harder to resist to buy small things than big things
I've had it a couple of times now that when shopping I found I'd put something small in my trolley. Nail polish, a freezer bag, a notepad, some markers, a packet of 6 teaspoons. Things I wasn't even aware off that I was about to buys them. Things of which I thought "that doesn't count, it's only small". Sorry Anneriek because it does count ;-), now I even begin to suspect that I might have spent more money on these little things than on big things....
5. Not buying anything makes me feel lighter
Most of the time, I actually really like the feeling of not being 'allowed' to buy anything. I like it that I don't have to go shopping for 'stuff', that I don't even have to look in shops, that when somebody tells me I should get something that I can just say 'no', that I don't have to click on the emails, not have to browse the web.
So, 22 days in, I'm still going strong. It makes me feel light in my head, it makes me feel 'rich' not to spend money, and it makes me feel resourceful to come up with different ways of reusing things.