I’m about to embark on a big challenge….I’m about to commit to buying ‘noThing’ for a year.
I know. To most people, this sounds crazy, or at least most of the people I have mentioned my plan to. They’ve said,“What about food, skin care, makeup?” Don’t worry, I’ll address all of those obvious questions below. But first, the “why”.
Buy Nothing Day
I first heard of Buy Nothing Day via social media, about seven years ago. Socially Responsible minded friends (as a protest to Black Friday) reported that not only would they not be having any Black Friday Sales, but they would instead be closing their Etsy shop that day in protest, and spend that day with those they loved instead.
As a Canadian, I hadn’t even heard of Black Friday up until that point. This was before Canadian retailers had started jumping on the “Black Friday Bandwagon”. So, I needed to research what this Black Friday business actually was. Needless to say, I was horrified.
The sheer consumer materialism, the violence, my disgust at big box stores that lack ethics. All of it left me feeling ill to my stomach.
The History of Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver, Canada by artist Ted Dave in the September of 1992. It was then promoted by Ad Busters magazine. For the first four years, it was observed. Eventually, it made it’s way to being recognized on the Friday after American Thanksgiving (the day is infamously known as Black Friday).
For anyone who has seen what happens in the US during the Black Friday sales, it’s pretty clear why it’s time that we take a step back and look at ourselves, our behavior, our consumerism and contemplate. All part of the Black Friday madness.
So, I have been observing Buy Nothing Day on Black Friday in protest for several years now. Honestly, it’s not much of a challenge for me. It’s pretty easy to go one day without buying anything.
Plus, I have already done more extreme challenges in the past.
- Buy nothing new
- Buy nothing made in China
- Buy sweatshop free
- Buy no books
All of which I lasted over a year, and, once I got into the swing of it, actually weren’t that hard.
So, why now? Why not just do another Buy Nothing Day?
Well, to be honest, I’ve been a bit complacent lately with my mindfulness around consumerism. I think it started when I first moved to Victoria and needed different clothing for this climate than I had for the cold Calgary climate (hello, rain gear). That coupled with the fact that I was working retail part-time while I built up my Yoga classes.
You see, I had to buy a certain amount of ‘things to wear that were sold in the store’ as part of my job, and then there were all the extra cute things that I didn’t ‘need’ but got a discount on. So, I indulged in knowing ‘I would never get a deal like that again’ (hello, boots). Not to mention the weak Instagram moments (hello, skull leggings)!
One day, after doing my laundry and putting away all my socks and leggings, I realized I actually didn’t have enough drawer space!
Then it hit me – I have more than I need, and could easily go a year without buying any clothes.
So, here we are… about to do a buy nothing for a year challenge.
Now, technically, this isn’t not going to be me not buying anything or spending any money for a year. That would actually be impossible.
Here is my pledge and caveats:
What I can buy:
- Vitamins, supplements and medical needs
- Cosmetics (although I may not need to for a year)
- Toiletries (I make a lot of my own anyway)
- Textbooks for school (which I will try to buy used)
The final pledge is that IF any of the electronics I need for work (phone, laptop, iPad or video camera) die before the year is up (touch wood), I can replace them ideally with a second-hand version.
The challenge for me isn’t about not spending money or not having things I need.
Instead, it’s about excess THINGS. The unneeded stuff, consumer goods, materialism.
Other than the list above, it’s a Buy Nothing Year for me from November 23, 2018, to November 29, 2019.
I plan to take photos of ‘all the stuff’ that I see and want to buy over the course of the year. Then, I’ll add them to this Pinterest board to look back on at the end of the year. It will be interesting to see which items I actually still want/need and which I have forgotten about.
So, there you have it: my public Buy Nothing For A Year vow.
Not ready to join me for a whole year? Why not try one day on Black Friday Buy Nothing!
Wish me luck,