I decided to do another Nothing New challenge in April.
A Little Back Story: I had been doing so well with it last year, and was in a much healthier mindset about consumption... then I got pregnant. Because of the length of time since my last pregnancy, shifting the timing of pregnancy ever so slightly, and just having a different body to work with, including carrying VERY differently, I found that a lot of my old maternity clothes weren't working for me. So I bought some clothes. Because of food aversions and intense cravings, I loosened up my food restrictions.
Then I had the baby, and well, I got a little uncomfortable in my own body. The thought of going back to work at 6 weeks postpartum, rocking my little pooch, was difficult. I ended up buying 2 new pairs of pants, 3 new tops, and a new pair of shoes. Now granted, they are all well made items, and the pants are all good base items that I will wear for a long time, the shirts all ones the were just enough outside of my normal comfort zone to be great additions to my closet. The shoes are my go to ones (my other pair had gotten stretched out). But those things aside, the fact was that instead of focusing on how far I'd come, I was trying to shop away my discomfort.
How far my mindset had changed.
I've talked recently about my desire to do big things, and contribute in a real way to making the whole (people, earth, etc) better. I want to live in a way that is authentic to who I am, and what I believe in. And that is not a place of mass consumption. It is a place of measured investment in items that meet some important criteria of need (not want), and support of a lifestyle or movement that I feel committed to. Nothing New is one way for me to get myself there again.
In the interest of honestly and raw realness, I had another reason, much less grand and altruistic then the greater good. I had nickle and dimed myself to death in February and March.
We are working to buy a new house, had worked so hard to save, save, save, and here I was having a panic attack because I didn't realize how much I had spent. [Side note: don't worry, we're not talking thousands here... but still.]
But that was the real kick in the pants that I needed to see how far I had regressed since last spring/summer. It was the push to acknowledge why I was really consuming the way I was. So April would be my month to reboot, change my mindset, and yes, pay off my credit card bill.
April was the perfect month to start. It was Earth Day on April 22, so what a glorious way to celebrate. There was also a Greatist's Challenge that fit in nicely!
It really went well. Was I perfect? No. But I was pleased with how relatively easy it was once I made the decision. Other then one item that I'd been waiting to come in stock for ages, I didn't buy any clothes. Other then one treat when my brother came to town, I stopped eating out, packing my lunches instead. A concert I wanted to attend (coming up), I opted to ask for as a Mother's Day gift.
Better yet, I'm feeling really good about continuing on, albeit in an adjusted way*. We have so many birthdays this month, but like last year, I'm finding myself gifting activities and experiences more then items. A Celtic Classic membership for my dad, a dinner out for a girlfriend, a day of help in her garden for my mom. These things are great to give because they make everyone happy, and don't take up space! I also don't feel the urge to buy things like I did just a month and a half ago. Its a relief.
So, here's to more of "nothing" in May!
* Here are my original "rules" with notes in red on how I'll continue to follow them:
No clothes, books, songs, etc. I'm going to work on really reading through all of the books that I have, which is a ton (they are one of my favorite things), and if I must have a new book, I'll add it to my birthday list instead of buying it myself. No new clothes, that's for sure.
Food: I will obviously be buying food. But I'm going to stick to grocery
store shopping. So no eating out lunches, or stopping for a little bag
of snacks. I have some money on my Starbucks card, but once that is
gone, its gone and I won't add more. (My one exception: my coworkers and
I treat each other for our birthdays.) I will mostly still be following this, however I'm not going to kick myself for a once a week Starbucks treat, or a once a week purchased lunch.
Hygiene: Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Things that keep me
healthy and clean, I will buy as needed. Perfume or special scented
lotions, or other nice but not necessary things, I will be skipping. No adjustments needed here.
Birthdays: I will try to make people gifts if I can, or if not try to
treat them to an activity vs. buying them "stuff." But in the end, I
will get birthday gifts as needed. The only change I'll make here is that I would actually move "treat them to an activity" equal to making gifts. Making is great for repurposing old things and giving them new life, plus it often costs little to nothing. But its still adding stuff to their life! While an activity can end up costing money, it doesn't add "stuff" and studies have shown it gives longer lasting and deeper satisfaction!
Yoga: I will buy new yoga class cards as needed, but no new yoga gear. Spot on.
I guess those are the main points. If something gets used up, I will try
to find a way to repurpose it. If something breaks, I will try to fix
it. If it can't be fixed, I will only replace it if it is a absolute
necessity. I won't buy things because I think they will make me happier.
I won't buy things because I think "Oh Gwen would just love this...."
even though she has MORE then enough and doesn't need yet another thing.
If it is something truly unique, I'll tag it for Christmas shopping.