Thoughts on Buy Nothing New month

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spending less during Buy Nothing New MonthI love this! A comment left by a stranger in cyber world has changed my thinking in an instant. This isn’t the first time someone has reached into my life and said exactly what I’ve needed to hear.

I love how life is full of earth angels, don’t you?

It was Hugh who wrote about our ‘buy nothing new’ challenge and put a few things into perspective for me. And then Melissa pointed out that buying *something* during Buy Nothing month wasn’t really that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. And then Nicola, over on Melissa’s blog said I shouldn’t beat myself up. But y’all know by now, I’m pretty good at that 😉

So, looking back over the past 3 weeks with my objective head on, how have I done? My bank statement would indicate I’ve done pretty well. I’ve not bought anything except for food, fuel and cough medicine if I remember rightly.

I’ve said “No” more often (shopping with a 7 year old, anyone?) and I’ve made more food at home. I’ve made soup instead of buying it in a tin. Which, tbh, I really should do anyway. You get a better quality product, you know exactly what is in it, there is no waste and you use things that might otherwise ended up in the landfill or the compost bin. Plus, it’s a fraction of the price. Phew! When you look at it like that, there is no reason to buy a tin of soup ever again.

Only, every so often the monster of depression kicks in, or Can’t Be Arsed syndrome gets me, or I’m tired, in a bad mood, or…………I don’t know, I just want CONVENIENCE.

I have wonderful ideas of stocking up the cupboards and freezer with things for those days when I can’t be bothered to cook, but somehow I haven’t reached that point yet. I know it’s the right thing to do and I’m working towards it slowly. I now have 5 portions of soup in the freezer and enough apple crumbles to feed us for the season – yipee!

My daughter held up a mirror beautifully for me in the shop and happened to pick up the cheapest thing for me to buy on one day. I don’t even remember what it was now, but it really tested me. How far was I prepared to go with Buy Nothing New month in a culture that demands me to buy in order to be a good Citizen?

I said No, she was ok and we got through it. But for a moment I felt guilty. The ‘but it’s only 20p’ part spoke up. Then I remembered that most of us don’t remember the deprivation of not getting the stuff we want unless it’s really severe. But we will remember a hug in front of the fire, a book being read whilst sitting on our mother’s knee, being allowed to stay up late to tell stories or of sleeping on a sofa bed wrapped up in our mother’s embrace. All these things I can give to my daughter without cost to me or the Universe. In fact they GIVE something to us all and you can’t get better than that. Radiating love into the Universe will help heal it, I’m certain of it.

Through these acts of emotional nurturing I give the best gifts; ones that money can never buy and I hope that I prevent my daughter ever needing to buy something to get a ‘fix’. As a young woman in my twenties I would buy stuff to fill the painful emotional voids I had. It worked temporarily but left me bankrupt in more ways than one. Our stuff is transient, it provides instant gratification, but time comes along in an instant and snaps it away from us. It can all disappear at any given moment and leave us where we started.

Buy Nothing new month so far has given me the gift of reflection, of stopping to consider my choices and to look at the things that really bring meaning and reverence into my life.


  1. Fr. Peter on November 27, 2008 at 8:04 am


    I do know we all have to think before we use our hard-earned money, but I do at times also wonder if we, as you say, beat ourselves up too much over things.

    As you point out “a hug in front of the fire, a book being read whilst sitting on our mother’s knee, being allowed to stay up late to tell stories or of sleeping on a sofa bed wrapped up in our mother’s embrace” are beyond price and your comment “Radiating love into the Universe will help heal it, I’m certain of it,” is likewise.

    Like you I try to be as self-sufficient as possible, but to be fully self sufficient I would need to live the life of a 14th century peasant and I do want to have a hospital, doctor or dentist available when the family need it. I look at some of these ideas that surface and while I do understand and respect the thoughts and principles that are behind them, wonder if at times we run the risk of living life as though it is a penance and that worries me.

    Having been a reader and admirer of you work for some time now, I don’t think you have any cause for concern regarding YOUR environmental impact, buy nothing month/week/day or whatever!

    Warm regards.

  2. Mrs Green on December 5, 2008 at 4:44 am

    Hi Peter,
    I really appreciate your thoughts; as ever. I agree with you too – there are some aspects of 21st century life that I LOVE; one of them is on my lap plugged into the internet LOL!
    You are right; without a big shake up of our culture, I guess we can’t combine the luxuries of 21st century life with self sufficiency; we can just try and live as lightly as we can.

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