We are a society of consumers, shopping for enjoyment and as a hobby even if there’s nothing new we need. As a culture we operate on one simple motto: New is always better.
However, we’re all wrong.
In fact, new isn’t always better at all, and this style of shopping is making a mess of our planet that we may never be able to repair. On a more personal level, this regular and unnecessary shopping is making it harder and harder to live within our means, causing more family budget stress than ever before.
This is where Buy Nothing New Month comes in. October is the month in question, but you can participate at any point during the year. Make a pledge to buy nothing new for an entire month and watch as your mindset changes and your budget rejoices.
We can see the shock forming on your features, so let us reassure you. This challenge, if you choose to accept it, will not be as hard as it seems. In fact, here are some simple tips to get you started with Buy Nothing New Month that your budget will thank you for.
1. Carefully Consider Want And Need
One of the most difficult things for people to manage, especially during Buy Nothing New Month, is the line between want and need. Our consumer culture makes this very hard to navigate, as so often the line is blurry or totally unrecognizable. So, this October before you go to buy anything take a moment to categorise it into want and need. If you need something new, you absolutely can’t live without it. This is hygeine products and food. Almost anything else can be bought second hand, and at a much cheaper price.
2. Repair, Don’t Replace
In our society at the moment, it’s often considered cheaper to buy something new instead of repairing something old. But while it may be cheaper for you in the short-term, the long-term costs are worn by the planet in landfill and waste. Nobody is expecting you to turn into a computer whiz, but if you have something that you can repair, with glue, tape, or even with a needle and thread, consider doing so before you add to the waste of the world. With a little research, you can often find repair options that end up cheaper for you anyway.
3. Embrace Second Hand
When it comes to Buy Nothing New Month, embracing second hand is the way to go. From furniture to clothing and even toys, someone else’s extra stuff can become your treasured possessions. During Buy Nothing New Month make a pledge to only get things second hand. To do this check out the many op shops in your area, as well as places like Gumtree where second hand goods are listed. As well as being good for the planet, second hand goods are much cheaper, and you are guaranteed to save!
4. Circulate Your Stuff
People like to have new things in their lives, but these things don’t need to be new to feel new. Something that’s new to you will still feel just as new as if you bought it in a shop, and that’s what you should embrace during Buy Nothing New Month. Get together with friends for a swap party, where each person brings some things they want to get rid of, and they can be swapped for other items. Or, make a promise that every time you add something to your life, you’ll pass along something else. In this way you save money on new stuff, and you get to participate in a circle of second hand celebration.
5. Bring Back Bartering
Have you ever thought about what people did before money? Well, they bartered. That is, swapping goods and services for other goods and services. Bring this back on a small scale in your own community by offering something you have, or something you do, in exchange for something else. For example, if you can sew, offer someone a chance to have things made or repaired in exchange for helping with gardening or cooking you a meal. Everyone benefits, and everyone saves.
6. Recycle and Upcycle
We’ve all heard of recycling where goods are broken down to be remade into something else. But what about upcycling? This is the process by which old and often useless things are made new and useful. Upcycling has become a massive trend online, and it’s a fun idea to explore during Buy Nothing New Month. There are so many upcycling projects that take things we often throw away, like old clothes, jars or even bottle caps, and make them into something new again. This is perfect for kids projects, and even home decor, both of which can add unnecessary digits to your budget.
7. Borrow, Don’t Buy
Where can you borrow things from? Most people would say the library, but there are so many other places that you can bring in borrowing to save money and stop you buying new things. For example, if you need a tool that you don’t have, instead of buying it why not try to borrow it off a friend? This is particularly relevant if you’re probably only going to use the tool once. Also if you’ve got kids check out your local community and see if there’s a toy library. Kids always want to play with different things, but that doesn’t mean they need to be new things! Just think of the money you’ll save!
Buy Nothing New Month is all about making sustainable choices when it comes to your purchases. After all, every time you spend your money, you’re voting for the products that you want to gain power in the marketplace. Plus, dialing back on your new spending is the best way to save money on your family budget right now.