This blog post has been sitting in the pipeline while I’ve been away in America for a conference. With all the mindless consumerism of Black Friday, which apparently is infiltrating Ireland now, I thought it would be an interesting week to post it. I hope it gives you food for thought. Consider not buying anything not only this Friday and perhaps for even longer than that.
A while ago I heard Cait from Blonde on a Budget talk to Brooke from Slow Your Home on Brooke’s podcast. Although neither are blogs specifically about zerowaste they blog about plenty of things I take away and apply in my own quest for a reduced waste lifestyle such as decluttering and finances and reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ you own.
This October Cait challenged her community to a one month shopping ban and I accepted! Cait is currently on a two year shopping ban which is impressive. She has a strict list of things she is and is not allowed to buy and I highly recommend her blog and community for all things finances. I am not a big consumer so I’m sure this challenge was much tougher for other people than it was for me but I am proud of myself for reducing my purchase of ‘stuff’ to absolute zero this October:
zero ‘stuff’ like candles or cooking equipment (my achilles heel).
To clarify the things I did spend money on were:
Bills – Society frowns upon taking a break from paying these.
groceries – fruit, veg, meat, dried and tinned food, soap, laundry liquid, toilet roll, toothbrush (compostable of course) etc.
Eating out – mostly in a social context.
Presents for others – 2 birthday presents.
I also continued into November and with the exception of a magazine in an airport and new pairs of tights (my old ones had holes in them) I succeeded in November too.
What I learnt:
My willpower and resistance is getting stronger against all the tricks companies use to get you to buy things. I don’t feel compelled anymore to buy things. I’m not against buying things we need but don’t just fall for the 2 for 1 or discounts ‘just because’. I’m also not against shops, I’m very much in favour of businesses that deliver environmentally friendly solutions, high quality products in sustainable materials and long lasting products. I wish more of them focused on this rather than churning out cheap temporary solutions that destroy our planet and exploit the labour force that creates them. Vote with your money.
Shopping less means I also have the money to buy better quality things when I need to replace something. Win-win.
So with this in mind, here is the list of things I am allowed to buy:
- a black sweater – currently researching where to buy.
- One nice top for going out – second hand/vintage.
- Tights/hoisery when the ones I have get holes in them. I cut up the torn ones for hair ties.
- Some wool socks and thermals for a special trip to a very snowy place. Pure Irish wool socks handmade here are in every tourist shop – biodegradable and exploit free.
- beeswax candles – this is my next zerowaste move as paraffin wax candles are made from petroleum products. I’ve made savings from not buying as many things so I can afford one or two slightly more expensive indulgences like good candles. Plus demand for beeswax is actually good because bees are wonderful creatures we want to save.
- A kindle for book reading rather than buying them in physical form.
- Presents for others.
These are the things I am not allowed to buy:
- non beeswax candles.
- cooking equipment (I really don’t need anymore).
- clothes – other than those listed above.
- books unless necessary for phd.
- jewellery, bags, accessories.