Buy Nothing Challenge: Cheating

When I wrote the post about the Buy Nothing Until 2013 Challenge, I have to be honest. I really didn’t take it seriously. A couple of days later, I ordered a 50 dollar hair-styling product and a vegan meal planning book off the internet. I guess I wasn’t supposed to have either of those things because Amazon ended up sending me the wrong hair product and I had to send it back. And the book I ordered was damaged in transit, and I never received it (nor have I yet to receive a refund).  I did end up re-ordering the book, but I have decided that the book is the last thing I will buy until 2013.  Really, the challenge is about learning to do without.

Today I saw an infomercial about…. I never buy things from infomercials, but I always end up thinking, “Wow, that item would make my life so much easier.” However, I was doing just fine not even knowing about the item’s existence until I saw it on television. There are a lot of items that make our lives easier, but we were doing just fine without them.  Occassionaly something comes along that will make a monumental change in the lives of humans, but most items these days are overrated.

It got me to thinking, do I really need the meal planning book? Of course not. I have vegetarian and vegan recpie books; and if I would sit down for an hour each week, I could make my own meal plans.  Did I really need the hair product? I dont know yet. What I do know is I’d recently bought mango butter so I could make my own hair cream, and I hadn’t started using it yet. So at the time I ordered the 50 dollar product, I didn’t need it.

I’ve been going about the last week thinking of things to buy. I fault TV ads.  If you watch tv long enough, and sit through all the ads, you see all this stuff that you think you want to buy.  Commercials attempt sell you happiness, friends, “coolness,” personality, fun, excitement, frugality. You and I both know that there is no frugality in spending money at a store like Kohls because you are still spending.

If you try to focus on getting happiness (or whatever other positive emotion) without spending money, you may be surprised with what you come up with.  For example: I’ve been feeling rather crafty lately.  Last Thursday, I was feeling super down– I guess because I quit my job, and I felt like my life was nothing because I wasn’t working (even though I started a new job today). Instead of spending a gazillion dollars on crap I didn’t need, I crocheted a cute hat. (Oh- Here is a link to the tutorial:



I felt happier, and proud of myself that I turned $2 yarn, that’d been collecting dust in my closet, in to something I love. The postitive feeling is enduring longer than if I had just went out and bought something similar. Everytime I put the hat on, I will remember the day I made it: I felt like crap that day, and instead of stuffing my face or spending money I didn’t have, I turned my negative energy into productive energy. Truth be told, I wasn’t even crocheting to make myself feel better, I was doing it to bide my time. And I got something amazing out of my efforts

So when you are thinking about purchasing something, think first. Can I make do without it? Am I buying it to quell negative emotions? If you answer yes to one or more of those questions, you may not need to buy anything at all.

Have a great week.