Monday, January 30, 2012

Riffing on Not Buying It

I wanted to give myself some time before I started looking into books and blogs written by others who have done no-shopping experiments.  My fear was that reading about others' experiences would influence our own too much.  We needed time to get settled into No-Thing New, work out some parameters, and clarify our purpose.  Now that a month has passed, I'm dipping in a toe and re-reading a book I read years ago, Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine.

So far I've read about the first three months of their experiment, and my first impulse is to feel like a slacker!  Their rules are more stringent regarding food (no convenience foods), and they may not spend on entertainment.  Yikes. 

Food and entertainment.  Hmm. 

We have one food rule: Eating out is limited to once per week.  Other than that, nothing is forbidden, although we are paying more attention to managing what we have and cutting down on waste.  Our shopping lists are (and always have been) pretty basic anyway. 

As for entertainment, if we receive an invitation to do something, there is no way I'm going to decline because of some stupid spending project.  On our own, Ger and I are a pretty cheap date.  I don't feel our entertainment choices are motivated by consumerism--we don't run out to see the latest movies or get lured in by Groupon offers for half-price wine tastings--so I saw no reason to include them in the No-Thing New project.  If anything, I'm hoping that less shopping means more time doing other things, so if I have to pay for a ticket or admission, so be it. 

How do you feel about food and entertainment?  Do you think it's a mistake to exclude them from the project?


Samina said...

I think the purpose of the exercise is to be prudent & be aware of how wasteful we can be. I can't imagine that it's to suck the joy out of life! I say all things in moderation, so I'm all for an occassional dinner or outing.

Having said that, I have to confess that the spousal unit & I are cheap dates, too. We rarely eat out or party, so going out once every couple of months doesn't make me feel too bad.

Laine said...

It seems to me its all about priorities. If this is all about money, then it would seem important to me more restrictive of food and other spending. If its about reducing consumption, then its really more about stuff and spending on entertainment is less relevant.

While I'm not doing a no buy thing, I've been paying more attention and trying to buy less (not that I bought much in the first place). While the money is part of it (isn't it always?), for me its mostly about reducing consumption (and in turn, reducing waste).

Christy said...

I agree with the previous two commenters...for me, it is important to do all things in moderation, which to me seems to be somewhere in the middle, between dumpster-diving for food scraps and spending $1000 on a gold-encrusted ice cream sundae. It seems to me as if you have successfully struck a middle path and have made "rules" that work for you. If your goal is to be mindful of what you are spending, and not to buy things that you don't really need, then it seems you are definitely in line with that goal. =)

Sherry @ A Happy Valentine said...

Make that four votes for moderation. Hubby and I eat out only on Saturdays ~ for lunch. We haven't been to a movie in years. We very patiently wait on them to come out on Netflix. (We have ONLY Netflix instaview, no cable, no satellite tv. Total cost ~ $7.99 a month.)

Our dates usually consists of going to free (or reasonably priced) concerts, plays, and ballgames at a state university in our town.

Melanie said...

And #5 -- Dh and I are cheap too. Same viewing scenario as Sherry. We eat out once a week for date night -- usually at Panera. I think the point of your endeavor is to change/improve YOUR habits, so what someone else does is interesting fodder, but not a requirement for you.

Angela Pea said...

and #6! At our house, healthy food is a priority: four growing teens have to eat. I don't buy convenience foods, but I don't skimp on meat/fruit/veggies, either. We rarely eat out and never have fast food. Date night? LOL..husband and I go out twice a year - our anniversary and sometime around Christmas.

As for entertainment - it's a consumable, like food. Now, I wouldn't recommend buying concert tickets every week, but a movie every other month or so? Netflix? Internet? Museum visit? - That's all fair, and you're not bringing "stuff" into the house.

Linda C said...

I'll agree with my sisters who go before. At one time we were almost in the dumpster diving for food and wearing other people's hand-me-downs class. Thank heavens I don't have to be there anymore.

I will spend on delicious healthy food but I love to get a good buy. If I have to, I might buy expensive clothes ( hopefully on sale) filling in the gaps with what I need; but, because I buy them for me to fit me and suit me, I will keep them for years, really years, and, because they were expensive, they will last for years. (Yes, I would like to get them secondhand- sometimes I am lucky)

We usually go out to dinner only for our anniversary and my birthday. We will haven a pricey meal then- but that's twice a year. We seldom go to plays or symphonies - I go with a friend whose husband doesn't want to go - she treats her friends, other drive, and I pay parking.

My weak point is books. Yes, I know there are our wonderful libraries- but I like to keep and reread my favorites.

If the point is to save, that is one thing- but, if it is a matter of waste and not bringing home stuff that changes the rules.

If you ( anyone ) is trying to follow any example just because it sounds like the right thing to do and there seems to be a vague feeling of guilt going around these days because we are so much better off than many others, then I think I would be doomed for failure. Oh dear , sounding like a parent or teacher (both of which I am)- you have to do what you really have to do- or it won't work.

Feel good, Petunia.