OK we are a few days into our adventure in anti-consumerism.  I have decided to hold this exercise lightly, to embrace it gently and not to worry too much about it.  It is not a dare…It is a lifestyle change.  There are no winners or losers.  It is not something to be feared…It is an adventure.  And I am learning that there really aren’t any hard and fast rules–I am going to have to figure it out as I go along.

Nevertheless, I find myself wanting to set some guidelines to help me form what this is…and just as important…what it isn’t.  For me, this is not an contest to see what happens when I don’t spend money.  Nor is it a plunge into austerity for the sake of itself.  It is not about saving money, although I suspect that will be a nice benefit.  For me the goal is simple:  I want to notice what happens when I feel that need to consume.  I want to be with that urge instead of going with it and I want to see if something shifts or changes.  I want to explore the insecurities that lead me to feel the need to reach for my wallet.  And then too, I want to teach Max to think twice about spending his hard earned cash and I want us all to understand the value of money.  Oh…I want to reduce the amount of plastic garbage that is filling up landfills.  I want to limit my footprint on the earth…

We survived our first big outing–We had gone to Kettler Ice Complex to watch a Washington Caps practice.  They have a pro-shop full of very exciting Caps gear as well as hockey sticks and skates and things that we covet.  We made it out alive and without spending a dime.  There was one or two fleeting moments when I wished for the freedom to buy (for myself) but let it go and felt that much lighter. 

But then, we went out to lunch.  It was an outing.  We were with friends.  We wanted to celebrate the New Year and food shared together seemed like a perfectly fine thing in my book.  Other than the doggie bags we brought home (and ate for lunch today) and the extra buzz from the sodas we don’t keep at home, we didn’t accumulate anything.  It felt right, even if someone doing this experiment to save money would shake their head at me and scowl. 

Our outing boiled down this way to me:  Stuff-no.  Experiences–within reason.  Technically we did not NEED to go out to eat but it fits into my scheme.  So does dance lessons and guitar lessons and Max’s karate class which I laid down tuitition for on New Years Eve.  What I wonder is whether as I eliminate my need for stuff, do I spend less or more on these kinds of activites?  We shall see…

A few other guidelines have come to me and feel right, at least for the beginning. 

If I buy something I will buy non-disposable.  I will buy used.  I will buy local.  And only after I have found out that I can’t borrow it and only after I figured out that we don’t already have something that we can repurpose or I can’t make it from something I have. 

Lunches out at the office–I will limit them to one a week.  I will pack my lunches but allow myself to do the working lunch with colleagues or the occasional meeting of a friend.  Good food and good friends makes my heart sing–not numb.

One Response to “Living Without: The Rules”

  1. Jen Ballantyne Says:

    Good for you girl, you going great! I am proud of you. I have been really good too, I haven’t bought anything since Christmas!!! (It helps that I haven’t been really well enough to go out and spend, lol) Love to you darling, how are your friends going, the ones having chemo? Take care, love Jen xxxxxxxxxxxx