How To Not Buy Anything
Apples on an abandoned tree. Another free resource in an abundant universe.
About a month ago I decided to attempt to live with even less and reduce even more the amount of stuff that still somehow abounds in my life, despite rarely buying anything new. This month I have spent money on food and bills, and paying Builder Matt to make me a verandah. Plus I spent $2.20 on a tea towel and two books about pruning from the op-shop. This was an impulse buy as I originally went into the shop to buy some single quilt covers for the girls and there weren't any nice ones..
Here is the best way I have found not to buy anything.... wait for it.... DON'T GO INTO SHOPS. Really, it's much better just to walk past them. Also, it makes trips into town so much more pleasant. I go to the library, I do some tedious admin, I buy some food from little local shops, I enjoy the autumn leaves drifting down in the parks, I say hello to people I know. It all removes that tight feeling I once had in town, that fear that I might be missing some amazing sale, that I somehow needed to buy in order to save?? That covetous feeling of Needing a Thing, a thing that I hadn't needed at all until I went into the shop, and then feeling that I literally could not live without it anymore. For quite some years after I stopped buying new I still coveted lovely lovely things in the shops, but somehow, recently, that feeling has completely gone away. I can't even imagine wanting to buy the things I see in shops now. I think I have unhabituated myself to shopping. It all seems very crass and vulgar and such a terrible waste of precious resources to have shops full of shiny tat that people will cart off to their homes and then send the same amount of stuff from their homes to the op-shop or the tip in order to make room. That is the cycle I see when I look in a shop window now.
Still, needs happen. For instance, this week I discovered I am nearly out of ponytail bands. I thought about this for some time, then made a bunch this afternoon out of bits of leftover elastic from my sewing drawer. When Rosy used to do ballet we had to cut the elastic off her shoes to sew on the satin ribbons. I saved all of that elastic, of course. Today I cut it up the middle then tied a knot in it. Voila, new hair ties. Then I realised I could also tie a knot in my old, broken hairband.
Sometimes I think this could be renamed "Most Boring Blog Ever". I mean, really, hair ties. But, now hair ties are another thing I don't have to buy that uses up something I had in a drawer. It's like living in a slightly different universe. My daughters already think I do that. I think they are right. I used to live in a universe where I 'needed' lots of things that cost money and resources. It was a universe where I often felt slightly deficient because I didn't ever have quite the right stuff. Now I live in a universe where I have enough. I have everything I need and a lot of what I want. If I want or need a thing I can exercise my somewhat atrophied ingenuity muscle to make or remake a thing. Hey, this works for hair ties. It will probably work for lots of things, although most likely not everything. BUT if I encourage my brain to find an alternative way first, then I will leave more of my financial resources for that moment when there is something I really can't cobble together with leftover bits of elastic. Meanwhile, I am loving not going shopping.