It has officially begun: An entire year without buying new stuff. I am so excited!
I know I had heard about it somewhere before, but serious consideration began when I read a magazine article last October. Since that time, Andy and I have been talking about it, planning when to begin, negotiating any exceptions to be allowed. (I’ll talk about our exceptions another day.) As we have discussed this endeavor, I have felt God’s increasing urge to commit. I am thrilled that the day is finally here!
I recently found something called The Compact Movement, which you can join online, but I feel like that is a little extreme – at least for us. The Compact appears to be based on environmentalism, stewardship of our planet. But our plan has really blossomed out of stewardship of our personal resources, and the responsibility of teaching stewardship to our children. We are simply challenging ourselves to live a bit more efficiently. I suppose environmentalism is a big part of that, but since we already recycle and compost(as mentioned here), I don’t see that as part of our year-long challenge. Mainly, I want this year to help my family have a lighter attachment to money and especially the things that money can buy.
Maybe this is a little more selfish, because we are doing it for the betterment of our household. But how can we change the world if we don’t first change ourselves?
Right now, the kids don’t get it. They’re seven and nine, and think about toys constantly. When we first told them about our Year Without Buying, they booed. But, quickly understanding that they didn’t have a say, they have started looking toward the positive, which to them means saving money for later spending. (What else?) Yesterday over breakfast they calculated how much money they will accrue if they save their allowance for the year, and listed all the stuff they could buy when the year is through. It’s okay. We’ll let them talk about spending. I think they’ll get tired of the subject and drop it. That’s one of my main goals in this whole concept anyway: That the boys will get bored with the consumer mindset and just let it go. We’ll just have to see how long it takes.
So, for the record, here are the benefits that I anticipate:
Greater appreciation for what we have,
Less trash output (No packaging from new stuff!),
Less greed oozing from my children,
Less stuff cluttering our house!
As with all things prompted by God, I know that my expectations are just the tip of the iceberg. I trust that He will guide us through this experience, and believe that the blessings will be far beyond my imagination.
I’m sure that I will have plenty to share about this journey and, whether you think we are ingenious or insane, I’d love your comments as we go along.
Well… here we go!