Don’t Buy Anything
As Christmas approached last year I decided that I didn’t need anything. More than that I decided that I had too much, and didn’t need to buy anything for a long time. Even after coming to this conclusion though it would be easy to drift back into old habits, I’ve been buying things most days for most of my life after all. So I opened up Lift on my iPhone and added another habit to track – don’t buy anything - and I’ve been ticking it off now for 126 days.
Of course I would be dead by now if I truly didn’t buy anything, so I only track, not buying ‘things’, for myself. I still buy experiences, fuel for the car, food etc.
Still it’s made a huge difference to the way I think and to my bank balance! Every time I find something that I really do need or desperately want I add it to an Amazon wish list called Presents, but as my birthday’s in December I have a long time to wait, although as a Dad to 4 girls, Fathers day might provide an opportunity.
There’s not much on that wish list though, in fact in those 126 days the only things I’ve found myself wanting is emergency gear for hiking after a slightly worrying experience in February. When Steph got the email link to the list she immediately pinged back:
This is such a funny list of presents 😛 xx
As each day of not buying things passes I find that the desire to acquire declines, many things I’ve added to the wish list have since been deleted as I realised I didn’t really want or need them. I’ve started giving more money to charity and I’ve spent more on experiences. I’ve downsized the things that I already own and become less gadget obsessed, for example I’ve gone back to using an older laptop for most things instead of an iPad because it’s just more productive and enjoyable.
I rarely go shopping anymore, I don’t buy magazines and I don’t spend any time browsing the web looking for things to buy. I have a huge backlog of books that I already own which I’m now finally reading instead of just adding to.
In summary this period of not buying things has been more rewarding than buying things ever was and it means I have a lot more time as well.
The picture is of Haweswater in the Eastern Lakes where I spent a day recently with Jennie, a view money can’t buy and time with family that I’m realising is priceless the closer the kids get to leaving home.