Saturday, November 01, 2008

Stop purchasing unneeded goods

Or, buy nothing for a year. No I'm not quite planning to do that. I have seen lots of stuff in the news recently about how people have quit shopping for a year, and it's a really appealing idea. Spurred on by the fact that my Mum just bought me a 160 quid Karen Millen dress, which I do adore, and will last me many years, and is a good investment, but ultimately, I don't really need it, I'm being greedy letting her buy it for me.

Now, one part of the appeal of quitting shopping, for me, is that I'd have less junk in the house. Me and the boyfriend have a LOT of stuff, 30 to 50% of which isn't necessary. Yet I keep buying more things, why?? This rampant consumerism is not good for the soul. Well I say rampant consumerism, I say I buy a lot but in actuality I spend far less than other people.

I am not in debt (barring the mortgage), my credit cards are paid off every month, I save a good amount and I can pretty much afford what I want. I spend a lot on travelling round the country to see friends and family, and I spend a lot socialising. The most 'stuff' I collect, actual, physical things not strictly speaking necessary to my survival, are comics.
But then I do have a lot of shoes, books, clothes, action figures and ornaments. I don't need all this stuff. I don't need this amount of shoes, clothes etc. I don't need to keep buying stuff just cos I like it, I have plenty of things that don't get used and should be used.

I see people rationalising their new purchases with oh but I deserve it, oh I've had a hard day it'll cheer me up, I'm a good person, I'm allowed to buy this. Well guess what, what you can buy has no relationship to the sort of person you are. I live in a a society that values goods over over on tangible things, where your worth as a human being is displayed by the material goods that you own. With shops like Primark everyone can buy into the newest fads and pretend they are as good as the uber rich who can afford the real designer stuff.
But life doesn't work like that. We shouldn't be able to have everything now, we don't have a right to have everything want right this minute and the attitude that we do deserve it and should have it sickens me.

And there's the problem of global waste, pollution, sweat shops and where to dump all our rubbish.

So I propose that I try to amend my spending habits. And seeing as I don't manically purchase everything I see it *shouldn't* be that difficult, I hope.
With regards to actual physical goods - so not going to the pub, the cinema, or buying food -
  1. I want to stop buying stuff new. I especially want to stop buying new cheap stuff - it's not ethical.
  2. I want to reduce the amount of stuff I do buy. That which I purchase should be second hand (Hi ebay!) or from a charity shop.
  3. I should stop and think about whether I really really need the item. For instance, I do not need any more shoes. Or clothes. These should only be replaced when they've actually worn out and I don't have similar items in my wardrobe.
  4. Instead of buying books new I should visit the library more often.
I am not bothered about saving more money, although I expect that if I carry through with this, that could actually happen.
I've got to stop buying little jokey gifts for the boyfriend. If I buy him something it should be edible.

My one exception to this is comics. A few reasons why. Firstly, I cannot keep up with the stories unless I buy the books new. It's not like you can borrow the floppies out of the library.
Secondly, I just think everyone should be allowed an exception, and I am not ready or willing to give up my fandom. Thirdly, I read a lot of stuff in digital format anyway.
Mostly it's just that I don't want to.

I also am going to give myself the exception of Diva magazine - I have nowhere else where I can read about gay issues or get away from straight culture. The internet is not enough I am afraid.
I will stop buying other magazines though - Glamour, Company etc.

I wonder if I can stick with this? It will mean not buying the white supergirl vest I've been after (unless I can find a used version), it will mean not buying any more gloves, or hats (I have plenty). There's no point going window shopping in the high street stores.
How will I buy Christmas and birthday gifts for people? I could implement some further rules, perhaps making sure anything new that I buy is sourced and made locally. Should be easy in Norwich, given the type of city I live in.

This new determination might die a death fairly quickly, but I'd like to give it a go. You all have permission to shout at me if I fail.


ComicsAllTooReal's Chris said...

Heehee! I highly think you will fail, because it's already a success that you gave so much insight to this. Consumism isn't a good thing. People starts valuing what people has over who they are and that's just fairly wrong. I consider myself quite moderate when consuming stuff. Believing in saving has allowed me do stuff other people in my position has never been able to. So, it's really a good thing. Besides, it's healthier.
From time to time people in my office go on and on about recycling coca-cola cans and such and they never get anything from me, why? I don't need them, I have water and I love it, and it's free and healthier. I get the occasional weird stare, but I can handle ;)

Saranga said...

I've done OK so far! Until I bought new toothbrushes, anti histamines and two copies of the newspaper - which were election related so I persuaded myself (Now somewhat wrongly I think!) that they didn't count.

ComicsAllTooReal's Chris said...

LOL, you just can't pretend not to get new toothbrushes, heehee! :)