The next few posts are a flashback to six months ago when my family attempted an entire month without buying anything other than essential food items and fuel. I chose this picture to accompany the post because I remember the day I took it vividly – I had a brand new baby, no commitments and I felt free and alive – just like when I started to forget about stuff and enjoy the journey.
Our family are currently in our second go at having a spend-free month because we loved the positive impact on our bank balance the first time around. Have you tried this too? Have you lasted longer than one month? What was the hardest thing? I would love you to share your stories!
After watching The Minimalists documentary, my husband and I made a pact to try and go one month without buying any ‘stuff’.’ Of course essentials like food and fuel were OK. Everything else was out. After that, we’d reassess and see how we were doing on our minimalism adventure.
Day one dawned bright and clear, a perfect late summer day. The first change happened at lunch time. After eating, I usually walk to the shopping mall. Today, I walked but I didn’t take my wallet. I headed in the other direction and discovered a beautiful park. I walked fast, breathed in the fresh air and felt lighter than I had in ages. I had no post-purchase guilt to drag back to the office with me, just a feeling that I’d used the time I usually waste to get thirty minutes of exercise.
A key idea which I took from The Minimalists was that it is OK to buy and keep, you don’t need to live like a monk. The trick to minimalism is working out what things add value to your life and which ones drag you down. If you love it and use it, its OK. If you’re keeping it out of obligation, let it go. If you’re keeping it because you think you might need it óne day’ let it go. If you buy it, look at the quality, usability and value the item will add.
I headed home feeling good. When I debriefed with my husband, he guiltily confessed he had bought a coffee. Considering he leaves for work most days at 4am, I think we can let that slide.