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buy nothing new challenge.

November 5, 2012

A couple years ago I read the blog of a girl and her boyfriend who decided that, for an entire year, they would purchase nothing new. Aside from undergarments and personal effects, everything was either thrifted or home made.  I adore this idea, and I do think it would be incredible to challenge my family to this for an entire year.

After Jack was born, I quickly realized how fast he grew out of clothes, and how much money one could potentially spend clothing someone who will quite literally grow out of something a week later. I started going to kids clothing swaps, and have been scoring some amazing items for $1 per piece.  The thing I love about kids swaps is that you’re actually buying the items from the mom of the kid who wore it.  You can tell they care – everything is washed, placed neatly, and they say good-bye to each item as if they can remember their kid wearing it.  I love this.  I love it.  I’ve gotten things from Gap, The Children’s Place, Gymboree, H&M, Mexx, Converse and Old Navy.  Pairs of jeans that are in mint condition, great sweaters, cords, button ups, shoes and jackets.  My most recent score?  A Thomas the Train set for $5.  Including Thomas himself.

The challenge gets me excited, and I think we could do it for sure.  Sometimes being a consumer gets me down.  More times than not, I have buyers remorse and return things.  I’ve become extremely fickle with clothing and unless it’s an amazing deal, usually I won’t buy it.  (Doesn’t help that I’m not a major fan of my body at the moment.)  I always ask myself, ‘do I need this?’  And it’s not that I’m cheap.  Because I’m not.  You can’t be cheap if you have no money!  This is a good chance for us to cleanse a little bit.  Re-assess life as it is now, and try to make some changes.  A life audit.  And coming up to a new year, it seems like the perfect time!

Now I just have to convince Chris that this can happen!  This is what I’d accept as new purchases:

household items, such as garbage bags (can’t think of an alternative?)

personal items, like cotton swabs, toothpaste and dental floss, shampoo, conditioner, razors, etc.

baby items, like bottle nips, soothers, etc.

supplies to make items, like yarn for knitting something, or a container to hold home made cleaner (when recycling something isn’t possible)

supplies for my office and business.  However, sticking to a need only basis.

I love this plan.  I wonder if we could pull it off?  What do you think?


4 Comments leave one →
  1. vickodo permalink
    November 6, 2012 8:21 am

    This is SO do-able… A few suggestions that will hopefully help you out: Uh…. the first one may only be an option for Americans – and I don’t know if that applies to you, but here we go… Join your local Freecycle. Go to – the lists are broken up by area, and join. Amazing things to be had here sometimes. Craigslist can be a source as well, although not free.

    Investigate churches for their annual or bi-annual flea market/thrift sales or other fundraising efforts. Garage sales. Thrift stores/consignment stores in the area – map up a route. You can’t buy used groceries obviously, but see if there are any food co-ops in your area. And check out any “green” or “eco” organizations – many of them organize swap events and have leads for cottage industries that produce things you may not have thought about – maybe recycled paper? Possibly more expensive, but if you have the financial wherewithal (did I spell that correctly?), this could be an option. I suppose you could also revert to a quill and homemade ink…. but that sounds a bit extreme… lol

    I’ve been a thrifter for years and rarely buy retail. It’s a challenge and there isn’t much in the way of instant gratification – you can’t always just run out and purchase what you want, when you want – but it’s an enjoyable challenge. Oh… and on your list of acceptable purchases… homemade shampoo and other cleaning items are actually pretty nice.

    Wish you luck on the convincing part. 🙂

    • gosteph permalink*
      November 6, 2012 8:56 am

      Thanks so much, Vickodo! Great suggestions.

      And I agree on the homemade part – we already make our own laundry detergent.

      Do you know of a good shampoo recipe?

  2. Danielle permalink
    November 6, 2012 9:35 am

    Great post Steph! This is something I need to start thinking about doing because I am a total shopping addict (and always feel guilty).

    Here are some great shampoo recipes

    Voyageur Soap and Candle Making will have some of the supplies if you cannot find them and they are really reasonably priced there and have sales every month.

    • gosteph permalink*
      November 6, 2012 9:41 am

      I will have to check it out! I’m getting more excited about doing this!

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