Friday, November 26, 2010

Consumer Culture War

I'm not a grinch, not a holiday-hater, no bah humbug here. But I do HATE the consumer culture that surrounds all things holiday this time of year. I write this on what's quickly becoming a holiday in itself - Black Friday.

Seriously, people. What the hell is up with waiting in line overnight in below freezing temperatures just so you can snag a $100 TV? I just don't get it. I can't think of anything more hideous than to wake up at 3 a.m. to make it to Target in time to buy a $75 camera or a $3 toaster. In my cost-benefit anaylsis of Black Friday, sleeping is worth way more than the $10 I might save on said toaster. Really, don't we all have a toaster anyway? I don' t know anyone that wants one for Christmas either. If I'm waking up at 3 a.m. it had better be for work or an emergency or some great life experience that doesn't involve a debit card.

As I was getting ready for work this morning I was watching a bit of the news on TV and they actually had reporters out 'covering' Black Friday. It's apparently news that we are all consume-crazy. Now while I do realize that this year is a bit different what with the Recession and all, people are generally feeling better about life (at least those of us with jobs) and are ready to spend a little money. Here's a fun fact for you - the average person will spend over $600 this holiday season. $600!

It's seemingly not enough that stores open at 4 a.m. Retailers now feel the need to be open for business on the one holiday that every single American can celebrate . Thanksgiving is the one day of the year where we can be lazy, hang out with family and friends, watch football if that's your thing, catch a movie, eat too much monochromatic carb-filled food and take an afternoon nap without feeling guilty. People should not have to work or think they need to work to make double time. The option shouldn't even be available.

It's like we all have this chip in our heads that is programmed to buy, buy, buy. As Americans our commonality is based on our consumer culture. We are many things (incredibly philanthropic, giving, compassionate, and kind) but our American culture is based on purchasing, buying and consuming. The chip in my head turned on big time after I refinanced my house. The urge to purchase something was a little overwhelming. Fortunately, I was able to curb my desire by remembering my deal to not buy anything new. I'm now struggling with the deal I'm making in my head to buy something after the first of the year. Somehow then it won't count.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Junk Jaunt 2010

Nebraska - a superb Bruce Springsteen album, ultra-conservative in pockets, lots of corn but none in the grocery store unless you want canned, and the absolute middle of the country. Seriously, Kearney, NE is the bulls eye of the U.S. Kearney might be worth 50 points on a dart board but I can't figure out why anyone would want to live there. Beauty is certainly in the eye of beholder here. Being from Colorado I'm clearly biased in my opinion and I don't mean to offend any native Nebraskans, who are lovely people by the way.
I traveled to Kearney to meet my parents for a little visit and to check out the Junk Jaunt. I'm always up for a road trip and Kearney is a mere 6 hours from Fort Collins so why not? The Junk Jaunt is billed as a 300-mile garage sale. It's really more of a Junk Journey, heavy on the Junk. Basically there are about 30 towns in Nebraska where the townies host a number of garage sales over three days in September every year. It's a great way to see the Nebraska countryside as you travel between towns hoping you don't run out of gas.
I ended up spending $34 - a basketball, chalk board, some jewelry, bowls, a New Jersey glass and random other crap. The only real revelation I had was that if you need any sort of dishware Nebraska is the place to go. I could've outfit every home in Fort Collins with the dishes, pans, bowls, cups, glasses, serving platters, etc. that I saw at EVERY single place we stopped. It was truly stunning how much of this stuff there was.
My favorite part of the trip was the giant billboard of Sarah Palin asking Nebraskans 'How's that hope 'n' change workin' for ya?' I felt bad for the farmers that drive by that everyday.
While I had a nice time visiting with my parents including the requisite disagreement or two with my dad (we did manage to avoid politics), I have to say I found Nebraska worth driving through.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saving America by Buying a New Car or Getting Rid of One

Before I start, forgive my lateness in discussing this topic. It takes me awhile to process things, like months, actually.
Talk about mixed messages? 9 years ago we were told that one of the best ways to get America back on track was to buy a new car. All the auto companies were offering zero percent interest to make the purchase more palatable and pretty much every commercial was for some new, albeit boring, (don't get me started on how humdrum and plain cars are nowadays) 'American-made' car. We were also told to shop at the mall and basically just buy, buy, buy. Didn't really matter what, we needed to buy crap to keep America #1.
Flash forward to summer 2009 and the Cash for Clunkers program. All the cars we bought in late 2001 and early 2002 we should now turn in as a clunker? This program would put cash into our pockets to stimulate the economy and, by the way, we should also buy another new car with some of that clunker money while we're out. Clearly, a car purchased in 2001 wouldn't be a clunker in 2009 unless it was a Yugo, Pacer, Pinto or an Aztek. Of course, none of these cars were available in 2001 except the Aztek, a car my parents actually bought, love and still drive. But I'm getting off point.
I know that this is a simplistic point of view as I tend to be a bit naive about these things but isn't there another way? Talk of late is that the Cash for Clunkers program didn't really achieve the desired effect and we all know what the rampant debt incurred after 9/11 has done for America's and our own personal bottom lines.
While there are a lot of folks that are trimming expenses and looking for ways to save, the prevailing wisdom is to continue to spend. Aren't we told, with excitement or despair, how overall spending, month to month, is in this country. If it's up we feel more optimistic, when it falls we get depressed.
I think there's a message in all of this - exactly what that message might be is certainly debatable but it might just be, 'hey, let's keep the still-running-fine 1997 car we have, trim some household expenses and maybe decide to wear something in our own closet rather than buy that new dress while we help stimulate the economy by going to a play, giving to charity, or eating dinner in a local restaurant. Let's do this while we also figure out a way to get the school systems a little more scratch.'
Just a thought.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I told you it wasn't a new idea!

I honestly don't know if I could go a year, or a week, without buying clothes. While I've spent this past year not buying anything new, this gal spent the last year not buying new clothes.

The difference between me and Sally, besides the not buying new thing, is that I allow myself to buy all the clothes I want as long as they're used. Is one way better than the other? My philosophy on this whole little project of mine is that buying used is fine because I'm not buying new things. I'm buying things that are already in the consumer stream. The things I buy are already out in the world. These items could sit in the used store or in my house - it's six of one, half-a-dozen of another. But is it, really?

Maybe it is better to not buy anything? I know I've saved some cash these past eight months. While I haven't actually tracked it, I know I've saved at least $1000 which was the balance on my Macy's credit card before I paid it off in January. That $1000 was all clothes. I used to go to Macy's when I had a bad day or felt that pang to buy something, anything, to make the day a little more interesting. I haven't been in a Macy's in all of 2010 - and I don't miss it one little bit. It also felt awesome to pay off that card!

Sally estimates her savings over the past year at $5000. That's not only a savings for her of $5000, that's $5000 worth of new items that weren't purchased at all. While I'm buying used, I'm still buying. Either way, I feel like Sally and I might have the right idea. Trying hard to not be a high mass consumer, no matter what tack you take, can't be bad for the world. Go through a thought process before you make a purchase; think about the use of the item, do you really need it, is this a necessary purchase, how will this enhance my life? Buying consciously instead of unconsciously, like a drone, is what I'm getting at here.

By the way, I'll be traveling to the Junk Jaunt in September. 300 miles of garage sales!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Retail Therapy

We all know about retail therapy. The phrase 'retail therapy' is linked most often to women but men do it too. I remember one guy friend in college that showed up at work one day with a new pair of Dr. Martens (the fairly pricey, chosen footwear of the 90's college student in Michigan). After I commented on them he explained that he'd been feeling a little blue and decided he needed a new pair of shoes. You rarely hear about men doing this but I think they do it as often as women, they just don't talk about it. It's not a man/woman thing, it's a human thing.
The other day my horoscope told me it would be "worth it to spend a few bucks on something fun simply for the value of the break it creates in daily monotony." I always look at my daily horoscope hoping for some insight into what the day will hold and now it's telling me to shop wantonly. To shop and buy something unnecessary because it will brighten my day.
What about maybe taking a walk or reading a book or eating something new or, seriously, anything that doesn't require buying something I don't need? Our culture is so purchase centered. 'Things' really do shape and dictate our days. I find that some days I spend so much time organizing my life - moving things from point a to point b, fixing things, purging things or acquiring new (used) things. Thinking about how much time we spend on things really can be crazy-making. We all do it so unconsciously but all of this moving around of stuff takes up huge amounts of time. Time we could be doing something else, say, more meaningful.
None of this, however, changes the fact that I have my eye on a new little black top that I've been trying to justify purchasing for about a month now. Will the urge for retail therapy hit me hard and drive me into the store to purchase this top I don't need or will I choose to walk my dog instead?

They'll do anything to get you to buy crap you don't need...

From a marketing standpoint this makes sense. From an anti high-mass consumer standpoint this is sorta gross.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm sorry, 20 pairs of shoes is not 'one item.'

I'm not sure if I could do this. My line of thinking is if it's used, it's already in the world and I'm not hurting anything or anyone because it's not new. I'm not using 'new' resources as it were.,9171,1812048,00.html

Sunday, August 1, 2010


A registered Independent, mainly because I don't pay enough attention to affiliate directly with one party or another, I recently asked my dad about why the Tea Party followers love Reagan. I found it interesting that at a recent Tea Party rally my parents attended in Michigan they bought t-shirts that featured a Reagan quote, which I now can't remember. While I know that there wasn't a 'Tea Party' during the time prior to the Revolutionary War, I figure a quote by Benjamin Franklin or Samual Adams would be more befitting of a Tea Party t-shirt quote. While my father and I talking politics really pisses my mom off, I just had to ask why the Tea Party supporters love Reagan so much.
It all comes down to money, as always. Reagan cut taxes and therefore more money was spent thus spurring the economy. Now I was a teenager during the Reagan era and I don't remember any of this except, of course, when John Hinckley tried to impress Jodie Foster with his marksmanship skills.
With all of this money being spent the economy improved while the country slowly became drunk on having more, more and more. I readily admit I'm a super-naive and politically uninformed gal, so this is merely an observational query; while all of the Reagan tax cuts helped spur the economy did they also lead to the extravagance of the nineties and the aughts? Extravagance in material things and excess in lifestyles?
I can't tell you if tax cuts are the way out of our current situation and I have no idea if Reagan had it all figured out. The thing I wonder all the time is how much do we all need. How big of a house, how new of a car, how many pairs of shoes or cute little black tops or that new $1500 couch? Tax cuts or not, stimulus package or not, I think one thing the Great Recession is teaching us is that less just might indeed be more.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's catching on...

Something to look for at secondhand shops - there are some out there that way overcharge. While you want a secondhand store that is organized and clean be on the lookout for those that are too nice. Just like in a retail store, if the overhead is high you'll see it in the pricetag.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


It started with the canceling of my trash service. After paying 40-something dollars every other month for so-called trash service I made the most frugal decision I think I've ever made. I went out and bought a gigantic Rubbermaid storage bin on wheels, called the trash company to cancel and I've never looked back.

Now, I have friends who think I'm turning into a crazy(ier) lady because I take my garbage to the dump instead of paying to have someone take it away. I seriously beg to differ! I put my trash into a trash receptacle that sits outside of my house (just like everyone) and about every 6 weeks or so I fill up my car with not only my big, covered trash bucket but also all of my recycling. I drive about 6 miles to the county dump, pay about $5 and rid myself of the rubbage. I really think I'm sort of brilliant for thinking of this.

After canceling the trash service I find myself on the constant lookout for other ways to stick it to the man (in my own small way). I really hate being told what I have to pay for. You know, like you have no other choice in the matter. Paying for Internet service - not doing it. Paying for cable - nope. Paying for air conditioning - again, not going to happen. I've quit using my dishwasher too. After two $300 plumbing bills to try and figure out what was wrong with it I decided washing my dishes in the sink made more financial sense.

While clearly not a true Luddite, I guess I would say I have Luddite tendencies. I did buy a new CD today. I count it as a gift and only the 5th new thing I've purchased in a over 6 months. After all, everyone can use a little Eminem.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Possibly the Best Idea Since Kinko's

What is up with the rampant proliferation of self-storage places? Seriously, if the world blew up and aliens came down to discover what this human thing was all about they would think we spent every waking minute accumulating STUFF. In their history museums of the human race they would have stuffed animals, car parts, salt and pepper shakers and Precious Moments figurines.

Public Storage, the company that seems to be the Kinko's of self-storage businesses, have been running ads all about storing your stuff. They show a couple going through all the stages - getting married, moving in together, having a kid, etc. With every stage comes more stuff thus the need for Public Storage. Maybe there is a bigger need lately what with people losing their homes and all but the ads are really focused on storing the stuff that doesn't fit in your house.

I recently heard a story on NPR about these two sisters that stored their parents stuff after they passed away. They were planning on keeping it in storage for a short time until they could get together and go through all of it. This makes sense. What ended up happening is a couple of years went by and they realized they had spent over $5 grand to store a bunch of stuff they ended up donating!

I don't know about you but I've always looked at self-storage places as a sort of emergency-type business. If you're in between homes or getting divorced or want to store a human head - ala Silence of the Lambs. We have a storage unit at work but I'm an event planner and there really isn't a good place in my office cube to store 20 glass candle holders or 30 directional signs from the bike tour. Makes sense for us to have a storage unit. Makes no sense to have one for random crap you can't seem to do without.

On the home front, I ended up buying a new greeting card for a wedding. This is just laziness on my part. I could make a pretty one at home but am too lazy to take the time necessary to make one good enough. I also ended up buying a new front derailleur for my bike after buying a used one that didn't work very well. I look at this purchase mostly as a safety issue. Plus, I bought it from a local bike shop so that helps, right?

We're half-way through the year - so far, so good. I really think I could live like this forever.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

If You Buy Something Alone Did You Actually Buy It?

One of my favorite books, "Into the Wild," by John Krakauer, has got me thinking lately. Specifically Krakauer's assertion that, "Happiness is only real when shared." I really loved this idea when I read the book and then saw the movie a few years later but when I read the quote again in a recent issue of VeloNews in an article about riding your bike alone, it gave me pause. Not to give too much away about myself (and maybe I already have?) but I live alone, just me and my dog, Cadence, I ride my bike alone most of the time, run alone most of the time, watch TV alone, well, you get the picture. I also do most of my purchases alone. I would venture to guess that a lot of us do. Side story: I remember going to the grocery store with a new boyfriend years ago because we couldn't stand to do anything apart at that point and after finding several industrial sized cans of random food items in the cart I decided that maybe grocery shopping was something I could do by myself. I think it was his way of telling me he was bored out of his mind without being rude about it. He was sweet but I digress.

Most of us shop alone for clothes, for food and the random crap we all need to keep going. Big purchases are usually done with someone else, I suppose. When we spend more than $100 there seems the need for consensus thinking. "Is it the right color?" "Am I spending too much?" "How do you think it will look with the current decor." "What credit card should I put this on?" "Does this make my butt look big?" Whatever.

So does all this buying alone make us sad? Are we not happy when we buy a home alone (I did) or a car (did that too) or a vacation (done many times)? I think we are, at least I am. I don't deny that doing things with others brings a different kind of happiness and lots would argue a 'better' kind of happiness. But while I spend a lot of time alone I also spend lots of time with my friends and family and I simply don't 'grade' my happiness in that fashion. I'm either happy or I'm not. Being alone when buying a house or a car or going on vacation alone shouldn't diminish the experience. Is it merely the act of telling someone about it, making it more real, that is really what Krakauer was getting at? It's like that old saying, "If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound." Well, duh. Of course it does. And if the tree could talk it would tell you about it as you walked by.

I've also got public storage units on my mind but will torture you with that at a later date.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


The Paradigm of Choice. A theory I first heard about in my required economics class at Michigan State. I nearly failed macroeconomics but microeconomics lit me up. It was the first time that I actually understood and enjoyed learning about numbers. Microeconomics was more about people, their behaviors and choices. I had a really great professor, too. He would teach us while not really teaching, you know? Through stories and personal observations he taught difficult theory and, of course, those damn numbers. I think I actually did some extra credit work and ended up with a 3.5. Not bad for the girl that got a 12 on the math portion of the ACT.

Maybe it's because it is top of mind for me lately but it seems that everyone, whether they know it or not, is spending more time deciding, or choosing, especially as it relates to their own personal economics. It's becoming about need versus want. Not only is it about need versus want, it's now considered 'cool' to be a saver, to be thrifty, to reuse and recycle. I find this incredible while not really all that surprising. Society is clearly dictating this groundswell.

On my own personal trip through a year of not buying anything new I've been seriously surprised at how simple it's been. The most difficult challenge I've faced so far is when it comes to gift-giving. Most of my friends and family are cool with getting used items as gifts but there are those situations where a used item just isn't appropriate. Of the 4 new items I've purchased this year 3 of them were gifts.

I've been buying used for years and with it now the cool thing to do I have to admit I do feel somewhat validated. The Paradigm of Choice has now validated my spendthrift lifestyle. I do want to buy that new $1800 Cannondale bike I rode last weekend though. Is there a Rationality of Choice theory? I need to look that up.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Blind Leading The Blind

As a homeowner one has to come to terms with worrying about such things one never thought one would worry about. I tend to be a worrier by nature - I blame my mom - and, really how many women have you met that aren't worriers? Instead of worrying about what I might wear on that date (what date?) or wondering about such things as that grey hair peeking through on the top of my head and when my next hair appointment is; I worry about blinds. Yes, blinds. Not hunting blinds. Window blinds. Boring. Ass. Window. Blinds.

It's cool. Really. I have come to terms with this type of worry a long time ago. It's actually somewhat comforting to be worried about something so innocuous. There are certainly worse things I could spend time pondering.

So, the blinds. I've needed blinds on my downstairs windows for four years - since I moved into this house. Downstairs is where I keep my 'living room.' I sit down there every morning, put my makeup on in front of the TV and then get dressed. In front of windows without blinds. I have curtains up but no blinds. And every morning for the past four years I think to myself, 'seriously, you need to get some blinds up before Mr. Peeper figures out you're getting dressed down here every morning.'

Therein lies the dilemma. Once I got serious about getting these blinds I was well into my not- buying-anything-new year. Finding used blinds has been a real test of my patience. Many times I almost got into the car and drove to Target to lay down my money on new blinds. I think I visited at least 10 used stores - nothing! Just so you know, most places, I come to find out, will not take donations of used blinds. I finally ended up finding perfect blinds at a Habitat store. When I went to pay for them ($10!) the clerk told me they don't normally carry blinds. Once again, my lucky day! Now, that grey hair...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It Might Not Be New But It Still Costs Something

I find myself at the thrift stores quite a bit lately. It used to be a 'special' trip to head out on a Saturday for a day of thrift shopping. Now, it's quickly becoming a 3-4 times a week thing. What this says to me is that I still have a jones for shopping. And this is disappointing.

My last boyfriend told me numerous times that I was a high-mass consumer and I've been trying to buck this label for years. I think it's where this not-buying-anything-new thing was borne. Really, how many shirts does one woman need? How many pairs of shoes or silly trinkets for the house? I've run out of hangers for the mass amounts of clothes and floor space for the shoes (and I have a large, walk-in closet!) and my house is starting to look like an old woman's who also has a lot of cats.

So, while I haven't been buying anything new, I have been purchasing a ton of shit. Shit I don't need. I am, from today forward, not only not going to buy nothing new, I'm not going to buy crap I don't need.

Take that ex-boyfriend!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What a Deal!

Since starting this little experiment in January my first home appliance took a digger and died. My DVD player kept getting stuck at 15:11 and would go no further, wouldn’t stop, wouldn’t chapter forward or backward and generally just gave up the ghost. In today’s throwaway world it would cost more to fix the player than it cost to buy it 8 years ago so I was left with the DVD player on my laptop. I thought, ‘fine, I can deal with watching movies on my laptop.’

Since I already cancelled my cable months ago, the red envelope has taken on a monumental importance in my casa. The only thing to watch on the 5 channels I do get is “American Idol” and truly, I’m just not that into it. The DVD watching on my laptop lasted about 3 days and then my aunt suggested I visit a pawnshop. My aunt is a genius! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier!

A few days ago I tripped on into my local pawnshop in search of usable, cheap DVD player. I hadn’t been in a pawn shop for about 17 years, back when I pawned my camera three times – I kept going back to get it out of hock. I had my choice of 4 DVD players and a Blu-ray player. I don’t really get the whole Blu-ray thing. Is it like 3D - totally a waste of time? Of the 4 players available, there were two in my price range. Neither had a remote so I picked the $15 model. An Apex. I’ve never heard of Apex but as I mentioned, I don’t get the Blu-ray thing so what’s in a brand name to me anyway?

I took it up to the counter and they plugged it in and showed me that it worked – sold! I was feeling that now familiar smug feeling I get when I feel like I’ve pulled one over on ‘the Man’ by not buying anything new. The nice woman at the counter rang me up and only charged me $10! I reminded her that it was actually $15 and she tells me that she gave me a discount – just because!

I’ve watched 3 movies on my new-to-me/used DVD player and except for wanting to watch the special features or chapter through something, it’s all-good! Now I’m waiting for the used universal remote I just bought on EBay to arrive.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Tan Would Come in Handy Here

What's a non-spender supposed to do with runs in her nylons (the most horrible invention ever!) and 20 minutes to get to an event? Wish for a tan? Break the rules and deem nylons a health item? Steal a pair from the drug store so that I'm not officially breaking my rule? None of the above, my friends. I've never really had a tan and am starting to embrace my pale hue and while I could say that nylons are a health item since they have a 'panty' attached, it's a stretch. And the last thing I stole was a tube of mascara when I was 12 so that's out too.

I retreated to the good 'ole standby - nail polish. I would venture the "Hint from Heloise" that has gotten the most traction is using nail polish to stop a run in your nylons. Is Heloise still around? If she's online she'd get a lot of hits on this helpful, practical and free (as long as you already own a bottle of nail polish) tip.

I dug around in my manicure basket and came up with an old bottle of clear nail polish that worked splendidly on the multiple runs on my nude nylons. Off to the event I went.

I really do wish I had a tan though. Summer legs would look much cuter!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cheating Leads to Fender Bender

I became enamored with what I thought sounded like a fantastic new invention, a carpet rake! What's a carpet rake you ask? A nifty cleaning device designed to pick up dog hair from your carpet. Simply brilliant!
My dog sheds like no other. If I could shalack him I would. I've actually had dreams of drowning in a giant hairball. This carpet rake invention sounded like the answer to my (ahem) hairy problem. I rationalized this purchase by telling myself it was a cleaning product so therefore not new.
So I drove myself to the Home Depot all excited to rid my house of unwanted dog hair. After explaining this new fangled invention to the helpful hardware gal I was turned away without a carpet rake. None to be had - online only. Grrr!
It was snowing heavily as I walked back to my car sans rake with plans of ordering it online. As I started to back out of my parking space I collided ever so slightly with a cream-colored luxury car. I say ever so slightly because seriously there was so little damage I had to pinch my eyes together to actually see it.
Unfortunately, the owners of said car were not as nice as their car and I now believe that my insurance company will be paying for a new bumper. C'est la vie.
If I hadn't become so intoxicated by the prospect of a hairless carpet and stuck to my resolution I wouldn't be purchasing a brand new bumper for an ugly, extravagant car.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Valentine's Day Euphoria


Since I started this endeavor I’ve purchased one new thing, well, actually two; damn it! The first was right after the beginning of the year and was a gift. I had little time and nothing in my ‘gift closet’ that was appropriate. The gift was about $15. I justified this purchase because it was a gift. Can’t get through a day without a good justification.

The second purchase happened today. I blame it on Valentine’s Day euphoria. I got out of the gym at about 3 p.m. and walked right next door to PetCo to buy Cadence, my dog, a new bone for Valentine’s Day. Not that he knows it’s a sweetheart holiday but I do and I felt that I needed to get him a new bone because I was planning on clipping his nails that evening and he hates it. So I walked in and instead of a bone, which counts as food so therefore, not new, I bought a stuffed, red, squeaky toy! I didn’t even think about it until I got out in the parking lot, realizing that I didn’t buy a bone but a NEW toy. Unfortunately, Cadence has to go along with this not buying anything new dogma too. At least he liked it and was happy to have it after the nail-clipping session.

So, two things in a month and a half. Overall, I think the experiment is going well. It's very liberating – really. I walked into Target a few days ago to pick up a prescription and normally I would stop and look at the sale clothes rack. More often than not I would buy a silly little shirt or skirt or something else I don't need. On this trip I walked directly to the pharmacy and walked out. I didn’t feel like I was missing out, I felt a distinct sense of freedom.

Speaking of Valentine's Day - I had decided back in December to send out Valentine's Day cards since I was too lazy to send out Christmas cards. After the first of the year, I realized that with my New Years Resolution I wouldn't be able to buy cards so I ended up making them from stuff I had in the house. I'm not super crafty but it was fun to do and I think my friends liked them better than a store bought card anyway!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Not Buying Leads to Allergic Reaction


To blog or not to blog? Will anyone really care what I have to say about not buying anything new for a year? I’ve been told that blogging is more about the person blogging than it is about people reading the blog. I can live with that. I like to write and don’t much so this will now give me an excuse to do so.

I’m not the first person to decide to not buy anything new for a year or a specified amount of time. I don’t remember why it occurred to me to do this, it just did. I already enjoy shopping at resale shops anyway so it seemed like a good idea and something fun to try. While a lot of people think that recycling really doesn’t help the planet, I beg to differ. I do, maybe naively, believe that one person can make a difference. So, here I go.

I’ve been doing this since the beginning of 2010. It’s my New Years resolution. I’ve already stopped smoking, exercise 4-5 times a week and have upped my 401K contributions so I was struggling to come up with an appropriate resolution. To not buy anything new seemed like a bit of a challenge - but a fun one.

Today became annoying after making cookies for an open house. Food does not count as ‘new’ so instead of buying a plant or kitchen utensils, I decided to make some cookies to bring as my gift. These cookies contained coconut to which I find myself allergic. I made the cookies and of course had to try them to make sure they were suitable. I ate two of the smaller ones, changed clothes and went for a run. Halfway out, my eyes started to itch and swell and I’ve spent the remainder of this lovely, what I thought unfettered, Saturday in bed sleeping off a Benadryl.

Lesson? I’m allergic to coconut. The cookies were a good, not-buy-anything-new idea even if they took my day in a different direction.

Since I’m stuck in the house so as not to scare anyone with my bug eyes, I’ll spend the evening making Valentine cards.