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.