How to Retire Early: Buy Nothing Months
I have absolutely no desire to live in a feeling a deprivation. My goal is find the joy in what I have instead of seeking out more of what I don’t need.
One way that I achieve this goal is by giving myself challenges. Can I save an extra $100 this week? Can I eat at home for an entire week? Can I buy all my clothes for a month at a thrift shop? By challenging myself to see what I can save rather than focusing on what I can’t have, I find that n0t only am I excited to see my bank account number at the end of the month, but I enjoy the things that I do have so much more.
I am about to begin my biggest challenge ever: BUY NOTHING MONTH. That’s right. For an entire month, our family has committed to buy nothing…except for groceries…because we need to live…and gas for the car since I’m pretty sure that Ilya would be none too pleased if I left her at school. But, other than groceries and gas, we will find joy in what we already have. Only eating at home. Figuring out how to fix something if it breaks rather than buy a new thing. Enjoying the clothes we already have. etc.
I’m actually really excited about this challenge. December was not a great month for us. The gift giving economy of the holidays is really stressful for me. People end up spending a lot of money on useless crap that ultimately ends up at the landfill (this might be a bit of an exaggeration you get the idea). I’m always unsure if I should get someone a gift or not – because you don’t want to end up in a situation where you didn’t bring a gift when they brought you a gift or vise versa. I would so much rather eliminate all gifts and just enjoy spending time together sledding or cooking a delicious meal.
In addition to gifts, December was the month when we spent a ton of money on repairs and upgrades to our house. Some of that money will be made back (like the low flow toilet to replace our 7 gallon per flush original one – hello lower water bill), but most of it was repair – pipe leak, furnace repair. Blah. So, I am ready for January.
Buy nothing month is really not about deprivation, but a challenge to see how much we can save. We have a very secret (lofty) goal of paying off our mortgage by the end of the year, but there is no way that we can reach that goal if we continue the habits of spending money on stuff we don’t really need.
For example, I LOVE shopping at the thrift store. It almost feels like free stuff the prices are so cheap, and I get so much joy from finding a good deal on something amazing that I didn’t even know I needed. The problem is that I actually don’t need it. When I buy this amazing thing that I don’t need (no matter how cheap it is), I not only don’t have that money anymore, but now I have more stuff in my house cluttering it up. I want to simplify. Less stuff. More experiences.
That is what January is all about: less stuff – more experiences. Wish me luck!