No Buy Challenge

Money or the lack thereof seems to be a constant topic in our house. Some days it weighs us down and takes over our thoughts and conversations and rules our emotions. Other days we sit outside with a cup of tea in hand as the Little Paddler digs for worms in the flower bed and joke, “Wonder what the poor people are doing today?”

At the start of the year I came across the No Buy challenge. The rules were simple enough:

1 – Stop buying things you don’t need. You need food, shelter, etc. What you don’t need is yet another black t-shirt that looks like all the others in your wardrobe.

2 – The goal is not to live like a monk, or to suffer through the challenge. Buy healthy food. Get good medical care. Take a vacation. Just don’t bring more stuff in to your house for the sake of it.

3 – Things you can buy: food; eating out; medical care; supplies to repair current items such as thread to hem pants; items you truly need once you run out of every single unit of that item

The goal is less clutter in our homes and to break shopping habits (do we buy for comfort or boredom or to fit in or to distract ourselves), all the while living life through experiences rather than the collection of things.

I was intrigued. I signed up to take on the challenge. I failed in January and more spectacularly in February. But, I had gotten a good idea of my big downfalls. Not planning before I left the house was a big one. I’d be caught empty-handed and end up buying something. Grocery shopping with a list or at the very least having glanced in the pantry was another one. And while eating out is allowed under the general rules, our budget couldn’t cope with it, yet I found myself going out for coffees instead of simply inviting people over.

I would start again. Just for March and see how it went. After all Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent was also the start of March and it all seemed appropriate. I nearly crashed and burned on the second day in.

I had to meet another mammy to exchange something with her. We were both in town. Where would be meet? Coffee shop or would she come out to us? At the last minute we opted for our house. It was great. Pots of coffee and tea were refilled while we caught up, hopping from one topic to another at a rate. The biscuit pickings were slim. That’s ok. I had soda farls on the pan in ten minutes. And cobbled together lunch from a half opened pack of rashers, the scrapings of my last jar of green tomato chutney, the last tomato and an open almost over ripe avocado. It all looked and tasted much better than it sounds, I promise.

I am sure there will be slips and slides in March but this meal made me think, I can do this. Thanks Gill for strengthening my resolve.


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