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Buy Nothing

I participated in a medical study that paid me $36. To get there, I took a free campus/city bus. Breakfast wasn’t an issue or option today, as the research required that I fast. Starving and eager to eat, I finished the study and ran back home to avoid eating out. This is my second day of the Buy Nothing Challenge – that wasn’t an option.

Checking My Reactions

Today was a series of checks to make sure I stayed on course. There’s a gut reaction that brews when you “need” something. I’m low on yogurt and the cereal is gone. These simple planning errors can’t be remedied by a short visit to the store. As long as I’m challenging my initial impulses, I’m not going to the supermarket.

Unfortunately, I didn’t wash my laundry before the experiment. The local laundromat would be yet another expenditure. For the next five days, I’ll definitely be craving some fresh clothes. Cravings always seem to be strongest for the things you can’t have. Maybe there’s a secret in those words to changing this reaction. Maybe not.

My girlfriend is coming back this evening, and I’d like to be able to take her out and have a fun time in the city. But, I’m on this strange adventure that precludes me from such choices. It feels abnormal to hold back like this. While it may be a good thing, it makes me think about what partners must go through when one becomes super frugal.

Checking My Expectations

There’s a strange incompleteness to not purchasing something. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s a comical expectation. Why would I feel compelled or expected to consume and purchase goods? It almost feels engrained in our society that we aren’t a worthwhile component of the masses if we don’t spend. 

I’m hardly an anti-consumer; heck, I’m not sure that’s possible as a human. But I don’t like the idea that I feel compelled to shop and spend – especially with the massive student loan debt I owe. The balance I aim to strike throughout this week is a realization and movement towards critical consumption. I do believe it’s my responsibility to develop and maintain a discerning eye towards products, marketers, and advertisements that try to suck me in.

I don’t want to fall for their tricks anymore.

Filling The Time

What should I do outside of work? How should I fill the extra time? In a good way, not spending money has left me more time to write and concentrate on what’s important in my life.

Today I took the time to fix a pair of shorts. A button had popped off and I needed to sew it back. The only problem was that I’d never done it before. By spending the time to learn and sew the button back, filling my time had saved me even more than expected – how frugal of me!

With the rest of my time, which is ample in these summer months, I worked, read, watched Netflix, cooked, and walked outside. With the birds chirping peacefully and the Midwestern sun gracing luscious, green grass, I felt perfect. I had everything and bought nothing.

Day 2: $0 Spent.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s report and follow along!

Read the Entire Series: Day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7