Deciding the rules (a bit late, huh?)

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November 25, 2008 by missmegany

Okay, so I’m at the point where I can say that I want to continue on this challenge, but I need to reassess what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. So, I started doing some research. There are lots and lots and lots of rules out there for people who want to stop buying, stop buying new, stop buying for a year, a month, or just cut down on their consumerism. I know that I want to:

– stop taking purchased goods for granted
– support local businesses/artists
– be aware of the consequences my purchases have on everything else—consumerism as an interdependent practice (fair trade? Organic? Flown here from Timbuktu? Could I support a local independent shop? Could I fix/mend/repair what I have instead? Will I even still want/use this later on?)

The problem is that I don’t know how best to do this. I think this started as a challenge to just spend less money. But, as much as I like being able to have a nice fat savings account, this isn’t about spending less. I’m willing to spend more on a handcrafted artisan piece or for organic food. It’s not really about keeping to a budget. It’s about the whole impact I have on everything else.

So where do I go from here? Do I change my challenge (and the name of my blog?) or add new rules?

Here are LOTS and LOTS of rules for inspiration.

Please help!!! Any and all suggestions/comments/criticisms/lists of rules/tips would be greatly appreciated.

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The Rules from No Hippy Chick (a girl trying to be more environmentally-friendly in a fairly big leap

#1 Buy nothing except things you absolutely need to survive which would include: food, water and shelter.

This includes: no fast food, no new clothes, etc.

Exceptions: Materials may be purchased for DIY projects. (eg: If I really need a new skirt, I’m allowed to purchase the material to make my self one. This has two benefits: 1) I will only take the time to make something if I really, really need it and 2) It’ll be doubly-sweet because I made it. So win, win!

Things can be purchased second-handedly (I don’t think that’s a word, but whatev!)

#2 I must strive toward a zero waste goal. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that I will make it, but I have to at least try to find ways to reuse things, either by recycling, donating, etc…. This is where I’ll have to get creative!

#3 I have to blog about both my success and my failures, for an entire year!! That’s my goal, one year! Otherwise, it wouldn’t be any fun!! =)

Crunchy Chicken’s Rules for the Buy Nothing Month Challenge:
Buy Nothing Challenge - April 2008
Anyway, this means none of the following:
No new clothes
No new gadgets
No new furniture or housewares
No salon services
No makeup
No tools
No whatever the hell else people buy
Why did I only give you one day to prepare? Because I didn’t want you out there binge buying in preparation for the month. I want you to really focus on whether or not what you are buying is a necessity or something frivolous. If you must absolutely acquire something non-edible or not essential to growing your own food or for your survival, then you must borrow, barter, or buy it used. If you end up buying something new that is non-essential, I’ll be hosting a weekly Sunday Confessional for you to justify your purchase. So, just think about having to confess to the world what you couldn’t hold off on buying.

Even from a comic book geek!!
The Rules
Rules, goals, plans and objectives.
1. no out-of-pocket spending on DVDs, CDs, Comic Books, Action Figures, Statues, Books (this means no spending cash, debit or credit card spending.
2. no using credit cards for purchases
(wherever possible)2(a). any credit card purchases have to be accounted for in advance and paid off ASAP
3. the plan is to sift through existing collections and sell what I can, putting the money towards the house fund. I understand the markets for used DVDs, CDs and comics are pretty crappy and I won’t get much for what I’m selling, and that I may be given the option to sell-in-trade. While the temptation would be to take the trade, it really has to be worth it (at least 50% more in trade than cash) and the store must have enough that I actually want.
4. I can work for trade.
5. (yes, this is a little early, but) no pre-buying/pre-ordering things for 2009 before 2009
6. I can receive gifts/gift certificates for BNY items, but shouldn’t encourage them
7. acquisitions will be tracked

8. I can buy BNY items for other people (wife, stepson, friends) but only as gifts (birthdays, Xmas, etc.) and it will have to be something they *actually* want. I should strive to find gift items other than the BNY items.
9. Video/library rentals are okay, as are movies and theatre performances (“non-acquisition spending”)
10. no substituting with pirate downloading (videos, music, comics)
These are the basics, the ten commandments, but I’m sure I’ll need to narrow it down or expand it in the coming weeks.
BNY starts today.

From a musician who blogs every once in a while:
So lovelies, it’s been a while! I’m back to talk about my Buy Nothing New for a Year Project. Next month, it will have been one year since I started. It hardly seems possible! For those of you who are not familiar with this challenge. Here’s what I’ve restricted myself from doing…
No new stuff!
This includes,
· Clothes
· Gadgets
· Makeup
· Erroneous bath and shower products (can only buy what you NEED)
· No going to the hairdressers
· No furniture
· No housewares
· No new crap!
Here’s what I allowed myself to buy if I needed
· Food
(of course)
· Secondhand goods from Charity Shops if I needed them
· Stuff from Freecycle if I needed it
· Items for my trades,
(strings, gems, beads, ect)
· Things you can’t buy used (lightbulbs, panties, ect)
So I did pretty well. Did I actually go an entire year without buying anything new? Not really. Here’s what I cheated on:
· I bought a new lappy before I came over to the UK to live. Truly that falls under the needed for work thing, but I could have bought a used one again but I didn’t.
· I bought some lipstick because I ran out.
· Some of the things we needed after the move were bought by Steve
· I had my hair cut before I left the US, but I didn’t know back then that it wasn’t allowed (since then it’s been cut by Steve)

From Arduous:
The Rules
Amelia asked me in the comments what exactly I was and was not consuming.Since I’ve been making up my rules the best way I see fit, I figured it was worth clarifying what I can and cannot do. While I looked to The Compact and Colin at No Impact Man for inspiration, my rules are slightly different.

1. I cannot buy any new durable goods.

2. I cannot buy any clothes. Period. This does not include shoes.

3. I can continue to use non-durable products I already own, but once I run out, I need to find the most environmentally friendly replacement.

4. I can spend money on experiences- concerts, plays, museums, etc.

5. Presents are exempted from my ban on new goods, but I try and make a good faith effort to buy something either from a small independent artist or producer, or to buy my friends experiences.That’s pretty much it.

From The Compact:
The group is starting with 50 professionals and is willing to suck us all into their vortex of sense. They have two principles only:
1. Don’t buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
2. Borrow or buy used.

From No Impact Man:
The No Impact Experiment
The way I see it, waiting for the senators and the CEOs to change the way we treat the world is taking too long. Polar bears are already drowning because the polar ice is melting. In fact, research shows it’s worse: they are so hungry, they are actually starting to eat each other.

I can’t stand my so-called liberal self sitting around not doing anything about it anymore. The question is: what would it be like if I took the situation (or at least my tiny part of it) into my own hands? I’m finding out.

For one year, my wife, my 2-year-old daughter, my dog and I, while living in the middle of New York City, are attempting to live without making any net impact on the environment. In other words, no trash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilets…

What would it be like to try to live a no impact lifestyle? Is it possible? Could it catch on? Is living this way more fun or less fun? More satisfying or less satisfying? Harder or easier? Is it worthwhile or senseless? Are we all doomed or is there hope? These are the questions at the heart of this whole crazy-assed endeavor.

You might be thinking, Colin Beavan is cracked–no one can cause literally NO impact on the planet, right? Well, what I’m talking about is no NET impact. If you don’t get it, or you want to know more about how we’re proceeding? Check out the The Year-Long Plan.


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Less and Less and More is all about enjoying more, all whilst worrying about less. Whether enjoying better health because you eat less junk, having more time for friends and family because you spend less time on acquiring, or lots of other big and little things that we want more of, I look at examples of people doing more.


Less and Less and More

Finding more in our gardens, our plates, our communities

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