Buying nothing for 1 year- That’s the plan

I was motivated by The Happy Philosopher this past week. He initially posted about buying no new clothes for 1 year, but after realizing how many clothes he has (seriously 45 pairs of socks!) he decided he had to up his game. So now he is not buying anything for 1 year.  

This struck a chord in me. We are coming from different places, mainly because I am rebuilding my life after the Tubb’s Fire, but the premise is the same. We both want to live more mindfully.

So with that being said, I declare that

I will buy NOTHING for a year.

….within certain parameters of course.

This is different then the low spending month I tried last year. That was more about totally decreasing spending. Now I am working on not accumulating things. Click on these links to see how low spending week 1week 2week 3, and week 4 went.

What does buy nothing mean?

Well mine is a bit different than the good old Happy Doctor, but we follow similar tenants. Here are his rules taken from his site and my edits in caps.

  • I will buy myself no “stuff” this year. “Stuff” is a little hard to define, but I loosely define it as permanent durable goods that are not necessary to life. AGREE! AGREE! AGREE!
  • Anything consumable or related to hygiene or household products doesn’t count. I ALSO AGREE. DEODORANT IS A MUST FOR MY WIFE AND COLLEAGUES. NOT SO MUCH FOR ME. I WILL INCLUDE NOSE HAIR TRIMMERS HERE. GETTING OLDER SURE IS WEIRD. PLUS I LOVE TO EAT. SO I WILL BUY FOOD AS I PLEASE.
  • I will maintain or repair what I already own. THIS IS A BIT EASIER FOR ME. ALL MY STUFF IS NEW AND I AM RENTING. SO ANYTHING THAT BREAKS FALLS ON THE LANDLORD. I WILL BUY HOME MAINTENANCE ITEMS LIKE WATER AND AIR FILTERS, BUT I ACTUALLY BOUGHT THOSE YESTERDAY FOR THE WHOLE YEAR BEFORE TAKING ON THIS CHALLENGE.
  • Replacement items. SEE ABOVE. THE ONLY CAVEAT WILL BE MY CAR, THOUGH IT HAS BEEN SERVICED AND IS RUNNING WELL.
  • Experiences: These don’t count. I will still travel, stay in hotels, buy tickets to events, etc. COULD NOT AGREE ANY MORE. I AM READY TO TRAVEL RIGHT NOW. AN AIRSTREAM WILL NOT BE BOUGHT UNLESS IT IS AN AMAZING DEAL.
  • Virtual stuff: NOT AN ISSUE FOR ME. I RARELY BUY VIRTUAL STUFF AND CURRENTLY HAVE CABLE IN MY RENTAL.
  • Gifting: Even though I’m giving them away, it’s still stuff. If I give away something consumable (food, wine) or even flowers this doesn’t really count. I WILL GET MY WIFE A GIFT FOR HER BIRTHDAY. IT WILL LIKELY BE JEWELRY SINCE SHE LOST ALL OF HERS IN THE FIRE, INCLUDING HER ENGAGEMENT RING.
  • Greeting cards: THIS IS A NON-ISSUE WITH ME. I CAN HAVE MY SON MAKE SOME SWEET GIFT CARDS FOR FREE AND IT WILL BE WAY MORE MEANINGFUL.
  • Borrowing: Allowed. I hope to fill many of my needs by simply borrowing things I will only use temporarily. I WILL BORROW LIBRARY BOOKS AND MAYBE SOME TOOLS.
  • Renting: The only thing I rent with any frequency is cars, but renting tools and other stuff is allowed. I AM COOL WITH THIS.
  • Animals: I OWN A DOG AND WANT NO MORE ANIMALS. SO ALSO A NON-ISSUE.
  • Gifts: I MAY ALLOW THIS. FAMILY WANTS TO HELP IN THIS TIME. I DON’T HAVE THAT MUCH STUFF ANYWAY.
  • Home improvement: GREAT TO RENT. I WON’T WORRY ABOUT THIS ONE.

 

My wife….

She really doesn’t care. She is allowed to buy what she wants and I actually don’t buy much anyway. I suspect it will effect her absolutely not at all.

 

Exemptions

We don’t really have any. After the fire furniture was donated or purchased on the cheap. We may need some area rugs, but again I put this in my wife’s court. She has a much better eye for things then I do. So I will not count this.  We bought a car. I got a new laptop and phone. So see, not buying stuff is easy when you have been on a 3 month spending spree.

We have a TV provided with the rental, not that I would have bought one.

Stamps and envelopes. I am going to buy stamps and envelopes as I need them. Oh and stocks. I will be purchasing stocks, but does that really count?

A blue suit. I need at least one for life’s events. So I will be purchasing one.

I guess I can exempt anything that has to do with keeping our soon to be empty lot safe and clean. If I need a sign saying “NO TRESPASSING” then I should probably do so. I will not buy yard tools for maintenance as I am going to likely hire someone to keep the grass mowed once a month.

Anything my Wife buys. She shops for groceries, herself, and our son (toys and clothes). I will not halt these purchases. I will ask her to not buy me anything over the year other than food. So while our home may continue to accumulate items, they will not be at my request.

Why am I Doing This?

I had been playing with minimalism and living intentionally since the fire. The Happy Philosopher motivated me, so I might as well follow life’s signs. Hopefully this will continue to break my need for items and materialism.

My Plan

I will publish every month or two along with the Happy Philosopher, disclosing items I purchased and why. Maybe I will also mention items my wife buys that may have been influenced by me. You can all judge me from there.

Let’s see how it goes. Could be fun or could be painful…really not sure at this point.

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Also published on Medium.

DadsDollarsDebts

I am a Dad and Doctor trying to find financial freedom by owning my dollars and debts. Helping dads with their finances so they can focus on the family.

20 thoughts on “Buying nothing for 1 year- That’s the plan

  • January 14, 2018 at 10:15 pm
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    DDD,
    You have such a great attitude despite what you’ve gone through with Tubb’s Fire. We were Houston Harvey flood victims with five feet of water in the house but that is nothing compared to a fire. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Reply
    • January 14, 2018 at 11:22 pm
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      Sorry to hear about the flood. I know how devastating that can be too and the clean up is brutal. Thanks for the kind words…hang in there.

      Reply
  • January 14, 2018 at 9:01 am
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    This could get really interesting in that you are rebuilding. I’m curious to see how much it impacts your decisions on what you truly “need” in your life. Sounds like it could be a fun little experiment.

    Also, when we make it up your way, I fully expect you to buy beer where ever we end up… Not for all of us, but then again… we can always treat ;).

    Reply
    • January 14, 2018 at 9:05 am
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      I will happily buy beer. It does not count agains my buy nothing plan…I love to eat and drink! Ha ha…

      Thanks for checking in!

      Reply
  • January 14, 2018 at 6:56 am
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    Following your journey

    Reply
  • January 12, 2018 at 3:50 pm
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    Something you might think about is couponing. My wife sometimes gets incredible deals
    on BOGO. At one point I think we went 3 years on shampoo she accumulated like this. It’s not as popular as in the past and I don’t know the ins and outs but its all online to learn.

    When we started to rebuild we bought quality BUT only what was necessary to get the job done. I didn’t buy a dresser suite for example but just a chest of drawers, 3 drawers for her 2 for me. Completely adequate and I definitely can’t accommodate 48 pair of socks. This actually will be easy and freeing because it focuses attention where it belongs, from excess to order.

    Reply
    • January 12, 2018 at 3:54 pm
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      Good words. I think it will be freeing and I wish my wife would follow suit. I see her looking on line at night for things for her and my son, but I guess she needs it to reset and feel normal. In time…in time…

      Reply
  • January 12, 2018 at 11:15 am
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    Pretty good list. To up your game further try making your hygiene and household cleaning products so you don’t have to buy any.

    My wife and I make most of our own hygiene products using Castile soap and other natural products. We also dilute white vinegar or alcohol (depending on the surface) as cleaning products. All natural, and no harsh chemicals that could potentially be hazardous to health.

    Give it a try 😉

    Reply
    • January 12, 2018 at 11:48 am
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      Woah…that is legit but one avenue I will likely not be going down. My wife has wanted to make her own cleaning supplies so we will see, but I will stick to mass produced deodorant! Thanks for checking out the post.

      Reply
    • January 15, 2018 at 1:08 pm
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      Btw, I talked to my wife about your post and she’s inspired. We’re going to do a “buy nothing” challenge too. Sign us up! I’ll make a post about it some time soon 🙂

      Reply
  • January 11, 2018 at 9:35 pm
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    I love it! You are more hardcore than me though, starting from a place of forced minimalism. It will be really interesting to see where our pain points are as we get further into the experiment. Thanks for joining me on my journey.

    I still can’t figure out why I have soooo many socks though…

    Reply
  • January 11, 2018 at 11:21 am
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    Seems a pretty big mountain to climb. Best of luck and please share updates along the way. Look forward to them!

    Reply
    • January 11, 2018 at 7:41 am
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      Ha…that is actually funny. My wife said we lost all of our stuff so maybe I should not participate in such shenanigans. I told her that is exactly why I should participate. Looking forward to reading your post!

      Reply
  • January 10, 2018 at 9:11 pm
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    Wow. Good luck. My bet is that sticking to the letter will be difficult but that generally it will be manageable and gratifying. Good luck! Keep us posted.

    Reply
    • January 10, 2018 at 10:33 pm
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      Thanks! You are probably right about sticking to the letter, but we will see what happens. I hope it further decreases my interest in purchasing things and focusing more on experiences.

      Reply

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