I have been mulling over possible New Years Resolutions for the past couple of weeks. I’ve talked to the Mr., I’ve weighed the pros and cons, I’ve tried to make sure that I am not biting off more than I can chew, so that I have a hope of actually sticking with something. And yet, my life does need a lot of improvement, and I don’t want to short-change myself by only picking one small goal when I know I can do better. Some of these goals will affect my whole family, and some of them are up to only me. But I hope they will all benefit my husband and kids, because they will hopefully result in a happier, better version of myself.
I’m going to start by putting my first, and biggest resolution for this year on the table.
I am a little nervous, because once I put this out there, there is pressure to stay the course. Otherwise I will end up looking like a total flake, and nobody wants to be flaky. I feel like public accountability can have its benefits, though, so without further ado, here is the plan:
Buy nothing new for 6 months.
There, I said it! I can already tell that this is going to be tremendously difficult, but I hope it will be worth it. There are so many reasons why we, as a family, are doing this.
First, we need to save money. We need to stop spending unnecessarily. We throw our money at things without even thinking, and then wonder where it all went. This needs to stop. It has been years since the husband and I have successfully stuck to a budget. Well, no more. We have financial goals to meet in terms of saving, paying off debt, and giving, and this is the first step.
Second, we want to unplug from the consumerism machine. We know that things do not make us happy. We know that there are betters ways to spend our money. We know that there are better ways to spend our lives than at malls, or big box stores, or taking care of items that we have purchased. But knowing that and living that way are two different things. I want less stuff. So I’m simply going to stop buying.
Third, we want to respect the environment and the other members of our global community. We are so hard-wired to be consumers that we have purchased goods with nary a thought to the 7 year old children forced to manufacture these goods in order to feed their families, or the horrid environmental practices of large corporations who are destroying our environment and bankrupting the natural resources of future generations. I can no longer live like this. I can no longer put “cheap boots” above social conscience on my totem pole of priorities. During this six months, we will research responsible companies from whom we will purchase in the future. We will research ways of trying to effect change in terms of fairer trade and responsible corporate policies. And we will buy only pre-owned or hand-made items in the interim. I will share my findings with you here, so that you too can keep informed about voting with your dollars. Organizations may not care about people, but they DO care about money, and if we make it clear that we will favour companies that are run ethically, you can bet they will fall in line.
We can purchase second hand goods.
We can purchase handmade goods.
We can purchase commodities, like batteries or parts needed for car repair.
We can purchase new underwear and socks, and toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste.
We can obviously purchase food, though we are hoping to locate a farmers market or grocery co-op so that we can buy local food and support our neighbours, without polluting the planet by buying food that had to be shipped halfway around the world.
For gifts, we can purchase supplies for DIY projects (though we will check thrift stores before we hit Michael’s) or non-material gifts such as movie passes or a restaurant gift card.
We start tomorrow, and I bought some stuff today. I’m sorry. Maybe I’m a cheater for basically pre-hoarding, but here’s what I purchased:
New strings for my guitar and batteries for my guitar tuner (which fall within the rules anyway, since they are a commodity).
A sign that says “Home is Where the Heart is” for our entry-way redo. No justification for that, I just want a nice entry-way. Also for the entry way: a doormat (our previous one was literally falling apart and my kids keep slipping on melted snow when we come in the house) and a mini chalkboard.
I also bought teeny little hair ties for Miriam’s hair, since I noticed it is getting long enough that I could probably put in a couple pony tails and I got way too excited about that. And a hair comb for the kids’ hair, because I’ve been brushing it all this time and finally realized that the reason why it is always frizzy is that you aren’t supposed to brush curly hair. Colour me embarrassed. Anyway, with those unnecessary purchases out of the way (judge me if you must), I am ready to embark on our 6 month consumerism fast.
Wish me luck. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.
What is one way you’d like to change your life this year?