Thursday, January 3, 2013

What my wallet says about me

So why am I doing this crazy experiment anyway?

I've been thinking a lot more over the past few months about "stuff," and about consumerism, and about what influence our wallets are having outside of our own communities. This has led me to do the "buy nothing new" year for three main reasons:

1. I will not support dangerous and oppressive labor practices in other countries. The fact that people are dying in these factories overseas (from job-site accidents, chemical exposure, and suicide) in order to make cheap and often disposable products for the US is, frankly, horrific and unacceptable, and something I will not support with my money. (Hence if I do need to purchase a product new, I will get it from local, responsible manufacturers.)

2. The environmental impact of mining, manufacturing, packaging, and shipping all of these new products from far away countries is huge. Also not something I want to support.

3. I believe that I (and many Americans) have too much "stuff". It costs me money, it stresses me out, it makes moving awful, and I get attached to items that I really don't need. I would so much rather use my time, energy, and money to pursue meaningful experiences and retire early than to accumulate more "stuff" that really doesn't make me happy in the long run. I could go on and on about this and consumerism and how our culture feeds consumerism endlessly, but I'll keep it short and stop there.

Anyway, these are the three main reasons that I've decided to do a "buy nothing new" year. I also anticipate that I will save a lot of money, which is always nice.

I want to put out there that I know that doing this "buy nothing new" year is right for me, but recognize that it may not be right for everyone, and I am in no way trying to pass judgement on those who enjoy an occasional shopping trip to Target (or "Tar-jay"). I'm writing this blog just to document and share my experiences with this shift in purchasing in hopes that it may be helpful or interesting to any of you who might happen to read it. If I ever get too "preachy," please feel free to call me out :)

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