Welcome To My Internal Dialogue

As I predicted when I set my goals for this year “Nothing New” has been a challenge, and not one I am particularly happy with my progress on.

Early in the new year I was out shopping, as one does, and was accosted with a mountain of marked down Christmas decorations, and I mean seriously marked down (50 cents for a box of decorations that had been $10 the week before).  I picked up a few and then headed on in store and discovered the wall or stationery supplies that broadcast the “Back to School” sales.  My knees almost shook.  I am a stationeryophile.  I could happily window shop for a couple of hours at a stationers.

<Wouldn’t you know it  – the mountain of “stuff” beside my bed couldn’t possibly wait any longer for it to be dealt with – it has only been there and growing for 6 months or more, and I’ve started researching a different post – and that is only the procrastination over writing about this one!>

Anyway, it was when I looked at all the “stuff” I wanted, the penny suddenly dropped.

No new stuff.

Two months.

I looked at what I had stacked up on top of the pram and started trying to justify it “The discounts of buying at this time of year outweigh the nothing new rule”, “It is so pretty”, “I’ll want it later, when I am allowed to buy it”, “It is not for me”.

I put the Christmas decorations back.  If we want new decorations next year, we can make them instead of Chinese made plastic.

The Christmas cards went back.  I’d prefer to send out home made cards, and I have a mountain of craft stuff getting ignored at home anyway.

The pencils went back.  I already have enough, and spares, no matter how pretty they are.

Some stuff was kept as rewards for the potty training Miss Squid – a part of me thinks I should have put it back too, but it is harder to make sacrifices on behalf of children rather than ourselves.  I have already had a bit longer to process this now and will try harder to not let my children to become excuses for my lack of control.  They will too benefit from understanding that the flotsam of life is not what is important, if I can show them that.  They are by no means suffering.  They both have wardrobes and toy boxes filled to overflowing.

On a different trip I was again tempted by some very pretty, hugely discounted notebooks.  I failed on that day and I brought home several “for gifts”.  One has made its way to the right of my laptop as I write, my notebook to write ideas when inspiration strikes.  I did not need it. I have a few stashes of books and note pads that you pick up in sample bags, at conferences, at work, over time.  They are not pretty, but they are practical and they certainly serve their purpose.  I could have used them but they aren’t nearly as inspiring.

I succumbed.

It will be used as my inspiration book when I need to work out what to write, or if I just need to get something out of my head.  It will serve as a reminder of my lack of commitment. It will also be oh-so-pretty in my bag.  I will use pencils and pens I have at home.  I won’t buy any more, no matter how lovely their matching sets full of perfect points of promise.

I am starting to be better at making the decisions, but some days I am so very aware of how large a part of our culture consumerism is.  I didn’t think I was too bad, I thought I was reasonably well aware of advertising and how they manipulate you but a conscious drive not to buy any new non-essential things has really highlighted to me how insidious it is.

Since I started writing this post *cough* days ago, things are sitting more comfortably with me.

I was window shopping yesterday whilst waiting to meet a friend and found myself thinking “I should be looking at an op (thrift) shop to see if I can find things there”. I was also aware of the ethics of shopping.  My budget mind was delighted to see work tops and pants at $15 a piece in one shop.  At another, similar pieces were $25 – $40 a piece.

Then my head got thinking:

  • I couldn’t make them for $15 a piece
  • but they have economy of scale,
  • they are made in Bangladesh, by people who probably live below the poverty line
  • does that matter when I am trying to keep my family fed and clothed and housed?
  • I don’t want to be below the poverty line either – different scale, granted, but a real fear for me
  • I don’t have to think about this if I buy second hand

Ah ha!  This was a good place to get to – a good reason to buy second hand.  Then I looked at Ebay.  That was depressing.  There is so much new stuff on there or people want to recoup their costs, and set their reserves at $5+ (plus postage) – and suddenly we are back to my head thinking “But for $15 I can buy something new!”.  Welcome to my head.

In think I will reacquaint myself with my local op shops and see what I can see.  Then, if I can not find anything that I want, I will consider going shopping.  Ultimately I should be given a uniform for work, but I have worked there for a while now and haven’t seen one yet.  For now, I just need a couple of options that fit well (yay for losing weight, but boo for losing weight too) and look reasonable.  I will look at sourcing from other places too, but I think this is my first real challenge that I am conscious of for #NothingNew

A mixed bag in the end.  Onwards, upwards.  #NothingNew


Do you buy things you don’t need, just because you like them?

4 Responses to Welcome To My Internal Dialogue

  1. Jimmy Jo Jo Shabadoo Jnr. says:

    I am, surprisingly, much like you when it comes to things like this, though my reasons for being so are a little different. I have a pretty generic distaste for the seedy underbelly of globalisation, though I’m too lazy to actually stick firmly to those convictions.

    I don’t tend to buy a lot of ‘new’ things, or things that I don’t need. If I do buy superfluous crap, it will undoubtedly be for my four year old. I just delight in giving him small trinket toys etc.

    My biggest vice would have to be video games, though when I think about it, I’ve probably bought maybe 3 in the last six months – and even then they’re second hand or bargin bin – so hardly a budget buster.

    Over all, I’m not overtly tempted by shiney things, but will happily buy lunch and a coffee every day without a second thought 🙁

    • Renée says:

      I have a lot of reasons for wanting to go the #NothingNew path, including the fact that if I am moving on #2012in2012 items I shouldn’t be bringing more “stuff” in, budget reasons, and just to generally be more mindful.

      I think our culture has moved more and more to one of rampant consumerism for the sake of it. When I got an email from apple trying to tell me that an iPad is an ideal Christmas present for a loved one, it really made me wonder how many people actually believe that they should be spending $580-$1000 on one gift for one person. I don’t. Now, I am getting the same emails about a Valentines Day presents. I don’t hate Valentines Day, I really like my iPad, but NO! Gifts of the $600-$1000 range are not appropriate for the majority of society and we should not accept this normalisation or expectation that it is. I love my family, but a $200 gift is a BIG gift (and a once a year thing).

      I think my kids may well end up hating me, maybe until they become adults but I really hope I can show how to give a gift of love and time, and not gigantic credit card debt. Sunglasses, phones, shoes, clothes splurge if you want to, and can afford it but my goodness, do not get caught in the trap. For me, I’d rather live within my means and sleep at night than live pay cheque to pay cheque. That’s my goal anyway, and not spending the money has got to be as good as earning more? 😉

  2. Rhianna says:

    “Do you buy things you don’t need, just because you like them?” All the time. During sales, I’ll say something like “But its buy two get one free!” to which Joe will reply “That’s right honey… spend $X on something you didn’t really want in the first place to save $Z.” Of course, he is right, and I usually relent and follow logic.

    “but some days I am so very aware of how large a part of our culture consumerism is.” – perfectly said. We are too, and as a result, I am TRYING desperately to break free of the consumerism trap, and am exceptionally concious of the ethics of consumerism, and the butterfly effect. If I truly have to have something, I go to painstaking lengths to ensure my purchase meets our ethical standards.

    The buying lunch debate………….. I am so guilty of this, but I am really trying to stop it. Joe is really good at saying “Ill wait til we get home. You cook better than this garbage anyway.” and I am easily swayed by his logic. If he isn’t around, CHIPS R US!

    • Renée says:

      It is good to have someone help be your conscience sometimes. I think it also becomes habit too, I know if I have a splurge it is more likely to snowball into other purchases and now that I am consciously trying to limit specific spending it snowballs in other ways and I find myself not wanting to spend other money too! I just have to get over the feast/famine mentality.

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