Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm not buying it!


Welcome to the I'm Not Buying It challenge with Greenhab!

Our family has done a bit of "compacting" (not buying anything new) off and on over the past 3 years. My first compacting experience was with Mamas on the Compact which, from what I can tell, is now defunct. I've also joined our local compacting group on Yahoo, although there's not much action there either. After much thought, we've decided to try a 6 month compact, beginning January 1st, and host it right here at Greenhab. I hope you'll join in!

If you're not familiar with the compacting term or theory, it's basically a pledge to not buy anything new for a set period of time. Compacting will save you money first and foremost. It will help you to detox from your consumer tendencies - even if you're not a big shopper to begin with. It will shed light on need vs. want. It will help you to lighten your environmental impact. And it will give you more time to spend with friends and family.

Compacting began in San Francisco in 2006 when a group of friends challenged each other to not buy anything new for a period of 12 months. According to the main Yahoo group~

The Compact has several aims (more or less prioritized below): 
  • To go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of disposable consumer culture and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step that, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact. 
  • To reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er). 
  • To simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
We've agreed to follow two principles (see exceptions etc. on our blog).

#1 Don't buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
#2 Borrow, barter, or buy used.


The thing I love about compacting is that you can make your own rules. If you want to make exceptions for gifts or kids clothes or eating out, then do it. If you want to go hard-core and have no exceptions at all, then you can do that too. You can take the challenge for a year, or a month, or do it for one week each month. It's all up to you! You decide what you want to get out of it (saving money, reducing your consumer tendencies, being kinder to the environment), then set your own rules.

Our personal goal is simple: Buy nothing new for a period of 6 months.

Exceptions:
  • Socks & underwear - We're pretty well stocked on these anyway, so it shouldn't be an issue.
  • Eating out - We don't eat out a lot anyway, but Mr. Greenhab feels that it should be okay for us to dine out once in awhile, especially considering the money we'll be saving by not shopping. I think it would be nice to limit this to locally owned and operated restaurants...we'll see who wins out on this.

I'm a bit worried how we'll handle gifts. We don't have an abundance of birthdays or holidays coming up, but the kids do get invited to many of their classmates' parties and other things come up from time to time. I think our gift chain will look something like this:
  1. Buy used (ebay, thrift)
  2. Handmade by me
  3. Handmade by someone else (Etsy, etc.)
  4. Purchase from a local, non-chain store
  5. Purchase fair trade

Would you like to commit to not buying it? If so, think about what you want your pledge to be, then post about it in the comments section below. If you have a blog, feel free to write about I'm Not Buying It and leave a link to your post.

Together we can share our tips, troubles and triumphs, save money and the environment.


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11 comments:

Jessi said...

Nice work! I'm 4 months into my family's 6 month Compact -- www.compactinkasson.blogspot.com. I made up some rules, but it's been quite a ride. Best of luck on your journey!

panamamama said...

We are going to join in. Going to have a family meeting to decide the details and I'll send you my post link when we do to connect to your blog. Cool!

Jasmine said...

Definitely going to do this! Rules will be set over dinner tonight and put into effect immediately!

Farmer's Daughter said...

I'm going to join you! Excluding my son's 1st bday in March!!! :)

Samantha said...

I would like to join! I do have a few exceptions, but they are only because we are moving into a new house (after downsizing everything before my husband's deployment to fit things into storage) and we are expecting a new baby. However anything new that must be bought will only be after a thorough search of the thrift stores and freecycle!

Kellie said...

@Jessi~ Thanks for the encouragement. It should be an insightful experience.

@panamamama~ Can't wait to hear about your family meeting!

@Jasmine~ Hooray! Glad to have you on board.

@Farmer's Daughter~ That sounds like a good exclusion. (And how is he that close to 1 year old already!?)

@Samantha~ Thanks for joining!!

Lori said...

I want to join in but Kevin is not on board. He thinks it will add unneeded stress to our family. I think it sounds like fun. Maybe I will do it myself and just not tell Kev ;)

Dino said...

I have been following your site for awhile now and would love to join in. My exception will be wine with the grocery budget. My husband and I already search everywhere for used but we still tend to over buy and we just took a jeep full of stuff to the goodwill so this will be perfect for us. We will do the 6 months for starters and hopefully continue.

Stephanie said...

My husband and I are in, I'll get a post up sometime soon.

Catherine's Choice said...

decided also to do this for a year. i just retired and we had 3 grandbabies and an issue with plumbing... so we are finding ourselves more strapped financially than we want to be...so good reasons to give it a go besides greening our life

some of my alumni students are excited to see me do this and are excited to see how i do it for their future involvement.

we are still working out the details. we need to buy a privacy fence so that is our exception; however, we are open to trying to find one used or salvage as long we can make it work with the house.

my neighbor and i are going to buy chickens this spring (she use to raise them) for fresh eggs. i started making bread and maybe i can learn how to do some vegetables. i make my own soap. i create drift wood hangings and make jewelry and am going to to commit to using what i find first before buying any supplies. we just gave up our blockbuster account. we can't give up out cable as we are in a contract and we do vacation rental out of our home also... an amenity vacationers expect.

i am going to try and start my annuals from seeds which means i will explore where i can get those and buy dirt without going to home depot for bags of the stuff.

so socks, underwear and running shoes are our allowances on new purchases.

now i am on to look for a local winery in the duluth, mn area. wish me luck.

Kellie said...

@Lori ~ I understand. There have been a few challenges that Marc just said "No way!" to. You can always do it yourself, or just talk about setting certain restrictions.

@Dino ~ Wine is a fine exception and an item that I find to be an absolute necessity! ;)

@Stephanie ~ Glad you are joining in the craziness!

@Catherine - Whohoo! One year! Do you have any Habitat for Humanity stores near you? They sometimes have fencing. Good luck ~ Can't wait to hear about your adventures!