This is a blog about not buying shit. In fact, it is a blog about not buying shit for a year to be exact. The main subjects of this are myself–Geoffrey–and my lovely, bubbly, partner in crime–Julie. She is my new roomie as of one month ago (July 1st, 2013). Together we have decided to embark on this journey to decouple ourselves from this sea of stuff we are living in. We had the idea because Julie upon moving in with me, realized how much stuff she’s acquired over her life, and how little of it she actually needs. Me, I was sick of seeing my bank account drained every month despite the fact that I do okay for myself in terms of earning potential. Ultimately though, we consider ourselves to be globally aware, community oriented, latent environmentalists who would like to become part of the solution instead of the problem when it comes to this whole eco-consumer-carbon-footprint shit.I like to think of myself as environmentally aware and concerned about the environment. However, coming from a psychology background, I have learned that thinking about how one is, and how one actually behaves, can be two completely different things. For example, it’s easy to think of myself as environmentally conscious, yet it is an entirely different thing for me to live in a manner that is close to those beliefs. When our actions do not line up with our thoughts, cognitive dissonance occurs. Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors resulting in feelings of discomfort, and this can lead to altering our beliefs or behaviors to reduce this discomfort and restore balance.
I have lofty ideas, but maybe not enough action behind them. I am ready to take the plunge and radically shift my behaviors towards a lifestyle that fits my belief system. I am tired of making excuses for myself. This is my ultimate reason for embarking on this experiment.
I expect this experiment will be the swift kick in the ass I have needed. I have gone through forced denial of consumer items when I grew up because we didn’t really have much at the time. However, I have never intentionally set out to stop purchasing things until now. I expect that it will be a shifting experience. I expect that the person I am at the start of the project will be different from the person at the end of it.
Some of the things I hope to achieve this next year are:
1) Creating a savings plan
2) Reflect on what my needs to survive in this world truly are by unpacking my relationship with stuff.
3) Find out if the denial of things is associated with less or more happiness.
4) Seeing if social capital is as powerful a tool in our daily lives as money.
5) Lower my impact on the environment and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Our experiment is going to start out with us limiting our purchases to necessary items such as food. Any additional items for the house or consumer goods, are what I am trying to do without. I will not be purchasing a television for example, or new towels. Oh and definitely no new clothes. Later in the year I would like to expand this concept of not purchasing shit, to also not paying for services such as eating out and haircuts. Finally, I would like to end the year off with attempting to not purchase food and see if I can live a freegan lifestyle for a short period of time. I know, sounds pretty easy right?All joking aside, I know it’s going to be hard. Like really, really, really hard. Trust me when I say this, I like to buy shit. I like to buy shit as much as the next person. In fact, since we decided to do this, I have been having mini freakouts thinking about what I am going to do when I need (insert random item here). And believe me, I can think of a lot of things I think I need. That is why we are doing this blog. We want to invite all of you to take this journey with us. Or at least follow along on our journey. We want to hear from you every step of the way. Send us your ideas, send us resources, give us moral support, or feel free to call us out when we’re being delusional. I suspect that without using money, our greatest resource will be all of you–the community around us. Oh, and before I forget, today (Aug 3) is my 30th birthday. That’s why we’re kicking off our experiment today. So lets raise our glasses, and toast to this new adventure we’re about to embark on.