Buy Nothing June update

No Buy June is going great. The best thing about it is the mental peace. I didn’t realize how much of my time I spent wondering if I should buy something or not, and, if I was to buy it, which brand/size/color I should get. Now the answer is No. Every time. It’s very restful. Calming.

I did get my new desk, but that totally doesn’t count because I bought it in April and it just took until now to come in.

In the first fortnight I saved… actually, I’m too embarrassed to tell you, because it indicates how much of my income I usually spend on discretionary items. But it’s a not inconsequential amount. Plus I gave away 15 cartons of books. Some went to locals via freecycling, but the majority I donated to the Orewa Hospice Book Fair.

boxes of books.jpg

If you’re on the Hibiscus Coast on 22-24 July, come pick up a book for as little as $2 and support the amazing work hospice does.

I confess, I did screw up on the very first day. I bought a scented candle (Waterlily and Seagrass). I didn’t even think about it. See candle, pick up candle, smell candle, candle is delicious, buy candle.

water lily and seagrass.jpg

Then I got home and realized it was June and I wasn’t supposed to buy anything. This is how privileged I am. I did not have to debate if I could afford the candle or if there were more important demands on my income. It wasn’t always like this. It won’t always be like this. The candle has been a wakeup call.

Not buying strikes at the heart of what it is to be an independent adult human in my culture. I can still remember the very first time I took a bus to Takapuna without an adult and “went shopping.” The sense of having money, and therefore having the right to be  to exist in public space, was dizzying. People without money – and who therefore are not buying – aren’t welcome. If I sit on a park bench sipping my Starbucks I can stay there all day. The guy in mismatched shoes, rolled up in the sleeping bag, huddling in the shelter of the pergola will be moved on the the police. You’re not allowed to be visible if you’re not willing and able to consume. It shouldn’t be like this. Our ability to be considered a fully fledged member of the community shouldn’t be determined by our income.

Which makes me ashamed I’ve already started a list for things I want to buy in July:

a sit-stand thing for my new swoopy desk
a sweater
Roman blinds for my study to replace Venetian blinds, and keep the room warm in winter
a laser printer/scanner
a whole basket full of stuff from Jet Pens
pack of rollerball refills
manilla folders
a bottle of purple ink
a new iPod shuffle for going walking (I already own an iPod)
four books on Amazon

I’ll Keep Coming by Low Roar, on iTunes

Reducing my consumption is a work in progress.

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