I read an article the other day about two roommates who “went a year without buying anything,” which is a) a little unclear since they obviously still bought some things, but was b) overall interesting and compelling.
So I thought, okay, let me try this for, um, a week, but first I need to buy the following:
1) A lunchbox
2) New swim goggles since I lost my “good pair” at the Y
3) New headphones since I lost mine on metro
4) A pair of shoes I just bought in size 9.5 since the 9’s were too small
5) Chanticleer’s Our American Journey album
6) On Itunes: First Aid Kit’s new album; more Chanticleer
Not to mention a beautiful watch, sleeveless shirts for summer/now, a cardigan since the two I brought with me to DC are turqoise/green / not very matchy-matchy. And new glasses. Omg.
I get a lot of pleasure out of online shopping, even if I don’t end up buying things, probably just to figure out what “my style” is or whatever. But I can also waste a lot of time that way, and it’s funny how, when I’ve been abroad, with only some of my belongings and clothes, it’s an activity that doesn’t really even occur to me. But when I’ve come back to the U.S., I’ve wanted to instantly start buying things again–it’s like an “essential” part of re-entry.
True, I’m in a place right now where I could benefit from saving money and where saving money is also difficult. So the idea of being more intentional and disciplined and slightly public about it is appealing, not to mention digging more into that tension that is my wanting material goods so much more when I’m in America than when I’m elsewhere. And feeling like I actually need them.
The idea of asking myself to do things is also appealing since I seem to be better in some ways when I am intentional, but there are just so many things to be potentially intentional about. Saundra once suggested I give up chocolate (for…4o days?), and I put my foot down immediately to that. But giving up…spending/social media/internet on weekends??? It could be possible. And the idea that it would be difficult is cute, almost, but I know it really would. And then I have to ask myself why.
So, things that I can realistically give up are: eating out (ok, maybe, or at least limiting to 1-2x/month?); buying new clothes (the main problem being that most of my summer/spring clothes are in MS but like…we’ll figure it out); buying books ’cause, “the library”; ummmm, buying random beauty products since I have a lot of samples to get through; and…ideas? Let’s see what happens for two weeks of this, and then I’ll re-evaluate.
This might seem very childish, but I’m really a weak budgeter. One problem being that I like having a gadget for each particular thing–a certain tupperware container for salad dressing, the perfect thermos for my coffee, a brush with which to clean the thermos, instead of making do with what is already there. So I’d appreciate any suggestions! And any allies in my quest to spend less.
There’s also an appeal to me in generally decluttering/organizing. My computer needs it since it’s kind of chugging along at this point; my brain needs it. You know this when you start spelling “foot” “fut,” and the like. I can’t tell if social media just exacerbates this–i.e., by providing a receptacle, or a…requilary, for the “too much” stewing in my brain, it activates the “too much,” thereby creating more activity and more mess. And that relates to the idea that buying less would be decluttering since you’re not totally in tune with what you could potentially buy.
I think the ultimate goal is to think a little bit…better. To write longer passages and push past the walls a bit more, especially writing short stories, so that I have to put my thoughts into metaphor, which expresses their multiple dimensions and gives them life. In fact, this post feels a little messy and cluttered and lazy, but maybe it’s just from the digging into the mess/ambiguity a bit more. Let’s say that’s the reason.