How are you going with Buy Nothing New Month? We’re a week in and I hope you’re thinking, “Hey, this isn’t too hard!” You’ve probably realised you can save money, time and the planet’s resources and still have everything you need – and more.
Just in case you’re getting the urge to spend up on some virgin product, here are a few tips to keep you motivated and cruising through Buy Nothing New Month.
1. Know what you need
Keep a list on your phone of all things you need around the house, for the kids and for yourself, and keep an eye out for them in charity shops/garage sales. My hubby and I share an op-shop list using Wunderlist, but pen and paper works too!
2. Plan ahead
If you have a party or special occasion coming up, think ahead about what you’ll need for it. What are you going to wear – maybe you could borrow something?
3. Give great presents
Gifts aren’t exempt from Buy Nothing New Month, but don’t panic – you can still provide fantastic presents for young and old that don’t come from a store. You could go for an experience, such as movie tickets for kids or a cooking class or massage for grown-ups; and of course there are always plenty of second-hand toys, books and other gifts available at markets, op shops and antiques stores. You could also make your own gifts – for kids: some cool cupcakes, a homemade pinata, a photo collage; for grown-ups: pickles or jam, a cutting from your garden or a kaftan (thanks Fi, I still love it!).
4. Delay gratification
Yeah, it’s the new season and you’re itching to stock up on new clothes. Instead, window shop online, make yourself a little Pinterest wish list and stew on it for a few weeks. Same goes with the kids – whatever it is they’re hankering for, put it off for the month. Chances are, that burning desire will fizzle out!
5. Discover the joys of pre-loved fashion
Charity shops like Endeavour and Lifeline put a lot of effort into their collections and are priced a little higher accordingly. But never underestimate the surprising buy at a bargain price— I scored two great summer tops at our tip trash-and-treasure market for a buck each! You can also find upcycled and recycled fashion at markets and online. Obviously, there’s eBay, Quicksales and The Gumtree, but also try sustainable marketplace Blue Caravan.
6. Learn to share
Did you know the average power drill is only used 12 minutes across its lifetime? The vast majority of power tools die from old age rather than overuse, wasting a whole lot of resources and cluttering sheds everywhere. To combat this, initiatives like Open Shed and Friends with Things have sprung up, where people rent or share what they have with their neighbours. You can also rent out your car, and borrow someone else’s car or parking space. This is called collaborative consumption and there’s a great list of these initiatives here.
7. Don’t deprive yourself
Buy Nothing New Month is not about going without, it’s about finding new ways to use what we already have, and learning to source what we need in a better way. It’s supposed to be fun, so treat it that way! (And remember, you can still buy new essentials such as personal care products, knickers and food!)