With a few exceptions, I’m buying nothing new in 2016. It’s a pledge I’ve made, but even more so, it’s a way of life I’ve adopted. I’ve been on the slow path of voluntary simplicity ever since I read Your Money or Your Life nearly two decades ago, but as each year passes I become more dedicated to the lifestyle, both for the freedom it gives me and the kindness it shows our planet.
There are always temptations to lure me back to old consumer habits, but through dedication and determination, I’ve had success in staying my course. In particular I’ve addressed three areas to keep me on track: limiting exposure to marketing messages, limiting shopping opportunities, and seeking inspiration to keep motivated. With those in mind I offer the following.
15 tips for a successful year of buying nothing new
- Unsubscribe from all commercial email lists. Commercial emails are required by law to have an unsubscribe link in the email message, which makes the process very easy. I even unsubscribe from companies I do like to support, because for me there’s even greater temptation to purchase things, most often that I don’t need.
- Unfollow/unfriend companies on social media, even those you like.
- Remove your name and address from commercial mailing lists. This takes time and effort, but with each solicitation or marketing collateral that enters my house, I call and ask to be removed from the mailing list. When I do place orders with companies, I ask on the phone or make a comment in the online ordering form to not add me to their mailing or email list. In online ordering, it’s not uncommon that there is a box that is automatically checked to receive marketing emails. Be sure to uncheck those boxes.
- Stop subscribing to magazines that carry advertisements. Believe it or not, ad-free magazines do exist and I often find their content is superior because they don’t have the pressure to follow their advertisers’ agenda.
- Stop watching t-v. I do own a t-v and use it on occasion to watch movies, but I don’t watch syndicated television, in part to avoid advertising.
- Stop going to the mall, big box stores, and other retail establishments.
- Look for other activities to replace the shopping habit. Whether you shop for entertainment, out of boredom, to obtain things to showcase a certain lifestyle, or any other reason – find another activity of enjoyment to replace the shopping habit. My favorite activity is getting outside and is most often as simple as taking a walk in the park.
- Avoid grocery shopping at places like Target and Walmart where other temptations lie.
- When gifting others, consider giving time, experiences, handmade items, consumable gifts, or charitable donations.
- Become familiar with your local thrift and consignment stores or online sites that sell secondhand goods. Get to know your local library as well.
- Read books like Your Money or Your Life, Simplicity Parenting, Voluntary Simplicity, Affluenza, and other motivational books.
- Get inspired by one of my favorite organizations, Center for a New American Dream, that offers amazing resources and shares inspiring stories.
- Check out my Buy Nothing New and Simple Living Pinterest boards for further inspiration.
- Connect deeply with nature and the desire to care for the planet will start to outweigh the desire to deplete it for more stuff.
- Find happiness and contentment with what you have.
If you have further ideas on how to be successful in buying nothing new please share them for all to read in the comments section below. I’m continually inspired by my readers and the insights they offer.