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Monday, December 8, 2008

Buy Nothing Week


This may seem silly to some of you, but for someone who spends so much time making her own this and that, I have a problem with buying things. Maybe I have a really strong, misplaced hunter/gatherer instinct. Maybe it's an addiction, or a bad habit. Whatever the case, I despise the pleasure I feel when I exchange money for something--almost anything, really.

This isn't an extreme problem, mind you. I haven't racked up tons of credit card debt--I don't even have a credit card. My home isn't filled with plastic chotkes, shiny electronic devices, etc. It's just that I'm always deciding that there's something I need, and that, though I could make it, I'd rather just buy it.

These sentiments, combined with the yucky, overconsumptive feeling that the holiday season brings, have led me to declare my own personal Buy Nothing Week.

My Buy Nothing Week began on Saturday. Right off the bat, I had to cheat (slightly). I had committed to going to brunch with some friends. Luckily one of these friends owed me money from the night before, so HE bought my breakfast. Still, I ate out, which is usually one of my biggest expenditures. The rest of the day went just fine. I suppressed the urge to visit the thrift store, and spent the day in the yard instead, moving the compost bin from a hard-to-reach corner of the yard to a spot much closer to the house. That evening, I was faced with another cheat (this is the one allowance I had planned ahead of time). I had previously signed up for a series of yoga classes down the street, and Saturday evening was the first class. So I went and paid my $40. The class goes for the whole month, and I've been trying to get back into Yoga since I moved to Santa Fe. Some friends showed up bearing dinner, so we feasted, drank, and had a lovely sing-a-long late into the night.

Sunday Tristan and I finished the cold frame we've been working on (well, mostly not working on) for weeks. We already had all the materials, which were free anyway. The cold frame really deserves its own post, so more on that later. I did some house cleaning and downloaded a bunch of free podcasts instead of succumbing to my sudden desire to buy a bunch of Gillian Welch and Odetta albums. Later in the day, I decided to tackle the CSA overflow that is threatening to rot in our refrigerator. Can you believe that even our winter CSA is so bountiful that three people, one of them vegan, can polish it off in a week? I blanched and then froze a giant back of spinach, which is now a teeny, tiny block of frozen spinach. And I canned those daikon radish and carrots you see in the post below. That took HOURS, and at one point I despaired because we could not find our fresh jar lids for canning. They turned up at the last minute, and I did not have to buy any after all.

Though exhausted, we decided to make a late night dumpster raid, and came back bearing several bags of nuts, cranberries, cranberry sauce, a dozen eggs, salsa, and probably 12 containers of overripe, but not moldy, raspberries. Dumpster diving definitely satisfies my need to acquire *Stuff* without costing me any money.

The work week is the real challenge for my Buy Nothing Week. Normally, even if I bring my lunch, I buy something small from the co-op almost every day. The co-op is about a quarter of a mile from my office, and I walk down there to take advantage of their picnic tables and end up buying some cheese or a slice of pizza or...This annoys me. Since I'm really not capable of getting up early enough to pack a lunch, I came home for lunch today, made a sandwich, hung around the house, and then returned to work. Simple! It's wonderful to live so close to the office. Now if only I didn't have to go to an office at all...

I am sorry this post is long and journally, Dear Readers. Unfortunately, I will continue to update you on my urges to buy things and how I managed to avoid them all week! I'm hoping that by the end of the week I will have broken some of my habitual buying habits, and will be better able to gauge when I need to buy something and when I do not. (Oh, and buy (sic) the way, since this is the holiday season, I encourage all of you to Buy Nothing for the Holidays as well). Watch What Would Jesus Buy? and read What Would the Buddha Buy? for moral support. Beware the shopocalypse.

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