A month ago I posted about challenging myself to a no-spend year. I like the thought of reflecting on this challenge and writing about it every few months to keep myself accountable and to also reflect on what I believe God is calling me to do.
My vague parameters from the previous blog post were straight forward; I could spend money on gifts, groceries, and other necessities such as cleaning products, uni payments, and health-related purchases. I also don’t mind going out for dinner or coffee because I don’t do so excessively and have never felt like I’ve wasted money on experiences.
The focus of this challenge is material items, and how I want to be content with what I own. And in this, use what I have and be more sustainable. There’s a quote that went around saying, the most sustainable piece of clothing is the one in your wardrobe. Because yes, I love the thought of supporting Australian, local businesses, but it’s not sustainable to purchase these items if you don’t really need them.
Two weeks ago I bought a laundry set from the Australian website Biome, which sells environmentally friendly and sustainable items for your home. I don’t need any of their kitchen items, though I would love some, because I already own plastic containers to hold flour, sugar, etc. so it would be unsustainable of me to go out and buy metal or glass containers and throw out the plastic ones that are perfectly functionable.
But I needed some pegs and washing powder, so I bought this laundry kit that came with metal pegs, soap berries (think, reusable washing powder), and a soap bar of stain remover. I needed these things and was happy to buy from an Australian company and items that are better for the environment, and maybe even better for my clothes. (Speaking of laundry, I also bought a steamer because I don’t own an iron. Necessary for my summer clothes that crease.)
In saying this, I also bought an embroidery pattern from the same site. This was not a necessity, nor was not a gift. It was something creative I wanted to do for myself. Does this break the rules of no spend? Yes. But it wasn’t a throwaway item, either. It was a beautiful item that supported another Australia woman who makes and sells these patterns.
I suppose this is where it’s tricky, because I want to take this year seriously and I don’t want to keep making exceptions and end up not doing this properly, but I also don’t want to feel guilty about a worthwhile purchase that isn’t excessive. I don’t see this embroidery pattern as excessive, but I would consider buying some books or clothes to be because I already have a lot of these things.
While I’m confessing, I also bought the Frozen 2 soundtrack. In my mind, this breaks the rules even more than the embroidery because CDs are something I buy too much. So from now on, I’m trying not to buy any music and will simply listen to Frozen 2 whenever I’m tempted. May Frozen 2 be a lesson to us all!
Anyway, it’s the first month and despite these few purchases, I do feel better in the sense that I’m not browsing online stores and I’m not thinking about what I don’t have. In fact, I’ve been more excited to cook and to cook dishes I haven’t before, because groceries are where most of my money is going now, other than rent. I’m finding I actually want to eat healthier and pay more attention to where the product came from because I’m taking purchases more seriously. (I say this while I’ve got chocolate croissants in the oven.)
So I’m feeling good. But maybe I’m only feeling good because I’m listening to the Frozen 2 soundtrack…? We’ll never know.