People around the world are trying to gain control of their financial lives and spending habits. As a result, more individuals are turning to the “Buy Nothing New Challenge” as a way to curb spending and remain mindful. The originator of this idea, The Happy Philosopher, first experimented with the idea of not buying any clothe for a year. The Internet personality quickly discovered that this wasn’t challenging enough. The idea then expanded to include everything—not just clothes. If this sounds like a fun or challenging idea, try your hand at it and see what happens.
For those interesting in adopting this lifestyle, there are a few exceptions and disclaimers that define what it actually means to buy “nothing.” “Stuff” is difficult to define, but most loosely describe it as permanent, durable goods that are not necessary to life. Anything consumable or related to hygiene or household products (think: cleaners) doesn’t count, but many challenge-accepters have gone the extra mile and switched to DIY cleaning and hygiene materials. Emphasis is also placed on maintaining and repairing what an individual already owns, but select circumstances provide grounds for exception (replacing a laundry machine damaged beyond repair, for example).
Additionally, experiences don’t count. This includes everything from flight tickets to hotel stays. Virtual stuff is also okay, but gifts should tend toward ”experience” rather than physical objects (concert tickets, event access). Borrowing and renting is also allowed, and care should be taken not to harm or withhold necessities from animals during the process. Home improvement is a gray area, but if a repair or item is necessary, it is okay.
So, there you have it. The rules of the game. While most people undertaking the Buy Nothing New Challenge attempt to do a full year, start with a week and see how you feel. Then, take the challenge month by month. After a few weeks of practicing this lifestyle, you might be surprised by how much money you’ve been able to put away.