August is National Buy Nothing Month

OK, I just made that up. But for the next month, I’m going to try an experiment where I don’t buy unnecessary items.

A few weeks ago I noticed how much time I spent running around “doing errands,” when really I was just shopping. Not like “I went out for milk, and came back with this Armani jacket,” but more along the lines of stopping at Target to pick up toilet bowl cleaner and exiting the store with four additional things that caught my eye while I was there. (“Ooh, we need Diet Pepsi. And what is this Downy stuff you add to the washer for extra scent?”)

This weekend was particularly purchase-y; Mr. Brooks wanted to hit the outlet stores at Cabazon, so we trundled up for a day and I came back laden with goods. There’s nothing more dangerous than having that “I’m on vacation! I need mementos!” mindset, because that’s when I try on $100 jeans and think that’s cheap. (“They’re William Rast! They’re usually twice as much!”) What I need to remember is that I already have 10 pairs of jeans — and that just a few months ago, I took a day to pare stuff out of my closet. (That, in turn, was a follow-up to last year’s effort.)

And even yesterday, when we were ousted from the house by Cleaning Lady Day, I found myself wandering around, killing time by looking at things in stores. “I think we need a candle to refill the centerpiece in the dining room,” I said, before catching myself with the proper mindset, which is: Nobody needs a candle, unless the electricity is out, or they’re lost in the woods, or they’re Young Abraham Lincoln (in which case, yes, the electricity would be out). But nobody needs a $17 scented candle from Pier 1, even if it does smell like Oceans and it’s a lovely mottled blue, which would look good with the Jasper Johns print of the U.S. that hangs in the dining room, and it’s the Scent of the Month, so it would be 20% off. You don’t need it.

“You don’t need it.” I’m going to be saying that a lot during August.

This isn’t about budgeting; it’s an not effort to save money, but to just not spend it on unnecessary objects. The measurable success at the end of the month won’t be about dollars accumulated, but thinking changed.

WHAT SAM WORE: 7-31-12
The shirt: V-neck T-shirt by BDG, from Urban Outfitters.
The shorts: Knee-length cotton jersey workout shorts, from Uniqlo.
The shoes: Running shoes by Nike, from the outlet store at Anthem.

4 responses to “August is National Buy Nothing Month

  1. Smarmy Bastard....

    Every time you find yourself wanting to buy something look at the picture I posted of the back of my truck full of shit my ex bought on its way to Goodwill. And know that there were 5-6 more trips just like it over the years…..

  2. Let’s see if you remember… You don’t NEED a candle. What you NEED is a new winter coat!

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