One Empty Wallet Round 2: why I’m repeating my year of buying nothing in 2015A few years ago, I bought nothing for an entire year. At first it was easy, but by the end of the year, with holes in my shoes and after walking out of my job, the concept of buying nothing became a whole lot harder. Without that crutch, that promise of instant, fleeting satisfaction, toughing it out whilst trying to start a business definitely wasn’t easy.
Having said that, the experience as a whole was an overwhelmingly positive one. I developed an intense mistrust of advertising and consumer culture that pervades to this day and feeds my inner cynic rather satisfyingly. From that year sprouted some seeds that have grown and developed into inspirations, beliefs and adventures I am still on the path to exploring. A year of buying nothing turned into a lifetime of curiosity and learning.
And so that brings me to 2015. I’m in a good place right now, with possibilities and ideas stretching out in front of me, many rooted in that experience of buying nothing unnecessary for 365 straight days. But recently, enjoying a small amount of spare income has led to me purchasing items, none of which has enhanced my life in the long term. I feel myself falling back into that consumer void, if only a little. The strings are pulling me and I don’t want to go back.
I’ve become more aware of the processes behind big business and consumer culture. Money makes the world go round but recent events aren’t painting a pretty picture of what that world may end up as, not just here in Britain but around the globe. I want to think about what I buy, I don’t want to fall for the quick, cheap fix every time. I want to support people who really need an income, I want to buy local, from people who care about the manufacture of their products, from people who care about quality, from people who know my ideas and share my vision.
And so I’m taking a step outside of the buying loop once more. To rediscover what I already own and give myself the chance to clear my focus. I want my money to make a difference in my life. I want to learn how much the concept of ‘money’ governs what I do.
I want to learn more about myself. The first time round, I bought no clothes and minimal amounts of other goods, but found myself spending even more on chain-coffee, meals out and cocktail-fuelled party nights. I still craved consumerism and it was interesting how this manifested itself in my spending. I bought nothing, yet I still spent. I want to see how my thinking around money has changed. I want to be able to channel my small income into development of my life, into experiences that matter, into growth. I want to support projects that matter. I want every penny to count, not be thrown away on mindlessness. I want to really explore the ideas I have and I believe that by removing the pressure and mindset of ‘spending’, it’ll give me more room to do so.
Physical clutter stifles us, owns us, and puts us under unrelenting pressure. There’s always something better, something that needs replacing, something more expensive to lust after and feel bad about not being able to afford. Wouldn’t it be nice to just take a break from it all?
So, that’s me. I’m quite looking forward to it. Curious? Why not join me? Try a week, a month, the whole year… challenge yourself and see if you can change your outlook too.