Blog, Minimalism

One Empty Wallet 2015: ground rules

Buy nothing 2015: the ground rules

2015 is drawing nearer and I’ve had a brilliant, relaxed, cosy Christmas full of family, friends and log fires. The year’s winding down and I’m looking forward to next year with excitement. I’ve so much planned for life, OneEmptyShelf, and just for myself that I can’t wait. And of course, a major part of it is going to be buying nothing.

Back in 2012 when I first did a year of buying nothing, I found I spent a lot more on chain coffees, petrol and general shenanigans than I usually would. I didn’t save any money and still ended up consuming, just not physical items. I’m in a different headspace now and am intrigued to see how next year is going to be different…

I’ve had some amazing feedback about #buynothing2015 and I know a few people are joining in as well which makes me so happy. I learned so much the first time around. It gave me the building blocks to start to become who I am today, and I absolutely can’t wait to see where next year takes me.
So, here’s a bit of guidance on what I’m aiming for next year, and the obstacles I think I’m going to face…


So, I’ve got to eat. The first time around I didn’t give this much thought, spending as much as I usually would on supermarket shopping trips. Over the intervening years though, I’m much more motivated by locally produced, high quality, ethically produced consumables. I’m finally getting round to putting our permaculture plot in place and beginning a new journey in producing more of our own food. I’m lucky to live in a community where local business is valued, with local co-operatives and transition networks in place just minutes from my door. I’m inspired by people living supermarket-free and want to explore this for myself.
In regards to toiletries, I’ve already minimised my make up and skincare, cutting down on a lot of what I used to think was necessary. Drinking more water has done the job of 3+ pots of expensive creams and now I make my own multi-purpose natural oil in bulk. I reckon I’ve got enough for next year. I’ve no problem in going make up free.
However I find it easy to chuck in deodorant, shampoo and conditioner according to whatever is a) on offer and b) mega moisturising for my curly hair. I’m hoping to be more mindful of choosing my haircare products. If you haven’t got the Think Dirty app on your phone, check it out. The ingredients of some of my products surprised me.


Again, last time round, I classed digital entertainment as not ‘stuff’ and happily bought ebooks and downloads. I ended the year having spent a lot on books, music and coffee.
The dilemma is, I’m no puritan. I love reading. I love losing myself in music. A few hours in a coffee shop gives me an inspirational atmosphere, interaction, and the chance to support the many amazing, independent coffee shops local to me.
So in place of cd’s, I have a music streaming service and the inspiration and instruments to write and create my own music too, however terrible it may be! Books will hopefully be borrowed, free, or kindle. I’m looking into Amazon-free e-books. Outdoor fitness is a passion of mine. So is adventure.


At the time of my last adventure in buying nothing, I commuted to work in a busy shopping centre, involving a long, boring rush hour commute on one of the UK’s most congested motorways. Zzz. Now I work part-time, a 15 minute drive from my house, in addition to working for myself. There’s no contest really…it’s cycling time! I’ve been checking out Sustrans, who provide safe, interesting routes to cycle to work. Vibrant towns are a short walk away. I’ve got a rucksack and some sturdy boots. There’s a station 20 minutes away. It’s time for some adventures!

But what if…?

This is the question that’s been going around my head. What if my car breaks down or, inevitably, fails it’s MOT again? What if I get holes in my shoes? What if my iPad breaks or my phone gives up the ghost? What if I magically lose weight (or more likely, put it on)?

The answer is to think outside the box. The box of ‘normality’ where its easy to just buy another one. To think in a different way, to freecycle, swap, borrow, reuse or barter instead of nipping to the shops for something new.

And in the case of broken items, to learn to repair, or just, well, let it go. To think, do I really, truly need this? To carry on paring down, even though the instinct is to hoard. To continue to build my freedom from consuming. To repair seemingly irreparable, sealed technology.

I’ve had some amazing, inspirational feedback from others who are cutting down on consuming and who are joining in #buynothing2015. If you’re planning to become part of it next year, let me know what the biggest hurdle you’re anticipating is! Have you thought of any creative ways to overcome it?

You can follow my adventure buying nothing in 2015 on Twitter, on YouTube, on my personal Instagram and on the Twitter hashtag #buynothing2015. Let me know if you’re doing something similar, I’d love to keep inspired by everybody’s adventures!

All the best for the New Year!


2 thoughts on “One Empty Wallet 2015: ground rules

  1. […] resolved not to buy anything in 2015. Even with your exceptions, I imagine this is quite difficult sometimes. Have there been any items you’ve needed and had to […]

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