Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Could You Go a Year Without Shopping?

This year I'm making a pledge and following through: I'm Buying Nothing New for 2011. I'm definitely ready to take this step, besides the high cost, retailing shopping bores me to tears these days.

There will be the obvious exceptions to the "buy nothing new" rule,  like:

-Cleaning Supplies (Though I hope to make my own!)
-Hygiene Products (going to make my own when possible)

And some not obvious exceptions that are important to me:

-Craft/Art Supplies (only when vital for a project)
-Gardening Supplies (dirt, tools..)
-Occasional Small Business Purchases (keep them alive!)

No New Clothes for 2011

I might hold some clothes-swaps with friends and take hand-me-downs from friends/family, but otherwise, I'm not clothes-hunting this year.

Trash Hunting

I'm incorporating more curb-side "shopping" into my agenda this year (need tips?) I'll document my progress.

Could you go one year without shopping?  

I'm excited to embark on this year without shopping! I'll document my progress like a dedicated scientist. Will I get withdrawals? Go insane? Time will tell.
Last time I asked some of you said you'd die if you tried it. How about now, are you ready for a challenge?
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  1. One of my facebook friends did this - nothing non-consumable for a year! I'm amazed by people who can do this!

    I wonder if it's possible with kids...I don't know what my little guys would wear! They outgrow things so quickly. I guess I could make that one of the exceptions.

  2. Wow, that's quite a pledge. I'm not sure if I could do it, though clothes shopping wouldn't be a problem. Might even be able to get away w/ no new underpants/socks LOL!

  3. Actually Katie, kids clothes are one of the biggest donated items at the thrift store I work at. Think about it - all kids outgrow clothes so fast, and if they aren't passed down to a younger sibling, they're donated!
    At our store we have brand new, brand name kids clothes coming in every day. We get bags and bags of baby clothes, especially.
    It's not only possible to shop for kids clothes secondhand, it's easy if you find a good shop!

  4. Most of what we think we "need" is simply a want...and with a bit more patience most wanted items can be found in thrift stores or be whipped up at home. This is totally doable and totally applause worthy!

  5. Yeah, I probably could if I had to. I don't shop that much to begin with. And I consider thrift shopping "repurposing", so it doesn't count!

  6. Katie: Like Cara said, I always find BRAND NEW kid's clothes, name brand, tags still attached at the thrift store.

    You can dress your kids very well by thrifting (Perhaps adding to your exceptions, occasional new outfits, undergarments, shoes, etc.)

  7. A La Modern: I figure I thrift all the time anyways, may as well take this challenge.

    But can I add a new ricer cooker (old one broke) as a necessary food expense? Hmm...

  8. I already do this! rare that we anything new-I wanna join in and make it official!!

  9. I did it a couple years ago with clothing, and although I didn't last the whole year, I lasted a pretty long time. I think it is actually pretty easy; if you don't go in clothing stores, then you won't be tempted to buy anything new!

  10. Dude, estate sales for anything gardening. Even yard sales. I know you probably don't have a lot of time for either of these but I see a lot of that on craig's list too!

    As for kids clothes, my son wore completely used until a panicked gym debacle.:) He still wears ninety percent used, his school uniform being the only exception. The key is to try to stay a season ahead.

  11. There is a documentary called "No Impact Man" - its a about a family in NYC who go with out trying to waste for 1 year.. like no electricity.. no subway.. no elevators.. nothing new.. I think it was on instant watch if you have net flix. :)

  12. Erika: I've gotta watch this. No Netflix, but maybe the library has it! Thank you for the heads up.

    Dhamma: It's a resolution of mine to fit in more estate sales, where gardening AND crafting bits lurk (sometimes still sealed, so I hear!) I just wish I had more time to get after 'em.

    Laura: Let's do it!

  13. I could probably do it, but I have to admit that I'm a buyer for a major department store so I actually don't do a whole lot of shopping to begin with. Actually that's not true, I do a ton of comparison shopping, I just get stuff from manufacturers :) )

    Stopping by to follow you from the Welcome Wednesday blog hop. I’ve really gotten into hops recently and am excited to check out some of your older posts. I’m now following you, I hope you’ll follow me back at

  14. Wow, Van! This sounds so challenging, but how great that you're doing it! Can't wait to read how it goes. I might be able to do it if I had a year's worth of mental prep. :)

  15. Honestly, I'll watch with interest, but no. I wouldn't go a year without retail shopping. I so rarely do it anyway (you're right; boring!) that I could probably count on two hands the number of things I've purchased retail in the past year, and even some of those are places like TJ Maxx or small indie businesses.

  16. I pretty much only buy used anyway. Sounds good to me.

  17. Such a great idea! New Follower from Welcome Wednesday. Hope you will stop by and follow Threeboys!

  18. I did this in 2007 via The Compact and it was a very eye-opening and great experience. I did have a couple of slips where my mom bought me a new pair of boots (she felt bad I wasn't buying anything new for a year) and we had to buy a dressy outfit for my DD at a moment's notice. Best of luck to you!!

  19. For the most part I already live this way.
    It is easier when you don't read the ads or do casual shopping with friends.
    Many necessities like shampoo and toothpaste, etc can actually be found free if you don't mind using sample sizes.
    Before you head into a store promise you will get only what you decide ahead that you MUST have (that underwear or those Q-tips) and don't wander every aisle to find them. Or ask someone else to grab those few things for you when they do their own shopping.
    When you are tempted, at least wait 24 hours before a purchase and be sure you can return it should you decide you really did not need it.
    Yes, there will be temptations and withdrawals.

  20. I also have tried "The Compact" in past years (wow, Monica, was that really '07? Time flies!)and did so-so and bad depending on the year. I will join on-board again and will post my exceptions on the blog!Ii love a good challenge! :)

  21. I did try this for 2010 and did quite well really. I was only allowed to buy used clothing and the likes (the same exceptions as you) and managed quite well I think. I did cheat a little bit for presents but othrwise I was very good :)

  22. @Gina-Yep, it's been that long. I was just discussing in recent course about it and was thinking about doing it again. What the heck, the more, the merrier. I'm in!

  23. Hmm... a whole year?? I think I will keep a weekly update of days I have gone without buying something new. So as of today I have gone 5 days without buying something new.

  24. Wowza yowza! Can't wait to read more about this. I do live this way kinda. I thrift shop to the max but still buy new once in a while.

    I am your newest follower.

    You can find me at:


  25. Hard, hard, hard BUT I'm willing to try! :)

  26. Oh gosh, does that include eBay? If it's a used but near new item? I don't think I could do it! Maybe nothing at full price? I could do that! Like, if I saw the perfect owl (of which all owls are!) to add to my collection, and it was on special, then it'd be ok, but if it was full price I'd have to wait until it came down in price before I could consider it. I could do that... I think...

  27. mandapanda: I think eBay would be fine, but I won't shop retail at a reduce price unless it's a necessary item (garden tool, cooking tool).

    You would just have to do what makes you comfortable, we all have different exceptions. Maybe yours will be a couple of clearance retail purchases.

  28. dogsmom: Love your tips, thank you! I wonder if I can find (or order) samples of Dr. Bronner's soap. That stuff lasts forever and works amazingly well!

    We'll see when/if the withdrawals happen. I honestly think I'll be fine this year, but I'll write about the struggles.

  29. wow, so ambitious! go van! i look forward to hearing about this through the year.

  30. Awesome Van! I think you'll do great! I'm venturing into actual dumpster diving at stores for food & whatever else I may come across. Not at the expense of trash picking, just in addition to. I'll definitely be writing about the results!

  31. Amy: I can't wait to read your results! I'm conducting a study on the same thing, I did my first dumpster diving for food last month and loved it!

  32. You know it's funny but as much as I adore and love thrifting I have no interest in not buying new for a year. I think because Thrifting is so much a part of my lifestyle that I don't want to cut myself off from a handful of new things that I buy every year.

    I also really enjoy buying new toys for the children because for 90% of the year, everything is 2nd hand. I think moderation is the key for me. I don't buy too much new and if I buy too much thrifted it's okay because I usually can sell it through different ReSelling venues.

    I think it is a wonderful example for people who do rely too much on buying new. Well done for doing this. And didn't one of the women from the Thrift Guild group do this? I think she went on TV because of it. It's wonderful that this type of thing gets so much media attention. The more that the thrifting lifestyle can spread, the better we would be as a culture.

  33. I've done it, including not buying food, tolietries, diapers for my 3 in diapers, clothing, anything. We only worked on paying bills. We went 8 months without an income and it's been pretty tight ever since that. Our income has been cut 70%. Last year my husband made less (though he worked 10-14 hours a day 6 days a week) than he did the year we went 8 months without an income.

    I have 6 children; the last 4 years have been incredibly tight, as we've seen our income continue to decline each year.

    We've been blessed with hand-me down clothing for my boys from multiple people. We've had a woman who was moving share her pantry contents and old linens with us (I made some old sheets into pajamas for my children from them). I've made over clothing. I was given fabric from multiple sources that I used to make clothing for my girls. I've used internet coupons to get free shampoo, toothpaste, cheese, cleaning supplies, and more. I've made Christmas and birthday gifts. I've participated in some clothing swaps recently and I was able to get a few wonderful, needed items for my family as well (including a dress and a jumper for my oldest; the jumper needed new buttons, some stains removed, and a seam redone, but they were all easy fixes--the stains came right out, and I had buttons on hand).

    IF (big "if") I am able to go to the thrift store, i consider it a treat. My great-aunt gave me $25 towards gifts for the children for Christmas. I spent it at the thrift store, and felt blessed to find a lot of classic books that we had been wanting, as well as enough fabric to make a dress for my oldest daughter in her favorite color.

    For us, it's not done completely as a choice; I would certainly like to buy some things, like fresh milk and ice cream :) and eggs (though I have traded garden scraps for eggs), but I count ourselves blessed if we can pay the bills.

    Good luck on your endeavor!

  34. I am following you as part of the blog hop. Please, follow me back at or on facebook Madame Deals, INC, Goggle Friends, or twitter.
    Thank you, Amee

  35. Our family is trying this. 10 days and going strong. Follow our progress at our blog. Blessings!

  36. This is such a great idea - I really wanted to try this - but for now I'm continuing with my 'no new things' pledge which I've been trying for the past year and a half then went a bit crazy when my marriage broke up.
    However I'm going back on track and I'm so glad I found this - such an inspiration :)

  37. It's easy to do: don't watch much TV, don't waste your time at the mall or in stores. What I love is reading, writing, walking, and anything else that I deem fun and inexpensive or free. I borrow books and movies from my local library and have taken a vow that I will not buy anything I don't need. So far, it's working out very well. Highly recommended; you'll have a better life.

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