Friday, January 13, 2012

No Retail For 1 Year: Start Your Buy Nothing New Challenge

Last year I Bought Nothing New and learned so much along the way. For 2012 I challenge you (yes, YOU) to do the same! You won't merely save money, you'll exercise your creativity and learn to be The Batman of Resourcefulness! Don't worry, this is actually easier than it seems. My plan allows you to "cheat" while keeping things challenging. Here's how to get started:

1. Set Your Limits and Exceptions   

Set your exceptions before you begin. I allowed myself to buy craft supplies as needed and a limited amount of small business purchases. Don't allow too many exceptions, you want this to be a challenge! (Naturally, you'll buy food, toilet paper, and other necessary supplies new. )

2. Stock up on Supplies 

I'm not asking you to buy your underoos second hand! Go ahead and stock up on new things you need like socks, underwear, necessary clothing replacements and/or craft supplies you use often before you begin.

3. Minimize Retail Exposure 

If you're a shopaholic with impulse issues, avoid retail temptation. Don't worry, once your challenge is up retail junk won't even interest you anymore. 

4. Set a Date and Stick to it  

Set the dates you'll begin and end your challenge and stick with it! 

5. Pay Heed to these Retail-Free Life Survival Tips: 

  • Ask friends, families, and neighbors for a needed supply before you buy it.
  • Stretch creativity and use what you have on hand for projects.
  • Use up duplicates (like those extra bottles of shampoo under the sink) before buying more.

On Exceptions... Necessary purchases for your business are exceptions to the Buy Nothing New rule. I also allowed myself to occasionally dine out (local joints), travel, and purchase souvenirs. Maybe a daily Starbucks frap is your necessary evil; every list of exceptions will be different. Adjust this challenge to suit your lifestyle.

Shout Out:  For daily inspiration you must read Katy's entertaining blog The Non-Consumer Advocate, a whole site dedicated to living a resourceful retail-free life. Check out her personal buy nothing challenge.

Could you go one year without retail shopping? Are you already living a retail-free life?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. I buy new when it suits me. I spent $25.00 on jewelry at Catherine's when the $24.00 sets were clearanced out and marked down to $2.50 each. But I really prefer to thrift everything. I always feel a little like I failed when I have to buy new.

  2. Jeanne: I did have to give in to retail for a big wall calendar, some things you just can't find 2nd hand. Besides, sometimes retail items on clearance are far cheaper than what you'll find at the thrift- damn those rising thrift prices.

  3. Find a local discard grocery store :)

    These are the people that sell the stuff that gets damaged and thrown out otherwise.

  4. Megann: Hmm...I'll have to look that up

  5. I've been buying nothing new (with a few exceptions) since 2007, so I'm starting out on year five. It is so much easier than one would think.

    Katy Wolk-Stanley
    "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without"

  6. Katy: It's a pretty easy lifestyle change because you still get your shopping kicks at the thrift store. The challenge of hunting for what you lack actually makes it funner.

  7. I made this my challenge last year from you, I applied it mainly to gifts, but slowly extended it to everything. Only today I was talking about Thrift Pledge to my friend as she was aiming for something similar, I have forwarded this post to her. She's up for the challenge as am I, thank you!

  8. Marthaamay: Glad you tried to last year! Good luck this year, you can do it. It's easier than it seems.

  9. I don't do it as a challenge but I do not like to buy new things in many areas. Sooner or later most of the things I want/need show up at a yard sale for a fraction of the store cost.

  10. Deana: Yep, doing this challenge has taught to be patient to save. I used to go retail when I needed something like a rug or a bookshelf, now I wait patiently for the right one to pop up at a yard sale, thrift store, or flea market stall.

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