The Season Of Not Buying

I’m a bit strange.  I rather like this time of year because after Thanksgiving my family stops buying stuff for ourselves.  By the virtue of a well placed birthday in November and Christmas in December we have gotten in the habit of buying nothing that we want during this time.  No DVD’s, no books, no CD’s, no tools, no toys for ourselves.

So once this time starts I know I won’t be buying anything I can just enjoy life without the pressure of stuff.  After writing up my wish list I basically don’t think about stuff for myself for two months. Yes we buy things for others, but that’s more fun since we save in advance for that.  Our oldest boy has even got into the habit and has stopped pointing out toys and saying “Can I have?” instead its “We’ll see, Daddy” or “Christmas” to indicate he would like that item to go on his wish list.  He still looks, but he know gets we won’t be buying him anything till after Christmas.

In the mean time its a quieter pace of life, the chaos of Christmas is still too far in advance to do much, so instead we clean up things in the yard and spend time together as a family.  In these moments I recall how little I really need in life and how somethings stuff gets in the way of the important things in life.  I don’t need much to have a conversation with someone. I don’t need much to play silly games with my boys that results in giggles.  Life can be simple if you let it be.

So how about you?  Do you have a season of not buying?  If so, when does it start?

7 thoughts on “The Season Of Not Buying”

  1. I try to make my whole year a no purchase season.

    It doesn’t always work, but it’s better than what it was before.

    My new thing is to try to make a list of what I really NEED, and stick to finding that, rather than getting sidetracked by deals and “wow, this DVD is only $5!”

    So far, it’s been working out great for me when I think about the unnecessary clutter it brings into my home.

    The other trick I use is to just not go to the mall. If I avoid temptation, I don’t even want the item, as I don’t know it exists.

  2. Like you, I have a November birthday and stop buying for myself come labour day. It is actually quite refreshing and a learning experience. There are always items that I would have bought, but by January I have decided that they are unnecessary.

  3. For our household it’s kind of the calm before the storm – my birthday is 3 days away from my wife’s in December with my Brother, Sister and sister in law’s birthdays all within 3 weeks as well as Christmas – takes some planning and budgeting.

    I’ve found that amazon wishlists are handy. In the past few years though, I have found I don’t really want “stuff” at all, I am trying to get rid of stuff in the house and Christmas and birthdays seem to build it up rather quickly.

  4. Everyday Minimalist – WOW! A whole year. I’m impressed. I’m not sure how I would do for a whole year. Mmm, something to think about.

    Kathryn – That is so the truth. You think you want something and before you know it you can’t even remember what you ‘wanted’ in the first place.

    Dave – That would be a lot of stuff coming in. We tend to get rid of stuff about twice a year to keep the useless stuff from taking over.


  5. Everyday miminalist I’m with you. I can far more easily tell you when I do spend. Our normal mode is to simply spend nothing. Really. What could I possibly need to be buying on a regular basis? In this part of the world most of us are fortunate enough to have more than enough of everything already jammed in our homes. I’ve simply stopped buying clothes for the time being and will throw things out as they wear out. When we get down to a reasonable amount I’ll institute a one in one out rule to maintain.

    We have the automatic scheduled payments for mortgage, electricity, phone, cell, internet, insurance etc. but aside from the recurring bills, in a normal week we buy groceries and gas. That’s it. Period. Really what else could we need? I only go to a store when I need to replace a broken or worn out item, or when I have made my Christmas shopping list. I get what I need and get out. Unless you do hard physical work your clothing doesn’t wear out on a weekly basis, most people just get bored with what they have. I’ve never understood having a monthly clothing budget. Our kids get a lot of nearly new hand-me-downs and we suppliment at Christmas and BD, plus a new item for the first day of school. Every other year we get them new snow suits and boots if there isn’t a hand-me-down available. We always pack our lunches and eat out perhaps 6 times a year on special occasions. Buying new stuff just isn’t important to us. Our one major splurge is travel and when we go it more than makes up for all the little stuff we skip. At this point in life acquiring stuff it the least interesting thing I can think of to do with my money. Do I really need another DVD, larger TV or newer car? Nope.

    So my reverse answer to the question you pose is that I do most of my spending in Sept/Oct with back to school and to get all my Christmas shopping done early (I hate shopping but hate crowds more). The other 10mths I buy virtually nothing.

    I always think our lack of spending must sound like we live a dreary life. We live in a lovely home (3000sqft) which we built ourselves, 2 vehicles and a camping trailer (all bought second hand with cash); great jobs with good incomes. The difference is we save like made 90% of the time so we can retire early. The stuff we do without is stuff we don’t miss because it’s not important to us. The other 10% of the time we blow a fair bit on travelling with our kids. It’s not the “work hard and we deserve it” thing, but more of a let’s not wait for retirement in case we’re not up to it, plus the kids aren’t yet at the stage where they’re too cool to be seen with us!

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