We’ve declared 2020 a low buy year for our family.
The motivation for this is not financial – although we know there will be financial benefits from a low buy year.
Our motivation is to learn deep contentment – true thankfulness for what we have and stop the constant pursuit of more.
We want to detox from the consumer culture that is all around us. Everywhere you look (driving down the road, on social media, even in many public bathrooms) there are advertisements telling us that we need more and more and more. While we are far from consumeristic – we try to source nearly everything secondhand and do our best to buy only what we need – we know there are ingrained bad habits of consumption simply because we live in a very materialistic society.
We also want our children to detox. We’ve seen that contentment does not run deep in a few of our children – in fact we have one child who gets emotional when he has his own money and leaves a store without finding anything to buy. He thinks if he has money in his pocket and goes to a store he should leave with something. This is a habit we want to see him break. We don’t want our children to grow up seeking the temporary high that comes with purchasing things – money does not buy happiness.
We also feel like our eyes have been opened to how much time is spent pursuing things. Browsing Craigslist or Marketplace for a good deal, ‘window shopping’ online for things we don’t need, time wasted looking around favorite thrift stores when there is nothing we need and the time and gas wasted driving around from yard sale to yard sale.
I confess I love the treasure hunt that is thrift shopping and yard sale-ing. It is such fun to find a treasure but more often than not the treasure I found is not something I knew I ‘needed’ until the moment I saw it – thus I didn’t need at all!
John David’s weakness is browsing the internet for a good deal. He has found some awesome deals on amazing things that have saved us quite a bit of money over the years. But he’s also wasted hours and hours just browsing. Hours that could have been used in more productive ways.
Time is valuable. Our time is much more valuable than pursuing things.
Why a low buy year?
I’ve been fascinated reading about “no buy years ” people have undertaken and have even read a couple books documenting no buy year experiences. In these books, the authors share about the detox from consumerism as well as the improvement in their finances.
There’s no way we could have a no buy year with 4 growing children and a homestead. We’d have too many exceptions to the rule. We will need things and have to buy items this year. So, instead of no buy, we’re doing a low buy.
What will a low buy year look like?
We will shop but we’ll shop with a list and not browse for extra treasures. If we do go into a thrift store, it will be with a list. Sticking to it may be hard but I think being conscious of our needs versus our wants will help us all form better habits.
We’re going to stop just browsing marketplace or eBay for things we want and wasting time. We’re going to use that time to read books, watch educational videos, garden, cook, milk the cow, make cheese, spend time playing games with our children, sew, create – just enjoy life.
What benefits do you think you’ll see from your low buy year?
We hope to learn deep contentment. We hope to detox from consumer culture. We hope to use our time creating more while we consume less. We hope to save a little extra money by cutting all frivolous spending.
What WILL you buy?
We’ll buy shoes, clothing and undergarments for our growing children. If John David or I have clothes that wear out and need to be replaced, we’ll replace but we’re not just going to purchase clothes unless they’re needed. We’ll purchase school supplies and materials that we actually need. We’ll buy food – although we’re trying our best not to buy much food thanks to growing as much as we can here on the homestead! We’ll definitely buy some seeds and plants for our gardening. We’ll buy some experiences. We’ll replace things that break if they’re things we need. We’ll purchase what we need for farming. We will probably buy supplies to help us create things – fabric for sewing projects, canvases for painting, yarn for crocheting, wood for building.
We’re not going to be strict and bound to rules but we are going to focus on only buying what we really and truly need.
I plan to document and share here how our low buy year is going as well as on our Instagram account.
We’re looking forward to changed habits and true contentment in 2020.