A new challenge
Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 14:08
martian77 in Buy nothing, General, Make better

Last year I challenged myself to buy nothing. It was a really interesting experiment, and although I wasn't all that successful I learnt some interesting stuff about myself and my relationship with buying stuff. Turns out I do swap money and time, and expect rewards to be in the shape of stuff. Who knew?

At the end of the year we headed off to Florida, and I fell off the buy nothing challenge with a bump. In fact, we spent New Year's Eve shopping at the outlets. And I have to be honest, it just wasn't all that much fun. I filled some holes in my wardrobe, but ended up over stuffing a load of other drawers at the same time! It felt a little like I'd broken my shopping habit, and didn't really want to get it back again. 

So, what about this year?

Well, this year starts with a novel financial situation for me. I am finishing up my PhD, and although I am funded through to the end of March I received my last paycheque just before Christmas. I have almost nothing coming in now until I'm done and get a job (barring the odd bit of teaching work). I'm not that worried - I have enough savings to see me through a good chunk of time, I have a lot of clothes and toys to play with, and I'm generally pretty cheap to run these days. But it's still something to think about, especially in combination with not really enjoying the shopping much.  

This year I've therefore decided that instead of concentrating on not buying stuff, I'm going to spend my energy on the stuff I already have. I'm going to try and iron out minor irritations with stuff, like trousers being too long, or that irritating thing on my bike where my toe clip hits the mudguard on my front wheel on tight turns. I'm going to try and fix things I like to keep them in use, like darning the place on my running socks where my left big toe rubs holes, or repairing some seams, or truing my bike wheels. I'm going to try and learn how to alter some clothing too, so rather than being a bit meh it actually fits. 

Some of this will need bits buying. And that's ok. But where there's a choice between paying someone else to do it or learning how to do it myself, well, I'm going to get a little mustachian about it. And things don't have to end up perfect (perfect's too much pressure, although nice if it happens!). I'm just aiming for better than when I start. 

I guess you could call this the 2014 "Make it better challenge"? It may have similar outcomes in a way, but I'm hoping that by phrasing/framing it in a more positive way it will feel better!

Article originally appeared on Life on Mars (http://www.martiandaze.net/).
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