Why Bother?

November 1, 2012 in Inspirational

With No-Buy-November starting today, I have been spreading the word, and telling people about the No-Buy challenge. It’s no surprise that I’ve gotten a lot of strange looks, and quite a few questions. So today, I figured I would try to answer some of them!

Why do this crazyness at all?

I think that our culture is WAY too focused on material possessions, and way to quick to buy our way to happiness. It has been shown in many studies that more stuff does not make you happier. Instead, we spend our money and our time on buying junk that is not only bad for us but bad for the world.

It is unrealistic for most of us, myself included, to think that we can live in this country and actually buy no new products. But buying no new products for a month? Now that is possible. And maybe it will give us some insight into what we really need, as opposed to what we think we need. Maybe we will spend this month focused on things that truly make us happy, like spending time with friends and family. And maybe after this month is over, we will have learned something about ourselves, and a little bit of the consciousness of this month will stick around and get us to buy less, and spend more time on things that matter.

Why November?

November seems packed with business, not only because of Thanksgiving and the impending Christmas and New Years holidays, but also because of all sort of other campaigns that happen in November, like NaNoWriMo and Movember. Still November seemed like the perfect time to not buy, and not just because “No-Buy-November” sounds cool (which it totally does!).

November, more than a lot of months, is focused on consumerism. Black Friday is in November, one of the busiest shopping days in the year. Christmas is coming up, and giving lots of expensive gifts is a tradition for many families, so much so that it bleeds over into other holidays that happen around the same time, like Hanukkah. It actually costs more to buy each other gifts than it would cost to buy the things for ourselves, because of the waste involved in gifts that the receiver does not really want, as explained in this video interview with Professor of Economics Chris Coyne. (Instead of buying STUFF for holiday gifts, try some alternatives!)

So, having a month of not buying anything land right on top of a month that is so focused on buying things actually makes the challenge a little harder, and contrasts it a little more with the consumerism of the month. It makes a stronger point.

Won’t people just delay buying things until December?

Maybe. But a lot of new purchases come from “impulse buys” and if you have to wait a month before you can buy something, maybe you will realize that you don’t need it after all (you just spent a month without it, right?). It is a similar concept to what many money-saving tipsters suggest, of putting a 30-day “hold” on any item you want, so that if you still want it in 30-days you can buy it, and if in that time you realized that you don’t need it you saved some cash.

And honestly, if this whole movement can stop one person from buying one $3 radio that will end up in the landfill in 6 months, it’s worth it.

Any other questions or comments? Feel free to comment below!