Buy Nothing

Posted by Jill Chivers in Attitudes and Habits, Shop Your Wardrobe Strategies

November 25 is International Buy Nothing Day (November 26 is Buy Nothing Day UK).

What’s this?

“It’s a day where you challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off from shopping and tune into life. The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from shopping and anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!”

October is Buy Nothing New month in Australia.  The idea is simple: you don’t buy anything new for an entire month.  I’m guessing this doesn’t apply to consumables like coffee, or lunch.

I love these initiatives, as you can imagine.  Our entire 12 month program is based on those exact principles and then some.   Life isn’t to be spent – life is to be lived, and true meaning and connection isn’t found in the mall.  This is what I”ve learned.

Buy nothing days are also one of the strategies we suggest in Week 32 of My Year Without Clothes Shopping (Week 32 is the final week of Month 7 – our module devoted entirely to an exploration of money.  See the focus of each month by clicking here).

You don’t need to be part of a collective to have a buy nothing day (BND).  I’ve read quite a few personal finance blogs where money savvy individuals (or money-savvy-individuals-in-training) have regular BNDs.

The short-term benefit to a BND (or BNW or BNM, if you want to go longer) is that you save some money.  That day, or week, or month, you save a few dollars, pounds, euro, ringett, yuan, etc.  This is a worthy goal.  It’s just not the entire picture.

The long-term benefit to a BND, BNW, or BNM (or BNY if you really want to go deep) is to change your attitude and behaviour toward consumption.

This is achieved by engaging not only your body, in behaviour change (not buying anything), but your brain, your emotions and your soul. Yes I just said soul.

If you really want those new behaviours to turn into new attitudes and new behaviours that stick (this is real change, not just temporary change) then the key is not just changing what happens on the surface (your behaviour), but changing what happens beneath the surface.

The pathway to deeper change is insight-gathering.  This is a process where you reflect on your behaviours, and ask yourself some helpful questions that help you to gather, well, insights about those behaviours, and yourself.  It’s a process, although one single A-Ha moment can be the slingshot that takes you far forward and results in profound change.

Insight-gathering requires quality questions.  Here are 10 of my favourite insight-gathering questions, compiled over a decade of facilitating transformational changes in 1:1 coaching and group workshop settings:

  1. What did I like about doing this?  What didn’t I like?
  2. What is about the things that I liked – what made them so enjoyable?  Why didn’t I like certain things?
  3. What was easy (and why was it easy)?  What was difficult or challenge (and why)?
  4. What surprised me? What delighted me? What annoyed me?
  5. What are the 3 most important things I learned about this?  Did I re-learn anything?
  6. What was the benefit of doing this?
  7. What can I start doing today to make the most of this experience?
  8. What do I still have questions or issues about?  How might I find the answers or resolution of those?
  9. So what – What do I make all this mean for me?
  10. Now what – What can I use from this experience, going forward?

Oh, and my favourite Bonus Question

  • What other questions do I need to ask myself about this experience?

So I encourage you to have your own BND, BNW or BNM, as part of this initiative on November 25/26 or on your own.  Just remember: to get the most out of the experience,  don’t just DO it, but gather insights about the experience, and yourself, as well.

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