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Wrapping up the Buy Nothing New Challenge
By Tammy May

Reduce wasted consumptionSeptember is here which means that the Buy Nothing New in August Challenge is officially over. How did you go? I found it hard—especially when I was confronted by a jeans sale last week that seemed too good to miss. But I resisted. In fact, as therapy I did a clothes audit to prove to myself how much I already have and how little I actually need.

The result was a pile of clothes that I decided to bring into work and give away. To be honest, I felt a tad embarrassed that some of the items hadn’t been worn—bought on impulse during sales that seemed too good to miss!

A big congratulations to everyone who participated in the challenge. Whether you stayed on or fell off the Buy Nothing New wagon, it was all about becoming a more conscious consumer. I enjoyed reading your updates on the MyBudget Buzz forum. Here are a few of the comments…

I have avoided purchasing new containers in the kitchen by making better use of recyclables. I have been washing jars and bottles to use for storing foods etc. [Awesome! When we don’t default to shopping for new stuff, we actually get quite creative.]

Every few months I go through a crisis that many women do – the “I have nothing to wear” freak-out! (Please tell me I’m not alone here?!) [You’re not alone! I thought the same thing until I went through my wardrobe and noticed how many things I own and never wear.] So…. I must admit, I did cave this month… I bought a top (a bargain at $25) and a pair of flats ($49). They did come out of my living expense money BUT still, I can’t make excuses, I broke the rules. I also did the challenge last May and managed to go the entire month, so I convinced myself I was a bit of a failure! I felt really guilty about it, but after my shopping trip, I checked my budget, and looked at what I was achieving. It reminded me that it had been a long time between purchases and that my budget was going to suffer as a result. Crisis averted! [Great to hear that your budget is running on track. Responsible spending doesn’t mean never spending; it means spending within your budget, without compromising your other financial goals.]

I've found it a challenge and I didn't think I bought much stuff! I did indulge in a fancy leaf tea when I was on a weekend away (the weekend had been planned way before the challenge came up). [I went on a family holiday in the middle of the month, too, but I had already budgeted for the extra spending.]

My biggest challenge has been all the emails I get promoting clothing sales etc. I decided to unsubscribe from those websites for the month just to reduce the temptation. I also have a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on my letterbox for the same reason. Catalogues and email notifications of sales make it too easy to spend money on things I didn’t even realise I wanted until I saw them on sale! [Umm, ditto.]

I thought this would be easy but I have struggled – I think I have just acknowledged I have a buying addiction. The other weekend, I actually got agitated going into a shop where I couldn’t buy anything. [I know what you mean—I was window shopping when I wandered pass the jeans sale of the millennium.]

My mum thinks she is helping me but she isn’t. I let her know I would look at this item for the house and purchase it in September however, 2 hours later, she came around to my house with the now bought item, advising me that I could pay her back in September! [That’s a tough one. Family support is always welcome, but well-meaning relatives often don’t realise that they compromise our financial goals or long-term independence when they try to help.]

I should have prepared better. I am finding all sorts of things that need to be put off until September until I can buy a new one. Although, I have justified to myself that buying a new zipper and REPAIRING the pants is NOT the same as buying a new pair of pants!! [Absolutely! Repairs are excluded from the challenge—well done.]

[A MyBudget client who got really serious about avoiding debt for consumer purchases…] It's been tough. I've cut up the credit cards and I'm weaning off the idea of buying anything whenever I want but it is a struggle! [And this supportive reply from another MyBudget client…] All credit cards are gone – forever.

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