Part of what drew us into this whole minimalism thing is the idea that we don’t have to spend a bunch of money to find happiness and contentment. In fact, spending less money will probably get us there faster. But purging our home of needless things doesn’t save us any money if we continue to buy new things. And it would be completely counterproductive to buy things to fill the space we’ve created through purging.
In light of that, we’ve decided to not purchase anything besides food during our month of purging, and for the following month as well. We’ll need that month as a buffer. Hopefully by the time that extra month has passed, we’ll be accustomed to our new lifestyle. If we can survive one month without the thing we thought we needed to buy, we can probably continue surviving. And that can apply to every purchase we make. Even if we weren’t embarking on this journey, I still think waiting a month to make a purchase is a great idea. SPOILER ALERT! Check out the conclusion to our 60 Days of Buying Nothing.
Give it a month. Any time you decide you need to buy something, wait a month. Or maybe just a week if you think a month is too long. But give it some time. Decide at the beginning on your time-frame. Whether that’s a week or a month, do not give in before that time is up. If you spend that whole time thinking about how much you need that thing, how much easier your life would be if you had that thing, how much value it would add to your life, then buy it. This also gives you ample time to research the right one. You don’t want to buy a crappy Target or Ikea version of something if there’s a better (possibly more expensive) version of it elsewhere. Doesn’t matter if it cost a little more or takes longer to arrive because it has to be special ordered. You’ve already waited a month, so what’s a few more days? And you know this is something you want to have in your life for a long time, because you’ve spent the last month obsessing over it. So you want something durable, something that will last a while.
Of course, the other option, and the more likely option, is that you realize during that month that you don’t really need that thing. It seemed like a novel idea at the time, but after a month of living without it, you know you can continue to live without it. Or you’ve found something else that works just as well. Maybe something you already had, or something you can make yourself. Maybe if you are obsessing over it for that whole month, then you’re talking to your friends and family about it. And maybe one of them says, hey, I have one of those things, and I don’t use it. Do you want it? RED FLAG!!! Before you say, “Cool beans, this worked out. I waited and now I’m getting it for free.” Ask your friend why they don’t use it. Maybe you won’t use it either. Even free things have a cost.
This worked out when we decided we needed a playpen for the suddenly very mobile Coraline Wonder. We decided not to get it. Then I went to work and thought that a watermelon bin would work perfectly! I think Sunny was excited about it too, at first. Coraline’s feelings were fleeting. Mostly she thought being held was better. We decided the problem was probably that she couldn’t see through the cardboard. Sunny got to talking with a coworker about it, and he gave us a playpen that his kid have outgrown. So in the end, we got one for free. And we intend to pass those savings along once we’re no longer in need of it.
If we follow this rule we will never make impulse purchases. (My mom once impulse bought a car.) We will not be a slave to the clearance rack. We will never buy things just because they’re on sale. We will save so much money by not buying so many things that it won’t matter when, a month after the sale is over, we end up buying one thing at full price.