lessons from the 100 day challenge...

on Sunday, September 18, 2011

The 100 day don't buy anything I don't really need challenge is over. Here is my first post about the challenge where I tell you why I started this madness and here is the halfway point post where I 'fess up to a couple of small purchases in Bali. And I bet you're wondering what I've learned from the experience. Yes, I am too. But first, a recap...here's what I said I would give up buying for 100 days:
  • magazines 
  • books 
  • appliances
  • clothing, shoes and accessories
  • music
  • craft materials
  • anything decorative for my house
  • linen and towels
  • cosmetics
  • iPad applications
  • anything from an op shop that I don't need even if it is an absolute bargain and I'm helping a charity. 
  • wine (just kidding...!)
So how did I go?
  • Magazines: 2 in 100 days, but I did renew my subscription to Real Living last month and I feel fine about that. Magazines are what I thought I would miss most, but I haven't. Not really. Occasionally I'd linger over the magazines in the supermarket but the feeling soon went away. And there are always blogs, and a lovely friend did buy me a few as a gift, and I still haven't finished reading them :)
  • Books: ok, moving right along. I didn't buy books for maybe the first month but I couldn't manage for 100 days. I love books. Always have. Always will. Can't live without them. Therefore they fall into the category of 'need'. No guilt. Not a bit.
  • Appliances: apart from the kettle that blew up, a little electric mini chopper/blender/whizzy thing. I've used it and it only cost $20 so I think that's ok.
  • Clothing, shoes and accessories: nope, nothing. Now that's what I call impressive, although with spring and summer upon us that may change a little over the next few months.
  • Music: no
  • Craft materials: only the bits I needed for gifts I was making, which still aren't finished. Yep, I'm a great starter but finishing is sometimes a challenge :)
  • anything decorative for my house: no, except for the occasional bunch of flowers and I'd say that was perfectly justified!
  • Linen and towels: no
  • Cosmetics: well, it's like this. I was going incredibly well with this until a friend invited me to a cosmetics party last weekend. I think the products I bought will be brilliant but it's a bit too early to tell yet...I'll let you know
  • iPad apps: just the Blogpress one which I haven't used, so that may be justified in going into the things I didn't really need category
  • stuff from op shops: I went into a few when we went to Ballarat, but apart from a couple of books (see above) I've bought nothing!
  • wine: don't be crazy. 
And, what have I learned (and I'm not about to write an essay on consumerism...although I probably could...so don't worry!):
  • that I definitely have enough 'things' and I'm not in the least bit deprived (nor do I feel deprived, there's a difference) if I don't have more/the latest/or in some cases the replacement
  • that I'm becoming less interested in 'stuff' (except book type stuff...see above!)
  • that while I'm happy to go shopping with others I really don't have all that much interest in buying for myself these days (is this a sign of age I wonder or just an acceptance of enough?)
  • that in the early days of the challenge I used avoidance as a strategy (i.e. didn't go anywhere near shops, didn't open emails from shops, didn't follow links to shops on blogs). Now I don't need to avoid, but I'm just not all that interested to be honest
  • that when I do buy I think about it much more carefully. I ask myself do I really, really need it or do I love it so much that I will forever kick myself if I don't get it? And importantly if I do need it is this the best option, because for sure I have a lot of things in my house that haven't been the best choice. And if the answer is yes, then of course I'm going to buy it, provided it's affordable. It's not about not buying for the sake of not buying. 
  • that I've been surprised at the things I've said no to...they've mostly been things for the house...this has always been my weak spot (along with books!)...and unsuitable men ;)
  • that I really, truly love having a zero balance on the credit card statement
  • that 'things' don't make you happy (but we all knew that) and that some things make you smile every time you look at them...and that they are the things you know you've bought well...they are the things you would be quite correct in saying you really need :)
And during it all I found this quote, which sums up the experience quite nicely I think.
"Enough is abundance to the wise."
Someone indicated to me that Euripides also said "where there is no wine, there is no love".  I suspect that may not be an accurate quote, but I'm happy to go with it!
 Now, what will I try next I wonder :)
images: my clever girl; flickr; google images