I guess you could say I am not prepared to bid a fond farewell to 2008 when I looked at J about 5 minutes ago and proclaimed "oh yeah, it's New Year's Eve...?!"
We've been sick around here, that'll be my excuse for now. Even though I feel generally cruddy right now, I did want to post something to end 2008. What better way than to finish a thought I've been promising to finish for a while now. The nothing new update. Finally. ;)
Way back in October--what feels simultaneously like a moment and a lifetime ago--we pledged to ourselves a month of anti-consumerism. We weren't going to buy anything new, save consumables like food, bath needs, and medicine; though thankfully we are not a very medicated family. ;) Because we are indecisive, commitment-phobic folks much of the time, we only planned a month-long experiment. It went even better than we could have imagined.
How well it went can be summed up like this:
A) We really didn't miss buying stuff,
B) it was fun coming up with alternatives to buying new, and
C) we couldn't argue with the pocketbook at the end of the month. =)
We have had an un-official budget for quite a while now of keeping our monthly non-bill spending to x amount or below (again, no I'm not sharing what x stands for because it seems wrong; never discuss money or politics, right?!). Well, during our month of nothing new, we were over $600 below x!!! It was wonderful, and again, you can't argue with savings like that.
Those of you that actually know us though, know that we seriously don't like stuff that much so it is really hard to account for where that savings actually came from. One thing that made a difference was that we didn't have any travel expenditures that month (which was strange for us for about the last half of 2008). Of course, to my line of thinking, travel expenditures don't count as "stuff" spending anyway, so...ugh. Back to square one on explaining the savings. ;)
All that said, the hardest parts of nothing-new for us are Bugga and the pets. I'm not against used clothes and such for the Bug, but shoes for one are hard to come by in a used form that I'm really comfortable with, especially since (as my smart and thrift-wise sis-in-law Danelle pointed out) shoes often form to feet. As for the pets...uh, used dog toys?! Yeah, I don't think so. Have you seen dog toys after they've been actually used as dog toys? ;)
Let's face it, we all have way more stuff in our lives than we ever really need. It gets silly. I, for one, am ready to simplify. I've been ready. Heck, one of the reasons I really had to adjust to the whole idea of parenthood was because kiddos come with stuff. ;) (Though even there, you really can get by with much less than commercials or a visit to Target would indicate. HAHA.)
Hmm, so what is my point? That is a great question and since I'm a little under the weather, I'm having a hard time remembering. ;) Many brave souls out there commit to an entire year of nothing new, like my bloggy pal Leah is contemplating.
For us, I think the experiment just brought into finer focus our personal approach to needs v. wants and all the stuff that is constantly dangled in our face, being told we need it, we want it, we have to have it. I think it is human nature to want, in many ways, but in our modern society, we project this want onto things all too often. Instead of placing it on activities, relationships, experiences, things that can't necessarily be measured and valued as specifically as the things we spend our money on.
Okay, this is all too much for my sickly brain tonight, so excuse me if I'm not making sense. I need a picture. This one seems to fit.
We did get Grady Christmas gifts. We didn't get him much, just some books and a standard unit block set. And you know what he has been playing with the most for the better part of the last week? Yup, a box. =) Which is funny considering one of the books we got him is Not a Box, a very cute book that highlights imagination and the natural tendency of children to play with simple objects like boxes.
Going into 2009, my motto is "there is more to life than stuff." ;) Okay, it's not far off from how I've felt for years now, but with a few well-planned loopholes, J and I will enter into a year of...well, very little new. I just want to spend another year enjoying my super Bug, my wonderful hubby, my amazing pets and foster dogs, and everyone else we love, whether from a distance or those we will be lucky enough to actually see and actually hug. =)
Happy New Year everyone! Party extra for me, because I doubt I'll make it to midnight. ;)