The dangers of the low buy and no buy culture
We live in world of stuff. We are constantly being sold stuff, buying stuff, getting stuff to put our stuff in; and each time we are told that this particular item of stuff is “the one,” that it will solve everything. It is a consumer world out there, and while we all need to be taking a really good look at how and why this consumerism has taken over, I want to talk about another trend that has risen up in opposition to this.
The trend of the “low buy” or “no buy” challenge. On Instagram the “no buy” hashtag has over 30,000 photos and #lowbuy has over 10k. People are swearing off purchasing anything new, or setting a specific time period in which they will try and not shop, and sharing their successes on social media. But to me it just feels like band aids on bullet holes.
I have to ask myself, how much were these people buying so that they feel they need to challenge themselves to stop, and what happens after the allotted period ends?
Guys, we need things, and it is totally fine to want things. It is even fine to want things we don’t really need, we shouldn’t feel the need to punish ourselves for it. Obviously this is one of those everything-within-reason situations. And testing your resolve with a month long challenge probably isn’t addressing the deeper lifestyle changes that need to be made.
For me it is about setting parameters that will hopefully carry me through the rest of my life. Sometimes I go a little a crazy and get a few new things all at once, then I reign it in. Sometimes I don’t get anything anything new for ages, and I figure it balances. Mostly I genuinely try to only get what I need and will improve my life. And yes sometimes it’s a pair of shoes (there was a sample sale!) or a new bronzer, and that’s ok.
A crash diet will get you looking good for an event, but it’s not sustainable. Making a conscious effort to always make healthy food choices and then not beating your self up because you had some fries is way more realistic, and its the same with our purchasing habits.
Like I said, we live in consumer culture, and quite frankly we probably will not be overthrowing the capitalist ideals that got us here in our lifetimes. What I can promise is that someone on Instagram sharing the ticks on the calendar for every day they haven’t bought anything new is not even gonna scratch the surface.
It needs to be holistic. It’s about finding a balance, and discovering enough about your own style that you can make informed purchases. It took me years to get to the point where I can say “I have plenty of clothes.” I have a much smaller wardrobe than I have in the past, but I almost never feel like I have nothing to wear.
Yes I still get new things, but I make sure that they will have a place and get a lot a use. If it makes sense I will do one in, one out, but I’m not strict about it. Again this is because everything I already I have has gone through a vetting process and may not need replacing. If I own it I love it.
A no buy/low buy period should be about focusing on what you already have, rather than what you aren’t getting or the money your not spending. I’m all for shopping your closet and repurposing what you already have into something new. And if you can survive your whole life like that, do it! You’re a better person than me!
But for the rest of us, getting new things will be a part of our lives. We can all make the effort to improve our shopping habits, and where or how our money is being spent. I think the effort should be put in to examining our consumer habits on a long term scale, and reexamining them as and when needed.
I suppose forcing yourself not to buy anything for a whole month is an achievement. But I doubt its as satisfying as being happy and confident enough with what you have to go a whole month without needing something new.