It all started while I was Christmas shopping recently in our local Westfield and looked around at the number of shopping bags that people had… seemed crazy people buying Christmas for people that will never use those gifts. Seemingly a huge percentage of Christmas gifts are returned each year or never used.
Its not that I’m a Scrooge or a Bah Humbug or the Grinch of Christmas its just that lately I am more conscious of what we buy as a household and how it impacts the environment.
There has been a lot of coverage lately on TV about the fight against plastic etc and so as a household we now try to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can.
Rather than doing a big weekly shop, we buy groceries more frequently – this has cut down on the amount of food we throw out. We recycle as much as we can and we now also return all plastic bags and packaging bag to our local Wollies collection point. Any food scraps we have we box up to bring to a farm we are a member of and feed them to the guinea pigs and chickens – so really we have very little waste lately.
The next logical step was to ask myself was what else could I cut back on and why do I keep buying stuff that I don’t need…and could I survive without it? And if so for how long?
So I set myself a challenge for the New Year, that BTW is 2019, in case you are reading this in 2099 and wish to thank me for how my minute efforts have saved the world!
Ok so back to not buying anything – first let me clarify what “anything” means, I am allowed to obviously buy food, petrol, gas, and electricity etc.
But I want to see if I can do without buying things such as
- Clothes all types including socks and undies – which might be difficult as I already have undies that are older than our kids!!
- Shoes I already own numerous pairs
- Aftershave – deodorants are allowed!
- Books – our new awarding winning library at Green Square has recently opened, so time to pay it a visit. Which BTW has been voted one of the world’s most Instagrammable libraries – not sure who by though.
- Gadgets & Tech Stuff – damn that is going to be hard
- Lunches – back to making and bring my own whenever possible
- Gym memberships – easy as I’m not a currently a member of any and it has taken quite an investment to get this rotund.
Chocolate– No bloody way! Who put that on the list? Booze…hmm yet to be decided as may be needed to keep me sane plus its cheaper than going out!
Clothes will probably be the biggest issue for me as I am a bit of a fiend for buying clothes so a year of making do will be difficult. Difficult not only for me but also for the kids, there have already been comments like
Kids – “God – you’re not going out in that t-shirt…”
Me – “Yes I am and I will have no more comments for the rest of the year please.”
Kids – “But its too way small for you…”
Me – “Yes I know but I intend to lose weight.”
Kids – “So don’t wear it until you lose weight then”
Me – “Grrrr….”
Kids – “Oh yeah – But you’re not allowed spend money on gyms, right”…
Me – “ I know, I know I will take the dog for a walk (when we get one!)
Kids – “Well don’t walk beside me when we are out”…
And so it goes on…the wife has been quite supportive too, by only calling me a “Gobshite” which is an Irish word for idiot.
In fairness, though we all give up stuff without even knowing we have given up…for me, I have given up a lot of stuff in the past. Probably the biggest thing we as a family have given up is living in Ireland where we are originally from. We had to give Ireland up due to corruption, bad government and a gobshite called Bertie Ahern (there’s that word again – but way more fitting this time) who was Ireland’s prime minister at the time. Ahern, while not judged corrupt, was found by the Mahon Tribunal in 2012 to have received monies from developers and the Tribunal disbelieved his explanations of those payments. (Source: Wikipedia)
Bertie Ahern couldn’t manage a good shite by himself let alone manage a country…
Other things I have given up in the past have included tea and coffee for a few months – the first week of headaches was a killer.
Booze until the local bottleshop contacted me and asked me is this permanent as if so they have may to let a couple of staff go…so in the interests of keeping people gainfully employed and not seeing them reduced to a life of crime I went off being off the booze. It just seemed the right thing to do.
Milk – my Dad was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago and I have been reading a bit about it and some doctors recommend reducing dairy intake to prevent cancer. Admittedly the book was a few years old and opinions have now changed. So since last year I only drink soy milk and have cut down dairy products wherever I can, very hard though as I frigging love cheese…
Other things that I have given up in the past include
- Employment – I left my well paid a couple of years ago to start my own business.
- Golf – a game that I always found frustrating and never really had a hope of being good at possibly due to the fact that I am right handed but played with left-handed clubs. I blame it as a hang-up from my Hurling days in school– as an Irish mate of mine is left-handed and he plays with right-handed clubs. Yes, we did swap over and were even worse – go figure!
- Playing soccer – yes I finally retired from playing competitive soccer after God knows how many seasons of playing. It was taking longer between games for the aches and pains to go away.
- People – there are some people who will never be happy and have a negative effect on your life so sometimes it is better to walk away and be free from their toxic attitude.
We all have choices and we make decisions in our life whether to do or not to do things, so in essence, these are also a form of giving something up, how many times have we said: “Christ I’m not going to do that again..”
Until next time… Keeping checking in to see for updates to see how my year of not buying anything progresses.
Could you go a year without buying anything new?
Tell us on our Facebook page.