Buy Nothing Day: I want in!

henrietta oxlade

to buy or not to buy imageIf you’re wondering what to do this weekend, you could join in an international event with your whole family, and the good news is that it will cost you absolutely nothing!

This Saturday 26 November is “Buy Nothing Day” in the UK.  Apparently this day has been celebrated since the 1990’s, and was started by a Canadian non-profit, anti-consumerist, pro-environment organisation called Adbusters.

The aim of the day is to make you think about and question what it is that you buy and where you buy it from.  The organisers would like us to consider how our shopping habits have an impact on the world, both environmentally and ethically.

And the rules are pretty straightforward – do not buy anything for 24 hours!

This got me thinking.  Why not get involved with your family on Buy Nothing Day, if not just to see how it feels. When was the last time you went out without your purse?  I think it might be kind of liberating.  (A bit like when I went out without my mobile phone the other day – after the initial complete and utter panic had subsided, I realised that it felt good!).

Benefits of going out without money:

  • No more unplanned or unnecessary purchases.  I went shopping yesterday to buy a specific item in Boots, but I returned with stuff from Boots, Superdrug, Waterstones and Rymans!  Additional spend – bigger than I want to think about…
  • No more “Shall I or shan’t I?” and “Do I really need that pair of shoes/furry scarf thing/lovely pointless kitchen item” angst.   How many times have we walked up and down outside the shop, walked in and out of the shop, hovered outside the doorway looking foolish and lost?
  • Browsing shops without your purse removes all the pressure. You don’t have to decide now. The item will still be there tomorrow. You can go home and mull it over in the comfort and reality of your own kitchen.
  • You can get a perverse pleasure in totalling up the money that you could have spent today, and congratulating yourself on not.

I thought I’d give it a try on Saturday, and see if it could become a regular part of my life. Important note for task list: must remember to get some milk and bread on Friday 25 November!

Henrietta Oxlade is an Independent Financial Planner with Radcliffe & Newlands and MyFamilyClub’s in-house finance sage! She has been advising individual clients since March 1988, which is why many of her clients consider her part of the family.