It’s been just over a week since I started my experiment in not buying anything for a month, and here’s my first progress report. The long and short of it is that it’s been incredibly easy. I haven’t bought anything except for food, and it hasn’t been a sacrifice.
So let’s recap what I’m trying to do. I’m not actually trying to buy nothing; that’s impossible. Instead I’m trying not to buy anything I don’t need and thereby discover what are the things I need. So aside from groceries, in the last eight days the only extras I’ve allowed myself where a restaurant lunch and dinner. Both where on the same day and they were the product of poor planning on my part.
Just as I suspected, I find myself impulsively reaching to buy something before I catch myself and remind myself about my project. What’s interesting is that what I’ve had to stop myself from buying more than anything else is software. Over the past week, I’ve come across several interesting new apps, and several apps that I follow have released new versions. At any other time I would have just bought them. The Mac and iOS app stores really make it frictionless, which as an app developer can be pretty great.
Each time I’ve reached to buy something I’ve stopped and asked myself if I really needed it. Each time the answer was an unambiguous no. No wonder my iPad and iPhone are full of apps I never use.
When the month’s over I will probably go back and buy some of these apps, but there will have been a benefit to my waiting period. First, I’ll be more likely to get those that have utility and not just novelty. Second, because I delayed my gratification, I will enjoy them more.
Next week is Valentine’s Day and it’s going to be interesting to see how I approach that. I’m sure my wife can’t wait to see what her insane husband does.