And lo, we see the end of No Buying Month appear on the horizon. Three weeks down, and one more to go. I feel like I'm on a long-distance run at this point; I've hit my stride and walk away from the temptation to buy things as naturally as I put one foot in front of the other. It makes me reflect on why it's necessary to institute a No Buying challenge in the first place, and what that says about the hyper-consumerism that we see in our society.
Take, for example, the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. I enjoy this flavoured coffee beverage, though sometimes it's too sweet. But when I'm in the mood for both a sugar and caffeine kick, this is a delicious treat. Apparently, this fall marks the 10th anniversary of the pumpkin spice latte's introduction to our palettes, and this occasion is being marked with an aggressive marketing campaign and entire new lines of mugs. Even though a person doesn't need more than two travel mugs (one extra, in case you forget the first one at the office, in the car, or at your mum's house, in my experience), Starbucks makes a killing by redesigning travel mugs every season, and this season's is a wood-grain printed piece of paper with pumpkin spice latte-related words all over it. We don't need it at all, but there it is for us to consume. And this is all the time, not just with Starbucks, but with everyone, everywhere.
I was reading an article about Vivienne Westwood, one of my favourite designers, who is anti-capitalist even while running an ostensibly capitalist design house. This is what she had to say on the topic of consuming: "Buy less, choose carefully, and make it last." Amen, VW.
Since this is month one, I haven't seen any huge savings pile up in my chequing account. What I have seen, though, is that my credit card has nothing on it but the pre-authorized debits - those are Netflix ($8) and an organic fruit and vegetable delivery service ($47 every two weeks, with farm fresh eggs) - and I paid a clump of money onto my student debt. I would normally try to do these, but with limited success on a monthly basis. The big difference I've noticed this time is that even with clearing my visa and paying some debt down, I have no feelings of stress as we reach the end of the month. I'm not so irresponsible with my money that I screw myself by the 30th, but there are often months where I'm down to the wire and have to make a few bucks stretch through to pay day. This month that is not the case.
Even though I keep expecting it to happen, I still haven't started to make a mental list of things to buy in October. This is wonderful. Instead I'm starting to plan in advance for expenses that I know are coming up, and I'm quite content to avoid buying lots of random stuff once No Buying month is over. Only one more week, and I'm totally confident that I can make it through. Not even a pumpkin spice latte can make me break my not buying.