For the last few years I've welcomed in November with a personal challenge, to get through the month without buying anything new. And after an expensive few months through the summer and early autumn, once more I'm welcoming the challenge with open arms for 2011.
It's not an anti-consumerism protest as such, although it does give me a great excuse to throw a huge boo-hiss at all the stores that promote the festive spirit months before December has arrived.
Yes, I admit the heavily commercial unseasonal 'seasonal promotions' regularly hack me off, what with Easter eggs on sale in January, back-to-school gear being promoted in June and the gradual appearance of Christmas paraphernalia showing its face as early as August! Stuff that makes me go Grrrrrr!
However, regardless of what is going on outside my front door, the challenge is aimed at keeping my own levels of consumerism in check and building in a defence system against all those things that would have otherwise lured their way over the threshold.
I know some people thing I'm mad for attempting such a challenge during what many consider as the start of the Christmas Shopping period but it has proven to save me money and in turn, the less I buy, the less I waste.
Here are some examples of the benefits from previous years.
- Scrapping November from my Christmas shopping diary keeps me focused. There are no temptations to buy all those 'extra' presents I would have once bought for the family. Don't get me wrong, they don't miss out, it simply helps to keep on top of the excess!
- Less temptation means fewer presents and less wrapping paper. No longer do I return home with armfuls of wrapping paper, which only end up in the recycling bin. Instead we get crafty with inexpensive parcel paper, magazines, newspapers and reusable gift bags or festive fabric.
- Although food is obviously not on the 'banned list', the challenge gives me an opportunity to focus on using up what's already in the freezer and kitchen cupboards to make space for stocking up on the seasonal stuff to take us through the winter. The Love Food Hate Waste site is always great for ideas.
- Less time shopping also gives me more time to have a go at making gifts instead. There are loads of ideas around the Internet and Violet Posy's Thrifty Christmas site is one of my favourites, along with some great creative projects that can be found at LellaLoves.
- I won't be tempted to buy any spangly new outfits or accessories for the Christmas dinners or parties on my calendar. Instead, I look forward to going through my wardrobe to plan what will work, without bowing to emergency feel-good purchases either in November or December.
However, if a whole month seems too much of a challenge, there is some good news in that Saturday November 26th is officially Buy Nothing Day. That's just one day, not a whole month. Much easier by comparison! If you fancy a go at that, just click on the Keep Calm logo at the top of this post.