Why I’m buying nothing for a year aEUR” no clothes , no holidays , no coffee …


Inspired by the Black Friday counter-movement Buy Nothing Day, I want to see if I can go a whole 12 months without spending on anything but bills and food

Black Friday is looming and while most people are gearing up to flex the plastic in the shopping bonanza, Im facing a year of buying nothing a whole 12 -month shopping ban.

Inspired by the Black Friday counter-movement Buy Nothing Day, which encourages you to embark on a 24 -hour shopping detox instead of rushing to the stores, I want to see if I can take it further and run a year without spending on anything but bills and food.

This entails no snacks out , no cinema trips , no vacations , no gig unless theyre free , no rounds down the saloon , no new clothes , no coffee you get the idea. It also entails I wont be able to buy train tickets or bus fares so my trusty bicycle is likely to be relied on to get from A to B.

And I wont be able to rely on family members or friends to pay for me either its a year of no spending , not scrounging.

Im not the first person to attempt this. There is a growing motion of people who are turning their back on consumerism and purchasing possessions in favour of buying experiences and travelling the world. In the US, the Minimalists have encouraged people been like living with less, while in Canada Cait Flanders who blogs at Blonde on a Budget transformed her finances with a shopping forbid. In the UK, Kath Kelly lived on only APS1 a day for a year in order to buy her brother a lavish bridal gift.

These people have encouraged me to look at what I eat and take control of my fund, as well as given me hope that a spending forbid wont mean a year sat indoors. They didnt live like hermits for a year, they discovered new ways to entertain themselves, pushed themselves out of their comfort zones and enhanced their lives.

Most people are gearing up for Black Friday but there is a growing motion of people who are turning their back on consumerism. Photo: Tom Pennington/ Getty Images

So why do I want to follow in their footsteps? My spouse and I have already spent the past 18 months reducing the amount of items in our home after an epiphany at a storage unit that was housing boxes of stuff we didnt need. We devoted away and donated things we no longer used and sold items that had some value, use the money to overpay on our mortgage.

I realise that as we live in London were lucky to have a mortgage at all but that doesnt mean I want to be saddled with it for 25 years. Getting rid of it early is an appealing idea and to really make a dent in it I need to get a handle on my everyday spending habits.

While I know my half of the monthly bills equate to APS1, 000, Im not so good at maintaining tabs on where the rest of my fund goes.

Totalling up my spending on coffee over the past year left me with palpitations( not the ones induced by caffeine either) Ive spent more than APS4 00 on takeaway coffee alone. Random trips to the supermarkets for top-up stores and lunches totalled another APS1, 000 over the year despite doing a big food shop once a month.

My spending, along with everyone elses, is what is supposed to fuel the recovery in the UK, according to government figures UK consumers spend APS9 0bn a month, and we cant all just stop spending totally. If we did, business would go bust, people would lose their jobs and companies wouldnt be able to pay dividends to investors, but that doesnt mean we shouldnt topic what we are spending our fund on or whether we are living beyond our means.

Black Friday: police shut down Tesco after shopper scuffles on Black Friday in November 2014

Much of the consumer cycle is being funded by credit, meaning we are putting our personal finances in the red as the economy struggles to make it into the black. Statistics from The Money Charity indicate Brits owed APS1. 45 tn at the end of September, up from APS1. 41 tn a year before and equal to an extra APS6 61.50 per adult.

Of course, for many people in the UK, use their charge card is a possibility the only way to set food on the table and I recognise that a spending forbid is a way of life already for those living close to the breadline. I have the luxury of choosing to step out of the consumer cycle.

Im hoping the next year will teach me a thing or two about just how little I need to live on, help me save more and open my eyes to the wonderful free events that happen right under my snout.

Living in London will be a blessing and a curse; there is a wealth of events that happen in the capital, with gigs, concerts and exhibitions on my doorstep, but these often come with a hefty price tag. However, there are plenty of free events to take advantage of Ive only never done so before.

It wont be easy though and Im sure there will be times when fund will have to change hands. Im bound to get a puncture at some point and while I have a couple of spare inner tubes, I have resisted the advise to stockpile items.

However, I have bought two bike-packing bags that fit onto my motorcycle frame and a new sleep mat so I can have a free wild camping vacation next year.

The only budget I do need to confirm is for food. Of course, Ill have to make sure I have my three meals a day packed into my pouch if I have to eat on the go, along with a flask of tea, but I would appreciate your thoughts on what a fair food budget for the month would be. And your tips-off on how to stick to it.


Read more: www.theguardian.com


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