If you suffer from a high debt load or a compulsion to spend money shopping, then perhaps you should try this:
Buy nothing new for an entire year.
I didn’t come up with this idea. Neither did Timothy Ferriss, but that’s where I learned about it. Essentially, 10 friends from San Francisco committed to buying nothing new for a year. Here’s an excerpt from Ferriss’s blog…
The group called themselves The Compact, after the Mayflower Compact, and pledged that for the entire year, they would purchase secondhand or borrow everything they needed, except for food and essentials like toiletries and medicine.
The reason this group of friends decided to undertake such a project was to reduce their environmental impact. They had observed the negative effects of modern materialism and consumerism, and decided they wanted to do something to help protect the planet and our natural resources.
I applaud The Compact’s motives. Yet it occurs to me that this “experiment” would also be revolutionary for anybody struggling to pay down debt. Imagine how much you would save… and how much more creative you would become… if you committed to not buy anything new for one year.
More importantly, imagine how much progress you could make on debt reduction!
The benefits would be many. Here are some additional positive side effects I can think of:
- Less clutter around the house.
- More time to spend doing things of value.
- Less dependence on MasterCard and Visa.
- Easier to adopt a cash-only lifestyle.
- Improved problem-solving skills.
- No more keeping up with the Joneses.
- Work less and still pay all your bills.
- Instill better values in your children.
- Accelerated debt reduction.
So how do you get started with such an experiment? First, if you are married, you will have to get buy-in from your spouse. This may not be an easy task. Perhaps you can explain the benefits as I have here.
After you get buy-in from your spouse, it’s only a matter of starting. You don’t have to wait until January 1. Simply mark the day you start (which can be any day of the year) and then go one year without buying anything new. If you decide to do this, please let me know. In the mean time, I’ll be sharing the idea with my wife.