Our buy-nothing month started off well: we scored a lovely Little Tikes’ picnic table on freecycle, and some organic arugula, lettuce, oranges, radishes, waxbeans, and heirloom tomatoes from M&M, who aren’t using the full bounty of their large weekly CSA box. Buy-nothing doesn’t preclude buying groceries or other necessities, but still it was nice to start off the buy-nothing month by getting free food.
Then Ben found himself wanting a cup of coffee at work, and instead of buying one, he came home to see me and Sophie too. That was nice. I packed myself healthy food for my own trip to work this week, instead of the generally less-healthy stuff I used to buy there.
But I haven’t canceled our magazine subscriptions or netflix or the Sunday New York Times. And yesterday I bought gasoline for that trip to work. Gas is one of the many things that fall in a gray area between necessity and luxury. I could have taken the train, but that would have added three hours to my commute. I could bike more than I do, but my knee is hurting and Sophie doesn’t like spending time restrained in her bike-trailer. I’m not sure I like all the guilt that comes along with trying to live environmentally.
I haven’t decided whether the point of buy-nothing is to live with as little impact on the earth as possible, or to improve our household budget, or to just become more conscious of purchases. When I told Ben yesterday that my student’s comment on my wardrobe made me think maybe I should buy myself some new clothes, he said, “Too bad you have to wait an arbitrarily-designated thirty days.” But maybe I’ll just go to the used place near here. Used stuff is allowed under buy-nothing rules. Which means that really, buy-nothing month is pretty similar to my own generally-stingy, generally-environmental, generally-displeased-by-ever-having-to-shop, typical month.