My Year of Going Without.

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 06/09/15 •  4 min read

Before I get started, let me make one thing clear: this is not for everyone. What’s more, I certainly wouldn’t want you to abstain from buying anything from the many companies that advertise on the Please, if you want or need something, by all means, click on our advertisers’ ads and buy lots of stuff. It helps support the site.

What I want to talk about here is pretty much the antithesis of the Gear Addiction and Jacket Slut threads we’ve had on forum. Because now that the year is half over, I thought I’d come clean: I made a resolution to not buy anything for myself in 2015.

Why? Well, two reasons: First, I just wanted to see whether or not I could do it. I have a friend who went 12 months without drinking any alcohol, and this seemed like an interesting twist on that. And second, I already have a ton of stuff. And not just ski stuff. I have a closet full of shirts/sweaters/pants/shoes/you name it. My decision is more a reaction to consumerism and a move toward simplification (you have to read this article about the incredible amount of crap we actually own). I mean, do we really need five or six ski jackets? Or that fleece we see on the internet? Probably not. We could definitely all make do with less.

People have asked if this includes things like cable and hair cuts and things like that. No. It’s a not-buy-anything-that-I-don’t-think-is-a-necessity challenge. I’m not trying to do without everything and live like a monk in a cell. I’m just trying to reduce the amount of stuff I accumulate, at least for a year. What does it include? Clothing, shoes, sports equipment (including ski gear, except for ski boots for which I made an exception going in), and any discretionary spending for stuff (like books, jewelry, etc). Not included? Food, eating out, hair appointments, toiletries, gym membership, cable and/or internet, phone, and of course, my season lift pass.

My biggest challenge has been books. I love to read, but our local library isn’t the best, so in the past I’ve had to buy whatever I was interested in. As a solution, I’ve been using the library in my daughter’s town. Even though it’s 4 hours away, they let you take out books for four weeks, so I’m pretty safe since I usually see her once a month. And I can download ebooks online.

Reaction has been funny. My mother is aghast — though I’m not exactly sure why; maybe she thinks I’m depriving myself for no reason  — and other people have said it’s a good idea but they could never do it themselves. To be honest, I think they’d be surprised by how easy it actually is.

Have I been tempted? A bit, but I’m really not a huge shopper, and living where there are few stores and no shopping malls makes it pretty easy not to buy things. The hardest part so far has been avoiding all the end-of-the-season sales in the ski shops and on line.

I’ve had great trepidation about making this public. Manufacturers of ski gear and apparel, whom I strongly support, thrive on selling people the latest and the greatest. There’s a new technology for skis? You gotta have it. Warmer, lighter weight jackets? Oh, baby, I’m all for it.  It’s just that right now, I’m good. So I’m taking some time off.

One more thing: By doing this, I’m not passing judgement on anyone’s decisions to buy whatever they like. This is just something I’m doing for me, because I’m in a place now that makes it possible, both emotionally and materially. Once the year is up, there’s no telling what I’ll do. :smile:

So here we are: six months down, six more to go. Will I make it? Stay tuned. But I’m pretty sure I will.


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