Now since I'm a poor graduate student, I don't have the money for any of that stuff, but when I had a job, how did I deal with the temptation for shiny, new toys?
Well, I recognized that the shininess disappears relatively quickly. That there was always going to be a newer computer, and latest cell phone. That my finances and the environment would both be better off if I just held off buying new gadgets until the old ones finally and truly bit the dust.
But, man, that's so boringly principled, isn't it?
And as much as I love my principles, I have to admit that if I only had my principles, I wouldn't have lasted a year as a non-consumerist.
So, how did I do it?
Simple. I treated non-consumerism as a game. A game I wanted to win. And since I'm a fairly competitive person, I was definitely going to win.
Instead of buying new stuff, I pretended to be MacGyver and figure out how to make do with the stuff I had on hand. Finding stuff used has become part of the adventure for me. I scoured Gumtree, Freecycle and charity shops looking for sweet deals. And when my computer was moving super slow, I tried to change my thinking from, "Augh! Want new computer!!" to "I wonder if I can last out another two months with this computer." Then my competitive streak would take over and I had to last out two months, and another two months, and another two months, and another two months.
Now that I'm no longer a stringent non-consumer, I still do all these things. But now and then, when I badly want or need something new, I also allow myself a once in a while splurge. For example, when I was in LA, my favorite pair of jeans ripped. I dutifully went to the thrift store where I found pair after pair of super fugly jeans. So I went to Nordstrom's and bought a pair of Citizen's jeans. They were expensive, but they were also gorgeous, they fit my body perfectly, and frankly, I hadn't bought a single pair of jeans in three years. And I don't regret buying them at all, nor do I feel any guilt about it. Because it's not something I regularly do, but once in a while, we all need a treat.