Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Non Non-Consumerist Update

I am sure a lot of you are wondering how much I've been buying since I renounced my vows of non-consumerism.

Well, I had planned to hit the thrift stores and pick up a couple new pieces of clothing, but funnily I didn't much feel like that once I started packing up all my stuff!

So, so far, I've bought the following new:

Things That Shall Not Be Mentioned
An External Hard Drive
Recycled Plastic Soap Case

I actually had a gift certificate to Amazon, so the external hard drive was free. My computer is slowly wearing out, and I figured I probably should be, you know, responsible, and all, and back up my files regular like. God forbid my computer crash and I lose the only copy of my thesis! (Though I will guiltily admit that it was all my music that I really worried about losing.)

So while I have been shopping, I feel pretty good about my purchases. They were carefully thought through, they are useful, and they are all fairly necessary.

Of course, in a week I go to India where shopping has always been a highlight of the trip. It will be interesting to see how much I succumb to the pretty! cheap! jewelry and the beadwork shirts.


Unknown said...

Congrats on showing restraint with your spending!

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

My thesis is saved on a zip disc - good luck finding a drive for that! I would also be gutted if my computer crashed and I lost my music and photos - oh yeah and some work-related stuff.

ruchi said...

Bobbi, thanks!!

Cath, oooh, zip disc. How DO you get it off that?! But yeah, it's the music and the photos that are really important!!

Anonymous said...

I too have found restraining shopping to be more difficult when I go to a different country. I rationalize to myself that they aren't just things, they are cultural items. But at the end of the day, they are still just things.

So, in the last couple of years, I decided that I would selectively spend $ in foreign countries. In most cases, I bought artwork :) At least in my mind, the purchase is more rationalizable...

Anonymous said...

Doesn't travel count as consumption? If the reason not to consume is to save resources/minimize impact (my assumptions, sorry if they are wrong) then how is long, air travel trip justifiable? And why do baubles bought from local people cause agony that air travel doesn't?

ruchi said...

Cindy W, you are right. At the end of the day they are just things. And frequently we can become in a frenzy while we're there to acquire cultural artifacts and then later realize we have no place to put said things!!

Evan, you are right that of course air travel counts as consumption. I'm sorry I wasn't totally clear in my post. This was in reference to my year without buying new "stuff" project that just ended, and I was updating people as to what I've bought "thing-wise" since the year ended.

As to how air travel is justifiable, I think we have to make our own personal decisions as to what works for us and what doesn't. Some people buy new stuff, some people don't. Some people drive, some people don't. Some people eat totally locally, others don't. Some people fly, others will choose not to. To me, this isn't a competition, or about judgement, this is about doing as well as you can do in your own personal circumstances. But personally, I have to weigh my own circumstances, and honestly, to me, not going to see my 85 year old grandmother who I haven't seen in five years? That's not justifiable. For me. But everyone's different and needs to make their own decisions about this.

As to the baubles bought by local people, I wouldn't say they cause agony per se, but that I think there is a temptation to acquire much more than one needs in terms of baubles. I'm never going to look back and regret going to India to see my grandmother. But I might regret blowing a few hundred bucks on baubles. :)