Two Canadians 'Buy Nothing' for a year to battle consumerism

When was the last time you bought something? Paid for something non-essential - maybe a cab ride, a Starbucks coffee, or a new pair of shoes? Now, two roommates in Calgary, Canada, are trying to eliminate all the unnecessary spending in their lives, a buck at a time.

 Two Canadians Buy Nothing for a year to battle consumerism

Representational image. Reuters

The initiative is a part of their project called 'Buy Nothing Year'. The two roommates came up with the idea when one of them, Julie Phillips, moved into an apartment with the other, Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz, after Phillips's one bedroom apartment was damaged due to the recent flooding.

"We talked a lot about our relationship around 'things' and how we just accumulate a lot of stuff. We wanted to be less attached to things, wanted to buy less," says Szuszkiewicz in an interview with the Huffington Post. Forced to give up the majority of her belongings, Phillips was forced to reconsider her attachment to material objects. She realised that letting go of the majority of them made her feel "lighter."

Szuszkiewicz had explored behavioural modification theories in college, which informed the basis of this life experiment. For the past three months, the duo has stopped purchasing consumer and non-essential household items, such as clothing and furnishing.

After another three months, they will cut out "services and non-material pleasure spending, like hair cuts, cabs, gas, dining out, transit passes and alcohol," says the Huffington Post. "For the final two months of the project, the roommates will eliminate food spending, relying on food shares, dumpster diving, growing food and their own creativity to fill their bellies."

In his latest blog post, Szuszkiewicz said he's surprised how time seems to be flying as they enter the third month of their project.

"When I first started this experiment, I was literally counting down the days like I was serving a prison sentence," he wrote. "Now, I feel like I only have a vague sense of time passing as I watch my clothes get a little rattier."

The buy-nothing experiment has turned out to be less difficult than expected, he wrote, and the benefits have outweighed the loss of material things. "The increase in time, the clarity of focus to do the things I am passionate about, and the ability to connect with people free from money, has led me to branch out of my comfort zone."


Updated Date: Oct 03, 2013 14:25:42 IST