If you’re anything like me, the warmer weather probably has you dreaming of a full summer wardrobe facelift. But that’s going to have to wait! Here at Mozo, October means one thing – Buy Nothing New Month (BNNM). In previous years, our bravest predecessors have taken the challenge head on and blogged their experience on a week-by-week basis but I, a little more reserved and a lot less courageous, will instead give you the rundown of what BNNM is, why you should be doing it and a string of Mozo’s most timeless survival tips.
WTH is BNNM?
Buy Nothing New Month challenges the little obsessive consumer within all of us not to buy anything new that isn’t considered ‘essential’. Now don’t freak out on me, you won’t have to cut out your health and hygiene necessities, we’re talking your frivolous fashion purchases and your over-the-top grocery habits.
Why should you be doing it?
Did you know that Aussies generate 52 megatonnes worth of waste each year? Or that we’re ranked the fifth worst in the world when it comes to municipal waste? The truth is we’re not as resourceful as we once were and the majority of the 27 kilograms of clothing that we buy each year is ending up in landfill taking decades to decay, if at all. And then there is the (not so) small matter of the global fast fashion industry and the appalling conditions of its workers.
Feeling guilty yet? I know I am. But if the ethical and sustainable motives just aren’t doing it for you, how about the chance to make some serious savings. Back in 2012, Mozo’s Buy Nothing New Month experiment showed that you could save over $1000, which could be a considerable boost to your Christmas shopping quota or festive season fund.
Whether you want to save the world, save some money or a bit of both – here are Mozo’s top survival tips for Buy Nothing New Month.
Get your mates involved
This month is going to be a whole lot easier with the comfort and moral support of your mates, especially during the tough times like when your inbox is updated with the latest set of sales. But from a more resourceful point of view, by roping your friends in you’ll have access to all of their coolest garments and they’ll have access to yours, which will quell your temptation to buy something new.
Master the second hand markets
No matter where in Australia you live, you’re not too far from a second hand market so if your mate doesn’t have what you’re after don’t just mindlessly rush to the nearest shopping centre. Instead seek out the local second hand market where, if you do buy, it won’t be from new and you’ll probably be bagging a pretty big bargain.
Master the online second hand markets
Online shopping is dangerous for both the environment and your credit card but try turning that habit into something positive by visiting a range of online second hand markets before turning to new alternatives. Gumtree and Brotherhood Books are a good starting point and if you’re after picking up free (yes, actually free) items that are unwanted by their current owners Ziilch is definitely worth checking out too.
Find a new hobby
If you’re a retail therapy guru or just enjoy spending your spare time at your local shopping centre, it’s time to find a new hobby or hangout. This October, take advantage of the warmer weather and get outside. You can plan a picnic or go out on a hike and the best part is that both your wallet and waistline will benefit.
Repair, don’t replace
Are your favourite jumper’s sleeves fraying? You obviously need to go out and immediately replace it, right? Wrong! Here is the perfect opportunity to take up that new hobby, don the thimble and needle and start sewing. If you’re not quite getting the hang of it, take the jumper to your local seamstress where you can get it fixed for a relatively inexpensive price.
Get creative in the kitchen
This October, it’s time to raid the pantry and cut back on a lot of the unnecessary items that sneak into your supermarket basket. You’ll probably find some food you didn’t know you had, and will be able to pull together a few meals from pantry-based products alone allowing you to save on your weekly grocery haul.
Get a library card
A personal saving strategy of my own, dusting off the old library card will make surviving BNNM a whole lot easier for all the bookworms out there. But the great thing is you’ll have access to quite literally an entire library of DVDs, CDs and magazines as well!
Unfollow retailers on your socials
Remove the daily temptation to buy the newest threads by unfollowing and unliking your favourite retailers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. General Pants, The ICONIC and Showpo have got to go!
Raid your wardrobe
Buying a tee or pair of jeans only to realise you already own something that’s pretty darn similar is a telltale sign that it’s time to raid your wardrobe. By doing so, you’ll uncover some old favourites and hidden gems that will stave off the urge to buy, buy, buy this October.
Watch ‘The True Cost’ on Netflix
If you ever feel your motivation waning over the course of the month set aside some time to watch ‘The True Cost’ on Netflix. This groundbreaking documentary lifts the lid on the environmental and human impacts of the fast fashion industry and will definitely have you thinking twice the next time you walk into your favourite fashion retailer.
Create a 30-day “waitlist”
Think of this as a wishlist with waiting time. Throw all of your potential purchases on a list and wait 30 days till you actually buy that item. Using this strategy means you’ll have some time to figure out whether or not you actually need those new sunnies and it’ll be November before you’re ready to buy anything!
Employ the 10 second rule at the supermarket
We’ve all walked through Coles or Woolies, been caught off guard by a special sale or new product and spontaneously thrown it into our trolleys. But this month, take a 10 second window to consider if this is something you really need. BNNM is about being mindful about consumption and the chances are if it isn’t on your shopping list, then you don’t need it.
Stick to your shopping list
If you want to go a little more hardcore, only buy what you’ve jotted down on your list during your October grocery trips. You’ll need to take a little more time and care when you first create your shopping list, but this way you’ll be certain that you’re not being swayed by any flashy in-store advertising.
Start listening to the Minimalists’ podcast
Over the course of the month there won’t be a shortage of bad influences edging you towards your next needless purchase, so to make things a little easier start listening to the Minimalists podcast. These two former corporate guys banished a load of their physical belongings to focus on what’s important in life. So reinforce your willpower by listening to their wise words which, for the record, are totally free!
Op shop your way to the top
Finally, if the urge to shop overcomes you in October check out your local op shop. Not only will you be making some serious savings on these thrifty threads, but your money is going to a good cause by shopping at places like Vinnies or the Salvation Army.
Congratulations, you’re now equipped to survive the month ahead. But, don’t leave your October savings sitting in your transaction account, make sure you’re getting the most out of your extra cash by moving it into a high interest savings account.