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April: Nonconsumption Month (unofficially)

By March 25, 2008 culture, faith No Comments

For those of you who frequent here, maybe you have read about my waning affection for consumerism and my deepening concern about being wasteful. And more than just blabbing on about it . . . some of this wrestling has actually made its way into my daily life!

Just some small things . . . like conserving plastic baggies. I know, that seems really small. But that practice was amounting to a three-baggie-day habit (just to pack a lunch). Now I am using the overabundance of plastic containers that we all seem to accumulate. This may be a small change, but added up over a year’s time, that’s saving more than 600 baggies from the trash heap! whoohoo! (And this act covers both Reduce and Reuse—gotta love that.)

In addition to several small lifestyle changes, I have also been convicted by my heart’s pull toward trinkets and baubles and how easily I am caught up in consuming and owning stuff. This form of waste is more difficult to break. Because I have never been a fan of wandering aimlessly about the mall, this sort of consumerism used to be easier for me to keep in check—if you aren’t out, it’s easy not only to keep from wasting money, but also from having discontent with what you already have. But now that the Internet is my primary mode of shopping, it is too easy to pop out to a site and load up a cart! It’s fast and easy, and then I get the added bonus of awaiting my package’s delivery (LOVE to get mail). Internet shopping has not been good for my contentment meter.

So when I stumbled upon a new-to-me blog yesterday with a post about making April a nonconsumption month, I felt both challenged and curious! Could I possibly make it through an entire month restraining myself from unnecessary spending? I would hope so, but it will require a lifestyle change, even if it will be short-lived. (But I would hope for some long-lived mental shifts in the process!)

One thing I appreciate is the reasonableness of phoenixhopes’s challenge. (By the way, I am torn on the possessive form here . . . “hopes” is plural, which would call for no additional s; but “phoenixhopes” as an entity is singular, which would call for apostrophe + s . . . hmmm—not going to track that right now! but feel free to post your reasoned response to that!) She mentioned that aside from some planned expenses she would hold off on everything else that could wait until May. I needed to hear that, because I can go way overboard on such commitments and feel as if I need to buy up a storm on March 31 so that I am sticking to The Rules throughout April. That flurry of shopping would defeat the purpose of noncomsumption in April; and it’s highly unlikely that I will remember everything that needs to be purchased. I want this to be a weaning, a cleansing of sorts—not a boot camp. I see the point of this challenge as being a way to tend to my heart and break some bad patterns of thinking in regard to purchase behavior and purchase addiction.

So there’s the challenge. Want to join phoenixhopes in a month of nonconsumption? I don’t take this challenge lightly, so I need to think through what this would mean practically speaking. What would that mean for you? Add your two cents worth and let’s hash this out together.

  • Laura

    This is so admirable – and difficult! I think we are taught to reward ourselves, if not with food then with items we desire. And this builds our desire more for things that never really satisfy because desire is never satisfied.

    I wish I had the momentum to cut off all extra consumption, but I think the best I can do is be more mindful and aware. My husband and I don’t really spend all that much extra anyway. We treat ourselves to one meal out a week, usually a $15 bill, but that’s about it because we’re saving for a house, a car, and a couch (all necessary items because we’ve been using just 1 car for 4 years now and our jobs are demanding new transport). We just bought the reusable grocery bags at Meijer – I use them for everything now because they’re so sturdy. So I am pledging to make adjustments as best we can, and to continue making those adjustments.

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