Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Buy Nothing New Challenge (BNN)

So, May 1st of this year a group of us took the plunge on a challenge- a challenge to buy nothing new for a year. I had considered blogging about this adventure back then, but we formed a facebook page to support and encourage one another and I figured that was an easier way to get motivated and stay motivated. However, I've found that I talk about this challenge ALOT with people that aren't doing the challenge and thus aren't on said facebook page.

I've been feeling like blogging, and not just about my crafty adventures or running adventures, or my buy nothing new adventures, or our conversion to Catholicism, but all of it. So that's what I'm doing. So at least Megan Daigle can read these posts and be filled in and then when she calls from all the way across the pond and we have a total of 5 minutes to talk uninterrupted- she can stop asking me questions and she can start spending that time telling me all about her life! Love you, Megan.

I wanted to post about my hair the other day. I know, you're upset now that you missed out on a post about my hair. Hush, hush, dear, I'll get to it another day. But I couldn't because it wouldn't make any sense without knowing about the BNN challenge. So this post is a background post. A post that I should have made, ummmm, 3 1/2 months ago when we started :)

So all the ladies that have joined in on the BNN challenge have written their own guidelines to suit their families. Here are my reasons, my goals, my guidelines:

The BNN challenge for me is a smaller part of a bigger change I'm making as a result of conviction I've been experiencing lately that came to a head after reading several books, particularly "Radical". It's more about living a more biblical life than saving money, in fact, saving money is one of the areas of our life that needs to change. We save too much.

Changes I want to make in my life 
I believe debt, the way we use it, is unbiblical. Student loans WOULD be different, but not so much the way I used them. My student debt was about half consumer debt. My graduate school was paid for, except for books and fees, I did not pay tuition as part of my assistantship at the University. No tuition, and they paid me a salary of $12,800 a year to teach 2 freshman courses, a little over $15,000 the second year. However, I chose to take out loans so I could live in a nicer apartment, eat out, buy a scooter, continue to shop and live life like I was accustomed to doing prior to graduate school. So honestly, my student loans are about twice what they NEEDED to be for me to live in DC during that time. I could have easily gotten by on less if I had chosen to do so- I could not have done it without loans- I wasn't permitted to work another job as part of my assistantship agreement, but I didn't need as much of the money as I borrowed. 
The Bible has plenty to say on debt, it is a desperate act of the poor- not a means to living lavishly.
Proverbs 22:7, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender" 
"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”Rom 13:8This is a good article on debt-
Giving to the poor, the needy, the oppressed, the orphans, the widows, is mentioned so many times in the Bible, it cannot be ignored, yet we tend to ignore it. 1 Tim. 6:17 Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 1 Tim. 6:18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. 1 Tim. 6:19 By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven--it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well. We give, but we could live differently and give so much more.
Find my satisfaction in the Lord, in my family, in my friends, in time spent together, not in "stuff". "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21 Clean out my house, clean out my garage, less stuff means less messes to clean up, it means it's easier to find things when I need them, it means the laundry is more manageable. I'm sometimes overwhelmed by all our stuff.
This should be a goal of everyone, religious or not. This is kind of a no-brainer that is easier to ignore than to think about. But math tells me that if I consume less, I'll produce less waste. 
So, anyhow, the BNN challenge is a tool to help me in all of these goals. By spending less money on STUFF, we can put efforts towards paying off debt, which will free up more money to tithe and give, and in turn assist in focusing my heart on the things that matter. 
Buy nothing new for a year- except for the following:
-Medicine/medical supplies
-Necessary items that are unsanitary to purchase used- underwear, mattress (when Wyatt needs a big boy bed). However, they must also be NECESSARY- do I NEED new underwear? Or do I WANT it? I'd like a new bathing suit, and it's not super sanitary to buy it used, but I don't NEED a new one. I have one that fits and one that doesn't fit, but can be altered.
-Necessary items that are not available used/should not be purchased new for some other legitimate reason: Oil for the car (you have to buy that new, right?), running shoes (this is a no-no. But I don't need new running shoes until they have 500 miles on them or extreme wear, i.e. ripped sole). I'm not sure what else, but I'm sure I'll encounter this- and if it's NECESSARY and not available used, it may be purchased. 
All other items will either be purchased used, traded/bartered for, or done without. If my growing children need clothes/shoes/etc I'll purchase used. Household goods- purchase used. However, if *I* want something in the clothing/shoes/purse category, it will be purchased used with money acquired through the sale of things I no longer want or need. I can sell stuff on ebay or on Craigslist and reserve that money for personal purchases. 
Other personal restrictions:
-Chick-fil-a no more than 1 visit/wk.
-Dunkin Donuts no more than 1 visit/wk.
-Ladie's night out/date nights allowed! let's be real, I don't do this often enough for it to be an issue, and they are both good for fellowship/relationship building 
-Gifts will be handmade or purchased used (antique/vintage items for friends that are into that.
-School supplies are consumable and will be purchased new as needed.
-Haircuts are allowed, but NO MORE HIGHLIGHTS. No more $140 trips to the salon.
Alright, now that it's out there, and we're already a 1/4 of the way through the challenge!

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