Our Nothing New Challenge

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase products or services linked from this page, Summit of Coin may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The other day, my wife and I were talking about two articles that I shared with her. Both of these articles came from Chris, who blogs at Keep Thrifty. His family is attempting to buy nothing new in 2017! That's right a whole year of buying NOTHING new! That article alone got us thinking, but there was another article that really made my wife's eyes light up. This article detailed their journey towards a one-year mini-retirement!

That's right, Chris has taken a year off to be able to spend more time with his family. He has young kids and wants to be able to create lasting memories with his family. This got my wife excited! She would love the ability to take a mini-retirement and just spend a year enjoying our marriage and our little girl.

After reading these articles, my wife made a statement that I never expected, "We should try buying nothing new." I took her statement and ran! I wanted to finish out the year. I wanted to try it out for 5 whole months. 

My wife wasn't ready for five whole months and I may have tried to push a little too hard. When she said try, she only meant a one month trial. When I do things, I tend to go big. She tempers me and brings me back down to reality (most of the time). This reality was a 3-month compromise (Hopefully, I can convince her to take on a longer challenge in the future).

Our Nothing New Challenge:

Buy Nothing New For Three Months: Aug, Sept, and Oct

In everything we do with our finances, our goal is always a focus towards financial independence and the freedom that financial independence allows. With that focus, we must make a concerted effort to cut expenses wherever possible. 

Over the last couple of months, we have not hit our savings goal. I always mention the importance of a high savings rate. Chris laid out the simple math behind the amount of spending you cut and the speed at which you can reach financial independence. His statement is quoted below:

“For every $1,000 we reduce our expenses, we need $25,000 less in our accounts to achieve financial independence.”
— From Chris' article, "Happy Nothing New Year."

Basically, by cutting just $1,000 a year, you need less in your retirement, because you are spending less and won't need as much in your retirement years. Our attempt with this challenge is to get back to our high saving habit, which will eventually give us the freedom that we crave. It may even give us the opportunity to take a 'mini-retirement.'

Our Challenge Rules

There is only one simple rule: BUY NOTHING NEW (for 3 months)!

Now, this doesn't mean that we can't spend any money. This means that we just can't go to the mall and shop. This means that we will have to get creative with our purchases. Anything used or refurbished is fair game!

Garage sales, consignment auctions and goodwill are all options. We just can't go buy anything new! 

Now, there are always some exceptions when it comes to a challenge like this. We have discussed the exceptions and they are listed below:

  • Groceries (everybody has to eat and food does have a shelf life)
  • Diapers and Other Household Consumables (Includes batteries, paper towels, etc.)
  • Underwear (No explanation needed)
  • Socks and Shoes (Both of us need a new pair of running shoes for our half-marathon that we are attempting)
  • Photo Prints (If I want to print out photos of my family, there is no real way to print it without buying new)
  • Birthday Invitations (We will be celebrating my daughters 1st birthday in November and we will need to send out invitations in October)
  • Car Maintenance (You can't plan car problems)
  • Home Maintenance
  • Experiences (date nights, trips, etc)

You may be thinking....this is crazy! It might be a little crazy, but sometimes you gotta be crazy to make tangible changes to your life. There is a lot of money to be saved, when you purchase used items instead of something brand new. Now, this will be challenging, but it also might be relieving to not have to visit any stores or waste 30 minutes searching Amazon for that item that you wanted.

I look forward to the freedom that I will feel when I get to tell myself, "You can't buy that, it's new." Earlier this month, I was so proud of us, because we hadn't spent any money in a whole week. Our purchases were groceries on Friday and then groceries again on the following Friday.

That means we didn't feel the need for something. That means we were content with the stuff that we had. Part of this challenge is the idea that you already have enough and the restrictions will help you remember that you don't need anymore.

I plan on updating everybody once a month! So, stay tuned to find out if we are being successful with our challenge.

What difficulties do you see with our little challenge?


Sign up with your e-mail address to receive weekly news and updates

* indicates required

Powered by MailChimp