« Toothpaste | Main | In the beginning... »


So, as you may have read over at Arduous's blog, I've embarked on a month of not buying anything.  Anything at all.  

What does this mean?  I've paid my July rent, I'll pay my electricity and gas.  My phone and internet are paid for (work and freeload).  TV isn't an issue - I haven't had one years, though I'd love to watch So You Think You Can Dance? sometime (some of my earliest dance friends and teachers are on that show...NYC folks feel free to invite me over some Wednesday).  I have a couple of regular co-pays, and a considerable amount of debt, which I may be able to contribute a little more towards this month.  Everything else will be catalogued.  

Why?  I already did a year of not buying anything new.  I'm still sorting out what that meant...In a way Fix was pretty easy, and I'd like to investigate a little further how dependent on the system I really am.  I am constantly astonished by how much abundance and waste we live in: our solitary lives mean we have these little stores of things we never use or even think about.  There are so many free things out there that make me happy - I'd like to force myself to revisit them.  I spend a considerable amount of time thinking and worrying about money, my future with jobs that will make no money, and the things I could buy with money.  I spend so much time on these and related matters that I don't read the apartment-ful of books I've already got; I can't find the time for a long phone conversation with a friend far away; I have lists and lists of experiments I'd like to try but haven't gotten around to.  Arudous inspires me daily with her posts: not only is she a terrific writer, she considers things in a nuanced and self-aware way; I thought a friendly competition with her might challenge me to write a little more, something I'd like to be focusing on in the coming months.  Finally, with the Fix restrictions lifted, I've been a little happy with the credit card - not good in these hard times.

Generally, I think freeganism utterly depends on the abundance and waste of this society and often crosses the mooch line, which I am vehemently against.  I am not against efficiency, however, and I think a lot of people would agree that we live in a terrifically inefficient society.  "Freegan" often elicits images of unwashed bike people dumpster diving, which might not be entirely fair: I'd like to investigate.  (I'm not even against dumpster diving, BTW, but, like Arudous, wouldn't try it without an experienced guide.  There's a regular freegan dinner hosted in Brooklyn that I will try to attend this month.)  I hypothesize that, as with Fix, the real challenges start over a very extended period of time - I might just be pushing my buying to June 30 and Aug 1.   I didn't do much in the way of preparations: my farmer's market run was a little bigger than usual this Saturday, I bought some toilet paper (100% PCW of course!), and an extra couple of boxes of pasta.  I even bought my sister's birthday present ahead of time - unheard of!  But that's about it.

What are my big challenges?  I'll be going to Austin for a weekend celebration...unlike Arduous, I haven't paid for the hotel already, which will be a considerable amount of cash.  I don't intend to let the Pseudo Freegan challenge slow down the fun there, though we won't be living too high on the hog.  I also have a hard time saying no to my friends and their entertainment ideas, particularly those with whom I'm tired of arguing about Fix and related ideas.  Money is a social currency, too.  I've got a couple of class cards for dance studios around town that need using up, though I'm thinking about taking a workshop that could be pretty expensive.  I'm helping out with a bridal shower and couldn't get to the cloth napkins I promised.  I'm hoping maybe some Austin thrift stores will have some funky ones.  Worst case scenario, the bride's mom says she has some we can borrow.  And I'll probably buy some special ingredients for some dishes I'm making - but I'll try to make something with the bajillion ingredients I've already got.  Finally, I'm working on a project that opens upstate at the beginning of August; I'm sure I'll have to buy some art supplies, items I refuse to scrimp on.

Here goes nothing! 

Posted on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 08:04PM by Registered CommenterMegan Metcalf in | Comments3 Comments

Reader Comments (3)

That is a really ambitious goal. Good luck! I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes. Can you tell me more about the monthly freegan dinner you're planning to go to? I'd be interested in checking it out, since I've always secretly wanted to try dumpster diving but never have because, sadly, my boyfriend bristles at the thought of freeganism and freecycle.

Thanks, Julia! Wanna come with? 1st and 3rd Sunday...

July 2, 2008 | Registered CommenterMegan Metcalf

I don't have any experience with freeganism myself, but I too have wondered if it would turn me into a mooch. I'm interested to see how you both do with the challenge! And I do hope one of your friends with a TV invites you over to watch So You Think You Can Dance. The dancers are so talented - I think of it as my weekly dose of something beautiful.

July 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>